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Kempers reward teaching

Paul Crabb

Teaching brings joy to Paul Crabb’s life. “It’s a true pleasure to be able to work with students like this,” says the director of Mizzou’s nationally acclaimed University Singers. Photo by Rob Hill

The scuffle of moving feet interrupted five classes in April as MU officials made surprise rounds to honor top teachers.

Chancellor Brady J. Deaton and Commerce Bank Chair Jim Schatz led the group of Mizzou administrators with a camera crew in tow. They entered choral director Paul Crabb’s classroom first, interrupting a sound more melodic than the usual lecture; Mizzou’s nationally acclaimed University Singers ensemble was rehearsing. 

When Deaton entered, the choir paused. Nervous giggles and confused looks followed.

Deaton revealed Crabb as a 2012 recipient of the William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence. Crabb, professor of music and director of choral activities since 2003, was one of five honored with MU’s highest teaching award. 

He called teaching one of the great joys of his life. “It’s a true pleasure to be able to work with students like this,” Crabb says.

The other award winners are Stephen Ball, associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology and State Extension specialist; Carol Deakyne, associate professor of chemistry; Joanna Hearne, assistant professor of English and film studies; and Ines Segert, assistant teaching professor of psychology.

This year’s Kemper fellows are celebrated for their innovative teaching, inspiring lectures and advanced knowledge, but mostly for reaching their students.

“You’ve demonstrated the quality of teaching that makes this university what it is,” Deaton told Deakyne.

She said she never expected to win the award that her husband, John Adams, earned in 1993. For Deakyne, 2013 will mark one decade as an associate professor of chemistry at MU. 

Segert has taught psychology at MU for 19 years. She was instructing a general honors Identity in Groups course when Deaton walked into her classroom April 9, 2012, to present the award. “Your reputation precedes you,” he told Segert.

She received a mixed bouquet of roses from her husband and a $10,000 check that the fellowship includes.

“I couldn’t do it without the students,” she says. “They make it a pleasure.”