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Former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume Headlines Kent State's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Former congressman and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume will be the special guest speaker at Kent State University's Ninth Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Thursday, Jan. 27.

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Bice Appreciates Small Campus Environment; University Returns the Sentiment With Award

Posted Jan. 10, 2011

Deborah Bice, associate professor of English at Kent State University at Ashtabula, was teaching class as usual when she was surprised with cake and balloons by faculty and staff from the Alumni Association who presented her with one of the 2010 Distinguished Teaching Awards.

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Deborah Bice

"It is such an honor to be praised and validated for doing what I most enjoy. I am humbled, proud, exhilarated and most grateful," says Bice. "I was absolutely stunned, because all of the finalists are stellar in their field."

The Distinguished Teaching Award, which is sponsored by the Kent State Alumni Association, is the university's most prestigious teaching honor. This annual award is presented to three full-time faculty members who demonstrate extraordinary teaching in the classroom and a commitment to impacting the lives of students.

Bice finds that teaching on a small campus helps her connect with students who develop their skills into a passion.

"I chose Kent State at Ashtabula because of its small size. The students are not numbers, but individuals who need a high-quality education from high-quality faculty," says Bice.

Aside from the fact that Bice knows her discipline and passionately wants to share her knowledge with students, she respect her students and is genuinely happy when they choose to attend class each day.

"I try to communicate to them that they matter to me, that their educations matters to me, and that I'm there to provide the path to their learning," says Bice. "I want them to realize that they have 'had it' all along - I just opened the door."

Bice said that there is no greater joy than watching the moment when students realize that they can achieve anything, with discipline and commitment to the topic at hand.

Watching the development of students is most gratifying for Bice, as her English students move on and become who they were always meant to be - passionate, productive and professional.

"I teach because it is still what I want to do, it is still what I do best and, moreover, it is still what fuels my passion," Bice says.

By Rebecca Mohr