A West Virginia University English professor who oversees the schools writing programs has claimed best state teacher honors from a prestigious national organization.

Laura Brady, director of the Center for Writing Excellence, was named West Virginia Professor of the Year today (Nov. 18) by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Teaching is such a collaborative process,said Brady, who has taught writing for 22 years.This award is really a reflection on the wonderful lessons that my colleagues and students teach me every day.

She is one of 46 state professors of the year, and there were also four national award recipients. Winners were chosen from among 300 nominees nationwide based on their impact and involvement with undergraduate students, scholarly approach to teaching and learning, contributions to undergraduate education within their institutions and communities, and support from colleagues and students.

Brady joined the English faculty in WVU s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences in 1991. An associate professor, she teaches undergraduate courses in composition and business writing and graduate courses in rhetoric and pedagogy.

As director of the Center for Writing Excellence, she oversees writing programs that serve some 8,000 undergraduate students a year, provides leadership for curriculum and program design, maintains and strengthens faculty development, and pursues support for undergraduate writing activities.

She is also director of the WVU Writing Project, which brings together public school teachers who use writing as a learning strategy in all subjects.

Whether Im teaching my own students in freshman composition, helping prepare new teachers to enter the writing classroom, or encouraging experienced teachers to keep growing as teachers and writers, I believe that writing is central to all learning and is every teachers responsibility,Brady said.

Besides teaching writing, Brady also writes about the craft. Her articles on the teaching of writing, writing administration and writing theory have appeared in several journals and edited collections.

Since coming to WVU , Brady has won the Eberly Colleges Outstanding Teaching Award in 1997 and served on Faculty Senate from 2000 until this year.

Both colleagues and students say Brady is deserving of the award.

Graduate and undergraduate students frequently comment that her courses are not only intellectually stimulating, but also immensely practical for both the short and long terms,said Timothy Dow Adams, chairman of the Department of English.Her classes are often enhanced by her use of innovative Web pages and discussion lists to supplement the courses.

I cant imagine anyone better at teaching our graduate teaching assistants to teach,Adams added.I particularly liked the student comment from a recent evaluation: �€~Professor Brady is the most put-together instructor Ive had.

James Harms, director of the master of fine arts program in creative writing, said Bradys organizational skills and high standards have led to remarkable results for the departments writing programs.

Thanks in large part to Professor Bradys energy and enthusiasm, our department is a site of possibility and optimism, a place where students are given the tools necessary to succeed and the confidence to make good on their promise,he said.

Josiah Rengers, a WVU student who enrolled in Bradys Honors English 101 course and with her encouragement went on to win an essay contest, described Brady asthe most influential and amazing teacherhe has ever had.

She challenges, inspires and empowers students to be the best we can be,Rengers wrote in a letter supporting Bradys nomination for the award.She used English to show me the importance of working and doing the best I can in every aspect of life.

A Chicago native, Brady has a bachelors degree in English and Spanish from Marquette University and masters and doctoral degrees in English from the University of Minnesota. She taught at George Mason University before coming to WVU .

She lives in Morgantown with her husband, Timothy Sweet, associate chairman of the Department of English.

Created in 1981, the U.S. Professors of the Year program is the only national initiative specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. CASE is the largest international association of education institutions, serving more than 3,000 universities, colleges, schools and related organizations in 46 countries. Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered by an act of Congress in 1906, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center dedicated to the improvement of teaching and learning.

Brady is WVU s 14 th CASE Professor of the Year recipient. Past winners: Sophia Peterson (1987), Carl Rotter (1988), Judith Stitzel (1989), Robert DiClerico (1990), Pat Rice (1991), Jack Hammersmith (1992), Richard Turton (1993), Gail Galloway Adams (1994), Bernard Allen (WVU-P, 1996), Christine Martin (1998), James Harms (1999), JohnJackRenton (2001) and Elizabeth Fones-Wolf (2002).