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North Named 45th Recipient of Underwood Award

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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Sharon NorthSharon North, professor of mathematics at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, was named the 45th recipient of the David L. Underwood Memorial Lecture Award. 

The late David L. Underwood was known for his love of education. He was deeply concerned with the welfare of students and staff alike. His dedication went beyond office hours – and he tirelessly gave of his time and talents to further the educational mission at Florissant Valley. 

Recipients of the Underwood Award demonstrate that same dedication and commitment. Chosen by a committee of peers, the recipient exhibits excellence in instruction and a genuine, humanistic concern for students, faculty, staff and all of education. 

Under normal circumstances, a host of employees and retirees gather to attend the announcement ceremony on campus. The crowd gathers across from a picture of Underwood – and plaques that bear the names of winners of the award that honors the beloved educator. 

However, this year’s shelter-in-place restrictions imposed because of the COVID-19 pandemic required a little more creativity. Carol Hake, associate professor of English who is the 43rd recipient of the Underwood Award, shared clues about the next deserving colleague in the lead article in the April 27 edition of the Florissant Valley Weekly, a digital newsletter for employees. 

In the clue, Hake wrote: “Our 45th Underwood built a personal science lab in the garage and conducted many experiments with a SkilCraft ChemLab 3 Chemistry set inherited from older siblings while simultaneously thinking that a dream job would be president of the United States.”  

North was later revealed in the Faculty/Staff Announcement section of the newsletter. 

David L. Underwood“It’s an incredible honor to receive this award,” North said. “It’s exciting thinking about the individuals who received this award in the past, their incredible presentations and so many ideas are floating around in my mind. I am sort of disappointed that I could not share this moment physically with everyone, and I’m just thinking about my Florissant Valley family. As soon as it’s safe to do so, I’m really looking forward to meeting with past recipients to celebrate with them.” 

North primarily teaches gateway mathematics courses, including pre-calculus, quantitative reasoning, introductory statistics, college algebra, and calculus and analytic geometry I. She has also worked to develop and implement corequisite offerings to transfer-level courses. She began her career at STLCC in 1998. 

North is in her 33rd year of teaching mathematics at community college and university levels. She has taught nearly 10,000 students college mathematics. She has designed math curricula and written application-based content for students, and served in leadership roles as a department chair, assistant chair and a districtwide developmental education coordinator. 

North represents STLCC faculty on the Missouri Corequisite at Scale Taskforce and serves on the state advisory board for mathematics pathways. She received the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award in 2010 and has been recognized by students as a faculty mentor in the STLCC Emerging Scholars program. 

North is scheduled to present her lecture during fall 2020.

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