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Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic Selected for 2022 Mentzer Award for Inspirational Teaching

Associate Professor of Sociology, Chair of the Department of Sociology, and Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic was selected as the recipient of the 2022 Mentzer Award for Inspirational Teaching (MAIT). All Shepherd students are invited to nominate a professor for this award and briefly describe how this professor has made a difference in their life or the life of a classmate. Dr. Howard-Bostic was nominated by two Shepherd students.

“Dr. Howard-Bostic is a remarkable leader, educator, mentor, and friend. It brought me great happiness to find out she received the Mentzer Award for Inspirational Teaching,” said Kristen Vernon, one of the nominating students. “She always strives for academic excellence and inspires her students to use their knowledge and voice to create a better world today and in the future.”

“In the classroom, I hope that students are able to be better today than they were yesterday,” explained Dr. Howard-Bostic. “Because learning is an ongoing process, I always tell the students that change is constant but nonhomogeneous, meaning I expect students will change, but I expect that they’ll change at their own pace. And so, I try to present the material in a way that they can at least think critically and understand but then decide for themselves how they want to become more well rounded.”

The MAIT was created by Shepherd alumna Susan Mentzer-Blair ’72 and her husband, William “Bill” Blair, to honor a full-time professor recognized by Shepherd students for being particularly inspiring and having a profound effect on their students. Sue’s brother, Dr. John Thomas “Tom” Mentzer, served as inspiration for the award. Tom received a similar accolade from his PhD candidate students at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he held the Bruce Chair of Excellence in the business department. The MAIT honors Sue’s brother, who passed away in 2010, as well as her mother, who followed in 2014. A portion of each of their estates was used to create this unique recognition.

Sue Mentzer-Blair is a retired school counselor with Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland, and also serves as a director emerita on the Foundation’s board of directors and as a member of the Shepherd University Board of Governors. Bill Blair is also a retired educator, having taught history and worked as a school counselor with Jefferson County Public Schools in West Virginia.

This year’s presentation marks the sixth award of the MAIT. Previous recipients include Dr. Timothy Nixon, associate professor of English (2017); Dr. Stephanie Slocum-Schaffer, associate professor of political science (2018); Dr. Geraldine Crawley-Woods, professor of social work (2019); Dr. Benjamin Bankhurst, assistant professor of history (2020); and Dr. Samuel Greene, assistant professor of political science and global studies (2021).

The MAIT is typically presented at Shepherd’s Annual Student Recognition Day ceremony; however, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s student and faculty award recipients were honored virtually.