Complimented for her ability to combine high standards and expectations with an ability to relate to students on their level, Hadassah Ward is the master’s student recipient of this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award.
Ward will graduate in the spring with her MA in communication.
“I'm currently applying to Ph.D. programs, so this means a ton,” Ward said. “It helps confirm that teaching on the university level truly is an option if I take time off before a Ph.D.”
She has been developing her skills teaching public speaking and business communication courses, with the ultimate goal of securing a Ph.D. and finding a place on a tenure track. Ward is most excited to devote her career to student development.
Ward worked with UCommunicate, a company based in UC's Department of Communication that gives students real-world experience in helping businesses and other clients with their public relations, social media, marketing and branding needs.
She also credits access to conference funding as support that felt unique to her experience as an A&S student. Her own academic advisors uplifted her and contributed greatly to the success she has found as both a student and instructor, she said.
“She has been an innovator in her classroom, utilizing flipped classroom strategies and a variety of multi-media approaches to delivering course material,” said professor Stephen Depoe in his letter recommending Ward. “Her quantitative course evaluations have consistently scored at or above departmental averages, and open-ended student comments confirm excellent performance.”
Ward also worked with undergraduate students at Northern Kentucky University as a residence hall advisor and LGBTQ ambassador. Her teaching philosophy reflects a passion for supporting students in and out of the classroom.
“My teaching philosophy can best be described as a power equality-driven classroom with individual opportunities for mentorship and active participation in discussion and activities. This basically means that I try to treat my students like my peers, with mutual respect and expectation of accountability,” Ward said. "I aim to serve as more than just an instructor. I try to serve as a resource for whatever they are experiencing, even if it isn't course related.”
Receiving this award has given Ward a personal sense of accomplishment regarding her future.
“This award gives me hope for the professor I will be one day” Ward said. “If I can win this award while teaching and being a full-time student, I am so excited for the day I have all my time to devote to course development and student support.”