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VIDEO: UK Professor's Positivity Inspires International Student to Persevere

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 5, 2017) — Noor Alattar, an English doctoral student from Iraq, will never forget the words of encouragement her professor, Michelle Sizemore, shared with her when she first arrived at the University of Kentucky. 

"Everything was new to me," Alattar said. "She would never just encourage you with empty words. She was more than welcoming."

In fact, that encouragement is why Alattar nominated Sizemore to win a 2017 Great Teacher Award. Watch why this English professor's words were so meaningful to Alattar by clicking on the video above.   

Sizemore is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of English. She earned her doctoral degree at the University of Wisconsin. In 2015, she received the Outstanding Teaching Award, with special recognition for excellence in teaching large courses. Her success in the large classroom has fostered shifted attitudes in UK's English department from initial concern about undertaking large lecture courses to a recognition of the potential benefits of such classes.

Sizemore teaches American studies, English and social theory. Her academic and research interests lie in the fields of colonial America, literary theory, political theory, time studies, affect studies, literature and para-religion, and literature and science.

To date, her writing has encompassed invitational reviews and book chapters, and journal articles. Her first book is scheduled for publication in August 2017. “American Enchantment: Rituals of the People in the Post-Revolutionary World” investigates the phenomenon of “enchantment” through social and political rituals and literary and cultural discourses. She notes that writings of the post-revolutionary period recognize the role of people as “not simply a flesh-and-blood substance but also a quasi-mystical force.”

The Great Teacher Award, started in 1961, is the longest-running University of Kentucky award recognizing teaching. In order to receive the award, educators must first be nominated by a student. The UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award Committee, in cooperation with the student organization Omicron Delta Kappa, then makes the final selections. Recipients receive an engraved plaque and a monetary reward.

The UK Alumni Association is a membership supported organization committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association or to become a member, visit or call 1-800-269-2586.


This is a photo of Michelle Sizemore, UK Assistant Professor of English,
Michelle Sizemore, UK Assistant Professor of English

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue