|Deb Nickles is noted for going the extra mile to help students achieve their potential|
By Chillicothe Campus PR Student Employee Lindsay Shirk
OU-C Writing Center Coordinator and English faculty member Deb Nickles has received the Ohio Council for Teachers of English Language Arts (OCTELA) Outstanding Language Arts Educator Award in the Special Distinction category.
The award is given to educators who demonstrate excellence inside and outside of the classroom through leadership and advocacy for language arts and improved student learning. Ruth McClain, OU-C English professor, nominated Nickles because of her commitment to the English program and to student success.
“Anyone fortunate enough to sit under Deb’s tutelage knows, without question, that not only is she intellectually gifted but also innovative and knowledgeable, exacting from her student and co-workers the best of talents, time, and energy,” says McClain. “Deb fully understands that writing is more than just mechanics and seeks to engage students in the larger process of effective communication.”
In addition to teaching English courses, Nickles coordinates the OU-C Writing Center in the Learning Commons. She has also created a local chapter of NCTE National Writing Gallery where OU-C students, faculty and staff can submit their works online. In 2011, Deb helped publish “Glass Enclosures,” showcasing the best of student and alumni writing. In addition, she served as co-director for the Ohio University Appalachian Writing Project from 2008 to 2010.
Nickles, who has worked at OU-C since the fall of 2007, provides opportunities for student growth through intimate classroom experiences and focused programs. Co-workers and students of Nickles continually attest to her passion as an educator.
“Deb is passionate about teaching English and improving the quality of instruction at the university. As a teacher, she is known for her ability to create a supportive classroom community while still providing a rigorous course. She shares her life experiences with her students in a genuine and unguarded fashion despite her position of authority,” says Sarah Cook, former student and current co-worker of Nickles in the Writing Center. “She is beyond generous with her time, praise, and dedication to helping students achieve.”
Matthew Givens, former student of Nickles, portrayed Nickles’ interest in her students’ experiences as a source for learning.
“Professor Nickles celebrates her students’ varied experiences and the unique ideas they bring to the campus, and in doing so, encourages all of us to learn from each other,” said Givens.
Writing Center tutor Lisa Southwick also confirmed the positive impact Nickles has had on her OU-C experience.
“She believes understanding each student’s individual situation, needs, and abilities is the key to helping our tutees excel. This attitude has lead to an enjoyable and educational experience for both tutor and tutee. As a writing tutor I have learned some of the most valuable lessons of my college career while watching Professor Nickles work with my fellow students,” said Southwick.
Nickles appreciate the award but also draws attention to those who have helped her along the way.
“I am absolutely honored by an opportunity to bring attention not only to the work I do but also to the excellent endeavors of my colleagues and student tutors at Ohio University-Chillicothe. I have had the joy and privilege of learning from and working with a brilliant cadre of educators and students who have all contributed to my own personal development and growth as an English educator,” said Nickles.
Nickles will be recognized at the OCTELA Spring Conference luncheon on March 9 at the Doubletree Hotel in Worthington.
Nickles earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Ohio University and her master’s degree in English with a concentration in literary criticism from Ohio University.