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Doug Russell: Devoted to Students

April 29, 2013
Doug Russell

Doug Russell continuously draws praise for his teaching style and devotion to students.

Russell, an associate professor in the University of Wyoming Department of Art, received the university’s John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award.  The award was established in 1977 by businessman John P. "Jack" Ellbogen to "foster, encourage and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW.”

Other recipients this year are Peter Parolin, associate professor in the Department of English, and Naomi Ward, assistant professor in the departments of Molecular Biology and Botany.

Russell brings out the best in his students, who say his style makes them want to excel even more.

“Doug does much more than merely instruct students. He mentors, supports and takes time to help them find their own voice as creative artists,” says nominator Ricki Klages, head of the UW Department of Art.

Shelby Shadwell, associate professor of art and drawing, adds “He interacts with his students in the most responsive ways, going out of his way to encourage the very promising and talented to reach even greater accomplishments and to encourage those that need more assistance to work with him outside of class to master the technical and material challenges of drawing.”

Russell teaches art drawing courses and an international summer course in Turkey.

“The development of international courses in art, that are taught in the summer, has been a huge recruitment tool for the Department of Art. Doug worked ceaselessly since he started teaching in the department to establish an international study abroad opportunity to Turkey,” Klages says.

One of Russell’s students concurs about the impact of the international course.

“My study abroad experience helped open my eyes to the possibilities and differences that are out there. Professor Russell planned the perfect excursion to teach me those things,” says an undergraduate art student.

Such devotion to students doesn’t go unnoticed.

“Professor Russell helped me understand the beauty of communicating an experience in an unfamiliar culture through writing and drawing rather than from behind the barrier of a camera or a phone,” says an art undergraduate student.

“He is a leader and mentor for many students, and is perceived as having high standards for his own work and his students,” Art Professor Mark Ritchie adds. “Doug is engaged with teaching well beyond the scheduled meetings with students. He is genuinely engaged in his own studio practice and brings this passion to the studio classroom, as well as to his interactions with students beyond the classroom."

One of Russell’s students praises the high standards that are set for all students in his class.

"Professor Russell is my favorite instructor. He has really high standards and expectations, but gives very clear guidelines on how to meet them. If the students want to succeed, all they need to do is put in the time and effort, and use the tools that he has given," the student says.

A UW faculty member since 2005, Russell earned a bachelor’s degree from Columbia and an MFA degree from the University of Iowa.

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