Michelle Magnussen Wins Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award

McKendree University Theatre Professor is in the Spotlight

(LEBANON, Ill., November 23, 2015) - A theatre professor known for her creativity and dedication to McKendree University students has received a 2015 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award.

Michelle Magnussen, associate professor of theatre, is among 102 St. Louis metropolitan area educators—from kindergarten teachers to college professors—who are examples of excellence in their field. Recipients of the annual award are chosen by their institutions’ chief administrators.

Magnussen has served as a full-time faculty member and director of theatre at McKendree University since 2006. As part of Global Awareness Week on campus in March, she and her students wrote and performed an original piece called the McKendree “Share Your Story” Project. In addition to her work in the classroom and on stage, she has also led a study abroad trip to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, and participated in a faculty-student trip to Technos College in Japan. Magnussen often takes students to theatre productions in St. Louis so they can see on stage the techniques and acting skills they have learned in class.

She participates in the university’s “Teaching for Excellence” workshops each semester; coordinates the student performing arts activities for its annual Academic Excellence Celebration; and advises the campus chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the national honorary theater fraternity.

The Lebanon, Ill., resident earned a master of fine arts degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and theatre from Carthage College.

In addition to Magnussen, other McKendree graduates or former students were among the St. Louis area educators who received 2015 Excellence in Teaching Awardees on Nov. 22:

  • Rebecca (Chaput) Claxton ’06, MAED ’08, of O’Fallon, a kindergarten teacher at Illini Elementary School in Fairview Heights, Ill.
  • Teri (Schmidt) Range, of O’Fallon, Ill., who teaches honors precalculus, trigonometry and advanced precalculus at O’Fallon Township High School.


Photo of Michelle Magnussen

Michelle Magnussen, associate professor of theatre at McKendree University,
is a 2015 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award winner.