2021 Thoburn Award for Excellence in Teaching – Angela Keysor

According to her colleagues at Allegheny College, the life of the mind lives in Angela Keysor’s classroom. In her five years on the History Department faculty, Professor Keysor has received praise for courses that insightfully raise questions of individual choice and responsibility. Her teaching emphasizes the power dynamics of gender and race and traces debates over justice and equality. As someone who began her undergraduate studies in biology, transitioned to law, and moved on to study and teach history, Professor Keysor truly possesses a perspective that spans disciplines.

Along with her exemplary reputation as an educator, students also gravitate toward Professor Keysor as a mentor; she is the person with whom they discuss their achievements, their academic struggles and aspirations, and their plans for the next phase of their lives. By getting to know her students’ interests, Professor Keysor is able to weave them into the fabric of her teaching, creating an atmosphere that no student is soon to forget.

“If you have ever met Professor Keysor or sat in her classroom just once, you know her passion for teaching and educating her students fills the room,” says Abigail Hughes ’19. “I have seen Professor Keysor jump for joy in her classroom. I have also seen her throw her hands up in defeat when talking about a hard topic. Professor Keysor is someone who was made to teach.”

“She is simply the finest educator I have ever worked with,” says Kalé Haywood, associate professor of history. “In visiting her classes, my key takeaway was her skill in orchestrating discussion to empower students. She talks with students; they are equal stakeholders in her classroom.”

Professor Keysor’s impact on student lives isn’t reserved for the classroom, either. For example, she gathered her daughter’s outgrown baby clothes and crib and gave them to a student when he unexpectedly discovered that he was about to become a father; she bought copies of a self-published book authored by a student who was struggling financially; she created five multi-semester course schedules to help a student graduate before their financial aid ended. Together, caring and powerful acts like these demonstrate that Professor Keysor embodies excellence in critical areas necessary for learning and living.

“I have never in my four years of college or my 25 years of life worked with someone who made me feel so confident in my own abilities,” says Bridgit Stack ’17. “She took the time to get to know me as a student, and, outside of learning my name, she knew my work, my passions for history, and other topics. She saw me as a whole person — not just a student — and I will always be forever grateful for everything she has done for me.”