Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education
Outstanding faculty honored at Governor’s Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship

Press Release Date:  Friday, September 23, 2011  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Cell: 502-330-6596

Kentucky’s colleges and universities honored two of their own earlier today with Acorn Awards for teaching excellence.

The recipients are David L. Cooper, professor of composition and African American history at Jefferson Community and Technical College, and Dr. Julia Roberts, Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University. Roberts also serves as executive director of The Center for Gifted Studies and The Carol Martin Gatton Academy for Mathematics and Science.

The award ceremony was held during the 23rd Annual Governor’s Conference on Postsecondary Education Trusteeship, sponsored by the Council on Postsecondary Education and Kentucky’s colleges and universities.

“Our faculty members are the heart of each of our colleges and universities,” said Council President Bob King. “Recognizing excellence among so many talented and dedicated teachers and scholars is a difficult, but rewarding task. We are enormously grateful to Professor Cooper and Dr. Roberts for their contributions to so many students across the Commonwealth.”

Cooper was recognized for his ability to inspire students through the integration of multimedia and current events into the curriculum, among other career highlights. Kentucky Community and Technical College Chancellor Jay Box presented the award to Cooper.

“David has a diverse background and a passion for his subject and teaching that he brings to the classroom,” said Tony Newberry, president and CEO of Jefferson Community and Technical College. “This award is a wonderful credit to David and to the caliber of the Jefferson faculty. It is a well-deserved recognition of one of the college’s finest faculty members.”

Roberts was recognized for her work in supporting gifted children at state and national levels. In presenting the award, WKU President Gary A. Ransdell said Roberts is a superb teacher, scholar and researcher.

“She has been singled out by our faculty as a University Distinguished Professor. She is the holder of the Mahurin Professor of Gifted Studies,” he said. “More important, however, is her long and impressive record of innovation in creating WKU’s Center for Gifted Studies and the Gatton Academy of Math and Science in Kentucky. She has become a world leader in the education of gifted and talented students. Our gifted children are fortunate to have Julia Roberts leading this important sector of education in Kentucky.”

The Kentucky Advocates first presented the Acorn Awards in 1992. Recipients are chosen based on recommendations by faculty and students as well as self-written essays about their philosophy of teaching. Recipients receive a $5,000 honorarium and inscribed plaque.


We believe in the transformative power of postsecondary education. Stronger by Degrees, the new strategic agenda for Kentucky’s colleges and universities and adult basic education, is powering a stronger Kentucky economy and improving the lives of Kentuckians. To learn more about Stronger by Degrees, visit


Last Updated 9/23/2011