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Bower receives Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching

4/30/2012 —

Robin Bower, associate professor of Spanish and comparative literature and culture at Penn State Beaver, is one of only two University faculty members to receive the 2012 Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The award recognizes excellence in teaching and student support among tenured faculty who have been employed full time for at least five years with undergraduate teaching as a major portion of their duties. Milton S. Eisenhower, brother of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, served as president of Penn State from 1950 to 1956.

Since joining the Penn State Beaver faculty in 2000, Bower has immersed her students in the Spanish language, insisting that even those taking their first Spanish class converse in the language. ‘The beauty of Dr. Bower’s classroom is that she opened the world of Spanish to us through conversation, not mere lists of vocabulary that had to be memorized,’ one student said.

Bower has received a Bayer Corporation Award for Excellence in Teaching at Penn State Beaver and the Penn State Beaver Advisory Board Michael Baker Corporation Faculty Excellence in Research Award. She is the campus Honors Program coordinator and chairs the Penn State Beaver Retention Task Force and its subcommittee on pedagogy.

‘While most faculty touch the imaginations of many students each semester,’ one nominator said, ‘Dr. Bower’s reach extends more broadly. In her classes, I observed students beginning to wonder, asking their own questions and framing reasoned reflections.’

During the University’s 2011 spring break, Bower and students from her Iberian Civilization and Culture class traveled to Madrid, Spain, where they toured the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and studied the works of Joan Miro and Juan Gris.

Bower served as a visiting professor in the Department of Romance Languages at Duke University during the 2009 spring semester and taught an upper-level undergraduate seminar and a graduate seminar in medieval Spanish literature. In 2007 she participated in Columbia University’s prestigious Literature Humanities Luncheon Speaker Series with a presentation entitled ‘Augustine’s Confessions.’

She taught at Columbia from 1990 to 1993 and from 1995 to 2000. While there she received the President’s Fellowship, a Literature Humanities Preceptorship, and a Dissertation Research Fellowship. Bower holds a doctorate from Columbia as well as a master’s degree in Medieval and Golden Age and a master’s degree in Latin American Literature. She received a bachelor’s degree from West Chester University and also studied at St. Louis University in Spain.

She can be contacted at rmb29@psu.edu or 724-773-3886.

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