Debbie Mercer wins FHSU faculty innovation award

HAYS, KS -- Dr. Debbie Mercer, assistant professor of teacher education, has been named by a faculty recognition committee as the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Innovation Award for her performance in Fort Hays State University's College of Education.

The faculty recognition program rewards outstanding teacher innovators and outstanding mediated classroom teachers from each of the four colleges of the university. Two other special awards -- Teacher/Scholar/Innovator of the Year and Faculty Adviser of the Year -- are also part of the program. Recipients are selected by a committee chaired or appointed by the respective college dean.

One award is given each month over the period August through May. Mercer is the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Innovation Award for October. She received a check for $300 and a university lapel pin that signifies teaching excellence. The university provides two-thirds of the financial award and the other third comes from Commerce Bank of Hays, which established a fund with the university to help recognize outstanding faculty teaching.

Dr. Tom Buttery, dean of the College of Education, commended Mercer for the variety and quality of her teaching activities. Mercer, who joined the FHSU faculty in the summer of 1998, teaches undergraduate courses in children's literature, early childhood education and cultural diversity. She also teaches and supervises student interns enrolled in field placements in Ellis County elementary schools.

Mercer uses innovative instructional methods that include the development of on-line courses where student work is completed via the Internet. An undergraduate course addresses issues of cultural and linguistic diversity in the elementary schools. She has also developed graduate on-line courses in the areas of "English as a Second Language" and reading. Several projects in which Mercer has been involved have led to the sharing of ideas and experiences. Collaborative research projects with local elementary and middle school teachers have highlighted new ways to use children's literature in the classroom. Projects uniting community day care providers and preservice teachers have led to expertise sharing between the two groups.

Mercer holds bachelor degrees in Family and Child Development and Elementary Education, a master's degree in Elementary Education and a doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction, all from Kansas State University. Additional coursework in the area of library science was completed at Fort Hays State University. She taught kindergarten and was a library media specialist in Kansas public schools.

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