Reading and Elementary Education Professor Recognized for Teaching

Date Published: 
Tuesday, March 24, 2015

For the second straight semester, Reading and Elementary Education Professor Tracy Rock is the recipient of a prestigious teaching award.

Dr. Rock is UNC Charlotte’s winner of the 2015 Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. The annual award honors one professor at each of North Carolina’s 17 public institutions. The recipients were nominated by special committees on their home campuses and selected by the Board of Governors’ Committee on Personnel and Tenure. Each award winner will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize. 

This past fall, Rock won UNC Charlotte’s Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence.

Reading and Elementary Education Department Chair Mike Putman said it’s a special combination of talent and energy that makes her such a great professor.

“Tracy brings a passion for teaching to every class. Ultimately, she wants to ensure the candidates she teaches are prepared to enter the classroom and to have an impact on the children they work with,” he said. “In her instruction, she seeks to balance fundamental theoretical knowledge with practical knowledge that will be useful in the classroom, which I think resonates with her students.”

It resonated with former student Leslie Cole.

“Dr. Rock has the extraordinary ability to make you feel as though this is no longer just another college course and that this is, for lack of a better term, ‘the real deal’”, Cole said. “She takes the knowledge that we have, and gives us the opportunities to really challenge what we know.”

Rock said teaching future teachers is a large responsibility.

“Encouraging and supporting their development as effective practitioners has the potential to have far reaching impact for years to come,” she said. “The full realization of the responsibility and important purpose of teacher education makes what I do not only special, but also very fulfilling.”

This semester, Rock is the instructor for “Teaching Social Studies to Elementary School Learners” and “Integrating the Curriculum for Elementary School Learners.” 

Department Chair Putman said Rock was the first person he met at UNCC, and she immediately struck him as “someone who was enthusiastic, gracious, humble, and very supportive. I think these traits carry over into her teaching and help make her the educator she is,” he said.

Cole, the former student, said teachers like Tracy Rock have her believing she can make a difference.

“As someone who struggled significantly in the public school system, it gives me great hope that I will be able to make a difference for future students. I want to be able to inspire students the way the professors in the College of Education have inspired me to not give up, and whatever I do—keep learning.” 

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Rock has been instrumental in restructuring her department’s clinical program to increase students’ teaching exposure in partner schools. She has also served as president of the North Carolina Professors of Social Studies Education, and a University Faculty fellow at the Center for Teaching and Learning at UNCC.

After completing a bachelor’s degree at UNC Charlotte, Rock earned a master’s and Ph.D. from UNC Greensboro. She joined the College of Education’s Department of Reading and Elementary Education in 2000.

Rock is currently co-authoring a book on Action Research for Teachers with Dr. Putman; the work is set for publication in January of 2016.

by: Wills Citty

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