Clark selected to receive 2014 Outstanding Faculty Award

Amy Clark
Amy Clark

Amy Clark, an associate professor of English and director of the Appalachian Writing Project at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, is a recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Faculty Award by the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia.

The Outstanding Faculty Awards are the Commonwealth's highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities. These awards recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research, and public service.

Clark was selected from a highly competitive pool of qualified candidates who were nominated by their peers at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities. At a celebration at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va. in February, twelve OFA recipients will each receive a cash award and a commemorative engraved award.

“Many of us leave and return to Appalachia to live because our roots grow deep, and because growing up in these mountains means no matter where we go in the world, we are anchored spiritually to that place of voice, story and song,” Clark wrote in a statement to be published on SCHEV’s web site. “…I work to convince teachers to take into account the deep, abiding influence of place on rural students.”

Clark teaches in the department of Communication Studies at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where she has taught since 1997. Clark’s specialization is writing pedagogies, rural literacies, and Appalachian studies. She teaches courses Appalachian language and literature, rhetoric, and applied linguistics.

"Amy’s development of the Appalachian Writing Project and her work with the public school teachers participating in it – whatever their disciplines – have transformed the lives and educations of both these teachers and their students," says Amelia Harris, UVa-Wise Academic Dean.

"Through her work, Amy has brought new understanding to and acceptance of the diversity of Appalachian Englishes."

Clark is the co-editor and author of Talking Appalachian: Voice, Identity and Community (University Press of Ky., 2013) to be released in paperback in the fall of 2014. The book explores Appalachian dialects from western Pennsylvania to northern Georgia, and draws from sociolinguistic articles, essays, novel excerpts, and poetry about what it means to be an Appalachian dialect speaker.

She is also the author of Success in Hill Country (Napoleon Hill Foundation, 2012), a collection of interviews with successful people who grew up in or near the central Appalachian birthplace of Napoleon Hill, the global bestselling author of books like Think and Grow Rich. The interviews detail how Napoleon Hill’s philosophy influenced decisions that put these individuals on their paths to success.

Her work has appeared and is forthcoming in the New York Times, “With Good Reason” radio, Appalachian Journal, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tampa Tribune and many other publications. In 2012, she was honored with the Jean Ritchie Fellowship in Appalachian Writing from Lincoln Memorial University.

Clark is a founding director of the Appalachian Writing Project, a non-profit organization that has supported rural teachers in their research, writing, and teaching about writing since 2000. Under her leadership, the organization has received grants and awards from the National Writing Project and Slemp Foundation. In 2013, the AWP was honored with the 2013 Helen Lewis Community Service Award, given by the Appalachian Studies Association.

She is co-founder and co-director of the new Center for Appalachian Studies at UVa-Wise, where she has been honored with the Harrison Award for Outstanding Teaching (2005) and the Harrison Award for Research and Publication (2013).