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Edwardsville professor earns Paul Simon Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Award 

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Jason Stacy, PhD, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of History, has been named the 2021 Paul Simon Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Award recipient.

The highly competitive award is annually presented by the SIUE Graduate School to a faculty member who has a proven record of combining scholarship and teaching. The recognition demonstrates the belief that to be a good teacher, one must also be a good scholar. Award recipients have made significant contributions to original research or creative activities, and have successfully integrated those contributions into their teaching practices.

“I am honored to receive this award,” said Stacy. “I started my career as a high school history teacher and pursued graduate work because it enhanced my teaching. As I moved forward with my doctoral work, I discovered that research contributed to my history lessons and that my years as a teacher provided a broad contextual foundation on which to build my research. The Paul Simon Award recognizes this cross-fertilization which teachers and scholars experience throughout their careers.”

Stacy’s research interests include the U.S antebellum period, social science pedagogy and Walt Whitman’s journalism. Since joining the SIUE faculty, he has published four books, four book-length editions on historical and pedagogical topics, and five digital editions of Walt Whitman’s journalism for the Walt Whitman Archive.

“Dr. Stacy is one of the foremost scholars of Whitman’s literary and journalistic writing in the United States, and an expert on antebellum intellectual and social history,” wrote Allison Thomason, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of History. “His inspiration and involvement with many of our master’s and cooperative PhD students is also exceptional. Dr. Stacy models scholarly activity for his students with his own work, while also offering intellectual and practical guidance that allows our graduate students to earn their degrees in a timely manner.”

Last fall, Stacy joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) Walt Whitman Archive as an editor contributing to a three-year, $250,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant-funded initiative, entitled “Walt Whitman’s Journalism: Finding the Poet in the Brooklyn Daily Times.” Stacy has worked on numerous projects for the Walt Whitman Archive, which has received 1.2 million-page views and nearly 500,000 unique users from approximately 220 countries.

In 2016, Stacy and colleagues received a grant from the Madison County Regional Office of Education to start an online encyclopedia and digital archive for Madison County. He has since worked with numerous undergraduate and graduate students to compile, edit and present information via Madison Historical: The Online Encyclopedia and Digital Archive of Madison County, Illinois.

At SIUE, Stacy has taught courses on antebellum U.S. history, U.S. intellectual history, social science pedagogy and applied historical methods. He includes students in his research projects as an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities mentor, and is a key member of many doctoral students’ research projects and committees.

“While being a great educator and researcher is at the crux of this award, it is important to note that Dr. Stacy applies these skills toward the professional development of his students,” wrote Nichol Allen, PhD candidate in SIUE/SIUC’s cooperative doctoral program. “He applies his experiences, research, knowledge and education towards the advancement of students from all walks of life, and openly shares the techniques, resources and tools of his craft to help propel them further.”

Stacy’s most recent book, Spoon River America: Edgar Lee Masters and the Myth of the American Small Town, was published in May. His work comments on Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, a collection of poems that became a bedrock myth of life in small-town America. Stacy discusses the ways readers embraced, debated, and reshaped Masters’ work in literary controversies and culture war skirmishes. He also analyzes Spoon River Anthology as the source of three archetypes—populist, elite and exile—that endure across the landscape of American culture in the 21st century. This month, Stacy discussed his motivations for writing the book on the press’s blog.

As the Paul Simon Outstanding Teacher-Scholar Awardee, Stacy will present to graduate students and faculty on his integration of research and teaching during the Graduate School’s Fall Awards Ceremony.

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