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2012 McPherson Distinguished Teacher 

Professor of English Andrea Bewick was named 2012 McPherson Distinguished Teacher at Napa Valley College. The award was presented May 11.

She earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  She was awarded a Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford University in 1997.  Bewick has been teaching full-time at Napa Valley College since 2000. She serves as managing director of NVC’s Napa Valley Writers’ Conference and is the English Department coordinator.

The many nomination forms indicate a deep respect for her from her colleagues. In addition to her teaching skills and focus on students, she was cited for her integrity, leadership and generosity of spirit.

“Andrea is committed to student-based learning…the payoff for her trust-building efforts was a classroom of students who were curious, engaged and committed to the course,” said one nomination, describing her work in a class containing a high percentage of disabled students. “Andrea loves all aspects of the writing process and is deeply committed to sharing her knowledge and skills with her students. She is flexible, collegial, and dedicated to the teaching profession.”

“Students flock to her—at all levels,” noted another nomination form. “Her classes are consistently waitlisted and her retention numbers range in the 80th to 90th percentiles.”

Another nomination said, “In her teaching, she demonstrates creativity, compassion and rigor, all of which serve to empower students.”

Her work with the Jessamyn West Creative Writing Contest and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference won praise. “Because of her own august background in fiction writing—she attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a Stanford Stegner Fellow—she has been instrumental in attracting and maintaining the best and brightest talent for the conference.”  Her work with the Academic Senate Committee Standards and Practices, and Phi Theta Kappa were recognized in the nominations. She was also acknowledged for her work on curriculum review and development, course and program SLO assessment, and for mentoring new faculty members.

“Smart, caring, innovative, motivated and disciplined, Andrea has had a positive impact on our campus,” concluded another nomination.

The awards, established by NVC’s founding president Dr. Harry McPherson in 1987, recognize excellence in teaching, knowledge of subject matter, stimulation of student thought and interest, use of innovative teaching techniques, and significant contributions to developing the instructional program. Nominations are submitted by peers, students and other members of the college community through the Office of Instruction. Funded by the McPherson-West Fund of the Napa Valley College Foundation, the selection is made by a committee.