Outstanding Results by Any Measure

Ed Orser
Ed Orser, professor of American studies, at the Cowdensville A.M.E. Church. One of Orser's popular Community Studies Projects focused on the historic Cowdensville community.

"A Master Teacher"


Professor of American Studies Edward Orser’s dedication to teaching always leaves an impression on his students. “He is the kind of teacher you want to do your best for. He is not only a role model for those who one day wish to teach, he also is an exemplar of what a teacher could and should be,” says alumna Donna Neutze.

A member of the faculty since 1969 and a 1998 UMBC Presidential Teaching Professor, Orser was recently recognized with a Regent’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He credits his teaching with contributing in important ways to his own research. “I'm thrilled with the Regents Award because it affirms the emphasis we place at UMBC upon the importance of undergraduate teaching in the context of a research university,” he explains.

Orser’s Community Studies Projects provide American studies students with important research and fieldwork experiences. “The Community Studies Projects bring together the teaching, research and service missions of UMBC,” Orser says. “Students working with me have investigated social and cultural aspects of nearby communities, including those in the Patapsco Valley, Catonsville, Cowdensville (adjacent to the UMBC campus), Gywnns Falls and Leakin Parks, and Irvington, and we've presented  our findings in a variety of ways—public programs, exhibits and books and other publications. To me, this represents 'applied American Studies,' which goes beyond the classroom to engage in research and interpretation in socially meaningful ways—and with tremendous educational benefit!”

“There is no doubt Ed Orser is a master teacher,” says Patrice McDermott, chair of the Department of American Studies. “His courses are very well designed to balance lectures, discussions and a variety of writing, fieldwork and research opportunities. His core American studies courses have recruited and engaged many majors, while his community courses are always filled and are the envy of urban scholars across the country. Over the years, our department has received many notes and letters testifying to his lasting impact on our graduates’ lives—perhaps the best test of a teacher’s effectiveness.”