OXFORD — Kate Rousmaniere, a professor of educational leadership, and Mayor of Oxford, will receive Miami University’s prestigious Benjamin Harrison Medallion during a special reception April 25.
Harrison Medallion recipients have traditionally been honored during Miami’s spring commencement, but this year an inaugural annual reception has been established to honor all academic award winners.
The reception will be held from 5:15-6:30 p.m. Monday, April 25, in Marcum Conference Center.
Rousmaniere is known internationally in the field of history of education. She was named a 2011-2012 Miami University Distinguished Scholar for sustained excellence in research in her field.
The Benjamin Harrison Medallion Award is one of the most significant recognitions Miami offers faculty for contributions attesting to qualities of teaching, research and/or service. It is named for Benjamin Harrison, the 1852 Miami graduate and 23rd president of the United States, serving from 1889-1893.
“I’ve tried to go beyond the description of my job,” said Rousmaniere, after hearing she received this award. “My students learn that education goes beyond the schools: It involves community organizations, social service agencies, individual lives, and it is affected by current events. It is a community of people working together.”
As a historian of education, Rousmaniere creatively merged her research work with her civil service work on Oxford’s City Council. She currently is researching town-gown relations and looking at the history of off-campus housing.
Transforming education through history
Rousmaniere’s work in the relatively new areas of social and cultural history is considered “transformational.”
She has published three single-author books, and is co-editor of three others. Her first book, City Teachers: Teaching and School Reform in Historical Perspective (1997), won a Critic’s Choice Award from the American Studies Association. Her most recent book, The Principal’s Office: A Social History of the American School Principal (2013), received honorable mention for The Atlantic magazine’s 2014 History of Education Outstanding Book Award.
• She is author of three significant monographs, three co-edited anthologies of essays and more than 30 refereed journal articles and book chapters.
• She was elected president of the International Standing Conference for the History of Education (2009-2012) and has presided over conferences in the Netherlands, Mexico and India.
• She has served as a member of 11 editorial boards for professional journals, and she currently serves on the membership committee of the Ohio Academy of History.
Rousmaniere “has an exceptional facility to mentor and convene a wide range of collaborators, given both her personal qualities and her understanding of what makes us all similar as well as different,” a nominator said.
“Leadership is more than the individual”
Her service to Miami and to the Oxford community has been outstanding, according to another nominator, including work as a department chair and now as Oxford’s mayor. “Certainly she has been a model leader and academic citizen.”
• She served as chair of the department of educational psychology from 2002 to 2012. She has served as a member of many other Miami committees and has been chair of the Senate executive committee.
• She has served as a member of Oxford City Council for the past four years and last fall was elected mayor of the city of Oxford.
• She is interested in strengthening town-gown relationships, including the impact of college towns on student housing, drinking, drug behavior and city services, according to a nominator.
Noting Rousmaniere’s excellence in teaching and developing curriculum with colleagues, a nominator said she had the ability to develop her core scholarship to the most elite level, “while still being able to connect with students even though few of them are focused on the history of education.”
With her students, many of whom will become school principals or superintendents, Rousmaniere said “leadership is more than the individual. You have to work with people.”
She stresses strategies for organizational change gleaned from education philosophy and historical best practices.
Rousmaniere received her doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia University in 1992, her master’s degree from the University of Toronto in 1983 and her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in 1980.
She joined Miami in 1992 and is an affiliate in the department of history; the women’s, gender and sexuality studies program; the American studies program; and the Myaamia Center.
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