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UW’s McKim Receives Honor for Excellence in Teaching

April 27, 2015
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Courtney McKim, a UW assistant professor in the Department of Professional Studies, is one of three recipients of the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. (UW Photo)

An educator in the University of Wyoming’s College of Education who engages students with her teaching style, encourages understanding and growth in the subject matter, and empowers students to feel confident in their abilities is a recipient of a top teaching award.

For her efforts, Courtney McKim was chosen as one of three recipients of the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. Other winners are Tyler Fall, an assistant academic lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies and the Honors Program; and Chip Kobulnicky, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. The awards are made possible by a fund established by Ellbogen to “foster, encourage and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW.”

An assistant professor in the Department of Professional Studies, McKim teaches graduate-level courses in educational research methods in face-to-face and online formats.

Student evaluations consistently note that McKim is enthusiastic, energetic, helpful and caring. She takes a subject that can be difficult and intimidating and makes it interesting and relevant.

Jennifer Mellizo, a Ph.D. student in the College of Education and UW Lab School music teacher, says one of McKim’s best qualities is her clear focus on student learning.

“She has mastered the delicate balance between high expectations and the desire to help her students succeed,” Mellizo wrote. “Dr. McKim pushes each student to produce quality work, while empowering them to feel successful and confident in their abilities.”

Another student commented on McKim’s balanced approach. “You are more than a teacher to me,” the student wrote. “You are a mentor that creates an environment of caring support. As an instructor, you use a perfect balance of patience and pushing to help me learn and grow in my researcher identity.”

A former student noted McKim’s impact on her career path.

“My binder of notes from her ‘Mixed Methods’ seminar is my most-referenced text on my bookshelf,” says Mya Pronschinske Groza, an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing at Northern Illinois University. “I am forever changed as a researcher due to my interactions with her. Now, in a tenure-track position myself, teaching a difficult methodological class, I employ Dr. McKim’s classroom techniques as a model for my classroom activities.”

Not only does McKim provide support to online and on-campus students, but she also offers her expertise to fellow faculty members.

“Faculty members in our college also prize her consultation with research projects and program evaluation to improve their work, thus adding to her load,” wrote Mary Alice Bruce, professor and head of the Department of Professional Studies.

Another colleague agrees.

“She has been informative, patient and, with her guidance, we have successfully published an article using qualitative research. So, I serve as a witness to how effectively Courtney teaches,” says Jane Warren, associate professor in the Department of Professional Studies.

McKim joined the UW faculty in 2011. She received a B.S. in psychology (2006) from Boise State University and a Ph.D. in quantitative, qualitative and psychometric methods (2011) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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