A Columbus State University professor has been named the 2017 Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator by the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators.
Jan Gunnels Burcham received the award at the NAECTE’s annual conference, CSU announced Tuesday. The honor is awarded to a teacher educator who exhibits leadership, professionalism, self-reflective practices and mentoring, according to the news release.
“I’m very appreciative and thankful of this opportunity,” Burcham said in the news release. “It isn’t just for me; it is also for all of the people who have collaborated with me along the way.”
Burcham is CSU’s interim associate dean for curriculum and faculty development and the Fletcher Distinguished Chair in Teacher Education. She has been an educator in early childhood and higher education for more than 30 years, including 14 at CSU.
She has co-authored two books, written multiple published research articles, participated internationally in a collaborative effort to develop a curriculum for preschool children in China, and presented at the Oxford Round Table on Early Childhood Education in Oxford, England. She has served on the NAECTE’s governing board and the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Educators’ editorial board.
“I have been fortunate throughout my career to have opportunities to influence the field and improve teaching and learning of young children, both here and internationally,” Burcham said. “I’m very thankful for all of these opportunities.”
Consideration for the award is based on peer nomination. Pamela Wetherington, one of Burcham’s former students and graduate assistants, was among three educators who nominated Burcham.
“In my opinion, one of Dr. Burcham’s strongest assets is her mentorship of students, faculty and colleagues,” Wetherington, who now works alongside Burcham as an assistant department chair in teacher education at CSU, said in the news release. “Frequently, I would reach out to her to reflect on the effects of teaching decisions and practices. She was always eager to listen and provide feedback.”
Athens State University associate professor Amanda Branscombe and New York University professor Frances Rust also nominated Burcham.
“It meant a lot to me that colleagues thought enough about me and what I’ve done in my career to nominate me,” Burcham said.
Burcham earned her doctoral and bachelor’s degrees from Auburn University and her master’s degree from the University of Alabama-Birmingham.