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Mary Alice Bruce is Ellbogen Teaching Award Recipient

May 5, 2009
Woman with students
UW Professor Mary Alice Bruce leads a group discussion as counselor education graduate students Hauva Manookin of Cheyenne, left, and Dystaney Staley of Laramie look on.

Students describe Mary Alice Bruce as an informative, experienced, supportive, organized, enthusiastic, challenging and a skilled communicator.

They also view her as an excellent instructor, role model and mentor who genuinely cares about their professional careers and personal growth.

Bruce, a professor and head of the Department of Counselor Education, and Gregg Cawley, professor in the Department of Political Science, both were selected to receive this year's John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, established in 1977 by Casper businessman John P. "Jack" Ellbogen, to "foster, encourage, and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW."

Kent Becker, a Counselor Education Department associate professor, says Bruce has developed her leadership, teaching, advising and service career based upon the guiding principles of creating a caring community, collaboration, leadership and vision for the profession and integrating theory and knowledge into effective evidence-based practices.

"These principles provide the foundation for a highly successful educator, mentor and leader," Becker says.

Bruce, who came to UW in 1991, has designed and taught a variety of undergraduate, master's and doctoral-level degree courses and has taught 29 different courses. She has used innovative approaches in her teaching, including distance learning, collaborative instruction, experiential learning and state-of-the-art clinical technology.

"She skillfully facilitates class discussion that allows students to learn from one another through collaboration and creation of new meaning," says colleague Serena Lambert, a counselor education assistant professor.

Bruce's teaching style and mentoring have touched the students she has taught throughout her illustrious career.

"Dr. Bruce's instruction, mentoring and support have been critical to my development and success as a faculty member," says Jennifer Murdock, a University of Northern Colorado assistant professor. "She provided students with a consistency and warmth that allowed for our growth as counselors and as professional educators. She created a classroom climate that allowed for questions and discussions. We always felt that Dr. Bruce cared for us and was there to support us through her teaching and her clinical instruction."

Another former graduate student recalls her first presentation under Bruce's guidance.

"Dr. Bruce is a caring professor who actively engages students. This is demonstrated not only by her captivating teaching skills, but also in the manner she encourages students to participate in professional activities such as presenting at local, regional and national conferences," says Nancy Forth, University of Central Florida associate professor. "Looking back over my last 10 years, I believe with certainty (that) I would not have a vita that includes more than 40 presentations if it had not been for the encouragement Mary Alice provided for that first presentation."

Bruce received her B.S. degree in mathematics/chemistry from Purdue University and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in counselor education from Iowa State University.


Posted on Tuesday, May 05, 2009

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