IT specialist turned Communication Studies instructor says students teach him through stories, experiences
UWL alumnus Terry Smith, ’98, says becoming a teacher changed his life. What he likes most about it is spending time with people who are “energetic and genuine.”
Smith was one of several UWL faculty to be recognized during UWL Chancellor Joe Gow’s All-University Address on Wednesday, Aug. 28 for excellence in teaching. He and six other UWL faculty members received the 2019 Eagle Teaching Excellence Award. A committee selected the winners from about 800 student nominations.
As part of the Aug. 28 recognition, UWL Provost Betsy Morgan read quotes from the student nominators, including this one for Smith:
“Coming into college I thought CST would be my least favorite class, but because of how fun, understanding, and educational Terry’s class has been, I have to say it is one of my favorites. Terry also is open to helping me, and anyone, with questions related to anything on campus we need help with.”
Smith says teaching is a profession that allows him to have fun, learn new things, meet new people, and make a positive impact on a daily basis.
“The students in the classroom and my colleagues throughout UWL make me smile … and when I start smiling, I can share that joy through teaching,” he says. “I also love the time I get with the students before class, in the halls, and around campus. They teach me so much when we share stories and experiences.”
Smith received his undergraduate degree from UWL in English in 1998 and has worked at UWL in various capacities since 1995. He was a media specialist in UWL’s Information Technology Services starting in 2000. He started teaching part-time in 2007 and dedicated his life to being a full-time instructor in fall 2011.
He teaches primarily CST 110: Communicating Effectively. He has also taught other classes including CST 210: Presentational Speaking and CST 271: Media and Society. He has also served as director of UWL’s Public Speaker Center and as an academic advisor. This summer he co-led a study abroad trip to Cape Town, South Africa.
The Eagle Teaching Excellence Award winners for 2019 are:
- Nilakshi Borah ~ Finance
- Mary Hamman ~ Economics
- Tom Jesse ~ English Education
- Terry Smith ~ Communication Studies
- Meredith Thomsen ~ Biology
- Nathan Warnberg ~ Mathematics & Statistics