University of Vermont

Emily Bernard

Associate professor of English

Emily Bernard

"The thing about my teaching is, when I am in the classroom with my students, I am really in there with them," says Emily Bernard, associate professor of English, and recipient of a Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award. Bernard's close colleague in the department, associate professor Lisa Schnell, says she's struck by Bernard's accessibility and her mindfulness of each of her students.

"If I had to use a watchword for her classroom," she says, "it's 'connections.' " Bernard forges a community between students, connects them to the material and each other, noting that it's otherwise rare to hear students refer to their classmates by name, building on each other's ideas.

A closer look at Emily Bernard's work

Megan Kennedy, a junior in Bernard's African American Women's Writing course agrees: "Everyone talks. You want to engage in a conversation with her and everyone else."

It is impossible to portray Bernard as a teacher without including her writing. "Teaching the N-Word" was published in "The Best American Essays 2006." A new essay, "Figurines," will appear in "The Best of Creative Non-Fiction, Vol. 2."

Bernard shoots for one truly good idea a semester that students can take with them and use

"How they will use it is a mystery at this point," Bernard says. "But it's something that will open up a world for them or a question they want to keep pursuing or changes the way they think and undermines something they were sure about, that explodes that and turns it into good questions. I think that a lot about good teaching. It's understanding that the learning doesn't just happen on the surface. It can happen later."