With book awards, retired professor still impacts students’ lives
By Sarah Goehri
PULLMAN, Wash. – Though she retired from the Washington State University College of Education in 2001, Inga Kromann continues to impact the lives of teacher preparation students each year.
She does so by sponsoring the Inga Kromann Book Awards. The contest gives WSU education students the opportunity to develop their own children’s books. It was created by Assistant Professor Jane Kelley, who succeeded Kromann as a literature professor in the College of Education.
Kromann was already familiar with the idea after creating a similar project in the graduate course, Advanced Study in Children’s Literature, that she taught while a professor here. The graduate project consisted of an examination of the entire process of book production, including the role of author, illustrator, editor, and designer. The book writing contest is based on the same process, allowing students to develop a greater understanding for the many requirements needed to create a story.
Contestants research themes and gain a better understanding of elements such as voice, style, and the use of technology to illustrate the text, says Kromann. “The entire process helps teachers in training to appreciate literature, evaluate the many books on the market, and to determine classroom uses.”
Kromann offers financial support for prizes, the binding process, and book jackets. She is given a copy of each of the award-winning books and said she feels honored to have the award named after her.
Carly Young, assistant director of development, praises Kromann’s passion and commitment. “Students and faculty are thrilled to be part of the annual book awards,” she says.
Kromann says that, after spending 38 years at WSU building the literature program and the collection of books in the Brain Education Library, she was delighted that Kelley continued to develop the significance of the field after she had retired. Literature has “become an increasingly important area in teacher education as well as in classrooms throughout the country,” she says.
As a true Coug, Kromann says she has never missed a televised Cougar football or basketball game. She attributes the most fulfilling years of her career to WSU and enjoys visiting Pullman whenever she can. She divides most of her time, “as the spirit moves me,” between her apartment in Seattle and her home in Oro Valley, Arizona. “I’m not a ‘snowbird.’ I’m a transient–thanks to Alaska Airlines!”