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Outstanding Faculty Awards

Terry Alford

Professor of History
Northern Virginia Community College

Terry Alford is a Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College, where he has taught since 1972. Dr. Alford teaches survey courses in US history. He also helped found the colleges Honors Program and continues to teach honors students in 19th century American history each semester.

Dr. Alford won the NOVA Educational Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching and was one of first winners of the NOVA Presidential Sabbatical Award. He chaired the feasibility study that established the Northern Virginia Review and is a member of its editorial board. Dr. Alford is the long-time chair of the college Lyceum and of the Mills Memorial Lecture Endowment.

Dr. Alfords interest in the history of Southern race relations led to his writing Prince Among Slaves (1978). This book tells the story of Abdul Rahman, an 18th century Muslim from modern-day Guinea who was a slave in the Old South. The award-winning book was recently re-issued in a thirtieth anniversary edition by Oxford University Press. Prince Among Slaves was made into a documentary shown on PBS in 2008. The program was seen by a national audience of over three million viewers.

Dr. Alford is a founding board member of the Abraham Lincoln Institute of Washington, D.C., and a nationally recognized authority on John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln assassination. Dr. Alford appeared on 20/20, ABC News, the History Channel, the Discovery Network, and PBS. Fortunes Fool, Dr. Alfords biography of Booth, is scheduled to be published by Oxford University Press in 2011. His research endeavors have been supported by four grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

I strive in my classes and my scholarship to make history relevant to my students, writes Dr. Alford. Historical figures were actual people. Some were extraordinary, some just got caught up in extraordinary times, but they were all flesh-and-blood - like you and I. If you can convince your students of that, youre half-way home.

Dr. Alford received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in history from Mississippi State University and subsequently studied family history at the University of California at Davis.

View Nomination Packet

Terry Alford

"I remain convinced that the core of education is the contact between teacher and student. Every time I reach for a classroom door handle, I feel deeply privileged to be part of that process. Every day there is excitement, inquiry and opportunity. I sometimes wonder if I havent learned as much at NOVA as I have taught."