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Gregg Cawley Receives Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award

May 5, 2009
Man reading to students
Political Science Professor Gregg Cawley

When University of Wyoming political science professor Gregg Cawley was nominated for the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, letters of recognition and recommendation poured in from students and colleagues alike.

Cawley and Mary Alice Bruce, professor and head of the Department of Counselor Education, both were selected to receive this year's award, established in 1977 by Casper businessman John P. "Jack" Ellbogen, to "foster, encourage, and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW."

"Professor Cawley's method intrigued me," says former student Joshua Kollaja. "He teaches from the middle, but he pulls from 360 degrees information, facts, fictions, myths, viewpoints and evidence, so that each student can draw his own conclusions and interpretations."

Cawley's versatile teaching style has allowed him to move back and forth among the School of Environment and Natural Resources, the American Studies Program and the Political Science Department at UW. This diverse experience has given him a chance to connect with many students and professors, and his consistently effective teaching style draws praise from people in several departments.

"His lectures, when he gave them, had the admirable quality of appearing informal 'just talking' content-rich and engaging, but not evidently didactic," says Frieda Knobloch, an associate professor in the American Studies Program.

Jeffrey Lockwood, a professor of natural sciences and humanities, says, "Oftentimes I was entranced by Dr. Cawley's insights, tactics and strategies and I came to emulate many of his approaches."

Though colleague recognition is important for professors, student opinions are also very significant. Cawley has a reputation for making his classes challenging, yet student evaluations show the positive results of his teaching.

"I noticed myself talking with friends about certain issues of the course (which normally never happens) and also thinking a lot about the class on my own free time," says one student.

"Loved it! What a great class. Cawley treated us with respect and admiration. He is a brilliant individual who genuinely loves his work," says another.

A UW faculty member since 1988, Cawley has taught such classes as Environmental Politics, Federal Lands Politics, Seminar: Governing Utopia, Public Policy and Program Management and Administrative Regulation.

Cawley earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1971. He then moved to Fort Collins to study at CSU, earning an M.A. in political science in 1974 and a Ph.D. in political science in 1981.

He has been published in books, journal articles and textbooks. Students have honored him with awards including being named "Outstanding Political Science Professor" by Pi Sigma Alpha in 1992 and "Best Teacher" by A&S graduates in 1993-1995, as well as earning "Extraordinary Merit for Teaching" and "Outstanding Teaching in Political Science" awards in 2008.


Posted on Tuesday, May 05, 2009

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