Volume 10 No 2 Spring 2014


Toby Brody: A Dynamic and Innovative Leader, a Caring and Compassionate Colleague
by Nancy Swisher

It is with heavy hearts that we bid adieu to Toby Brody, NC State ESL Director for the past fourteen years. Though it is hard to imagine ESL at NC State without her, we celebrate with her as she embarks upon a new phase in her life.

Dr. Ruth Gross, head of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, states: "Under Toby's leadership NC State's ESL program has achieved regional, national, and international recognition and respect. She had a real vision for the program which she has, in large part, built from the ground up. She has been fantastic to work with, and I will miss her remarkable energy and efficiency."

While all of her innovations and accomplishments during her time at NC State are too numerous to mention here, they include: creating and coordinating the highly successful ESL Symposium, establishing the Academic English Program in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, directing the Summer Institute in English and the ESL Teacher Licensure Program, establishing the NC State TESOL Certificate Program, and creating and acting as Editor-in chief of the ESL Globe.

Among the awards she has received are a $1.25 million Department of Education Grant, Title VII, Bilingual Education: Training for All Teachers Grant; and a Fulbright Scholar Faculty Award, Technological University of Panama in Panama City.

Toby's reach has extended far beyond the confines of the campus community. She has presented dozens of papers, workshops and speeches for conferences and organizations around the country and has rendered hours of valuable service as a member of various committees. She was a regular columnist for the Carolina TESOL quarterly publication.

Dr. Jeffrey Braden, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences sums up her impact on the educational landscape thusly: "Toby not only contributed to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures; she had a profound impact on our campus. Her leadership of the ESL teaching program is a model for inter-college, inter-disciplinary education. Moreover, her contributions to assessment of and curriculum for students from other countries dramatically enhanced our university's ability to realize its strategic goals in growing our international student body, and for developing key global partnerships. In short, her work was felt far beyond her department and our college, and has enriched our international outreach and visibility."

Toby is admired by many people, but her biggest fans are those of us in the ESL section at NC State who worked with her on a daily basis. She was always kind and caring, and her faith and trust in our abilities and efforts empowered and inspired us to strive for excellence in all of our endeavors. She encouraged innovation and creativity and gave us the freedom to draw upon our diverse individual skill sets to best serve our students. An added plus was her sense of humor, friendliness and camaraderie.

On a personal note, I would like to thank Toby for her support and guidance over the years. I am most grateful that she gave me the opportunity to teach a wide range of ESL courses and to serve as editor of the ESL Globe. Both have been welcomed challenges which contributed significantly to my professional development. Toby always protested when I called her "boss." Indeed, she was not a boss in the usual sense, but a mentor, role model and friend to us all.

We will miss you, Toby.