English Professor named Professor of the Year

LANSING, MICH. — Northern Michigan University Professor David Wood has been recognized as one of the state’s three recipients of the Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award, which recognizes the outstanding contributions and dedication exhibited by the faculty from Michigan’s 15 public universities to the education of undergraduate students.

The Academic Affairs Officers of the Michigan Association of State Universities will recognize the nominees and recipients of this annual award on April 21, 2017 during a luncheon held at Troppo in Lansing. The other two winners are Michigan State University Professor Ann Folino White and University of Michigan Professor Barry Fishman.

Dr. David Wood is Professor of English and Director of the Honors Program at Northern Michigan University, where he has taught since 2007.

One of his colleagues once commented that the level of student discussion in his classes was the finest she’d encountered at NMU – one of many reasons he was the recipient of the NMU 2015 Distinguished Faculty Award and 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award. He also was co-chair of the Liberal Studies Program Task Force in 2012, which restructured general education at the university.

As director of the Honors Program, he has doubled the program’s enrollment without diminishing standards, and has been instrumental in landing the largest gift in the university’s history, which will go toward undergraduate Honors student learning. Thanks to this stewardship, he reinvigorated the Stratford Festival Endowment, which brings students to the renowned Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario.

As a Shakespeare scholar, he also infuses his academic work on disability into his literature classes, creating innovative courses that teach older primary course materials alongside culturally and politically current secondary materials. This work on disability studies extends to his service as Trustee of the Tyler Rigg Foundation, where he can steer funding to areas of health, disability, and alternative education.

He earned a B.A. from Skidmore College in 1993, an M.A. from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks in 2000, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2004, all in English Literature.

“Dr. Wood is truly extraordinary in his dedication to our students and their learning,” said Kerri D. Schuiling, Northern Michigan University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “He is an exemplary teacher who engages students to think deeply and participate actively in their classrooms and communities.”

“Professor Wood represents the very best of teaching, innovation and dedication to student success,” said Dr. Daniel J. Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. “He’s reinvigorating student programs, symbolizing the excellence in higher education for which Michigan’s public universities are globally renowned.”