Cunningham Receives Emerson Award

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Dr. Bill Cunningham, associate professor of sociology at East Central College, was a 2011 recipient of an Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. He has taught at ECC since 1993.

Union Mo - Dr. Bill Cunningham, associate professor of sociology at East Central College, has been named a 2011 recipient of an Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award. A ceremony sponsored by Emerson was held November 13 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Each honoree received an engraved Tiffany crystal apple and a signed certificate.

For more than two decades the Emerson Award program has recognized teachers from the kindergarten through college level at public, private and parochial schools in the St. Louis metropolitan area for their outstanding contributions to the educational community. Award winners are selected by administrators at their institutions.

“I am truly humbled to be chosen to represent ECC for the Emerson award,” Cunningham said. “I feel honored to be in the company of my colleagues who were chosen for this award in the past.”

Jean McCann, ECC’s vice president of instruction, noted that Cunningham has been an integral part of the college’s social science department for almost two decades. “His work with students, commitment to the pedagogy of sociology and social work education and work to maintain currency in the curriculum have distinguished him among his peers.”

“Dr. Cunningham continually updates his courses and retains currency so students will understand the relevance of sociology in their lives, not just something stuck in text books,” McCann said. “He constantly scans journals, newspapers, and other media to gather situations that relate to and enhance his course content.”

In the classroom, Cunningham uses a variety of active learning techniques to reinforce his lectures and the assigned readings and case studies. His classes are often observed in activities that engage the learner in the subject matter. He is a dynamic lecturer and brings a breadth of work experience in the field to his classroom. His experience helps him as he guides students in discussion and review of case studies.

McCann stated that Cunningham led East Central College’s Title III grant work throughout the grant time frame. “He understands the particular needs of the developmental student population and his work on the grant improved the accessibility of services for all students,” said McCann. “It is this sincere and deep rooted desire to help students that makes Dr. Cunningham such a stand out amongst the faculty.”

In addition to his work as a faculty member, Cunningham has served the college in a variety of capacities, including work in assessment, faculty welfare and institutional policy. He served as institutional researcher for four years, coordinated the strategic planning committee, and also chaired the social science division from 1999 to 2004. Cunningham was assistant women’s basketball coach for five years.

Cunningham is a member of the National Association of Social Work, the Missouri Juvenile Justice Association and the Knights of Columbus. His community involvement includes serving as a part-time consultant and family therapist for Franklin County Juvenile Court. In 2009 he completed the Drug Court Program Evaluation.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Missouri State University in Springfield, he went on to pursue a master of science in social work at Washington University. He received his Ph.D. in social work from Saint Louis University.

Emerson, which has its world headquarters in St. Louis, has sponsored this program since 1989 as part of its commitment to promote quality education throughout the St. Louis area.