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UW-Casper’s Richardson Receives Ellbogen Lifetime Teaching Award

April 20, 2015
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UW Department of English Senior Lecturer Bruce Richardson, based in Casper, is the winner of the 2015 Ellbogen Lifetime Teaching Award. (UW Photo)

During a career that has spanned more than 30 years at the University of Wyoming at Casper, Bruce Richardson has inspired thousands of students in courses ranging from Shakespeare to technical writing to contemporary Wyoming authors.

In addition, the UW Department of English senior lecturer has served with distinction to promote the arts and humanities in his community and around Wyoming.

Now, as he prepares to retire this spring, Richardson has been selected as the winner of UW’s 2015 Ellbogen Lifetime Teaching Award. The award recognizes the long, distinguished and exemplary career of one senior faculty member who has excelled as a teacher at UW.

“Bruce has consistently enriched the experience of thousands of students throughout his brilliant teaching career,” says Peter Parolin, head of the Department of English. “While tirelessly serving as practically a one-man English department at UW-Casper, he has turned students on to the joys of learning and has made a difference in their lives. He is the kind of professor who will be remembered for years to come by the generations of students he has taught so well.”

Richardson began his career at UW-Casper in 1984, after earning his master’s and doctoral degrees at UCLA. Over the years, he has served in a number of capacities at UW-Casper, including as associate dean and interim director.

But his work in the classroom, both in person and through distance delivery, is what distinguishes him, his colleagues and students say.

“Not only does Bruce teach many classes, but he also teaches a huge and important range of classes. Most faculty members would be utterly daunted by a teaching schedule like Bruce’s; not only does he embrace the work, but he pulls it off brilliantly,” Parolin says. “Bruce’s students rave about the way he stimulates their imaginations and critical thinking; no matter the class he is teaching, Bruce inducts our students into a culture of learning, sharing the joy as well as the rigor of academic work, and they appreciate what he does for them.”

“Never before have I had an instructor who was so devoted to teaching his students in every way possible,” says Brianna Casey, an English major at UW-Casper. “He encourages every student’s ideas, even the slightly ludicrous, and he motivates his students to do the best work they possibly can. Dr. Richardson has made me a better student -- I have become excited about my schoolwork because he has taught me that, no matter the subject, there is always something to be learned and analyzed.”

In addition to pioneering the use of distance technologies -- including video and online approaches -- Richardson has traveled Wyoming extensively to conduct workshops, give lectures and lead discussions.

“I believe it is quite possible that Bruce has put more miles on his vehicles traveling across Wyoming than any UW faculty member in the history of the state,” says Scott Seville, interim director of UW-Casper and associate Outreach School dean, who also lauds Richardson’s efforts to mentor and help fellow faculty members.

A recipient of the 2013 Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award, Richardson has worked with and for the Wyoming Humanities Council, the Wyoming Arts Council, the National Endowment for Art, the Nicolaysen Art Museum and others.

“Perhaps Bruce’s greatest impact as a UW teacher has been his tireless efforts to educate students and citizens about art and literature and their importance to our culture, economy and personal enrichment,” Seville says.

For his part, Richardson expressed appreciation for his colleagues and students.

“I am honored and thankful to so many for this award and for a career at a university and in a department that so supports and values excellence in teaching,” he says. “It's also for my tremendous students at UW-Casper. I ask a lot of them, but we have always had a good time working together finding meaning and form in literature and art. Bravo to them all.”

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