Kennedy Center honors WSU faculty for teaching excellence

Two faculty holding award plaquesTheatre faculty Benjamin Gonzales and Mary Trotter received separate awards for outstanding and innovative teaching at the 2018 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) for Region VII.

“Theatre and art, teaches us about our humanity, our ability to lean into discomfort, in order to learn about the complexity and depth of our capacity to endure, to love, to discover and grow. Mary and Ben have helped so many students recognize their capacity to create, to connect, to be compassionate, to be change makers.” Said Kelly Quinnett, University of Idaho professor of theatre arts and immediate past chair for KCACTF Region VII.

Gonzales, clinical associate professor and a WSU faculty member since 2003, received the Horace Robinson/Jack Watson Award in recognition of his dedication and support for students above and beyond the normal duties expected of university faculty.

Trotter, WSU clinical assistant professor since 2011, was awarded the Region VII Prize for Innovative Teaching. Presented by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (AFTHE) and KCACTF, the award honors innovative teaching that supports student success in the area of theatre arts.

In addition to regular participation at the festival, Trotter serves as Region VII coordinator for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Auditions and Gonzales serves as regional chair for the National Playwriting Program (NPP). He will represent WSU and Region VII at the KCACTF Nation Festival 2018 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, in April.

Current chair for KCACTF Region VII and assistant professor of theatre at Central Washington University, Patrick Dizney said, “Ben and Mary have continually surprised their peers in the region with the caliber of work WSU has produced, the quality of the students they engage and the opportunities they have created for artists to grow and learn. Despite having no official [theatre] program…their students have engaged in our annual festival for years, representing WSU with pride, professionalism, enthusiasm, and contributing significantly to the larger community of artists.”

About the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

KCACTF Region VII includes Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, northern California and northern Nevada and is attended by over one thousand faculty and students each year. Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF student and faculty participants celebrate the creative process and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists. The KCACTF honors excellence of overall production and offers student artists individual recognition through awards and scholarships in playwriting, acting, dramatic criticism, directing, and design.

Adapted from WSU Insider

Top image: Trotter (left) and Gonzales at the KCACTF awards event.