Dr. Stephanie M. Curenton, Associate Professor, Director of the Ecology of School Readiness Lab, and Program Director for Educational Policy Studies at BU Wheelock has been nominated for the Boston University Provost’s Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award.
The award, which is given annually to a full-time Boston University faculty member selected by the Provost’s Faculty Teaching Awards Committee, recognizes individuals who “excel as teachers inside and outside the classroom and who contribute to the art and science of teaching and learning.”
Awardees are honored at the annual Celebration of Teaching, Research and Scholarship and receive a $5,000 stipend. Nomination letters are submitted by students, alumni, staff and fellow faculty members. These letters detail how a candidate excels in teaching, ongoing research, scholarship or creative endeavors, and their contributions to the art and science of learning.
In her nomination acceptance letter, Dr. Curenton explains that “BU is a place that enables me to bridge two important aspects of my identity—being a researcher and a teacher. Therefore, being nominated for this award is a special honor because it represents a culmination of a long professional journey to arrive at a place where I can be my whole self.”
At BU Wheelock, Dr. Curenton’s research focuses on the social, cognitive, and language development of low-income and minority children within various ecological contexts, such as parent-child interactions, early childhood education programs, early childhood workforce programs, and related state and federal policies. Most recently, she was named one of the inaugural National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) Policy Fellows.
Dr. Curenton uses her knowledge of developmental psychology and education pedagogy to undergird her teaching philosophy. Through teaching, she focuses on creating interactive learning environment based on culturally responsive practices that value the diverse strengths, competencies and experiences of each of her students.
A quote from one of Dr. Curenton’s graduate students, used as part of her nomination letter, emphasized the effect her thoughtful teaching style has on students: “Professor Curenton demonstrated to everyone what really thoughtful leadership looks like. I think a lot of students left the class with a strong example of quality teaching.”
Quality teaching and scholarship is what motivates Dr. Curenton most. Looking forward, she plans to “continue to use classroom teaching, individual research mentoring, and university service to further BU’s unique commitment to celebrating those who bridge scholarship and teaching [and] will continue to make a pathway for those with similar values.”