Hugh Downs School faculty, students earn accolades at communication conference

Herberger Professor Sarah Tracy received the 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award from the Western States Communication Association at their annual convention Feb. 23 in Seattle.


An Arizona State University professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication has received a teaching award for her dedication and innovative approach to student learning.

Herberger Professor Sarah Tracy received the 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award from the Western States Communication Association (WSCA) at their annual convention Feb. 23 in Seattle.   

Tracy, who has taught more than 20 different communication classes in undergraduate and graduate levels, was recognized by the association for “the kind of teaching that incites intellectual curiosity in students, inspires departmental colleagues and makes students aware of significant relationships between the academy and the world at large.”

Tracy not only teaches classes but was also recognized for developing and re-developing well over half of them. Her COM 452 class, The Communication of Happiness, is one of the most popular classes in the Hugh Downs School. 

WSCA representative Audrey Deterding of the Missouri University of Science & Technology presented the award to Tracy, noting that "she is a person who has routinely updated courses to reflect new ways of making the material come alive and isn’t willing to settle for anecdotal evidence of effective instruction.” 

Deterding then quoted a former student who said, "Professor Tracy critically rejects a top-down style of teaching that merely deposits knowledge into students. Rather, she inspires students to find their own paths and improve their strengths.”

"I've been privileged to be involved in the learning journeys of thousands of communication students and to support them to develop their understanding of organizational communication and qualitative methodology in ways that bring value to employers when they graduate,” Tracy said. “It’s an honor to receive recognition for my work as an innovative educator and for my scholarship and research activities associated with teaching and learning.”

In addition to the Distinguished Teaching Award, several other Hugh Downs School faculty and graduate students were honored at the conference with Top Paper awards:

  • Liu, Y., Roberto, A. J., Sun, F., & Mongeau, P. A. (2019, February). "Exploring advance care planning on end-of-life care among Chinese-American older adults: The role of acculturation."
  • Adame, B.J., Liu, Y., Posteher, K. A., Adame, E.A., Tsai, J., Corman, S.R. (2019, February) "Promoting the development of evidence-based concussion education for power-5 collegiate athletes: The influences of organizational elements on perceived vestedness."
  • Tristano, M (2019, February). "Building bridges: Mapping of borderlands, intersectionality, and queer of color critique." 
  • Terminel Iberri, A (2019, February) "Zumba as Resistencia" 

See the full list of WSCA presentations from the Hugh Downs School. 

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