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Jennifer Coble

Chapman Family Teaching Award

Jennifer Coble
Jennifer Coble (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Chapman Family Teaching Awards: The Chapman Teaching Awards were created in 1993 with a gift during the Bicentennial Campaign from Max Carrol Chapman Jr. ’66 on behalf of the Chapman family. The awards were established to honor distinguished teaching of undergraduate students. The award carries a stipend of $30,000 to be used over the period of five years.

Teaching Associate Professor of Biology

Faculty member since 2007

Hometown Charleston, South Carolina

Excerpt from award citation:

“When I was having a rough time during my student teaching experience, not only did she meet with me outside of class but would call me in the evenings to check on me and give advice. Dr. Coble is a teacher who truly wants her students to succeed and it is evident in everything she does.”

Who was the best teacher you ever had and why?

Ginger Wilson at the North Carolina School of Science and Math. She taught American history. Instead of focusing on dates and names, she told stories that revealed the motivations and struggles of time periods, bringing the history to life. It was the first time I appreciated history class.

What is something you’ve learned from your students?

That they are incredibly creative and capable when I give them the freedom to apply their unique gifts to an assignment.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I have to take actions every day, sometimes multiple times a day, to re-remind myself of my worth and quiet my inner critic.

What does it take to be a good professor in 2020?

Being caring and trusting that students are doing the best they can with the tools they have. Students can’t challenge themselves and develop new abilities without feeling comfortable and safe to admit when they are struggling or when they make a mistake.

What’s the most creative thing you’ve done to engage your students?

Giving the students the freedom to apply their own creativity. My students have made models in the BeAM makerspaces over the last four years. Their products have exceeded anything I expected or was able to envision they could create.

25 employees received University Teaching Awards this year.