Students' Award for Teaching Excellence

Carol Siegel

Professor of English and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality StudiesCarol Siegel

The Students’ Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes a faculty member who commits time outside of the classroom to prevent students from falling through the cracks, demonstrates an enthusiasm for the subject matter, and instills enthusiasm and passion in students.

Carol Siegel thinks a lot about teaching. In terms that are anything but ordinary, she describes her teaching philosophy on her faculty research page on WSU’s website: “Good writing is like good coffee or chocolate: rich, thick, with a deep lingering flavor to it. Assignments should allow for an accretion of knowledge, as one idea builds on prior ideas, so that students’ work can enter into the conversations on the topic that have already taken place among writers.”

Siegel deeply respects her students, their role in the evolution of culture and their growing minds. In turn, they respect her, calling her, for example, “my favorite English professor at any school” and “one of the best women’s studies professors I’ve ever had.” One student’s comment says it all. Explaining how interesting her class with Siegel was, the student concluded, “I was so sad when the semester ended.”

The road to college teaching was long and winding for Siegel. “I was a returning first-generation college student who began as a landscape gardening construction major,” she said. “I then switched majors to humanities because my professors in that field were enthused about my work.” They urged her to continue her schooling. “I decided to get a secondary teaching credential, but when I was finishing that program, they urged me to go on for the Ph.D.,” she said.

Siegel received her associate’s degree in humanities from San Francisco City College, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California Berkeley. She joined WSU Vancouver as one of two professors hired to create a humanities program on the Vancouver campus in 1990. She teaches a variety of courses in English and humanities, and is also on the faculty of the new Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program.

In 2021, Siegel received the systemwide Distinguished Faculty Award from WSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. The award notes, “Her scholarly work on the representation of sexuality and gender identity contributes important perspective to critical conversations about literature, film and popular culture” and cites her expertise and publications in Victorian and modernist literature, Asian-American literature, youth cultures, cinema studies and Jewish studies. Siegel is the author of six monographs, including “Goth’s Dark Empire” (2005) and “Sex Radical Cinema” (2015), as well as journal articles, reviews and book chapters. She also has edited several essay collections.

Siegel’s wry voice and lack of pomposity are especially endearing to students. Introducing herself on her WSU faculty web page, she writes: “I continue amusing myself and, I hope, others by teaching a variety of college classes. In all seriousness, as I can frequently be heard shouting in the halls, working with students is often the only thing that I truly enjoy about being a professor. But then again, sometimes I enjoy it all.”

Her students return the compliment. “She is consistently responsive in her communications, flexible in how she assesses a student's fulfillment of the course requirements, and she loves to engage in conversation about things that make students think both inside and outside class material,” one student nominator wrote. “These points speak to the abundant care and compassion she has for all who take her classes.”

Past award recipients

20201 – 2021
Dene Grigar

2019 – 2020
Andra Chastain

2018 – 2019
Hua Tan

2017 – 2018
Dale Fortin

2016 – 2017
Enrique Brouwer

2015 – 2016
Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens

2014 – 2015
Tom Tripp

2013 – 2014
Dene Grigar

2012 – 2013
Ron Pimentel

2011 – 2012
Wei Xue

2010 – 2011
Maria Lee-Lopez

2009 – 2010
Pavithra Narayanan

2008 – 2009
Dawn Banker

2007 – 2008
Marcelo Diversi

2006 – 2007
Mark Stephan

2005 – 2006
Christopher Plouffe

2004 – 2005
Paul Thiers

2003 – 2004
Kandy Robertson

2002 – 2003
Suzanne Smith

2001 – 2002
Melissa Gruys

2000 – 2001
Jackie McReynolds

1999 – 2000
Tom Tripp

1998 – 1999
Lori Irving

1997 – 1998
Carolyn Long

1996 – 1997
Mike Morgan

1995 – 1996
Claire Latham
Lori Irving

1994 – 1995
Corlene Ankrum

1993 – 1994
Jerry Goodstein

1992 – 1993
Randy Kleinhesselink

1991 – 1992
Charles “Cap” Peck

1990 – 1991
Georgie Weatherby