Center for Excellence Honoree: Aileen DeverWhen people tell Aileen Dever, assistant professor of Spanish in the College of Arts and Sciences, that they're worried the next generation of adults won't be ready to take on the world, she tells them to relax.
"I teach QU 101, and the journals that the students keep are amazing," she said. "When you see what they're writing and thinking, you know we'll be just fine. They want the world to be a better place. They have great hopes and dreams."
Dever was suprised and pleased to be selected to receive the Excellence in Teaching Award.
"All around me I see deeply dedicated people who really care about the students and mentor, inspire and challenge them," she said.
Dever, the daughter of a professor, has always liked teaching. In fact, when she was young, she would bribe her five siblings with lollipops to get them to stay in class.
"I love working with people and listening to students, and I can't imagine doing anything else," she says.
Student Allison Wright '09, a Spanish major, describes Dever as a "caring, empowering professor" who always puts her students first. "Professor Dever has the ability to make the students feel close and comfortable with each other...I am one of numerous students who have been influenced to major or minor in Spanish because of how supportive she is."
Dever earned her bachelor's degree from Western Connecticut State University, where her father worked as a professor, her master's from Middlebury College, and her doctorate from the University of Connecticut.
In 1999, she accepted a short-term position at Quinnipiac and was impressed with the beauty of the campus, friendly students and scholarly colleagues. The following year she officially joined the faculty.
Next semester, Dever will teach a new class on the culture of Spain. She spent last summer in Northern Spain at her family's farmhouse. "Spain is so interesting because Madrid is as modern as any American city, but then in the rural areas, you have sheep and shepherds," she said. She loves the centuries-old church bells and the deep religious history of the country.
"I'll be talking about all the stunning and spectacular things to see," she said. "I'll tell all my students, 'You've got to come to Spain.'"
Dever lives in New Milford. She has six nieces and nephews, and makes a point of stopping by twice a week to read to those who live nearby. She is encouraging all of them to become teachers.