The Margaret J. Prouty Faculty Teaching Award honors one Nebraska Wesleyan teacher each year. This year the award went to Associate Professor of Religion Rita Lester. Her ability to challenge students to analyze religion, advise students from multiple fields, continually improve her teaching styles and help with prestigious scholarship applications were all traits applauded by the students who nominated her.
Several students said Lester inspired them to become religion majors, noting her ability to make students feel comfortable discussing and analyzing religion. Others commended Lester for her ability to teach challenging material in accessible ways.
Lester has taught at NWU since 1998. Last year she was one of 12 professors in the nation selected to attend the “Teaching About Islam and Middle Eastern Culture” seminar in Jordan. She spent 2007 on sabbatical in Toronto where she conducted research at the Encounter World Religions Centre.
In addition to receiving the Prouty Award, Lester’s peers elected her faculty president in 2011.