KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney English Professor Marguerite Tassi was presented the 2017 Leland Holdt/Security Mutual Life Distinguished Faculty Award during winter commencement Friday.
Tassi joined the UNK faculty in 1997. Her scholarly and teaching interests focus on Shakespeare, ancient and early modern drama, aesthetics, ethics, relationships between visual culture and verbal texts, and the literature of revenge.
UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen credited Tassi for setting “an inspiring standard for teaching that guides students to their best efforts; for scholarship that serves as a model for colleagues; and for service through leadership.
“In the area of teaching, Tassi has never rested on past laurels or past lesson plans,” Kristensen added. “She has created a staggering 25 new courses in 20 years, the results of which keep her classroom focus fresh and cutting-edge.”
UNK’s most prestigious faculty award, the Leland Holdt/Security Mutual Life award recognizes an outstanding teacher/scholar for achievements that bring substantial credit to the university. The activity areas considered include teaching, research and service, with preference given to candidates who demonstrate high accomplishments in all three areas. The award honors alumnus Leland Holdt and commemorates his many years of leadership at Security Mutual Life. Tassi received a $5,000 stipend.
Tassi has published two books; 15 full-length, peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and reference entries; and she is active as a book and theatre reviewer. Also notable is her record of presenting on average two conference papers per academic year in juried venues, Kristensen said.
Her career includes speaking appearances at Interacting with Eros at Universite de Paul-Valery in France; Broken Images Conference in France; Female Fury and Spirit of Masculine Vengeance Conference at University of Bristol, U.K.; and Nan Osmond Grass Lecture at Brigham Young University.
Those who nominated Tassi commented on her “honesty as a mentor, “rigor as an educator” and her ability to “instill her passion into her students.” Kristensen also noted her “consistent academic excellence and student-centered approach to education.”
Tassi teaches a special course on Women and Revenge in Western Literature and is past director of Explorations Lecture Series, which featured the intellectual and creative work of UNK faculty and visiting scholars/artists. She has organized the Student Conference in Language and Literature for the English department and is former director of the English department’s graduate program.
Title: Martin Distinguished Professor
Years at UNK: 20
Education: Ph.D., Claremont Graduate School, 1993; M.A., The University of Virginia, 1989; B.A., Columbia University, 1987.
Teaching Specialties: Shakespeare, Early Modern Drama, Elizabethan Theater Practices, Early British Literature, Renaissance Lyric Poetry, Literature of Revenge, Literature and the Visual Arts, Literary Classics of the Western World, Ancient Greek Drama, Epic Poetry
Awards and Grants: Pratt-Heins Award for Outstanding Teaching, UNK, 2009. National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Grant, “Shakespeare’s Playhouses: Inside and Out,” an institute held at Staunton, Va., and London, England, 2002. Exceptional Performance Award, UNK English department, based on outstanding performance in teaching and scholarship, 2001. Mary Major Crawford Award in Shakespeare, UNK English department, Shakespeare Studies, 1999, 2001.
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