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Margrif receives Brantz Award for Outstanding Teaching in First Year Seminar

BOONE—Trent Margrif has received the Rennie W. Brantz Award for Outstanding Teaching in First Year Seminar for 2013-14. Margrif is an adjunct instructor in the general education program.

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The award honors Brantz who was director of Freshman Seminar for 14 years. It is presented annually by Appalachian’s University College to an individual who demonstrates exemplary teaching and has made an impact on student lives in the First Year Seminar classroom.

Margrif has taught a First Year Seminar course since 2010. He uses H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” and the book’s reenactments as a radio broadcast, in movies and a television series to examine conflicts in modern society. Students’ research papers focus on comprehending, comparing and contrasting the classic work and its analysis with contemporary issues in the world. He also has taught a course on historic green buildings.

Since attending college is a life-changing experience, his approach to teaching is designed to help his students learn, grow and experience new things.

He requires his students to attend campus events, take a downtown Boone walking tour, and visit a variety of campus resources. “Learning in the classroom, I feel, is best complimented with learning outside the classroom as well,” Margrif wrote in his statement of teaching. “To incoming freshmen it becomes the same campus every day, but if you effectively make them aware of the amenities around them, they look forward to experiencing it differently.”

A student nominator commented on Margrif’s “sheer enthusiasm for, and knowledge of his ‘off the beaten path’ subject.” Another wrote, “This class taught me to think outside of the norm. I have used the assignment tactics that were didactic to me while in his classroom to succeed in other classes as well.”

“Freshmen are entering a big world; one they only get glimpses of up to this point in their life,” Margrif wrote. “The university makes it an experience for them, something that is real and tangible. I feel it is my role and responsibility to assist in these efforts and make their first year challenging, fun and hopefully rewarding.”