The McKendrean Magazine for McKendree Univeristy - Winter 2023

Dr. Sara Frank Recognized for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Sara Frank and President Dobbins with AwardDr. Sara (Trask) Frank ’05, associate professor of communication, joins an elite group of St. Louis-area educators who have received the 2022 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award for their outstanding contribution to the teaching profession and to their students.

A native of Jerseyville, Ill., and current resident of Carlyle, Ill., Sara is a 2005 alumna and has served McKendree since 2018. A master communicator who has been described as straightforward, lively and effusive, Sara is also the Provost Fellow for Communication, a role in which she advises the McKendree Review, the student-run newspaper on campus, and helps students make podcasts on a wide range of topics.

“I am incredibly honored to receive this recognition,” said Sara. “Our McKendree faculty provides an exceptional educational experience for our students. To know I join a list of phenomenal colleagues and mentors who are dedicated to creating an engaging classroom culture is such a privilege. Every day I am reminded how lucky I am to get to call this a job, and to be recognized for my love of teaching and my students is incredible!”

During the fall of 2020, when educators everywhere were treading water in the ocean that was COVID-19, Sara embraced the problem of relationship-building during a pandemic by requiring one of her classes to publish “Dear Bogey” pieces in the McKendree Review. The students provided creative advice to their peers, faculty and staff on how to create and maintain healthy relationships. They were required to use course material, ancillary research and personal experience to craft their articles. Her recommenders called the project “inspiring.”

“Dr. Frank is known as a first-rate instructor. She is energetic and friendly, but no student is ever fooled – she maintains high, but not unreachable, standards,” said Dr. Alan Alewine, associate provost at McKendree University. “She works students hard but includes much laughter and light heartedness in her courses."




Other McKendree graduates who received the 2022 Emerson Excellence in Teaching Award:

Elizabeth (Murphy) White ’94, a teacher at Signal Hill Elementary School in Belleville, Ill.

Casey (Hardesty) Bassler ’05, a first-grade teacher at High Mount School in Swansea, Ill.

Jennifer (Barrington) Raetz ’05, an eighth-grade teacher at Notre Dame Academy in Belleville, Ill.

Deanne Laub, M.A.Ed. ’07, a kindergarten teacher at Prather Pre-K/K Education Center in Granite City, Ill.

Tamara Tally ’07, a third-grade teacher in Annette Officer Elementary School in East St. Louis, Ill.

Jason Watts, MAT ’09, a science teacher at Charles Dorris Intermediate School in Collinsville, Ill

Erin Connolly ’12, M.A.Ed. ’17, a reading intervention coordinator at Whiteside Elementary School in Belleville, Ill.