UNCW's 2010 nominee for the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching is Frank P. Trimble, professor of communication studies and interim chair of the Department of Theatre. Professor Trimble earned B.S. and M.S degrees in speech communication from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and joined the UNCW faculty in 1983. A teacher, author, director, choreographer, composer, designer, and actor he has received many awards for his teaching and his work in film and in university and community theater, including a Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award, numerous awards from The Thalian Association, Inc., and a Gold Remi at the 41st Worldfest Houston Independent International Film Festival.
As a colleague writes, "Frank's penchant for excellence and his genuine concern for others (be it students, faculty, or staff) have never faltered over the years as he moved from instructor, to associate professor to chair of our department and full professor. A distinguished teacher . . . has the capacity to engender trust, respect, and awe among his colleagues and his students. This Frank does with excellence and dignity." A former student, now a colleague, writes, "Frank's reputation among students and colleagues is impressively well rounded: holds individuals to high expectations, but is not overbearing; is highly respected as a leader and educator, but is not authoritative; is genuinely caring and compassionate, but is not a pushover." Another colleague, a recipient of the Board of Governors Award and a Carnegie Foundation North Carolina Professor of the Year Award, states, "I say with complete sincerity that I still aspire to his level of skill, knowledge, and dedication as a teacher. Mr. Trimble has been both my primary mentor and role model for as many years as we have been colleagues." He is also recognized and admired for the breadth of his contributions to the overall curriculum, including communication theory, public address, performance studies, media production, organizational communication, and writing across the curriculum.
While most of his students are traditional undergraduates, he is also an instructor for the Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools Staff and Faculty Program. Lieutenant Colonel R. H. Willis, Jr. writes that the over 100 Marine instructors and curriculum developers Frank has trained "ranked him as one of the best instructors providing training for our program." Noting the "very high expectations" and "little tolerance for unpreparedness" faced by civilians in a military training environment, he states, "Mr. Trimble excelled at adjusting to his new teaching environment . . . tailored his teaching style to meet the learning styles of our military adult learners, and had great success in earning their trust and respect."
After serving as department chair for 13 years he returned full time to the classroom in 2007 and created a Communication Assistance Program in which students become apprentices as consultants and peer-instructors. When, in summer 2009, the Department of Theatre was in need of an interim chair, Frank graciously agreed to assume that role while continuing to teach three courses per semester and serve as Theatre Internship Director.