Honoree

Eva Roa White

AWARDS

Herman Frederic Lieber Award (2013)
Indiana University Kokomo
Department of Humanitites
IU Kokomo Alumni Hall of Fame (2013)
Indiana University Kokomo

BIOGRAPHY

Eva White's own nontraditional higher education experiences inform how she interacts with her students—stretching their minds by "traveling" through literature, utilizing multidisciplinary connections to integrate learning, and widening the scope of the traditional classroom using the power of the Internet. The child of Spanish immigrants living in Switzerland and the first in her family to attend college, White sought her degrees between work, family life, and stints in Saudi Arabia and Europe, all steps that influenced her teaching philosophy. "I believe learning is a lifelong process that occurs both inside and outside the classroom," she writes. "Teaching my students how to learn is the ultimate goal, as this is a practical, transferable skill, which they can use in all areas of their lives, especially when life interferes with their educational plans."

Her personal skill in the classroom is easily recognized by students and colleagues alike. "From the moment I entered the program, you have been behind me pushing (sometimes hard), only to bring out the best in what I had to offer," one student writes. "I will never forget how wide you were able to open my eyes when I thought they could get no wider." And her use of the poem "The Crabby Old Woman," the life story of an aged hospital patient, as part of an introductory multidisciplinary course for nursing students, drew this response from IU Kokomo Senior Lecturer in Chemistry Marcia Gillette: "It was a pleasure to watch someone with Eva White's talents and perspectives interactso effectively with a class of students, some of whom may be the very nurses who will be taking care of me when I become a crabby old woman."

During her time at IU Kokomo, White has explored alternative educational delivery methods such as hybrid and online courses and podcasts as well as developing a variety of unique course —including the team-taught Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Plagues. "As an undergraduate and graduate student, I saw connections between many of my courses and wished for more integration of knowledge from different disciplines in my own courses. As a teacher, I now have the opportunity to help students make those connections in my courses," White says, adding that she's currently teaching a series of Irish studies courses that she co-created with a colleague in the history department. White co-founded the campus literary and arts magazine, From the Well House, with a student. Her research interests include immigration studies, Irish studies, Galician studies, British literature, and cultural studies. She has won the IU Kokomo Trustees Teaching Award twice, as well as the Claude Rich Teaching Award, the highest honor given to teachers on the Kokomo campus. White also revamped the school's Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program, for which she served as director from 2011 to 2012. Before that, she had served as director of its precursor, the Master of Liberal Studies Program. "When she took over the program, it was in serious need of revision," School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Scott L. Jones writes. "She completely transformed the degree into a program that is both more attractive to students and more rigorous."

Colleague Christopher R. Darr agrees. The associate professor and program director of communication arts writes of White, "During her tenure as graduate director, she changed the M.L.S. to an M.A.L.S. degree (which will greatly benefit our students who wish to seek terminal degrees elsewhere), started a teaching assistant program and curriculum, and took various other steps to improve the quality of our graduate program and the quality of our student work. As graduate director, Dr. White had a direct impact on every graduate student in the M.A.L.S. program, and I consider this another indicator of her teaching excellence."