PSU Announces 2012 Distinguished Teachers

May 3rd, 2012 by blyndes

Plymouth –– Professors Kathleen Arecchi, Kathleen Norris and Annie Hager are the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards from Plymouth State University. Each year, PSU presents three awards for excellence in teaching.  Nominations for these honors are accepted from faculty, staff, students and alumni.

“By making these awards, we honor the teaching profession and the individuals who exemplify its finest qualities. At the same time, we reaffirm our belief that teaching is of central importance to our mission here at Plymouth State,” said Julie Bernier, PSU Provost.

Dr. Arecchi, Professor of Music, is the Distinguished Teacher Award recipient. Arecchi is the coordinator of Voice Performance Studies and directs staged musical productions. Arecchi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Joseph College (Conn.), the Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music, and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Maryland. While active as a soprano soloist, Dr. Arecchi performed with the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra in opera, oratorio, cantata, and chamber music. Arecchi received the 2012 Distinguished Teaching Award for her dedication to teaching, and meaningful, student-centered education during her decades of service to the University.

PSU’s 2012 Distinguished Teacher Award recipients, left to right, Kathleen Norris, Kathleen Arecchi and Annie Hager.

“The overarching theme of my teaching is to identify and then to celebrate the uniqueness of every individual,” Arecchi said. “Each lesson or rehearsal provides me with opportunities to help my students understand the scope of their own vocal or musical potential, to recognize the high level of personal effort that is required to develop their potential, and to help them become fully confident in their own abilities.”

Dr. Kathleen Norris is the recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Teaching Award. She is a professor in Educational Leadership and Coordinator of the Doctoral program in Learning, Leadership, and Community. She also works with school districts and agencies to do research, professional development and program evaluation. Before she joined Plymouth State University’s College of Graduate Studies, Norris worked in secondary education for 25 years as a principal, curriculum administrator, guidance director, classroom teacher and coach. Kathleen received her bachelor’s in English and Secondary Education from Boston College, a master’s in Fine Arts from the University of Alaska–Fairbanks and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Sarasota. She also earned a Certificate in the Advanced Study of Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University. She was instrumental in the development of PSU’s first doctoral program, which graduates its first cohort this year.

“Graduate students are in my classes, but they are also my colleagues. I learn more from them than they could ever learn from me,” Norris said. “All teachers are now being challenged and inspired to bring all of our skills, knowledge and imagination to our most creative, generative and reflective work. We are learning how to create environments that facilitate learning, not just inside classrooms, but perhaps within the students themselves. We are at our best when we infuse those environments with meaning, and love.”

Annie Hager, an adjunct Mathematics professor at PSU, was presented with the Distinguished Adjunct Teaching Award. Nominations for Annie said that in addition to being an effective teacher, she is kind, thoughtful and patient. Hager earned her bachelor’s at Stanford University and her master’s at the University of Maine.

“I always try to provide my students with as many different perspectives on a topic as possible,” Hager said. “I think, for the most part, the students appreciate the different approaches; lectures, animations, games, group activities and plenty of opportunity for practice and extra help.”

Kathleen Arecchi, Kathleen Norris, and Annie Hager were honored on May 2 at a reception in their honor.  In addition, they will be recognized at PSU’s 141st Commencement exercises on May 19.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or

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