Collin College Professor Honored as Nation's Best
November 15, 2007 - This week a single number-number ONE-dominates the mathematics classrooms at Collin College as veteran professor Rosemary Karr brings home the prize for being the best in the country.
Dr. Karr accepted the highly-coveted U.S. Professor of the Year award today at a Washington D.C. ceremony sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Her award is considered the pinnacle of collegiate teaching, and she competed against professors from community colleges across the nation to earn it. Dr. Karr has been on faculty at Collin College for 17 years.
"I am honored to represent community colleges and pleased to be able to bring this national recognition to Collin College," said Professor Karr. "Every student should have the opportunity to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for employment in a global economy. I take my inspiration from the desire to see them do just that."
The news of Dr. Karr's honor kicked off a celebration at Collin College as the announcement marked an unprecedented third Professor of the Year honor since 2000. Just last year, psychology instructor Jennifer O'Loughlin Brooks took the honor of top college or university professor in Texas, and in 2000 theatre professor Brad Baker was, like Dr. Karr, named U.S. Professor of the Year.
Dr. J. Robert Collins, chair of the college's board of trustees, said "Professors like Dr. Karr have a profound impact on the lives of their students. This honor befits her innovation in the classroom and leadership in academe."
College President Cary Israel called her achievement a milestone in the history of the college. "Rosemary Karr is a remarkable professor with a natural gift for teaching. She truly deserves this honor, and she is a fine example of our outstanding faculty."
Israel said Dr. Karr is the first community college mathematics professor to be selected, and she is the first developmental education professor to be honored nationally. Only six other institutions-such as the University of California-Berkeley, Rutgers University, and Williams College-have more than one U.S. Professor of the Year on the faculty. Collin is the only college or university in Texas to have two national honorees.
Dr. Karr is well known in Texas and nationally for her contributions to mathematics education and has been recognized for the work she has done to improve developmental education. She is president-elect of the National Association of Developmental Educators and was recently commended by the organization with the Outstanding Service to Developmental Educational Students award. She has been named outstanding professor at Collin College three times and has received countless honors for teaching, civic engagement, scholarship and student organization leadership.
On campus, Professor Karr is best known as a professor who crusades to conquer the fear of mathematics. "Helping students see the beauty of mathematics and its application to the real world gives me a strong sense of accomplishment," Karr said. "I want to leave this world better than when I came into it. I want to make a difference. My head is in mathematics, but my heart is in teaching."
Students also speak highly of Professor Karr. Angie Voss, who is a former student, said she feared Algebra in her early college years. "I had the good fortune to enroll in Dr. Karr's mathematics class, and she soon became an inspiration to me. Today, I am a high school math teacher," Voss said.
College leaders also believe the award underscores the importance of developmental mathematics as a national public policy issue. "Universities and colleges across the United States are struggling with the number of students who need developmental mathematics when they get to college," said Israel. "If our nation wants to fight off global competitors like India and Canada, we must replicate and showcase innovative teaching strategies from professors like Dr. Karr."
Rosemary Karr graduated Magna Cum Laude from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.S. in Mathematics, and earned an M.A. at the same university in Mathematics Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education (Computer Education) from the University of North Texas. Prior to joining Collin College, Professor Karr taught at Eastern Kentucky University. She has a total of 26 years teaching experience at colleges and universities.
Collin College serves more than 46,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.