Anne-Marie Donovan, recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, 2003

Drama and Speech Communication, Non-regular award category

Anne-Marie Donovan has been teaching Drama 326/SPCOM 326 (Voice Technique) annually since 1993. This course is designed for people who would like to enhance the quality and command of their voice. Anne-Marie brings to the course more than 20 years' experience as a singer, performer, director and recording artist. Skills, such as proper breathing techniques and unlearning common patterns of speech, are taught through a variety of exercises, games and relaxation techniques. Some classes are considered “master” classes where a few students work through the material while the rest of the class watches. This provides considerable attention to the needs of each student and the rest of the class benefits from hearing Anne-Marie's advice to each individual. By demonstrating the exercises and illustrating different patterns of speech, it is evident that Anne-Marie has great command of her voice. She provided an excellent role model for students to learn to express themselves better through their voice. Throughout the course Anne-Marie would repeatedly convince, encourage and inspire each student to forget old habits, learn new techniques and use his/her voice in healthy and effective ways. This allowed the students to hear the difference between correct and incorrect ways of using one's voice. One student commented that “I can only describe her classroom as a transformative experience - a technical, physical, emotional journey that thrilled and sometimes even scared our class.” Anne-Marie initiated these experiences by sharing the power of our voice, helping many students effectively 'find their voice' in her classroom.