Political science professor wins first Kreider prize

Kelly Bergh April 15, 2015 0

Dr. Oya Dursun-Ozkanca, associate professor of political science, was announced as the first recipient of Elizabethtown College’s Kreider Prize for Teaching Excellence. She will be officially recognized during Commencement this May and at Opening Convocation in the fall.

Her fellow faculty, staff members and students both present and past nominated Dursun-Ozkanca for the Kreider Prize. She was chosen by a committee consisting of students and members of the Professional Development Committee.

“It makes me so happy — beyond belief,” Dursun-Ozkanca said. “It is such an honor. Completely the best experience.”

The Kreider Prize is named after Dr. J. Kenneth Kreider, professor of history emeritus, and Carroll L. Kreider, professor of business emerita, and is financially made possible by alumnus Dr. Thomas Conner ’72, professor of history at Hillsdale College. Other than awards distributed through the annual merit award process, the Kreider Prize is the first recognition of excellence in teaching and mentoring of its magnitude offered in the past two decades.

Dursun-Ozkanca, a native of Turkey, has been teaching at Etown since 2007. In addition to teaching political science classes, she is the director of the College’s international studies minor. “I’m a complete workaholic,” she said of juggling her personal life with her passion for teaching and researching.

Her hard work pays off. In addition to winning the Kreider Prize, she has also earned some time to pursue her own projects; next fall Dursun-Ozkanca will be taking a sabbatical to focus on her writing. She is humbled by the opportunities Etown has granted her and plans to continue contributing her knowledge to Etown in as great a way as she possibly can.

“If you can do what you love, for a living, that’s the greatest thing,” Dursun-Ozkanca said.

ate last month, students in Elizabethtown College’s Model United Nations course attended the National Model United Nations conference in New York City to participate in simulated UN committees. From March 22 to March 26, the 14 students in the class, taught by Dr. Oya Dursun-Ozkanca, associate professor of political science, represented different delegates of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sophomore Garrett Clark served as Head Delegate.

In class, the students spent time researching the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its stance as a member of the United Nations so that they could be well-informed participants at the conference.

Dursun-Ozkanca, a native of Turkey, was elected for her class to represent the country because of her background in studying the politics of the Balkans. A previously harmonious area, it has recently been engaged in religious violence and economic strife. With an unemployment rate of 44 percent and a civil war in its recent history, Bosnia and Herzegovina proved an interesting country to represent.

“[It is a] great educational experience to represent underdeveloped, small countries,” Dursun-Ozkanca said.

She was especially excited that her students were able to do such a fine job working with as many as 2,500 other student delegates, developing their abilities to mediate and resolve conflict and public speaking.

The closing ceremony was held in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon gave the keynote speech, advocating the educational significance of participating in a mock UN conference. Dursun-Ozkanca agreed, emphasizing that the teaching of diplomacy is “so valuable.”

When made a permanent course, Model United Nations will be offered every other spring semester.

 

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