June 10, 2008
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
SRU's Cobb receives second Dance Educator of the Year Award
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Thom Cobb, Slippery Rock University associate professor of dance, has been named the 2008 Outstanding Dance Educator for Post-Secondary Education by the Maryland-based National Dance Education Organization. The non-profit organization with 2,000 members recognized Cobb for his highly inventive and energetic teaching style and safe and invigorating classroom atmosphere.
"As one who has observed his masterclasses in a variety of venues, I have been present at that magical moment in which participants who are unfamiliar with his approach morph from tentative and even suspicious to being fully engaged in the material and trusting of their own responses," said Patricia Cohen, director of awards for the organization.
It is the second consecutive year Cobb has received a national award. He won the 2007 College/University National Dance Educator of the Year award from the National Dance Association, a Virginia-based nonprofit. In 2006, the Pennsylvania State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance named him the Dance Educator of the Year.
"I am pleased to receive this prestigious award, especially as the nomination came from dance professors who are members of the organization," Cobb said of the latest honor. "My teaching approach is to be engaging, nurturing and demanding when necessary. I want dancers to feel comfortable taking risks, so that they grow as artists."
A National Dance Education Organization awards committee solicits nominees from among its membership. Cohen said nominees had to explain their philosophy of dance education and show strength in promoting the creative and performing aspects of dance.
Cobb joined SRU in 1978 and was instrumental in launching the dance major in 1987 and the dance department two years later.
"I was an integral part of the initial dreaming, brainstorming, hoping, planning, developing, implementing and eventually watching the dance department grow from a concept into a nationally recognized dance program," Cobb said.
He teaches "Dance Fundamentals," "Introduction to Creative Dance" and "Modern Dance and Jazz." He has led dance residencies at universities and public schools and is involved with several organizations, including the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts.
The National Dance Education Organization is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting standards of excellence in dance education. NDEO provides the dance artist, educator and administrator a network of resources and support, a base for advocacy and access to programs and projects that focus on the importance of dance in the human experience. In addition, it advances dance as an art in education.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.