Dr. Grant Cook Named 2016 Mount Union Great Teacher

April 26, 2016

ALLIANCE, Ohio- During the University Mount Union’s Honors Convocation and Senior Awards presentation held recently, Dr. Grant Cook, professor of music and director of choral activities, was presented with the prestigious Great Teacher Award.

Since 1962, the Great Teacher Award has been presented to a professor who demonstrates dedication to the university and excellence in teaching, the foundation on which the reputation of Mount Union has been built. Sponsored by the Alumni Association, the Great Teacher is chosen by a selection committee consisting of senior class officers, past recipients and members of the Alumni Association.

Cook earned a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal pedagogy from Heidelberg University and a Master of Music degree in choral conducting and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in historical musicology/ethnomusicology from Kent State University’s Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. Cook has been a dedicated and active professor of the Mount Union faculty since 2011. At Mount Union, he conducts the Concert Choir and Cantus Femina, teaches choral conducting and literature and administers the University’s choral program.

Cook’s research interests focus on the life and writing of scholar Alexander Weelock Thaylor. His research has been published in The Choral Scholar, Choral Journal and the Beethoven Journal as well as being presented at meetings of the American Musicological Society and the Ohio Choral Director’s Association.

In their recommendations, Cook’s students spoke highly of his passion for music and passion for helping students succeed, saying, “I know that my nominee has so much respect for and faith in all students, cheering them on during all of their successes as well as offering encouragement when faced with failures.”

Another student nominator stated, “The strongest evidence that I have that makes my professor an excellent nominee is that this individual teaches how to have passion for music, and for what we do no matter our field of study – to learn from our mistakes and to always continue to strive for excellence.”

A third student wrote of the bond that Dr. Cook shares with all of his students, stating, “ My nominee’s immense love and support for the students is nothing short of spectacular. Never does my nominee portray the notion of a student/teacher hierarchy, for this professor believes in working collaboratively with the students with the upmost respect and confidence.”

When describing his teaching style, Cook referenced Parker Palmer’s “The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life.” Cook relates Palmer’s writings to his belief of connectedness with students.

“The connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts,” he stated. “I believe that teaching is service and that a teacher’s best equipment is compassion.”


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