PVCC creative writing professor named national Professor of the Year

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) have named Paradise Valley Community College professor Dr. Lois Roma-Deeley a 2012 Professor of the Year. She is one of four honorees chosen from over 300 distinguished professors nationwide in the categories of community college; baccalaureate college; doctoral and research university; and master’s university/college. Awards were presented to the recipients in Washington, D.C., on November 15, at a luncheon at the National Press Club, followed by a congressional reception.

Dr. Roma-Deeley has taught creative writing at the graduate and undergraduate levels for more than 25 years.  Since joining the PVCC faculty in 1996, she has inspired her students in the creative writing program, increased course offerings, established a women’s studies curriculum, and developed an on-campus visiting writer and scholar lectures series.

“Lois has really expanded our artistic community at PVCC through collaboration with colleagues and by skillfully weaving classroom learning with out-of-class opportunities,” said PVCC President Paul Dale. “Because she is an accomplished poet, she not only serves as a scholarly critic for our up and coming writers but, more importantly, she serves as a mentor and source of inspiration. We are so fortunate to have her as part of our faculty team.”

Dr. Roma-Deeley is an award-winning author, who has penned three critically-acclaimed collections of poetry, and contributed to dozens of anthologies and literary journals. High Notes, her most recent collection, was a 2011 Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Her works have also earned the Samuel T. Coleridge Literary prize and awards for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Competition and the Emily Dickenson Poetry competition. Active in the arts community, she was recognized by Soroptimist of Phoenix International with the 2008 Making a Difference for Women award.

Her passion for education equals her passion to create. Inspired by her older brother, who was the first in the family to finish high school and then college, she earned a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Primary Emphasis in Poetry from the Union Institute and University, and an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Arizona State University.

Her teaching philosophy is one that encourages students to examine and overcome assumptions, and create a context for real learning opportunities.

“I believe it is my job to provide my students with challenges, resources and options—all the while setting high standards for excellence,” she explained. “I like to think that my role in helping students to be fully realized human beings is one of my purest arts. “

She is proud to represent the community college system, which she considers one of the country’s most democratic institutions.

“Every day I am witness to the countless efforts of students who refuse to give up. I see, in very real and concrete ways, those who believe—even if they don’t yet fully understand—the power of the educational experience to transform their lives. All we ask is that the students come to us. And work hard. And dream big.”

Watch her full acceptance speech.

Passion for Teaching Statement
Student Introduction
Text of Acceptance Speech

Lois Roma-Deely and Dr. Paul Dale

The Award | usprofessorsoftheyear.org

CASE and the Carnegie Foundation have been partners in offering the U.S. Professors of the Year awards program since 1981. TIAA-CREF, a leading financial services organizations and higher education retirement system, is the principal sponsor for the awards ceremony. Additional support for the program is received from a number of higher education associations, including Phi Beta Kappa, which sponsors the evening congressional reception.

Criteria considered in the selection process include extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching, demonstrated by excellence in the following areas:

  • Impact on and involvement with undergraduate students.
  • Scholarly approach to teaching and learning.
  • Contribution to undergraduate education in the institution, community and profession.
  • Support from colleagues and former undergraduate students.

The four national award winners each receive a $5,000 cash award contributed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  They also receive an all-expense paid trip for the winner, one guest and a current or former student to Washington, D.C. for the awards celebration.

The 112th Congressional Record | The Library of Congress

Carnegie | carnegie.org

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports needed transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge.

CASE | case.org

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices in London, Singapore and Mexico City, CASE is a professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas.