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Showcase 2021 Awards

President’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Career-Track Faculty

Recognizing outstanding educators

This award recognizes up to two non-tenure track faculty members who epitomize the highest levels of performance and excellence and who provide a vital role in teaching WSU students.


Rebecca L. Cooney

Scholarly Associate Professor, Department of Strategic Communication

Scholarly Associate Professor Cooney has more than 26 years of experience in professional communication. She teaches courses in integrated campaigns, user experience design, message strategy, and digital marketing. In addition to teaching, she is the director of Murrow Online Programs and a research associate for the Center of Excellence in Natural Product-Drug Interaction Research. Outside of her work at WSU, she serves as a consultant in learning experience design and effective communication in the virtual space.

Her service to WSU includes peer coaching and serving as a representative on the Global Academic Council and Graduate Studies Committee. She was a Provost Featured Faculty member in 2019 and recipient of the Oaks Award for innovation in teaching (2019), Scripps Howard Visiting Professor in Social Media (2015), and Plank Center Educator Fellow awards (2014). Since launching a blog about online education in 2020, scholars nationwide have sought her guidance.


Dave Torick

Teaching Assistant Professor, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

“Arguably the best teacher WSU has ever hired,” is how students describe Dave Torick. The teaching assistant professor receives outstanding evaluations of his courses in computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided engineering (CAE). A former application engineer and simulation specialist, Torick redesigned CAD/CAE courses and launched the CAD certification program to prepare students for industry challenges. He arrives to class early and stays late to answer students’ questions and build relationships. He does so to create a safe, inclusive learning environment that allows students to grow.

Torick has established several student clubs and serves as a resource to clubs in his college for all things CAD. His outreach to alumni resulted in a donation of funds and equipment for a new CAD laboratory, doubling computer capacity for students. He also received grant funding for design and 3D printing equipment for his students. Torick has presented and published his research on CAD pedagogy.


Previous recipients

2020Janet Peters, Psychology
Chris Dickey, Music
2019Clif Stratton, History
Renee Petersen, Civil and Environmental Engineering
2018Leann Hunter, English
Jason B. Peschel, School of Design and Construction
2017Xiaopeng Bi, mechanical and materials engineering
Debbie Brinker, nursing
2016Lisa Carloye, biological sciences
Karl Olsen, civil and environmental engineering
2015Nicholas Cerruti, physics
Kate McAteer, biological sciences
2014Andrew S. O’Fallon, software engineering
Samantha Swindell, psychology
2013Pamela Awana Lee, fine arts
Judy Meuth, critical culture, gender, and race studies

Award criteria, application process, and video of previous recipients