Jenefer Giannasi Award

Michael Day and I

My boss Michael Day and I. Photo by Jan Vandermeer

Our first award is the Jenefer M. Giannasi Award for Excellence in Teaching First-Year Composition, established in 1990.   Jenefer Giannasi received her Ph. D from the University of Iowa in 1971 and came to NIU that year.  Professor Giannasi taught rhetoric, stylistics, and the theory and practice of written composition.  She served as assistant Director and Director of Freshman English from 1977-1984, and died in 1989.

Marilyn Cleland, a faculty colleague of Professor Giannasi, noted, “Jenefer Giannasi was a role model to many junior colleagues because of her respect for teaching freshman composition, traditionally a woman’s role; her rigorous commitment to best practices in rhetoric and composition; her brilliant mind; and her personal interest in all students and faculty.”

This award is given in her memory.

This year’s winner of the Giannasi award is Katie Andraski, who has been an instructor at NIU since 1994.  Katie is a superlative teacher, as her numerical evaluation scores testify. She has always been at the cutting edge of innovation in the 102 and 103P program, with writing activities that her students rave about. She has also served for many years on the First-Year Composition Committee, offering up idea after idea about how we can improve our program.

Listen to what Katie’s students have to say her class, and imagine the same comments repeated again and again, over the years and by many students.

 Being in Katie’s class has taught me to “just write!” She would tell us to stop thinking about it just type on the keys.  … I believe that I have learned more in the past weeks about writing than I learned in my entire HS career!

This class was a great experience and very fun!

She cares about our success in the class and she goes out of her way to be helpful.  Most underrated teacher at NIU; she’s awesome!

This class was much more challenging than other English courses, and I can say that it has prepared me for my next class.

She always listened to our opinions.

Everything Katie Andraski does with us in class is productive and helpful.

Ms. Katie is a wonderful teacher who always explains her assignments clearly and makes sure each student understands what is going on.

I enjoy how Ms. Andraski pulls out my creativity and encourages me to do my best.

I am so confident now that I plan on submitting two essays to the Mae Thomas competition.

I learned more than I thought I would!

I have never done so much writing in my life, but I liked it!

She made me comfortable in participating in the class without being nervous. The conferences we had were great! They helped me on my papers.

I’ll start off by saying that Ms. Andraski is very passionate about what she does!

She always has us stretch our imaginations to lengths we didn’t know we could stretch.

Congratulations, Katie!


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