Ph.D. Candidates Receive Excellence-In-Teaching Honors

Posted on: February 11, 2014

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Two Ph.D. in communication candidates, David Keating and Evan Perrault, are among a select group across campus chosen to receive MSU's Excellence-In-Teaching Citation for the outstanding work they have done as graduate teaching assistants.

Up to six Excellence-In-Teaching Citations are awarded by MSU each year to recognize the best graduate teaching assistants and the contributions they have made to the undergraduate program.

To be nominated, teaching assistants must have assumed a significant measure of responsibility for the conduct of undergraduate courses, whether in lecture, recitation or laboratory sections.

Both Keating and Perrault are CAS alumni, having each received their Master of Arts degrees from CAS in 2011. Keating earned his master's in communication in December 2011, while Perrault earned his in health and risk communication in August 2011.

Winners of the Excellence-In-Teaching Citation receive a $1,000 stipend and were recognized at the annual awards convocation. This year's ceremony, which included the President's State of the University remarks, was today at the Wharton Center.

David Keating

web-award-winnerKeating has been a graduate teaching assistant for 10 semesters.

"I am incredibly excited to be one of the recipients of the Excellence-In-Teaching Citation. I am very passionate about teaching and mentoring students, and being in the classroom is one of the best feelings in the world," Keating said.

He was nominated for the Excellence-In-Teaching Citation by Sandi Smith, Professor of Communication and Director of the Health and Risk Communication Center. Smith was Keating's M.A. adviser and now his Ph.D. adviser. Keating also was a student in one of Smith's classes and the two have worked together on research projects and grants.

"The outstanding quality of his instruction, his demonstration of fine scholarship, and his contributions across the university, in the state of Michigan, and in our field make him an ideal candidate for this prestigious award," Smith said in her nomination letter.

Keating has taught or served as an assistant in a variety of courses at all levels, including classes in introductory organizational communication, family communication and all three interpersonal communication courses for undergraduates.

"The fact that he has served as a solo instructor in all but two of these courses attests to the fact that our department acknowledges Dave's acumen in the classroom," Smith said. "Dave is a teacher who spends a lot of time thinking about the best way to teach students about various aspects of communication. He embraces the principles of cooperative and experiential learning."

Beyond the classroom, Keating is busy conducting research and has authored four refereed journal articles. He has presented his work at national and international conferences and engages undergraduate students in his research.

Evan Perrault

awards-2-facultyPerrault has been a graduate teaching assistant for 12 semesters.

"I am honored to have received this award and to be placed in the same company as some truly great scholars and educators in the field of communication arts and sciences," Perrault said.

He was nominated for the Excellence-In-Teaching Citation by Kami Silk, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Director of the M.A. program in Health and Risk Communication, and Professor in the Department of Communication.

Silk has been Perrault's adviser the entire time he has been at MSU. Perrault also has served as both a teaching and research assistant for Silk.

"Evan excels in the classroom. He masters course material, creates a positive classroom culture, is responsive to students (and they respond to him), and is innately interested in creating effective learning experiences for students," Silk said in her nomination letter.

"Evan is approachable, accessible and determined to help students learn. He tackles every class with energy, poise and high standards. He recognizes that his job is to engage students in the learning process any way that he can, and he communicates material so that students grasp concepts easily."

Perrault is working on completing a teaching certificate offered by the graduate school and participated in the 2013 Preparing Future Faculty for the Assessment of Student Learning Institute, a three-day, university-wide, intensive teaching and learning institute to improve ways to assess student learning.

He also has been awarded competitive research funds through the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and a Dissertation Completion Fellowship for his research, which focuses on how doctors can best present themselves through online biographies. This research aims at identifying the characteristics patients value knowing about in a biography and those that ultimately inform their decision-making. He has already had a manuscript accepted for publication, with others under review.

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