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Students, colleagues say Shore's award much deserved

10:40:42 AM CDT - Thursday, December 08, 2005

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

Maybe it's the calm and reassuring way that psychology professor Ellie Shore counsels and encourages students. Maybe it's the sound advice she gives to professionals. Maybe it's the stories she tells in class. Maybe it's the concern she shows for animals.

It's more than likely a combination of all those things that makes Shore a much respected and much praised teacher and colleague that led to her being named Kansas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

Ellie Shore
Photo by David Dinell
Psychology professor Ellie Shore is the fourth WSU professor since 1989 to be named the Kansas Professor of the Year by two national organizations.
It's an honor that has made Shore a little uncomfortable.

First, she had to keep the fact that she'd gotten the award a secret for nearly two months until the announcement was made in Washington, D.C., Nov. 17.

All the attention the award has garnered for her  — the media stories, a reception in her honor — has made Shore, a very humble person, uncomfortable, too.

However uncomfortable earning the award has made Shore, it is well deserved, said colleagues, friends and former and current students.

At WSU, one of Shore's most influential marks has been in the field of training and developing course work for state certification of substance abuse counselors. She created a substance abuse training program at WSU when the state first set certification requirements in 1993 and later was involved in helping the state set additional requirements for course work.

"This is kind of our bible," she said during a recent interview as she put her hand on the brown three-ring binder containing the latest curriculum requirements for the certification.

"For me it's been really exciting to work with people — a lot of whom are in the field and are really dedicated to helping people with substance abuse problems — and to give them the tools and exposure to research," said Shore.

Because many of the counselors are recovering addicts or returning adult students, some of whom haven't had much or any college, Shore's calm and reassuring nature has been much appreciated by those students.

"As a returning student after graduating college 33 years ago, I found myself filled with anxiety and concern over what I was facing," said Dale Autrey, who called Shore one of the most motivating instructors he had encountered. "Dr. Shore came to the rescue, encouraging and supporting me."

In their nomination letters and in interviews, students said issues in community and clinical psychology come to life when Shore talks about her experiences as a rehab counselor and as a professional.

"I love her stories," said Shoshana Wernick, after a recent graduate seminar course in which Shore shared conversations and experiences she's had with agencies that work with the homeless or the soon-to-be homeless. "They make this so much more realistic. It's not like a textbook. It's life experience."

Even after Bill Vineyard, who now runs an alcohol and drug treatment center, left WSU as a student, he always knew "I had (Shore) in my corner. She was always available."

Through the years, Vineyard has often consulted Shore when he's encountered dilemmas in treating patients.
"One thing that's different between Ellie and a lot of other people in the field is that Ellie always tells me what's the right thing to do," said Vineyard. "That's invaluable."

To get a glimpse of what's important to Shore, a visitor to Shore's fourth-floor Jabara Hall office need look no further than her bulletin board.

There are pictures of current and former students; her partner, retired faculty member Richard Laptad; an image of 19th-century British novelist Anthony Trollop, since Shore is "an old English major"; a photo of her with classmates and now-retired associate professor Ginette Adamson since Shore has been working on a French degree "as a hobby"; and photos of her three pets: dogs Dudley and Zoom-Zoom and the cat Dave, all rescued from the Kansas Humane Society where Shore has volunteered for two decades.

Shore's volunteer work with the Kansas Humane Society has ranged from scooping poop to serving on the organization's board of directors and for a short time as its interim executive director.

While she started out walking and grooming dogs, Shore eventually combined her love of animals with her professional expertise by doing studies on animal overpopulation and animal shelter issues, including staff and customer satisfaction. In all, Shore and her students have done at least a dozen projects with the society, said the group's spokeswoman Jennifer Campbell.

"It's very unique to have this kind of access to this kind of resource and for someone who has that kind of background and willingness to devote their attention to this cause," said Kansas Humane Society executive director Kim Janzen.

Shore's pioneering efforts have led to other animal welfare societies realizing they could partner with colleges, noted Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Bill Bischoff, who nominated Shore for the award. "This is the engagement of scholarship," he said.

 



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