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Wofford's Goldey Receives National Methodist Honor

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

SPARTANBURG, SC—Dr. Ellen S. Goldey, associate professor of biology at Wofford College, has been named Outstanding Educator of the Year by the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. The announcement was made today (May 7, 2002) at Wofford’s Spring Honors Convocation.

The award is given to teachers in United Methodist-related schools and seminaries who have made an extraordinary impact on their students, peers, the institution, church and community. Goldey is the only teacher from the church’s 124 colleges and universities, including Duke and Emory universities, being honored by the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation.

Wofford President Benjamin Dunlap praised Goldey for her innovative spirit, her accessibility to students, and the intensity of her own love of learning. “She is irrepressible, inexhaustible, and apparently inextinguishable,” he said, alluding to her recent close encounter with a crocodile while leading Wofford students through Australia. “When I asked a member of her class why they call her ‘Crocodile Goldee,’ he said it was because only a presumptuous reptile would fail to be mesmerized by her teaching.”

Goldey received an artistic replica of the Cokesbury Bell and a cash award of $5,000.

Goldey came to Wofford in 1995 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she worked as a toxicologist. She completed her bachelor of science degree at the University of the South, Sewanee, TN, and earned her master’s and Ph.D. degrees at Miami University in Ohio.

Along with colleague John Lane, assistant professor of English, Goldey developed a learning community at Wofford, “The Nature and Culture of Water,” which they taught in the fall. The community linked a freshman non-major biology course with a humanities course through the common theme of “water.” The success of the pilot led to Goldey applying for and the college receiving a $199,952 National Science Foundation grant over the next two years to develop a series of learning communities linking a laboratory science for non-science majors and a humanities seminar.

In 2001, Goldey led 20 Wofford students on a travel Interim to South Africa, where the group, including two African-American students, learned of the political history and struggles of post-apartheid South Africa. The students were so moved by their experiences in the black township of Guguletu that they decided to help build a shelter for homeless children there, raising money from donors and other projects. The fundraising effort continues.

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation’s goal is to make it economically possible for any qualified United Methodist student to be educated at one of the denomination’s 124 colleges and universities.