The Kemp Award winner, selected by the faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee and
announced Wednesday at the annual Honors Convocation, is recognized for bringing spirit,
passion and scholarship to the art of teaching.
“I am very surprised, and of course, honored,” Ferradáns said following Wednesday’s
Honors Convocation. “I nominated an amazing colleague, and I am just surprised that
I was the one recognized. But, I am very honored.”
A Professor of Hispanic Studies, Ferradáns teaches all levels of Spanish language, literature and cultural history
of Spain, as well as writing intensive courses for the Writing Program. As chair of
Illinois Wesleyan's Council for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, she has ventured
into the field of multimodal pedagogies, especially those dealing with writing and
speaking across the curriculum.
“Every nominator shared that (Ferradáns) cares deeply about students,” said Provost
and Dean of the Faculty Mark Brodl while introducing Ferradáns as the 2019 Kemp Award
recipient. “She takes students beyond what they may have thought they could accomplish.
She connects students. She connects colleagues. She connects students and colleagues.
She is the model of a teacher-scholar.”
Ferradáns’ scholarship includes critical studies on the poetry of Ana Rossetti, which
are well known – particularly her intertextual reading of the Calvin Klein advertising
campaign of the 1980s. She is the editor and translator of Incessant Beauty: A Bilingual Anthology which offers a wide range of Rossetti's poetry in dual language, Spanish/English.
Ferradáns is also a poet in her own right. In 2006 she published a poetry chapbook,
My Right Breast and Other Poems, with eight poems engaging directly with the aftermath of breast cancer and radiation.
Ferradáns joined the Illinois Wesleyan faculty in 1992 and earned a Ph.D. in Spanish
from the University of California, Irvine in 1993. Ferradáns completed a master’s
degree in Spanish at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1988 after receiving a
bachelor’s degree in philosophy and educational sciences at the University of Santiago
de Compestela in 1984.
Areas of Ferradáns’ research interests include: Contemporary Spanish literature and
cultural studies; The Spanish avant-garde; The legacy of the Spanish Civil War; Digital
humanities; Translation theory; Writing and Speaking pedagogy; Multimodal curriculum
Before Ferradáns was announced as the 2019 Kemp Award recipient, Kemp Foundation representative
Chris Kemp made a presentation to 2018 award-winner Victoria Noltkamper Folse ’86
who serves as a professor and as the Caroline F. Rupert Endowed Chair of Nursing. The Kemp Family Foundation began funding the award during the 2009-10 academic year.
Ferradáns’ said she felt honored to receive the Kemp Award following Folse’s “wonderful,
very powerful speech.” In her presentation, titled “In Pursuit of Excellence: From
Patient Centered to Student Centered” Folse shared her experience as a first-generation
college student raised by a single mother who was reliant on welfare, food stamps
and a medical card.
“I now reflect on how fortunate I was to have known poverty, as my accomplishments
were in spite of – and perhaps because of – my unyielding desire to climb the socioeconomic
ladder,” Folse said. “My focus on having a better life – which for me meant without
government assistance – and helping people around me improve their lives – was my
catalyst for excellence.”
As a child, Folse said she centered her attention on academic performance and her
ability to develop and maintain meaningful relationships. Her soft skills – such as
communicating and thinking critically – were cultivated by life experiences, including
a desire to be defined by more than being the only student eligible for free lunch
in her class.
“Perhaps most important in my journey was my mastery of connecting with people and
using communication to understand myself and the people around me,” Folse said. “I
committed early in life to serving others, and I realized this was possible for me
by earning good grades to assure scholarships to attend college and then deciding
to become a professional nurse, and later, an educator of nurses.”
Folse attended Illinois Wesleyan University where she found that excellence in the
School of Nursing was not optional.
“We were keenly aware – and often reminded – that we had been admitted to the ‘Harvard
of the Midwest,’” Folse said. “As a nursing major, we were charged with the responsibility
to demonstrate that a professional school not only belonged on a liberal arts campus,
but that its existence made us a stronger campus community.”
Within three years of graduating from Illinois Wesleyan, and while working full-time
as a registered nurse, Folse completed her first graduate degree. Her interest in
understanding why a patient was experiencing debilitating symptoms, and what she could
do about it, turned into her master’s thesis, and later, her doctoral dissertation.
“I recognized the impact simply talking – really talking – to another person could
have on that person’s well-being,” Folse said. “I used not only the knowledge and
skills I had developed in a small, private liberal arts university, but relied heavily
on my soft skills.”
These soft skills, Folse said, are critically important for current college students
to hone. Transferable skills such as communication, problem solving and critical thinking,
allow students to adapt knowledge they are gaining at Illinois Wesleyan into real
world settings and prepare them for the complexities of the global society, according
“As we strive for excellence in the School of Nursing, we place tremendous emphasis
on critical thinking and are confident that an education grounded in the liberal arts
serves as the foundation for clinical reasoning and clinical judgment skills,” Folse
Folse encouraged those in attendance at Wednesday’s Honors Convocation to consider
how to direct their own journey of excellence. She suggested “being authentic in your
pursuits and surrounding yourself with people who are equally committed and who share
“Striving for excellence assures you take personal responsibility for decisions and
actions, and requires that you lead by example which will elevate the most vulnerable
around you,” Folse concluded.
An annual celebration of excellence, the Honors Convocation is dedicated to the Class
of 2018 and to students who have earned scholastic and activity honors.
At the ceremony, colleagues also paid tribute to retiring members of the faculty:
Associate Professor of English Mary Ann Bushman; Associate Professor of Economics
Robert Leekley; Chair and Associate Professor of French James Matthews; Professor
of Art Sherri McElroy; Professor of Hispanic Studies Mauricio Parra; Professor of
Art Kevin Strandberg; Professor of English Dan Terkla; Director of Collections and
Professor, Ames Library, Marcia Thomas.