Archived Story

Dedicated to his craft [UPDATED]

Published 9:41am Monday, May 7, 2012 Updated 11:43am Monday, May 7, 2012

For someone who claims to have landed into the teaching profession, Paul Carney has solid footing.

Carney was honored by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities as one of four Educators of the Year, the system’s highest academic honor.

The criteria for the award includes teaching strategies and materials, content expertise and professional growth, service to students, profession, institution, and system, and assessment of student learning and performance.

“The Educator of the Year Award marks the culmination of numerous collaborations with talented colleagues both within and beyond Minnesota’s borders,” Carney said.

Carney said feels blessed to teach at M State-Fergus Falls. For the past 20 years, he has enjoyed working a job that allowed multiple opportunities to evolve and grow as an educator, researcher, and writer. This past school year Carney took a sabbatical from teaching.

During his sabbatical, Carney has been involved in numerous educational projects. He has worked with an advisory group on whether a completion agenda would be best for college curriculum, visited several sites in the Midwest and California for the Humanities in Prison Project, which brings college humanities classes to incarcerated populations, and on the English literacy panel for The National Center on Education and The Economy.

While in the classroom, Carney teaches composition, literature, creative writing and criminology. His creativity in the classroom has kept his curriculum interesting and challenging for students.

“While I enjoy creating assignments that are challenging and relevant, I most enjoy those moments when I can assist a student in discovering, clarifying, and following his or her core aspirations,” he said.

He is the developer and coordinator of Ready or Not Writing, an online writing assessment program that invites high school students to submit their writing electronically to college English instructors for feedback and support. He has also started Step Write Up, a junior high version of Ready or Not Writing.

He has also spent two terms as President of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English and currently is the College Writing Section Chair on the council. He also served as a higher education consultant for the national Common Core State Standards for English and language arts.

When not working with one of the numerous educational groups he is a part of, the self proclaimed “tree freak” spends his downtime on his hobby farm in Underwood enjoying the serene, scenic refuge that drew him to Minnesota from the urban sprawl of Chicago.

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