Professor Carolyn Sturm
CAROLYN STURM: OVU’S LONGEST CONTINUOUSLY SERVING EMPLOYEE
Forty-eight years. Nine American presidents. Six different OVU presidents. Over 90 new semesters. And thousands of students, including those whose mothers and fathers she taught years before. Professor Carolyn Sturm began teaching at Ohio Valley College in 1971 and has been an employee ever since, making her the longest continuously serving employee in OVU history.
Through those years, Professor Sturm’s most consistent role has been a faculty member teaching English, but she has served as the editor of Take Thought (a print predecessor to OVU NOW), a department chair, a patron life member of Stepping Stones, a club sponsor, and the director of writing programs. For one semester, she even was the mother of a fellow English faculty member, as her daughter Kathryn taught courses as an adjunct.
Why so many years of service? Sturm explains, “I am a strong advocate of Christian education. I am grateful for the sacrifices my parents made to give me a Christian education from fourth grade through college. I believe in the mission of the University.”
Students have benefited greatly from her presence. Current English major Elijah Adkins, a native of Clay County, West Virginia, writes, "Mrs. Sturm is a very kind person, and I have always felt completely comfortable when coming to her for questions or advice. The classes I have had with her have been informative and engaging; she clearly displays enthusiasm about the topics she teaches." Taylor Braun, a senior Secondary English Education major from Parkersburg, West Virginia, says, “Mrs. Sturm has been a bright light during my time at OVU. Even on my worst day, she is able to make me smile and keep me engaged in the class. Her passion for literature is infectious, and her love for students makes the whole OVU experience even better. I hold my time with her very close to my heart.”
Braun is one of many OVU English education students who have passed the Praxis Content Knowledge exam required for teacher certification in English. In fact, since OVU began its English education major in 2000, 100 percent of program students have passed the exam on their first attempt, and the majority have far exceeded the minimum score required. Their success is a testament to Sturm, as a significant part of her job is working closely with English education students, something she believes has been one of the most rewarding aspects of her career: “I see their growth as students in my classes and then the skill they bring to their semester of residency [student teaching] in middle and high schools.” Making the experience even more satisfying for her is that several of the program’s early graduates have become cooperating teachers for recent student teachers.
Sturm notes that she has been “blessed to work with dedicated colleagues through the years.” Those colleagues include several who were once her students, including her current supervisor, Dr. Wes Crum, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who states, “Ms. Sturm is part of the fabric at Ohio Valley University. Her dedication to teaching is evident in the way she presents and interacts with students. I am proud to be one of her students and now her dean.”