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Archive for Thursday, May 24, 2007

Baker music professor wins teaching award

May 24, 2007

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J.D. Parr, associate professor of music and associate director of bands at Baker University, has earned the 2007 Jennie Howell Kopke Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The award is given annually to the most outstanding and influential teacher at the university, Baker President Pat Long said.

"The award is more about the art and science of teaching and not about the professor's rank or tenure at the university," Long said.

She said she chose Parr for the award because of his influence on students. When she talked to students on campus, they mentioned how Parr challenges and inspires them to learn, yet have fun.

Parr, the director of the Baker jazz ensemble, said he initially was stunned by the recognition.

"It's a really prestigious award," he said. "I've known people in the past who received the award, and I hold them in high regard."

Parr has been involved with the music department at Baker for 25 years. He said his long commitment to Baker and his ability to spread recognition of the university make him stand out among other candidates.

"I stayed here a long time," he said. "You stay around long enough and stick it out, eventually something good will happen."

Parr also said he has traveled to different parts of the country performing with orchestras and meeting other music professors at music competitions. This has helped gain recognition for Baker and its band program, he said.

Bob Davis, a senior in music education at Baker, said Parr's intense commitment to spreading knowledge and his love for his profession are what separate him from other professors.

"He's a great mentor to me and the university," Davis said. "He's just an excellent educator in every aspect."

Parr said the award has given him a boost.

"It will make me motivated to work harder. : I am looking forward to teaching next semester," he said.

- Intern Scott Girard can be reached at 832-6385.

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