Joshua Westwick ’01/M.S. ’03, associate director of South Dakota State University’s School of Communication and Journalism, recently received the Don Yoder Distinguished Faculty Award at the National Communication Association’s annual Basic Course Division business meeting.
“The basic course at SDSU has been a part of the general education curriculum for nearly 60 years. Although the course has been modified many times, the course’s longevity speaks to its strength, distinctiveness and record of excellence. I am honored to have been one of its students, graduate teaching assistants and to now have the ability to work with students and graduate teaching assistants in those classes,” Westwick said. “I’m grateful for the opportunities to work with so many of my colleagues on basic course development, pedagogy and research. This honor is a reward of those connections.”
Westwick, an associate professor, is the eighth recipient of the award, which started in 2013. The award recognizes a current or former basic course instructor or director who has demonstrated a commitment to the basic course in any format, made significant contributions to the development of a strong basic course program through research, training or assessment, and has evidence of teaching excellence in the basic course over a prolonged period of time that transcends nationally.
“This award publicly recognizes what those of us lucky enough to know Dr. Westwick already understood. His work with our basic communications course—SPCM 101—has ensured that it provides a strong foundation from which students can build the communication skills vital to a successful career. In addition, the course also plays a key role in retaining students and helping them earn their degrees. Josh and his colleagues have built a supportive and encouraging course that helps students master their fear of public speaking and gain confidence as young professionals,” said Lynn Sargeant, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Westwick was cited for mentoring four graduate students to receive the Central States Communication Association’s Pamela Cooper Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching. In addition, he has established himself as a leading scholar in the basic course, communication education and instructional communication research communities.
Under his direction, the SDSU basic course received the NCA Program of Excellence Award in 2013. SDSU offers approximately 35 sections of the course each semester.
Westwick received the 2009 Outstanding Young Speech Teacher Award by the Speech Communication Association of South Dakota and SDSU’s 2019 Edward Patrick Hogan Award for Teaching Excellence.