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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

College of Education's Laurie Kingsley wins Kemper teaching excellence award

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

The following was edited by Columbia Missourian education editor Elizabeth Brixey. Click on the link to see the original article. Photo credit goes to the Columbia Missourian.


Laurie Kingsley was in a car about to visit her elderly mother when she learned she won a 2021 William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence.


“Amazing! That’s so cool!” Kingsley, an associate teaching professor in the MU College of Education, said from the passenger seat. “I’m going to surprise my mom. We’re on our way to make her dinner in St. Louis. She’s 95 and finally got her COVID shots ... and she is going to be also surprised and very happy for me.”


MU Provost Latha Ramchand presented the award on Zoom.

“What struck me was comments that your students had about how you — quote-unquote, ‘Spread kindness, spread kindness,’” Ramchand said. “This is so neat, and this is exactly what we want to happen in academia, because that’s what changes students’ lives, right?”


The Kemper award comes with a $15,000 stipend, which Steve Sowers, president and CEO of Commerce Bank’s central region, presented. He said it was probably the first time the award was given to someone in their car.


Kingsley, who has taught literacy at MU since 2005, earned the UM System President’s Award for Service in 2020 and the College of Education Golden Apple Award in 2019.


She leads a literacy student organization “for students to expand their views of literacy and to advocate for better educational outcomes for all students,” according to her biography. She started Becoming Anti-Racist White Educators, known as BAR-WE, “to reflect on and examine implicit biases, study the history of racism and discuss ideas for becoming more culturally responsive in teaching.”


Kingsley is the third of five people getting the Kemper this year. On Wednesday, Marty Steffens in the School of Journalism and Heather Hunt in the College of Engineering were surprised with the news.

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