As an Associate Professor of History who continues as lead faculty for Ferris State University’s Museum of Sexist Objects, Tracy Nichols Busch acknowledges the value of learning in its own right. She has been selected to receive the 2019 Distinguished Teacher Award.
Busch, who earned a Bachelor of Arts from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1991, and her Doctorate from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 2003, was nominated for this award in 2018. She is in her twelfth year of teaching at Ferris.
“The hardest part,” Busch said, “was thinking of myself as ‘distinguished.’ When I hear that word, the stereotype of a gray-haired man in a tweed jacket came to mind. The process forced me to articulate my teaching philosophy and to realize that I bring my own unique combination of professional, personal and academic experience into the classroom.”
“I also find it humbling,” Busch said, “because of who I am surrounded by. My fellow professors work hard to reach the students. Unlike R1 universities, where egos run wild, our faculty support one another and share best practices. We recognize that our students are at a critical stage in their lives. On top of figuring out who they are, they often also have family obligations and outside jobs.”
Busch said helping students to understand and respect the importance of history is at the root of her classroom efforts.
“So many students think history is just names and dates, when in fact history explains why we think and act the way we do,” Busch said. ”As the novelist William Faulkner wrote, ‘The past is never dead, it’s not even past.’ If you want to understand why immigration is a hot-button issue or why Black Lives Matter is a significant movement, you have to learn American history. Knowing world history, will not only enable you to be culturally literate, it will also help you compete on the global job market.”
Regarding her work outside the classroom, Busch noted, “I never imagined, when I took the job at Ferris, that I would become involved with projects as big as the BEYOND campus-wide exhibit spearheaded by the Office of International Education or the creation of the Museum of Sexist Objects, which was originally under the Diversity and Inclusion Office. Both have involved extensive collaboration with fellow faculty, administrators and students and are bringing important attention to Ferris.”
Several days after Busch’s Distinguished Teacher Award was announced by the Office of the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, she traveled with members of the university’s Phi Alpha Theta chapter to a regional conference held at Oakland University, in Rochester. Busch serves as the Ferris chapter’s advisor and noted that the seven Ferris students who presented papers that day had participated in a valuable learning experience. “By standing in front of their fellow historians and presenting original research, they went from being passive consumers of information to creators of knowledge,” Busch said. “It was a proud moment.”
College of Arts, Sciences and Education Dean Kristi Haik said that Busch’s selection is a just reward for her efforts to benefit the university and its students.
“Dr. Busch is an excellent professor, loved by her students and committed to her work, inside and outside of the classroom,” Haik said. “We are so excited for her and agree that the award is much deserved.”
Busch joined other award-winning faculty and staff members at a celebratory dinner
hosted by Provost and vice president of Academic Affairs Paul Blake and Academic Senate
President Sandra Alspach on Monday, April 15. She will receive the Distinguished Teacher
Award at the Employee Service Awards ceremony Wednesday, April 24.
Distinguished Teacher Award Past Recipients (since 2000)
2018 – Deborah Rockman
2017 – John Scott Gray
2016 – Sharon Colley
2014 – Jennifer Johnson
2014 – Gary Huey
2013 – Avesh Raghunandan
2012 – Clifton Franklund
2011 – Greg Gogolin
2010 – Richard Goosen
2009 – Daniel Adsmond
2008 – Khagendra Thapa
2007 – Mary Murnik
2006 – Pasquale Di Raddo
2005 – Robert McCullough
2005 – Fred Heck
2004 – David Pilgrim
2003 – Phillip Middleton
2003 – David Hanna
2003 – David Aiken
2002 – Sheila MacEachron
2001 – J. Randall Groves
2001 – Abdollah Ferdowsi
2000 – Richard J. Pisacreta
2000 – Daniel Noren