ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (March 26, 2024) – Kim Downing has been a clinical social worker for 35 years. However, it’s her 15 years at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) as a professor and director of the university’s Social Work program that gives her the most satisfaction.  

While I am very passionate about social work, overall, as a profession, I consider my tenure as an educator the most fulfilling aspect of my career to date,” Downing said. “I always feel like a proud mom watching our former students transform into the professionals they are today. It is a tremendous joy to witness and applaud their achievements as they advance in their careers with such grace and excellence.” 

Her passion for helping her students achieve and her dedication to the university has earned Downing a place among 17 academicians selected for the 2024 Awards for Excellence in Teaching by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. The group will receive a bronze medallion and a cash award.  

The recipients represent all 16 of North Carolina’s public universities and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Recipients were nominated by special committees at each institution and selected by the Board of Governors Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs, according to a UNC System press release. 

“These extraordinary faculty members have dedicated their lives to teaching and are committed to lifting up their students to become the next generation of leaders for North Carolina and the nation,” said UNC Board of Governors chair Randy Ramsey. “We are grateful for their service and congratulate them on these awards.”  

Downing will be recognized during ECSU’s spring commencement ceremony on May 4. Downing, also the university’s director of Summer School, said receiving the highest honor for faculty in the UNC System is a great affirmation.  

It is truly humbling to represent our beloved ECSU in this capacity. Aside from the thrilling feeling that accompanies a professional milestone such as this, more than anything, this award has prompted me to reflect with gratitude on my journey thus far,” she said. “It’s a journey that has been characterized by mentors, colleagues, loved ones, and my unwavering faith that has undergirded and supported me along each and every step.”