Professor Anne Gutshall cares deeply about her students.
That’s one of the reasons members of the College’s Eta Sigma chapter of Delta Gamma (DG) sorority nominated her for the Delta Gamma Foundation’s Outstanding Faculty Award. Each chapter across the country can nominate one candidate for the award, which is given annually by the foundation and sponsored by Florida State University’s Gamma Mu chapter of DG.
To recognize Gutshall, an associate professor of teacher education, the DG Foundation sent her on an all-expenses-paid trip to its annual banquet, which was held in Orlando, Florida, in June. Gutshall was eligible to bring up to five members of the College’s chapter on the trip, where she gave an acceptance speech and was awarded a $5,000 check.
“When I was first contacted by Julia Neppl, my former student, and she told me that her sorority was nominating me for a national outstanding faculty award, I was so surprised and pleased,” says Gutshall. “As I forwarded my curriculum vitae per their request, I figured I probably would not hear another word. Being considered by our students for something so lovely was enough for me.”
But she did hear back, and she was shocked when someone from the DG Foundation notified her that she had won. The letters of support written by Gutshall’s students and colleagues were what convinced the selection committee to choose her.
“I am not really sure what is in those letters, but I am truly touched by the award,” says Gutshall.
One of the letters was written by DG member Suzanne “Suzi” Vallez, a junior early childhood education major and member of the College of Charleston women’s soccer team. In her letter of support, Vallez wrote:
“She is the type of teacher who is willing to go to the ends of the earth to help her students. I experienced this firsthand with multiple visits to her office hours when I was having a difficult time in other classes. It didn’t matter that it had nothing to do with her class; she just wanted to help.”
It’s no surprise that Gutshall’s office walls are covered with thank you notes from former students. Vallez says Gutshall makes students feel important by not only learning their names but also truly getting to know them. The relationships she builds with her students often last long past graduation, with many students returning year after year to visit with the professor who greatly influenced their college careers.
Neppl, also a member of DG and a junior elementary education major, was taught by Gutshall for just one class but considers her the best professor she has ever had.
“Dr. Anne Gutshall is the perfect role model for future educators,” Neppl believes. “She exemplifies qualities every teacher should strive to have.”
Gutshall draws from her 13 years of experience working in public schools as a school psychologist and behavior specialist to educate her College of Charleston students about educational psychology. Many students find her real-life experience invaluable to the learning process.
“I care deeply about the content of the courses that I teach because I believe that teachers are the most important component of a child’s educational experience,” says Gutshall. “I consider being part of helping to prepare future teachers to be a great honor.”
This article was written by Becca Starkes, a senior from Myrtle Beach, S.C., majoring in communication at the Honors College at the College of Charleston. She is also on the executive board of the Student Alumni Associates.