English professor William Kerwin was the fourth of five MU instructors presented this week with a $10,000 check from MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and Jim Schatz of Commerce Bank. The two awarded Kerwin the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence on Tuesday.
Kerwin said that he was honored to be a part of such an elite group of people.
“I’ve imagined what it would be like to receive an award like this,” Kerwin said, “but I was pretty stunned.”
Kerwin joined MU’s English department in 1997 to teach courses in Shakespeare, early British literature and Irish literature. He said that he encourages his students to “treat words like things” to help them understand the themes in the texts they are studying.
“I tell my students when they write to slow down and talk about the small things, because that’s the best way to get to the big things,” he said.
Aside from teaching English, Kerwin assists students in improving their writing skills and serves as a mentor for graduate and doctoral students. In 2005, he published a book, “Beyond the Body,” which explores Renaissance medicine and drama.