The Ohio State University at Mansfield

Kolkovich honored with Distinguished Teaching award

Ohio State Mansfield English professor Elizabeth Zeman Kolkovich has been honored with the Ohio State Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Bruce McPheron, Interim Executive Vice President and Provost, and Stephen Gavazzi, Dean and Director, The Ohio State University at Mansfield, along with others from the Alumni Association and College of Arts and Sciences, presented Kolkovich with the award April 1.

“Professor Kolkovich exemplifies the faculty member who is doing everything right,” Dean Gavazzi remarked. “The Distinguished Teaching Award is the recognition of Elizabeth’s extraordinary teaching skills, which is all the more remarkable because she also displays excellence in her scholarship and her service activities for the Mansfield campus.”

Kolkovich teaches virtually all levels of the English curriculum, from required general education and writing classes to senior-level Shakespeare courses. She has developed 10 new courses in the last six years to meet the needs of the English program.

Senior Kaylor Montgomery has taken several classes from Kolkovich. During a course that focused on female writers of the early modern period, Montgomery discovered a topic that she has researched and expanded into a thesis. She will defend the thesis in April, as well as present at the prestigious Denman Undergraduate Research Forum in Columbus.

“Professor Kolkovich is a wonderful professor who is passionate about the time period she studies,” Montgomery said. “Her passion and drive for the early modern period is what inspired me to enjoy British literature, and it is her passion and drive that drove me to contemplate a future of my own in academia.”

As a theater and performance scholar, Kolkovich promotes the arts within and beyond the classroom. She has provided opportunities for students to attend live performances in Cleveland and Columbus, securing funding to offset ticket costs, helping to arrange transportation, and accompanying students to performances.

“Several students have expressed to her the transformative effect of these events, not only for how they understand the course material but also for giving them an opportunity to experience live theater for the first time,” said Cynthia Callahan, professor and English program coordinator, who nominated Kolkovich for the award.

In her work on the Academic Enrichment Committee, Kolkovich has helped to make the campus Undergraduate Research Forum an annual event, part of a day-long celebration of academic achievement each spring semester.

Through the College of Arts and Sciences, Kolkovich has served on master’s and doctoral examination committees and is currently serving on two doctoral dissertation committees.

“Her willingness to assume these duties illustrates her commitment to the English program and her immense skill set, successfully adapting from the large class setting of a general education course to the intensive one-on-one mentoring required of working with doctoral students,” Callahan said.

Kolkovich is also a recipient of the Ohio State Mansfield Excellence in Teaching Award, nominated by students and selected by a committee of faculty. Last fall she was awarded the Paul W. Brown Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching, selected by the students and faculty in the English Department and in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“This kind of commitment is characteristic of Professor Kolkovich,” Callahan said. “It reflects her interest in students’ whole selves—not just their intellectual development but also their personal growth. It’s the sort of effort that makes a lasting impression, on both students and on her faculty peers, for whom she sets a very high bar.”

Kolkovich joins Steven Joyce (2014), Joseph R. Holomuzki (2011), John Thrasher (1999), Deborah Bainer (1996), Thomas Foster (1993), James McCleod (1991), Janet Tarino (1990) and Frederick Dahlstrand (1983) from the Mansfield campus as past recipients of this prestigious award.