12 Weber State professors earn top honor for quality teaching

OGDEN, Utah — Twelve of Weber State University’s best professors received the 2024 Presidential Teaching Excellence Award in January, when WSU President Brad Mortensen made surprise visits to each of their classrooms. 

The award is based on nominations from students, faculty and staff who recognize the student-focused efforts of WSU professors in various fields of study, from the arts to the sciences. 

“Weber State is known for our focus on teaching, getting to know our students and rooting for their success,” Mortensen said. “These professors really exemplify that, which is why students themselves take the time to nominate them. I couldn’t be more proud to present this award every year to some of the best among our faculty.” 

This year, the Presidential Teaching Excellence Awards were presented to the following faculty: 

  • Nazneen Ahmad, economics

  • Tariq Arif, mechanical engineering

  • Justin Burr, health sciences

  • Ryan Cain, teacher education

  • Nicola Corbin, communication

  • London Draper Lowe, nursing

  • Valerie Gooder, nursing

  • Bridget Hilbig, botany and plant ecology

  • Aubrey Jones, world languages and cultures

  • Shannon McGillivray, psychological science

  • Jean Norman, communication

  • Matt Thue, business administration and marketing

Nicola Corbin, associate professor of communication, said she was shocked when Mortensen walked into her classroom to present the award in front of her students: “What an amazing memory,” she said. “I’ve replayed it over and over in my head. It was overwhelming and humbling.”

Corbin is teaching two courses this semester — intro to mass communication and intro to public relations. She said the Presidential Teaching Excellence Award inspires her to be an even better teacher. 

“This is an honor, but it’s also a responsibility to live up to what this award stands for, to ensure we continue to elevate education, and do our best to be the most effective teachers we can be,” Corbin said. 

Thanks to support from generous donors to WSU, winners receive a $5,000 award, either as a cash stipend or to enhance their teaching through professional development, curriculum development, research or acquiring equipment and technology for their classrooms.

This year’s winners join a distinguished list of more than 60 recipients since the awards launched in 2018. The 2024 awardees will be formally recognized at the Thrive Symposium Awards Banquet on March 28 at the Grand View Reception & Event Center in Ogden.