Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Rachel Smyrda has distinguished herself as a devoted teacher in the Department of English. Her student evaluations are impressive, and impressively consistent. Significantly, students note that the workload in her classes is not light, but that Smydra is both patient and accessible; many specifically praise both the quality and the promptness of her feedback on their written work. One student describes her course assignments as "rigorous but useful." Others offer such perspectives as, "clear and focused," "definitely an asset," and "by far my favorite instructor from the Department of English." Smydra constantly explores new avenues to enrich and enhance the opportunities of our students by developing new courses or by redesigning existing courses for online delivery. Whether it is a course on blogging, business writing or the fundamentals of grammar, Smydra has demonstrated a deep commitment to high quality instruction. Her serious professional purpose and her integration of instruction and service are perhaps nowhere more evident than in her work on the Academic Conduct Committee where she has been both a member and a chair of disciplinary hearings. Her research on plagiarism informs her work on this committee and has been well received at regional and national conferences and has led to invitations to serve as a facilitator on a Plagiarism Panel with OU students (December 2005) and as a presenter ("Information Ethics in the Information Age: Plagiarism at OU") at a Senate Teaching and Learning Committee Faculty Luncheon (November 2006).