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‘Great Teacher’ Beth Rous Treats Students as Her Future Colleagues

Portrait of Beth Rous sitting in a chair
Beth Rous, Ph.D.

By Meg Mills and Kody Kiser

Six of the University of Kentucky’s passionate and accomplished educators were surprised earlier this spring by student nominators and the UK Alumni Association as 2022 Great Teacher Award recipients.

Beth Rous, Ph.D., is one of this year’s Great Teacher Award recipients. The UK College of Education professor treats her students as if they were her colleagues.

“First and foremost is for students to understand that, especially at the level I teach it’s a give and take process, and I learn as much from them as I hope they learn from me,” Rous said. “We are training our future colleagues. We’re training people who are going to sit beside us at the table and do the kind of work that we do. And so, we want to treat them like colleagues, and we want to have these open conversations.”

Rous is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies, where she teaches courses in research methods. Her research agenda focuses on education policy, leadership and practices to support the design, implementation and large-scale implementation of programs. Her work has centered on cross-sector programs (education, health and human services) designed to enhance the quality of services for vulnerable populations of children from birth through the early grades. Her research in this area has included accountability and standards, inclusion, online and hybrid learning, professional development, quality initiatives and transition/school readiness.

Rous also serves as a research and policy associate at the UK Human Development Institute, serving as the founding director for the Kentucky Partnership for Early Childhood Services from 1996 through 2017. Rous currently has $2.1 million in grants and contracts to support her work. She regularly serves as a technical advisor/consultant at the national level for both the U.S Department of Education and Health and Human Services.

“The heart of an educational organization is teaching,” Rous said. “I mean, that’s our goal, right? Our goal is to prepare others. The fact that the Alumni Association has highlighted that critical component of what this university is about…it can’t be understated how important that is and how important it is in helping us feel good about the energy and the time that we put into teaching.”

Learn more about this UK Alumni Association 2022 “Great Teacher’s” teaching methods in the video above, and check out this week’s “Behind the Blue” podcast also featuring Rous.

Rous is just one of the 2022 UK Alumni Association Great Teacher award winners. This summer, UKNow will highlight each of these Great Teachers. Watch their stories here.

Initiated in 1961, UK’s Great Teacher Award is the longest-running UK award recognizing teaching. In order to receive the award, educators must first be nominated by a student. The UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award Committee, in cooperation with the student organization Omicron Delta Kappa, then makes the final selection. Recipients receive an engraved plaque and stipend.