Michael Orlofsky, professor of English and director of Troy University’s Creative Writing program, is the recipient of the University’s 2018 Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching.
Orlofsky received the award during the University’s annual Honors Convocation held Monday night in the Claudia Crosby Theater on the Troy Campus.
The Ingalls Award is given annually to the teacher on the Troy Campus who has “most diligently, effectively and cheerfully conducted his or her classes during the current academic year.” Students nominate faculty members for the award, and a committee of students and faculty advisors selects the recipient. The award consists of a statue of Socrates, a plaque and a check for $1,000.
“This award symbolizes the primary mission of this University – teaching,” said Dr. Earl Ingram, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. “One of the marks of excellence in teaching at Troy University is the capacity to ask, as well as answer provocative questions. We know great teachers as much for the questions they ask as the answers they give. It is with great pleasure that we present this year’s award to Professor Michael Orlofsky.”
Orlofsky joined the University’s faculty in 1988 and has served as the director of the University’s Creative Writing program since 2003.
In addition to teaching courses in literature and creative writing, Orlofsky plays an active role on many University committees and initiatives. He has served as a faculty marshal for Troy University commencement ceremonies since 2007, has played an active role in the University’s First-Year Reading Initiative since 2006 and has served as a member of the Hall-Waters Prize Steering Committee since 2001. He also serves as advisor for Pendulum, a student organization for the performing arts, and the TROY Rugby Club and is a frequent contributor to the University’s blog Troy.Today.
Orlofsky said he was grateful to the students who participated in the nomination, observation and selection process.
“They are some of TROY’s best and brightest,” he said, “and I feel gratified to be held in their good graces.”
He also said that he is honored to be viewed in company with some of the finest teachers he has known in his 29 years at the University as a member of the English Department. Previous winners of the Ingalls from English include Gertrude Schroeder and Ed Hicks.
“Dr. Schroeder taught me to take seriously my role as an educator, and Ed taught me how to have challenge and enjoyment in the classroom,” Orlofsky said.
Orlofsky said his most influential mentor and guide is his wife, Diane, who is a professor of music and director of university choirs at TROY.
“She beat me to the award by 24 years,” Orlofsky said. “She’s always about a quarter of a century ahead of me.”
Orlofsky’s two daughters are also Trojans — Anna graduated summa cum laude as a double major in English and Spanish in 2016 and serves as a teaching adjunct in English, and Lizzie is currently a junior Art major.
Orlofsky holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Jacksonville State University, a master’s degree in English with an emphasis in writing from Penn State University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.