2008 Metcalf Cup & Prize
Ms. Allison Adair transforms the study of writing into a vital and exciting adventure. Her enthusiasm and love for her subject matter have shaped her life and enhanced the skills of students and fellow teachers. For the past five years, she has taught as a Lecturer in the Writing Program and, more recently, has served as Coordinator of the Writing 100 course.
Ms. Adair brings to the writing classroom the passion and practtioner’s knowledge of a working poet, as well as the commanding and encouraging presence of a born teacher. She teaches simultaneously a serious, substantive literature seminar and a writing skills course. Her lively explications engage the students in the trivium of grammar, rhetoric, and logic, which are presented as essential tools for effective expression and appreciation of literature. Ms. Adair selects challenging texts that she explores with the students. Her ultimate aim is to teach the how to learn, how to comprehend, question, critique, investigate, support, and experiment. To this end, she provides exhaustive commentary on approximately four thousand pages of student work each semester, striving for further improvement with each revision. In the role of Coordinator, her supportive mentoring of teachers has given them useful lessons in pedagogy and helped to maintain high quality in the courses.
Ms. Adair embodies the values that inform the freshman experience at Boston University. She places students first, treating each as an individual worthy of close attention from the dedicated faculty member. Yet she never minimizes the real challenges students face preparing to excel at an elite university. The experience of taking a class from Ms. Adair is transformative. One student wrote: “I have never wanted to work so hard at writing in my life.” Another wrote that she is “an awesome teacher…stimulating, engaging, and inspiring.” And an upperclassman concluded: “I am a better writer, communicator, and person thanks to Ms. Adair’s class…She truly exemplifies excellent teaching at Boston University.”
Dedicated teacher, caring mentor, and accomplished poet, Ms. Adair has enabled countless students to begin to master the art of writing and to appreciate great literature more fully. Boston University gratefully awards Ms. Allison Adair the Metcalf Cup and Prize for Excellence in Teaching.