Honors College Awards Laura Moll as 2019 Distinguished Honors Faculty
Laura Moll, a professor of English at Kent State University, is dedicated to her students. She returned to teaching at Kent State in 2011 after teaching at the university from 1980 to 1990. According to Moll, having “the freedom to select the works that will best reflect and illuminate the class theme” has allowed her to thrive as a professor. Moll believes her small class size of about fifteen students is “optimum of for a classroom community,” and she believes that number is “fundamental to the success of the colloquium.” Her dedication to her students and their success is certainly one reason that she is the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Honors Faculty Award.
Though Moll provides her students with the support and education that will help them succeed, she believes in their potential to succeed from the moment they become her students. She says, “It is an honor to teach these fine minds. They come to us… I have found they come to us largely ready to learn. I make that assumption and go from there. Though they have growth and though they have pain, I see many of them transform in some way, hence the theme of my class.” Moll’s Freshman Honors Colloquium course, centered around the themes of passion, pain, and transformation, is her teaching specialty. She believes that the topics of the class are “timely” and also fitting for the place and experience of being a freshman in college. The first semester of the course concerns passion, pain, and transformation themselves, and the students read Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, which Moll considers the “seminal” work in the course, due to the book’s main theme of meaning found in purpose. In the second semester, Moll also incorporates an issue—often race—into the course discussion to supplement the themes, and the students read additional works of literature. Moll’s course is designed to help students learn and grow as individuals, and Moll says it is “a privilege to see that growth.”