MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University alumna Dr. Kristie Hofelich Ennis has been awarded the 2020 English Leadership Quarterly Best Article Award from the Conference on English Leadership (CEL), a membership group of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Ennis’s article, “A Blended Approach to ELA Instruction” appeared in the April 2019 issue of English Leadership Quarterly. This award is one of CEL’s highest honors for scholarly contributions to the profession. Presentation of the award will take place during the CEL Virtual Annual Convention opening session on Sunday, November 22, 2020.
Ennis earned her Doctorate of Arts in English Pedagogy from Murray State in May 2019. In addition to teaching English Composition at the University of Louisville and Jefferson Community and Technical College, Ennis also teaches graduate education courses at Murray State. She is the Conference Chair of the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English and owns an educational consulting company called SparkEd.
Ennis’s winning article details a collaborative approach to teaching English, one which focuses on increasing student agency through competency-based learning and intentional use of education technology. Ennis says she developed the approach during a “transformational co-teaching experience that has not only made effective use of tech tools and redefined the ‘school’ experience, but also increased student ownership of learning in new ways and decreased teacher workload.”
Dr. Deborah Bell, a faculty member in the Murray State Doctorate of Arts in English Pedagogy program, is not surprised at Ennis’s success and says she is generous with her many skills.
Said Bell, “I have worked with Kristie on the executive board of KCTE, and she quickly and creatively visualizes solutions to issues, which she eagerly develops and leads. She wears many hats including traveling around the country as a teacher consultant and teaching on the college level. She continues to share her research and skills with teachers across the state and the country through KCTE and NCTE. I think she is pretty amazing.”
Designed primarily for teachers in the fields of English language, literature and literacy at secondary and postsecondary levels, the Doctor of Arts in English Pedagogy program offers a core of foundation courses tied to the aspects of work that teachers and other professionals actually do, and it encourages students to use their professional environments as sites of research and imaginative inquiry. Students may specialize in language, literacy, literature, or writing. The program may be completed on-campus or entirely online. No residency is required.
“I sing (the program’s) praises to anyone who’s interested,” says Ennis. “I loved the collegiality in our flexible cohort. Even though we only met in person once (for graduation), we saw each other nearly every week at least once for three years. We worked as a true group to give feedback on each other’s work, spark ideas and to lend an ear when things got tough.
“I also loved working so closely with just a handful of instructors, all who treated us as colleagues,” Ennis added. “My instructors pushed me to publish, to be bold with my inquiries and ideas and to pursue my passions. I ended up founding my own consulting company as a result! I’d say that’s a pretty big impact. The credentials I earned also opened countless career opportunities in higher education for me and I now teach at various colleges and universities.”
Dr. Kevin Binfield, director of graduate studies in English, says that Ennis brought extensive experience as an English teacher and an instructional coach to the DA program.
“She focused on turning theory into practical pedagogical approaches; a skill that she was able to turn into further opportunities. As a faculty member teaching part-time in the DA program, she does an excellent job of sharing that skill with students, whether as a mentoring instructor for a student pursuing National Board Certification or as a teacher in a doctoral literacy seminar. We’ve been lucky to have her!”
Information on the Doctorate of Arts in English Pedagogy program can be found at murraystate.edu/english, or by contacting Dr. Kevin Binfield (email@example.com). Information about Dr. Ennis’s education consulting services can be found at findyouredspark.com.