Dr. Mary Elizabeth Ellzey, chair and professor of English and modern languages at Shepherd University, has been selected as a finalist for the West Virginia Humanities Council's 2013 Faculty Merit Foundation Professor of the Year.
Ellzey specializes in Old and Middle English language and literature and Medieval and Renaissance drama.
"I am definitely very honored," she said.
Ellzey joined Shepherd's faculty in 1989 and likes that the small size of the school allows her to get to know both students and faculty. She said she loves teaching and working with students.
"I just love teaching in general, but I especially like introducing students to early literature, Medieval, Renaissance, Shakespeare," she said.
Ellzey is also the director of The Rude Mechanicals and Medieval and Renaissance Players, a theater company performing Medieval and Renaissance drama, which she created 15 years ago in her Medieval literature class. It has performed across the country and in Europe.
"I think the best way to learn about drama is by being somehow involved with the performing of drama," she said. "I'm very interested in hearing the students' voices and in the way they can express themselves in a theatrical production."
Dow Benedict, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, said he feels fortunate to have Ellzey as a faculty member, chair, and role model for other faculty.
"She has equally earned a reputation as a very demanding teacher, but experience has taught me that the majority of demanding teachers also demand, and give, a great deal of themselves. That is certainly the case with Dr. Ellzey," he said. "Having Dr. Ellzey named as a finalist pleases me greatly. She is a wonderful representative of the quality of faculty at Shepherd."
Ellzey earned her bachelor's degree from Carnegie-Mellon University, her master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and her doctorate in Old and Middle English language and literature from The Catholic University of America.
The Faculty Merit Foundation was created in 1984 to recognize and reward outstanding innovation and creativity among the faculties of West Virginia's public and private institutions of higher education. Candidates are nominated by their colleagues and students.
The five finalists will interview January 24 and the winner will be announced at a dinner in March. Through the Professor of the Year program, the achievements of these individuals are brought to the attention of the entire state. The winner receives a $10,000 cash prize, sponsored by United Bank, with smaller awards to the other finalists.
Previous winners from Shepherd are Dr. Ed Snyder, Dr. Sylvia Shurbutt, and Dr. Linda Tate and previous finalists are Dr. Scott Beard and Dr. Jerry Thomas.