11 Days of Teacher Appreciation

Dean Fetrow enjoys a laugh with fellow faculty and staff

Dean Fetrow enjoys a laugh with fellow faculty and staff at the 11 Days of Teacher Appreciation Celebration

 “Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself. Thank you for stretching my academic and creative abilities. Thank you for keeping me wise beyond my years. You are a mentor, a friend, a professor, a supporter, and an adopted grandmother. Without you, my Wake Forest experience wouldn’t be nearly as memorable.”

“Your…midterm was the first exam that I ever took in college, and the first exam that I ever failed. You didn’t give up on me though, and you met with me to help me understand the material I did not know…You made the material relevant and interesting, and I still use basic concepts from that class in my daily life. You also believed in your students. You have no idea how much it meant to have you call me by name, not only in the classroom but also outside across the quad. Your passion and dedication to your topic and to your students is and has been evident, and I will always remember you for that!”

“Not only did I learn the material, but I became a better writer and learned to participate more effectively in class discussion. Thank you for your passion for the English language as well as your passion for teaching.”

From October 15- October 25, students and alumni used the hashtag #WFUTaughtMe to share their experiences and stories about Wake Forest faculty and teaching. Hundreds of stories, reflections, and letters (like the ones above) poured in through Twitter, Instagram, and the wfutaughtme website.

The event invited the Wake Forest community to celebrate how Wake Forest lives out its mission to “embrace the teacher-scholar ideal, prizing personal interaction between students and faculty [and to be] a place where exceptional teaching, fundamental research and discovery, and the engagement of faculty and students in the classroom and the laboratory are paramount.” Current students and alumni responded by reflecting on the individuals who have helped shape their education, their future, their worldview, and their character. The vignettes, tweets, and letters attest to the significant and lasting impact Wake Forest faculty have made on their students’ lives. Students repeatedly commented on how teaching at Wake occurs both in and outside the classroom and the lasting impact faculty have made on their lives personally and academically.

Senior Kelly Watson catches up with Professor Gunkel and Professor Dalton

Senior Kelly Watson catches up with Professor Gunkel and Professor Dalton during their Office Hours on the Quad

The idea for the “11 Days of Teacher Appreciation” was sparked by this year’s U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 Best Colleges guide. In addition to being named 23rd among 281 national universities, Wake Forest was ranked 11th on its “Strong Commitment to Teaching” list as well as 34th on its “Great Schools, Great Prices.” Based on the 11th ranking for “Strong Commitment to Teaching,” the Office of the Dean of the College collaborated with Volunteer Service Corps to create an 11-day celebration of Wake’s exceptional teaching and student-faculty engagement.

The 11 days culminated on October 25 with professors hosting their Office Hours on the Quad with free doughnuts, coffee, and cornhole. Students and faculty came to the quad and engaged in formal conversations about academic work as well as casual conversation about daily life at Wake.

Students and Faculty celebrate WFU's exceptional teaching with coffee and doughnuts

Students and Faculty celebrate WFU’s exceptional teaching with coffee and doughnuts

The 11 Days of Teacher Appreciation highlight how truly exceptional Wake Forest faculty are and the difference they are making in the lives of students. The hashtag campaign brought together the voices of students who have been inspired by outstanding professors at Wake Forest and have found the value in student-faculty engagement. As senior Troi Hicks tweeted, “This whole #WFUTaughtMe project is making me love Wake even more than I thought possible. I am part of an amazing place #prohumanitate”

View the website with all the letters, tweets, and instagrams here. For more information about the event, you can read Dean Fetrow’s blog and a WFU news report on the event.

Pic of Various Tweets from the #WFUTaughtMe social media campaign