The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education selected her from more than 300 professors in the United States.
The award is based on a professor’s dedication to undergraduate teaching.
It is determined by excellence in the professor’s impact on and involvement with undergraduate students; approach to teaching and learning; contributions to undergraduate education in the institution, community and profession; and support from colleagues and current and former undergraduate students.
Williams, who has been teaching for 21 years, wrote in a personal statement to the Carnegie Foundation that she has "dreamed about being a teacher since my preschool days."
She began her career at Southwest DeKalb High School in 1972.
Graduate school took her to Oklahoma, where she earned a master’s degree in English at the University of Central Oklahoma in 1986 and a doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Oklahoma in 1990.
She returned to Georgia and started teaching English at NGCSU in 1997.
"Along the way, I got hooked on the rewards that teaching composition provides, the rewards that come from seeing the faces of students who finally understand that they can be writers — good writers — despite the discouraging feedback they’ve received in the past, despite their lack of success in other English classes," Williams said.
"While I have taught advanced classes filled with English majors whom I’ve enabled to grow as writers, I’m convinced that my commitment, talents, and energies have counted the most when devoted to the teaching of first-year composition."
A sample of Williams’ published work in peer-reviewed journals includes "Communication across the Campus: Expanding Our Mission To Practice What We Profess" in The Journal of Business Communication and "Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach: A Memoir in Three Acts" in The English Record.
Williams is the recipient of the Dorothy Golden Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Composition.
This year, there are Professor of the Year award winners in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education had two preliminary panels of judges select finalists. The Carnegie Foundation then convened the third and final panel, which selected four national winners.