Justin Stewart with his advising award.
Justin Stewart might need a bigger trophy case.
The associate lecturer in the COJO Department received three major awards in spring semester: Extraordinary Merit in Advising from the College of Arts and Sciences, Top 10 Teacher from A&S, and the PIE (Promoting Intellectual Engagement) award given for inspiring "excitement, inquiry and autonomy in first-year courses."
Stewart is a graduate of the COJO Department, earning both a bachelor’s (2003) and master’s degree (2006) in communication. After completing the graduate program, he was hired as a lecturer, teaching Public Speaking and other courses. He attributes much of his success as an educator to professors from whom he took communication classes at UW.
“In my undergraduate career, I was greatly influenced by three of my professors,” he said. “First, Dr. Mike Brown, who always had a cool example or a story to tell. Second, Dr. Kent Drummond, who was always very professional in his demeanor and speaking style. And finally, Dr. Frank Millar, who taught me to think in ways I had never done before. I like to think of my teaching style as a combination of those three great teachers.”
Stewart said he thinks of teaching as a guiding process. “When students take a class, they're trying to understand a subject that is likely unfamiliar to them, so they're trying to navigate a terrain they haven't traveled on before,” he said. “My job is to show them how to think about that subject, how to navigate that terrain. To me, that means showing students both the common ways of understanding a topic that others have written about, but it also means challenging them to think about the subject in new and different ways, to take the paths less traveled.”
He also serves as the department’s advising coordinator, and advises dozens of undergraduate students each semester.
“The thing I like about advising is the one-on-one time I get to spend with students,” he said. “It's such a different feel from being in my large classrooms. My goal with advising is to get my advisees to their goal in their education. Communication and Journalism are so broad, there are so many ways you can take that knowledge and that degree, so I have to help whittle things down: What do you like to learn about? What do you see yourself doing for a career? Then, how can we get you to that point.”
Stewart also is the department's curriculum coordinator, and organizes the class schedule every semester. He also directs five graduate teaching assistants in the public speaking courses.
For more information on Stewart, see his home page.