Ruth Kershner, associate professor in the Department of Community Medicine at West Virginia University, has been chosen 2008 Professor of the Year. The award comes from the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia.

The award was announced at a dinner at the Cultural Center in Charleston Tuesday (March 17), following a reception at the governors mansion.

A registered nurse and faculty-student liaison of the WVU School of Medicine, Kershner has been a member of the WVU faculty since 1991. In 2005, she was named American Association of Health Education Professor of the Year. She has twice been given the WVU School of Medicine Distinguished Teacher Award.

Dr. Kershners teaching is demonstrably effective,said Dr. Alan Ducatman, chair of the Department of Community Medicine.She utilizes a variety of teaching methods, bringing knowledge, humor, compassion, experience and substance to the classroom. Her students are inspired. It is no wonder that all of them obtain employment at or soon after graduation, and 70 percent stay in West Virginia.

Dr. James Brick, interim dean of the School of Medicine, said,We have been and continue to be blessed with many wonderful teachers at the Health Sciences Center, but no one has a stronger record of preparing health care providers for West Virginia’s future than Ruth Kershner.

Kershner orients her students toward community service projects such as working at food banks in Morgantown and distributing alcohol information outside bars during the first few weeks of the new academic year. They also volunteer in public schools, at the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Under her leadership, WVU s Community Medicine Student Association earned recognition from the West Virginia Health Education Council.

Kershners professional interests include substance abuse education, violence prevention, rape-prevention education, nursing care of the elderly and hospice care. She earned her Master of Science and Doctor of Education degrees at WVU .

Last year, Kershner won the Deans Award for Excellence in Community Service for her work at the University on the Drug and Alcohol Advisory council and Sexual Assault Advisory Council and also in the community on the Board of the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center. She is also on the Monongalia County Board of Education Wellness Committee.

The Professor of the Year award carries a cash prize of $10,000 sponsored by United Bank.

The foundation, created in 1984, recognizes and rewards innovation and creativity in the faculties of West Virginias public and private colleges and universities.

Mary J. Wimmer, biochemistry professor in the School of Medicine, was also a finalist, along with professors from Bethany College, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and West Virginia Wesleyan College.