Lecturer Brenda Witherspoon is a 2016 recipient of an Excellence in Undergraduate Introductory Teaching Award from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Witherspoon has been a lecturer at the Greenlee School since 2000, first teaching reporting classes before taking over the school’s orientation course for undergraduate students (JL MC 110) in the spring 2013 semester. In this introductory course, which attracts over 150 students in the fall and spring semesters, Witherspoon is responsible for familiarizing new students with the Greenlee School’s three majors, curricula and extra-curricular opportunities, while guiding each student through the creation of 4-year study plans, based on their individual career goals.
"Brenda is not only the first point of contact for students, but she also gets them excited about Greenlee, their majors and job opportunities through her class," wrote Academic Adviser Jessica Hansen.
Students agree with Hansen’s assesment of Witherspoon’s effective teaching style. Journalism and mass communication senior Mary Khan had Witherspoon as an instructor in both Orientation to Journalism and Communication (JL MC 110) and Reporting and Writing for Mass Media (JL MC 201) and noted that her experience working in the journalism industry contributes to her success teaching Greenlee classes.
"Brenda is everything that a teacher should be: caring, wise, and inspiring," Khan wrote her nomination letter. "She works hard to meet the needs of each and every student, her grasp of AP Style, grammar, and story organization is unmatched, and she inspires students with the knowledge she has gained from firsthand experience in the field."
In his nomination letter, Greenlee School Director Michael Bugeja noted that Witherspoon’s prowess in the classroom is critically important in the first required course for all new students, as it helps students find their paths through the Greenlee School and the many opportunities they have to achieve their career goals.
"It is one thing to recruit students and another to retain them," Bugeja said, crediting Witherspoon for her work in the school’s orientation classes.
Witherspoon will be recognized for her award at the fall 2016 LAS Convocation Ceremony.