Uju Anya receives College of Education's Outstanding Teaching Award

April 07, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — While the coronavirus pandemic has caused in-person events such as the College of Education’s annual spring appreciation and awards luncheon to be canceled, the awards have been announced and the winners are still very much appreciated.

Faculty, staff and students who have made significant contributions to their fields were selected through nomination letters prompted by their outstanding service and dedication to their job.

The first of nine featured award winners is Uju Anya, who earned the college’s Outstanding Teaching Award.

The College of Education’s Outstanding Teaching Award recognizes a faculty mentor who demonstrates teaching excellence, shows respect to all students as individuals and creates an environment conducive to learning. Anya is an assistant professor of second language learning.

She has been with the college for four years. She also is a research affiliate with the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Penn State and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in second language learning, language education and applied linguistics with a focus on race, gender, sexual and social class identities in the language classroom.

Anya, also known as "Dr. A," was nominated for the award by the people you would most want to do that — her students.

Dominique Murdock, a curriculum and instruction doctoral student in second language education, calls Anya a trailblazer in the field of applied linguistics/second language education.

“She accounts for the stories of minorities who are often underrepresented in the overall literature of the field and provides us with information that allows us, as budding researchers, to remain on the cutting edge of new developments in the field of second language education,” Murdock said.

“Dr. Anya’s academic acumen is quite impressive and her ability to disseminate the course information in a way that’s tangible, accessible and useful is unmatched. The most assuring aspect of Dr. Anya in her advising is that I sincerely believe she wants me to succeed, which is so crucial to this journey,” Murdock added.

Other students agreed, with this statement coming from Branden Elmore, a doctoral candidate in higher education: 

“Dr. Anya’s teaching and instructional skills are unmatched, and she exemplifies what it means to be an outstanding teacher. If I have learned one thing from my interactions with Dr. Anya, it would be to create a path that is fulfilling to you. She has made a career out of expressing that joy to others, which continues to serve as motivating source for people like me,” Elmore said.

And Michelle Brown, a doctoral candidate in curriculum and instruction, said Anya is an excellent teacher on many levels.

“Dr. Anya is not only a great teacher, but she is a great teacher who is teaching really challenging but critically — literally, life-saving — concepts. I feel fortunate to be mentored by Dr. Anya due to her exceptional knowledge, tutelage and genuine care for my growth and success as a student,” Brown said.

Award winners are:

  • Outstanding Teaching Award: Uju Anya
  • Outstanding Senior Researcher Award: Gerald LeTendre
  • Outstanding Junior Researcher Award: Jennifer Frank
  • Cotterill Leadership Enhancement Award: Ashley Patterson
  • Career Achievement Award: Simon Hooper
  • Climate Enhancement Award: JT Taylor
  • Outstanding Staff Award: Megan Foster and Darlene Kolesar
  • Graduate Student Recognition Award: Kaela Fuentes-Packnick
  • Undergraduate Student Leadership and Service Award: Taylor Young

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 07, 2020