BATAVIA, OH (February 15, 2017) – Sharon Burns, associate professor of English at UC Clermont, has been honored with the college’s 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
UC Clermont recognizes an outstanding alumnus each year. To be eligible, an individual should have distinguished themselves through significant professional accomplishment, made contributions to their community and attended UC Clermont College for at least one year. The recipient is honored during the academic year and addresses graduates at the college’s Commencement Celebration in April.
Burns, who earned an Associate of Arts degree at UC Clermont in 2001, has made a career of sharing her love of writing with students. After raising three children and working abroad as a missionary in Honduras, Burns returned to UC Clermont as a nontraditional student, then transferred to Main Campus to complete her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. She also worked at UC Clermont while pursuing her higher-level studies, from 2008 through 2010 as a part-time instructor and as assistant director of UC Clermont’s Learning Center from 2009 through 2010 before joining the full-time faculty in 2010. She received the honor of tenure at the rank of associate professor in 2016 and is co-coordinator of UC Clermont College’s English Composition Program.
“Dr. Burns is a beloved and impactful writing instructor and has the accolades to prove it,” said Katie Foran-Mulcahy, who serves as UC Clermont library director and associate senior librarian and was one of several colleagues who nominated Burns. “Sharon’s commitment to our college community and students is unparalleled. In her, our students have a tireless advocate. I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of the Distinguished Alumnus Award.”
Burns has won and been nominated for a number of teaching awards since 2009, including the UC Innovative Uses of Technology in Teaching Award, National Council of Teachers of English Nell Picket Service Award, UC Clermont Promoting Excellence in Teaching Full-Time Faculty Award, UC Clermont Promoting Excellence in Teaching Part-Time Faculty Award, UC Clermont Promoting Student-Faculty Relations Full-Time Faculty Award, and the UC Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Recognition for Student Engagement. Her students also win accolades — since 2011, six have won University Composition Awards.
Beyond the classroom, Burns is dedicated to helping other instructors reach students more effectively, developing the UC Summer Online Writing Institutes in 2013 through 2015 to improve faculty members’ abilities to teach writing online. She also has made more than 35 presentations at conferences and workshops and has published several journal articles about teaching with technology. Her latest noteworthy effort is organizing this June’s regional Conference on College Composition and Communication College, which will bring instructors, students and writers from across the Midwest to UC Clermont and marks the college’s first time playing host to a national conference.
But for her part, Burns is quick to point out that the support of the UC Clermont community has been instrumental in her success. “I’m very humbled by this award. There’s something special about UC Clermont,” Burns said. “Of course, it’s the people. The place is unique as well, but I've had a lot of people who really believed in me and encouraged me. That has made all the difference. None of us do anything in a vacuum. I didn’t get here on my own. I’ve had an amazing support system, and I hope to provide the same support to my students now.”
And creating that support means the indefatigable Burns isn’t resting on her laurels; she has her focus squarely on the future of writing at UC Clermont.
“What’s most exciting to me is where we are going to go,” Burns said. “There is a lot of potential. We’re going to broaden the experience to reach more students, maybe students who are at different levels and places in their lives beyond the associate’s degree. I think what we offer students can only get better.”
UC Clermont College will honor Burns as the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus at the college’s Commencement Celebration on April 28 being held at the Oasis Conference Center in Loveland.