Dr. Stephen Criniti selected one of five finalist for West Virginia Professor of the Year

Dr. Criniti discusses “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien with his students.

This year Dr. Stephen Criniti, an English professor at West Liberty, was selected as one of the five finalists for West Virginia’s Professor of the Year. An interview was held via Zoom on Jan. 26 which asked Dr. Criniti questions about his style of teaching, approaches to specific topics, teaching methodologies, and his attitude towards his job and students.
Interestingly enough, Criniti wasn’t the one to decide to apply for this award saying, “Dr. Jeremy Larance and Dr. Sylvia Senften came up with the idea to nominate me for the award back in the fall. I then put together a nomination packet to send to the selection committee and learned of being named a finalist in late January.”
Dr. Criniti attended Wheeling Jesuit University to obtain his bachelor’s degree in 2000 in English and professional communications. Two years later, he then attended the University of Dayton where he received his master’s degree in English followed by his doctoral degree in 2008 at the University of Cincinnati for English and Comparative Literature.
After earning his degree, Criniti began teaching at West Liberty in 2008, making this his 13 year on the Hilltop. He currently teaches courses in 20th century American literature, American ethnic literature, contemporary literature, and composition studies. In addition, Criniti also serves as the primary coordinator as well as advisor for the English Education Program. He is also very active in serving the university community through his committee work which includes the curriculum committee, University Retention Action and Advisory Committee, employee engagement committee, and several others.
In 2019, Criniti was awarded the Faculty Excellence in Service Award. A year prior in 2018, he won the Student Government’s choice for the College of Liberal Art’s Professor of the Year. Then in 2016, Criniti received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.
The West Virginia Professor of the Year Award is a way for the public to honor the exceptional achievements of educators. Each year, a $10,000 award is received by the candidate that is selected to be Professor of the Year. According to wvnews, a banquet is traditionally held in the spring, and finalists are then honored where the Professor of the Year is announced.
“Personally, I don’t think of what I do in the classroom as award-worthy. I think of what I do as simply what I do. But, I’m honored to know that my colleagues here at WLU and a statewide selection committee find something noteworthy about the way I approach my job,” said Criniti.
Congratulations Dr. Criniti on being a finalist for West Virginia’s Professor of the Year!