A Marshall University English Professor has been named the 2013 Professor of the Year in the state.
Kateryna Schray is an English Professor in the Marshall University College of Liberal Arts. She’s been named the 2013 Professor of the Year by the Faculty Merit Foundation. Each year the Faculty Merit Foundation honors an outstanding faculty member at a West Virginia college or university. Schray said her students were supportive and happy for her after her award. She said she’s just not sure she’s deserving because she still has a ways to go.
“I also know that the minute I stop trying to be a better teacher is the minute I shouldn’t walk into the classroom, every single day after every single class I go back and go over it in my head and I replay scenarios. I think, well that went well, but this could have gone better,” Schray said.
Schray has been at Marshall since 1996. She’s already been awarded Marshall’s top two teaching awards: the Hedrick Outstanding Faculty Award in 2013 and the Reynolds Outstanding Teaching Award in 2009. Schray says students are different now a days. She said her parents’ generation learned by listening and her generation learned by seeing and today’s generation is much more interactive.
“I think they’re so much more socially oriented toward learning, I know that the jury is still out on a lot of these things, but I do know that when I walk into class and offer my students various experiences the response is great,” Schray said.
Schray said the most important thing she remembers each day when she walks into the classroom is simple.
“That learning is inherently joyful, that people love learning,” Schray said. “That’s what we do as a species, we love to learn and I never want to lose sight of that in the classroom, not for a second, that learning is just joyful.”
Schray also conducts writing workshops in Cabell County elementary schools. The relationships that Schray develops with her students mean so much more to her than just writing a reference letter for them when they’re looking for the next job.
“When I see them grow up and I look at them I think wow look at you and then I hear some of the good things they’re doing and I run into them in the store, there is absolutely nothing more satisfying for a teacher then seeing students just grow up,” Schray said.
Schray received a B.A. in both German and English from La Salle University, an M.A. in British Literature from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.