Anna K. Fridley Phi Kappa Phi Distinguished Teaching Award
Ann Ewbank, associate professor and head of the Department of Education, has won the Anna K. Fridley Phi Kappa Phi Distinguished Teaching Award recognizing a faculty member whose accomplishments with students reach beyond the classroom and the library. The award includes a $1,000 honorarium.
Ewbank’s contributions to the university, public schools and libraries are highly respected and acknowledged in Montana and nationally, according to letters nominating her for the award. In addition, students routinely note her ability to crystallize abstract and challenging concepts, and her colleagues recognize her level-headed and compassionate leadership style.
Ewbank has been instrumental in guiding the Department of Education’s undergraduate and graduate programs. She perceived a need at the graduate level for a dedicated course to introduce and mentor new doctoral candidates into a rigorous course of study, and so she designed and taught a doctoral seminar to increase students’ success in their doctoral studies. As part of the seminar, two weekend in-person meetings accompany a robustly structured online learning component.
In addition, Ewbank has created opportunities for students to develop mentoring relationships with faculty. “Because of her high standards, ongoing mentorship and unflagging commitment, students are career-ready when they leave,” one nominator wrote.
Another signature contribution involves Ewbank’s stewardship of the Library Media Certificate program. The program has experienced impressive growth and is currently the largest graduate certificate program at MSU. Moreover, since she assumed supervision of this program, 115 library media students and 30 master of education students have graduated. The program attracts in-state, out-of-state and international students.
As head of the Department of Education, Ewbank has earned the respect of the faculty and dean as she has tackled the challenges of departmental leadership with “enthusiasm and vigor,” one nominator wrote. Ewbank is widely acknowledged for keeping the Department of Education faculty and staff moving forward with highly productive weekly meetings, progressing initiatives on best practices in teaching, research productivity and strategic planning, among others. She also embraces the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, and she has worked tirelessly to support faculty members in ensuring that all Department of Education students’ needs are being met, according to nomination materials.
On top of her teaching and leadership responsibilities, Ewbank remains grant-active with a focus on external funding. Most recently, Ewbank collaborated with Deborah Rinio and secured a three-year, $574,910 grant for Indigenous Perspectives in School Librarianship, which seeks to prepare school librarians to be culturally relevant educators who can work with Indigenous populations and serve as models and leaders in their schools and communities.
In addition, Ewbank also serves as co-principal investigator on a five-year, $6.2 million grant for the Montana Rural Teacher Project. The project is delivered mostly online and is designed to recruit, train and mentor dozens of high-quality educators to work in rural areas of Montana.