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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Desmond Honored by Governor for Excellence in Teaching

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 19, 2008) - Described by her UCM colleagues as an outstanding scholar and educator who “personifies dedication to excellence in instruction,” Kathleen Desmond, Ed.D., will receive the Governor’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

Honored by Governor Blunt in Jefferson City

The professor of art history at UCM joins other college and university educators across the state to be recognized by Governor Matt Blunt in an award ceremony and luncheon April 9 in Jefferson City. Her selection for the award was announced March 19 by UCM President Aaron Podolefsky in a meeting of the UCM Board of Governors.

Kathleen Desmond
Kathleen Desmond

Selection Based upon Commitment to Quality Instruction, Community Involvement

Public colleges and universities select award recipients on the basis of criteria that include effective teaching at the undergraduate level; effective advising of undergraduate students; service to the college community; commitment to high standards of excellence; and success in nurturing student achievement and the impact nominees have had on the academic and personal lives of their students.

“I am thrilled,” Desmond said in talking about the honor. “This award is very meaningful to me because I so define myself as a teacher that when I die I want ‘She was a good teacher’ on my tombstone.”

Outstanding Career in Teaching and Administration

Not ready to write any epitaphs, colleagues are planning on many more years of classroom excellence from Desmond, who has already devoted more than 30 years to higher education. Her career includes teaching in places such as Arizona, Missouri, Ohio, and Washington, and in foreign countries such as England, Mexico and The Netherlands. She has served the university since 1991, including administrative posts that have taken her beyond the art history classroom. These include dean, Graduate Studies and Research, 1991-1994; assistant provost, Academic Affairs, 1994-1995; and UCM’s first faculty director, Maastricht Center for Transatlantic Studies, 1999. She also served on various occasions as a faculty member at the Maastricht Center, and in the Missouri-London Program at Imperial College, England.

President Podolefsky and Kathleen Desmond
UCM President Aaron Podolefsky recognized Kathleen Desmond, professor of art history, during the March 19 meeting of the UCM Board of Governors as a recipient of the Governor's Excellence in Teaching Award.

One of UCM's Premier Faculty Members

David Rice, Ph.D., assistant provost for information technology and instruction at UCM, described Desmond as one of theuniversity’s “premier faculty members.”

“A campus achiever, a reflective colleague, a willing participant in university life and governance, Dr. Desmond has proven many times over her ability, her commitment to the best practices in university instruction, and her effectiveness as a master instructor and as a teacher-scholar,’ Rice said in his support letter.

Known for Teaching the Visual Arts

Desmond is known for teaching large art appreciation courses such as Ideas and the Visual Arts, and the integrated capstone course, Artists in Contemporary Society, a course she developed for the Department of Art. She encourages students to engage in critical and creative thinking through oral presentation and writing in class, and also incorporates visits to places such as the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art into the learning experience to teach students how to use an art museum for study and enjoyment.

Desmond is a strong mentor to students at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Her commitment to nurturing student achievement has resulted in many of her former students going on to enjoy successful careers as artists, interior designers, graphic designers, illustrators and art educators.

Service Extends Beyond the Classroom

Her service to the university extends beyond the Department of Art. She routinely conducts faculty development workshops for UCM’s Center for Teaching and Learning, and was chair of the College Art Association’s Education Committee for an unprecedented four years. She also takes pride in having developed, administered and taught in Central’s Teaching Excellence Development Program for 10 years, having served on UCM’s Committee on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and serves as a teaching consultant for the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Desmond was honored previously for her work as a UCM educator. She is a past recipient of the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award, an honor given annually to the university’s top faculty member for research, teaching and service.

The longtime UCM educator is grateful to those who nominated her for the Governor’s Excellence in Teaching Award. She said such support validates her life’s work as a dedicated scholar teacher.