Alumni Spotlights

Elizabeth M.Devine, '77, Earns National Teaching Award

January 20, 2012 by Joe Kirchmyer

The National Council for the Social Studies presented its 2009-2010 Outstanding Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year awards to two recipients, one of whom earned a BA in education and history from Niagara University. Elizabeth M.Devine, '77, an American Studies teacher at William H.Hall High School in West Hartford, Conn. She received her award during the 89th annual NCSS conference in Atlanta in November.

“I have been teaching for 31 years and I still love every day in the classroom. I hope I can inspire more young people to enter the profession,” said Devine.

The award is presented annually to recognize social studies teachers who demonstrate exceptional abilities in developing and using instructional material creatively and effectively; incorporate innovative instructional strategies and techniques into their teaching; foster a spirit of inquiry; and encourage the development of democratic beliefs, values and skills needed to become effective citizens. Devine helped design the American studies interdisciplinary curriculum that she team teaches with a colleague from the school's English department. In order to introduce visual arts to students and fine-tune student exhibition pieces for the spring art show, she and her teaching partner also work with an art teacher. In her classes, students discuss the larger themes of history and politics, analyze primary source materials and benefit from careful exposure to both sides of any issue presented.

Devine was recognized in 2008 as the New England History Teacher of the Year.