For NC State College of Education Professor Meg Blanchard, her proudest moments as an educator involve watching her students succeed.
When she learns of students and former students who receive recognition for their work or earn new positions in their careers, or when her students finally earn the degrees they have worked hard for, Blanchard loves to celebrate with them.
“There is nothing like standing next to your doctoral student in the hallway before graduation, knowing all that they have accomplished and savoring that special time,” she said. “Celebrating successes with these graduate students is special.”
Blanchard’s work with graduate students was recently honored when she was selected to receive the NC State Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professorship Award, which recognizes outstanding graduate-level teaching across the university.
Receiving the award was an emotional moment for Blanchard, who said that she shed tears of joy upon reading the nomination letters written by her former students and peers and reflecting on the experiences they have had together.
“Graduate education is close to my heart and a key focus of every day through my work as a director of graduate programs, as an advisor and as an instructor for masters and doctoral courses,” she said. “It means the world to me to be recognized by my university peers for these efforts.”
Blanchard is currently the director of graduate programs and associate department head for STEM education and teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses in science education.
Although she wants her students to learn from her and succeed academically, she places an equal importance on making them feel cared for. To accomplish this, she begins each new semester by developing a set of operating principles for her students to enhance their learning community in a way that ensures everyone feels valued and respected.
“One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou. She said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ I want students to feel cared for through the relationships we develop,” Blanchard said. “In graduate courses, I have the honor of interacting with fellow educational professionals who bring so many rich experiences to the course. We all learn from each other.”
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