Kathryn McCurdy

Kathryn McCurdy
Excellence in Teaching, 2021

“Practice what you preach,” is a saying that has special significance for education faculty, although, in the field, it’s modified to “practice what you teach.” As someone who prepares and mentors aspiring and novice teachers, Kathryn McCurdy is ever vigilant about embodying what she teaches, putting theory into actions that students might then consider bringing into their own classrooms. Central to what she demonstrates is a deep respect for and celebration of all the ways that students express their questions, wonderings and understandings. In so doing, she has earned the great admiration of her students, who say they can only hope to inspire their own students as much as she has inspired them.

Professor McCurdy’s influence on educators in New Hampshire is deep and far-reaching – she directs education field experiences at the Manchester campus, teaches and mentors in the north country Teacher Residency for Rural Education program, and teaches courses in Durham not only to preservice teachers but also to seasoned educators pursuing their master’s or doctoral degrees. In all cases, she brings to bear her formidable skills and innovations in STEM pedagogy and diversity, equity and inclusion practices. Moreover, she is an excellent scholar whose research impacts travels well beyond our borders.

Thinking back on all her years in education, Professor McCurdy offers this: “Teaching is a vulnerable and sometimes emotional profession. We pour our hearts and minds into our work daily. In all my work with beginning teachers, there comes a time when the two of us learn how to be okay with being vulnerable and talking through those moments of uncomfortableness — how to share something emotional while also embracing our strength. I find these moments powerful.”

About This Award

Each year, the University selects a small number of its outstanding faculty for special recognition of their achievements in teaching, scholarship, and service. Awards for Excellence in Teaching are given in each college and school, and University-wide awards recognize public service, research, teaching, and engagement.