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Walden Magazine // Feb 15, 2011

Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence: A Commitment to Student Success and Positive Student Experiences

Walden University honored two faculty members with its 2011 Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence, including Dr. Patricia Thurmond, of The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, for her work to prepare the M.S. in Education program for its 2011 National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) visit and for her commitment to student success and positive student experiences.

“Dr. Thurmond has played a key leadership role in the growth and development of the Riley College of Education and Leadership,” explained Walden University Board of Directors member Dr. Anita McDonald, during the January awards ceremony. “She has been instrumental in the design and implementation of its student assessment system and personally assisted in the redesign of the M.S. in Education specialization in Middle Level Education. What’s more, during a time of significant changes in programs and curriculum, Dr. Thurmond has remained focused on and committed to providing her students with a positive and rewarding learning experience.”
“I believe when we help our Walden University students succeed, we help a nation succeed,” explains Thurmond. “By being committed to our students’ success and ensuring they have a positive experience, I am helping to change the climate of education. Our students complete the program with a renewed sense of purpose that generates positive change at the classroom, school, district, and national levels.”

Encouraging Student Success Through Positive Experiences

Thurmond’s goal as an educator is to help students think beyond their textbooks and other course materials to think critically about the larger questions raised by their studies. “I want them to question, to wonder, to consider the ‘what ifs,’” she says.

She also works tirelessly to remind her students that effecting positive social change in their communities is as simple as volunteering for a school project, coaching, or contributing to a committee. Thurmond is equally serious about her mentorships. “I approach student mentorships as if I were working with students face-to-face,” she says. “I take the time to read between the lines when answering emails so I can answer questions asked and not asked.” She’s also quick to pick up the phone to connect with students. “I work hard to give students a high level of interaction and care,” she says.

“In today’s climate, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters most in education,” Thurmond emphasizes. “Walden has helped me focus on what matters most—the student.”

Thurmond has worked at Walden since 2003, and is an active member on several committees.

About the Award

The award is bestowed upon Walden faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to the university. It recognizes their leadership and commitment to providing the highest-quality student experience as well as to upholding Walden’s mission of promoting positive social change.

Read more about the Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence and past recipients.