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NSU Professor Named 2009 DaVinci Fellow

Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford

TAHLEQUAH – Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern State University, was recently named a 2009 DaVinci Fellows by The DaVinci Institute. Sanford was honored Friday, March 27 at the DaVinci Institute’s annual awards banquet.

Sanford was selected for the honor after developing an unique symposia for her students to express their opinions on issues affecting their lives. Her dedication to inspiring creative thought and critical inquiry skills resulted in an experiential assignment whereby students are challenged to identify, examine, and develop creative solutions to issues affecting student life at NSU. In so doing, she has addressed one of the toughest challenges faced by any educator—how to make his or her course materials relevant to students.

“I always tell my students that education doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In other words, we don’t check everything we know at the classroom door, learn the course material for an hour, just to check that at the door and go out and live our lives,” said Sanford. “Students should feel like they can share non-classroom experiences in class, but they should also feel they can take the course material outside the four walls of the classroom.”

Prior to joining the faculty at NSU in 2004, Sanford taught at the University of Iowa – Iowa City for three years. She was recently named the Fred Tewell Outstanding College Communication Educator by the Oklahoma Speech Theatre Communication Association.

Sanford earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Education in 1999 and Master of Education in School Administration in 2001, both from NSU. She went on to earn a Master of Arts in Communication in 2003 and Ph.D. in Communication Studies in 2006 from the University of Iowa.

In addition to being honored in Oklahoma City, DaVinci Fellows receive a $1,000 award from the DaVinci Institute.

The DaVinci Institute, Oklahoma’s Creative Think Tank, annually recognizes creativity in higher education faculty from across Oklahoma. The award is based on the premise that creativity is not bound by place or time and exhibits itself across all disciplines in a variety of ways, from engineering to ballet, from social sciences to opera.


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