Elmhurst College presented the 2015 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching to two faculty members, English professor Ann Frank Wake and nursing professor Laura Brennan.
The Award for Excellence in Teaching is a testament to a professor’s contributions to the education of Elmhurst students. Any group of at least three current students can nominate a faculty member through written statements; the final selection is made by the Faculty Development Committee.
Frank Wake, a professor of English and chair of the English department, began her career at the College in 1989. One of just a few faculty members to receive the award more than once, she won the award for the first time in 1995. Frank Wake earned her bachelor’s in English from Illinois Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan.
“She is the most understanding, flexible and caring professor I have met here on campus,” wrote one student group in its nomination of Frank Wake. Other comments included, “She truly cares what students have to say and encourages them to participate in whatever way they can,” and “She never forces anything upon students. Rather, she serves as guidance towards students’ own self-discovery.”
Brennan received similar praise from students for her work in the nursing department.
“Professor Brennan’s strongest quality in each of her roles is her commitment to her students in every aspect of their lives,” wrote one student group. “From reviewing rationales on exam questions to helping someone overcome a personal hurdle, she takes her students’ concerns seriously.”
Another group wrote, “She deserves to be recognized as someone who has positively influenced students and ultimately molded each of them into thriving registered nurses. Her work is not limited to the walls of Elmhurst; it extends to every institution in which an Elmhurst nurse is employed. She plants the seeds of ambition within each of us to grow to our highest capabilities in our nursing careers.”
An assistant professor of nursing, Brennan taught at the College from 1986 to 1990 and then returned in 2004 after working in multiple nursing capacities at Hinsdale Hospital. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Loyola University and a master’s in nursing education from DePaul University.
The awards were presented at the 2015 Elmhurst College Founders Faculty Awards dinner.