Commitment to student success honored

Faculty members Allyson Beall King in the School of the Environment and Charles Weller in the Department of History, along with English graduate student R.J. Murphy, were recently recognized for their contributions to learning success and excellence university wide.

Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching

Presented to Allyson Beall King, scholarly associate professor and associate director of undergraduate programs in the School of the Environment in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Allyson Beall King.King is commended for having developed and refined an innovative student-centered pedagogy that is process-oriented, collaborative, experiential, and curiosity-driven. The award selection committee noted her attention to issues of belonging, equity, and retention, and that she places top priority on welcoming non-majors into the world of environmental science.

“This truly embodies the spirit of general education,” said Clif Stratton, University Common Requirements (UCORE) director, in his letter of congratulations to King. “Congratulations on sustaining exemplary standards for undergraduate education at WSU.”

The annual Law Award was first made in 2013 and has been given previously to nine faculty who teach University Common Requirements (UCORE) general education courses across university disciplines. It is named in honor of retired professor Dick Law, who led WSU general education from 1990 to 2009. It values the important role played by faculty to help undergraduates attain the WSU Learning Goals and Outcomes, especially outside their major area of study.

Learning Communities Excellence Awards

In the face of COVID-19 restrictions and required remote learning, First-Year Programs Director Karen Weathermon said two exceptional First-Year Focus (FYF) instructors created additional opportunities to develop community among and connection with their students.

Charles Weller.Charles Weller, an instructor who taught History 105 within FYF both fall and spring semesters, is a long-time FYF participant, known for exceptional work and a commitment to creating community in his classes. This year, he met with students synchronously, sent frequent encouraging emails, built community both in and following each class, and worked to integrate his students’ own life histories with the content of History 105.

He was also commended for efforts in previous years to spearhead and participate in several large social events in residence halls such as lawn parties and Flapjacks with Faculty; this year, he was complimented for continuing to provide opportunities for connection through digital spaces.

R.J. Murphy, a graduate student in English who taught English 101 within FYF both fall and spring semesters, was recognized for outstanding work. Their work is cited for standing out as being truly exceptional, from first contact with students prior to the start of the semester, to the many creative and interactive course activities, frequent one-on-one check-ins, and movie and book club gatherings Murphy offered beyond the usual time frame of class. Their creative and dedicated work with students exemplifies the community, connection, and dedication to student success that are at the heart of the very best practices in First-Year Focus.


By Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement for WSU Insider