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D&E honors Sams with top educator award

Submitted photo Davis & Elkins College Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Institutional Researcher Nathan Sams, center, was presented with the College’s top educator honor, the Lois Latham Award for Teaching Excellence. D&E President Chris A. Wood, left, presented the award. Among those attending the ceremony were D&E Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Rob Phillips, right, Sams’ daughter Willow Cronin Sams and his wife Callie Cronin Sams.

ELKINS — Davis & Elkins College Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Institutional Researcher Nathan Sams was a little surprised to be called out of his classroom by President Chris A. Wood. He was even more surprised to find out the reason — he was awarded the College’s Lois Latham Award for Teaching Excellence.

The presentation took place outside of Eshleman Science Center where Sams’ wife, daughter and mother in-law, along with D&E faculty, staff and administrators, were waiting for the announcement.

“A significant difference between Davis & Elkins College and a larger university, whether public or private, is our emphasis on teaching,” said President Chris A. Wood. “The Lois Latham Award for Teaching Excellence marks the recipient as one of distinguished intellectual development, possessing a love and enthusiasm for scholarship, whose calling is the personal development of others. The recipient will be recognized by their enthusiastic support of the liberal arts program and by their unswerving and unselfish devotion to the stimulation of their students.”

Nominations for the annual award are submitted by faculty, staff and students and the recipient is selected by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Assembly based on nominations.

“It is especially gratifying to be honored with the Lois Latham award during the COVID-19 pandemic when the D&E community has strived to be flexible in providing all of us with safe and supportive learning environments as we continue to serve our mission to prepare and inspire students for success and for thoughtful engagement in the world,” Sams said. “The award ceremony today came as a total surprise to me. I am thankful for my family, for my colleagues, and for the students who have worked so hard this year.”

Sams joined the Davis & Elkins College faculty in 2012 as an instructor in the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics. He also has taught at various colleges throughout West Virginia.

Sams holds a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry, a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and a Master of Science in mathematics, all from West Virginia University. He is the co-author of two plans for the West Virginia Department of Education, E-learning courses to certify public school teachers to teach new common core standards in mathematics and Descriptive Statistics Unit Lesson Plan to provide online materials for teaching new common core standards in mathematics.

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