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MU Professor Awarded 2015 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

April 1st, 2015

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and Commerce Bank Chairman Jim Schatz of Commerce Bank today awarded one of the 2015 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence to Elisa Glick, an associate professor of English and women’s and gender studies in the MU College of Arts and Science.

Loftin, Schatz and a group of professors, administrators and staff surprised Glick by honoring her with the Fellowship, which includes a $10,000 check. Kemper Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri each year. This year is the 25th anniversary of the first William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

ATTACHED : Glick Bio

Elisa Glick
Associate Professor
Department of Women’s & Gender Studies
English Department
College of Arts & Science
MU Faculty Member Since 2001

From facilitating difficult class discussions to serving as an advocate for freedom of sexual orientation, Elisa Glick combines compassion with intellectual rigor in her teaching. She challenges her students to be better people, thinkers and citizens.

“Beyond compassion and time spent nurturing individual students, Glick’s teaching strategy requires personal bravery,” says David Read, chair of the MU English Department. “She teaches students to value personal experience as a form of knowledge that they can understand in a historical, social and theoretical context. Sometimes this means putting her own personal experiences on the line.”

An openly gay faculty member, Glick specializes in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer studies and taught some of the first courses in this area at MU. By teaching and mentoring a significant number of students as an adviser, Glick makes her classroom a safe space for learning about and discussing issues pertaining to gender and sexuality.

“Students see bravery in Glick’s choices of content and supporting materials for her classes, which includes sharing her own lived experiences with the class,” says Joan Hermsen, associate professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. “Glick challenges students to open themselves to dialogue about theories of gender and sexuality that are, for the most part, completely new to students. Students have said her courses push boundaries for them both academically and personally, teach them how to engage with difficult and challenging material in a thoughtful manner, and affirm students as important agents in their own education.”

Glick says she believes teaching is much more than an intellectual exercise. Teachers, she says, perform a crucial social function by helping students to unlock their minds and see the world in new ways. She professes a commitment to helping students connect academic questions to social realities by teaching them how to think rather than what to think.

“Dr. Glick has the reputation of being both an incredibly intellectually rigorous professor and also extremely warm, kind, compassionate and caring,” says Rebecca Dingo, an associate professor in English and women’s and gender studies at MU. “During my two years as director of undergraduate studies for women’s and gender studies, her classes were always full, and students consistently reported their love for her classes. They reported feeling welcomed and challenged in her classes, not only because of the subject matter but also because Dr. Glick pushed them to think about identity and representation in new ways.”

Glick earned a bachelor’s degree in English and political science from the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in English from Brown University.