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Kenneth Grout receives Alan L. Stanzler Award for Excellence in Teaching

Kenneth Grout, Affiliated Instructor of Communication Studies and recipient of the 2020 Alan L. Stanzler Award for Excellence in Teaching.

2020 Teaching Awards Part 2

The Alan L. Stanzler Award for Excellence in Teaching is awarded to an affiliated faculty member who consistently receives high Teacher/Course Evaluation ratings. Winners of this award display high academic standards established by the faculty members. The award winner receives a stipend of $1,000. Donor Alan L. Stanzler is a former Trustee and Overseer of the College. The award was created in honor of his father, Harold Stanzler, who for many years was a part-time faculty member at the University of Rhode Island.

A current affiliated faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies, Kenneth Grout recently accepted a full-time term faculty position in Communication Studies, which he will begin next fall. He enjoys teaching the Introduction to Speech Communication and Oral Presentation of Literature courses, as they “are bedrock courses that teach fundamental skills and then build on those to elevate communications to art.” He notes that “the skills taught in these courses are those that every student at Emerson [College] needs, for they will improve who they are no matter what they actually wind up doing in life.”

In addition to teaching, he is working directly with Dr. Gregory Payne, chair of Communication Studies, to revitalize the Southwick Recital, an Emerson institution, later this year. The Southwick follows the grand tradition of platform performance, of one-person readings, the sort of things taught in Oral Presentation of Literature. He is also working with senior lecturer Owen Eagan on an article based on their research of gender inequities within the Hollywood system, and the Academy Awards in particular.

Grout has written and performed the one-man show Thelma Ritter Got Balls, and authored And the Winner Really Is, a book on the Academy Awards.


COURSES TAUGHT:  Introduction to Speech Communication and Oral Presentation of Literature

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT TEACHING: “My why is the students, pure and simple. Watching students grow, seeing students who don’t think they can do something do it and do it well, seeing students who think they have nothing to learn discover something about themselves and their art – those are the reasons I do it. And, selfishly, because I learn too. The students always make me better. They make me feel like it matters whether I show up and like it matters whether I give my best. And that’s all anyone wants…to feel that their work brings value to a bigger cause. Emerson’s students give me that feeling. Emerson’s students are my bigger cause.”


From sophomore Rory Tettemer: “As a freshman a year ago, I was blessed to have Ken as one of my first college teachers. His charm was contagious and encouraged students to engage themselves in a class that was generally created to scare students to their very core. I mean, public speaking should not have been such a delight to go to, but Ken made sure it was every student’s favorite class. 

When I saw the opportunity to take a class with Ken again in my sophomore year, I didn’t hesitate because that’s how much his teaching had an effect on me. I knew one other student going into that sophomore year class and somehow came out of the class with an entire family. Ken helped us to connect with each other in a way that I had never experienced before.

Every class would start with a five-minute warmup, that could range from reading riddles and jokes to a game of ‘Guess the Song.’ Each student had to have at least one warmup by the end of the semester. With this short amount of time dedicated to every class, Ken made sure that each classmate was comfortable with each other in every way possible, that way when it became time to speak in front of each other, there was no need to be scared. Ken’s teaching brought the best out of everyone and left each student with a smile. I was blessed to have Ken for two years as a teacher, but am even more honored to have him as a friend for the rest of my life.”

Anonymous from award nominations: “Ken Grout is one of the best professors I have had at Emerson College, and one of the best teachers I have had in my entire academic career. Ken is a truly extraordinary educator. Funny, approachable, extremely knowledgeable, and always helpful, Ken takes the time to get to know his students and truly cares about their academic success.

I had the opportunity to take Fundamentals of Speech Communication and Oral Presentations of Literature with Ken, and in both classes, I feel my public speaking and performance skills grew exponentially. Ken makes the classroom a safe and inclusive space for all, as well as a wonderful place to attend class each week. Never once did I not enjoy attending either of those classes — they were truly wonderful, enlightening, and enriching educational experiences that I will never forget. To this day, friends and I who took Ken’s classes together reflect on what truly wonderful and valuable experiences they were. In sum, Ken is a fantastic professor wholly deserving of the Alan L. Stanzler Award for Excellence in Teaching.”


From Dr. Gregory Payne, Associate Professor and Chair of Communication Studies:
“Professor Grout is the consummate Emersonian as he embodies rigor, challenge, and a passion for teaching in each and everyone of his classes. Students from majors throughout the College testify to Ken’s appreciation and embodiment of the great oral tradition at Emerson, and his special abilities in ensuring that each student leaves the College with a rhetorical mark of distinction. ”

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