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UW’s Crawford Receives Hollon Family Award

May 7, 2018
man sitting at a computer
Scott Crawford

Whether he creates YouTube videos or sets up discussion boards, Scott Crawford finds ways to engage his students and help them succeed in his online statistics courses.

Students and colleagues alike praise Crawford, a University of Wyoming statistics assistant lecturer, for his passion and knowledge of the subject material, his effective teaching style, his humorous and caring personality, and his desire to see his students succeed.

These qualities, coupled with his creative online innovations, have earned him the 2018 Hollon Family Award for Teaching Excellence in Off-Campus Programs. In 1986, C.E. “Jerry” Hollon, a former UW trustee, established the award to recognize “contributions to the general extension outreach programs of the university.”

Shortly after he began teaching at UW in 2012, Crawford started developing online statistics courses.

“Online offerings to large numbers of students are difficult to make educationally effective and also difficult to administrate,” says Richard Anderson-Sprecher, a UW Department of Mathematics and Statistics professor. “His creative innovations and hard work allow for a format that is multifaceted, effective and entertaining.”

Crawford’s teaching evaluations consistently note that he takes a subject that can be difficult and daunting for many students and makes learning about it understandable and fun.

“I knew statistics was going to be an extremely challenging course for me, but Scott Crawford and his assistants made this class actually enjoyable to learn and understand the content,” one student wrote.

Another student was impressed with Crawford’s dedication to his students’ success.

“Scott Crawford is the kind of professor that makes you want to change your major just so you can take more classes from him,” the student wrote. “It is apparent from watching just one video for his online class that this professor cares a great deal about captivating and engaging his students at all levels.”

Many students mention Crawford’s entertaining and effective YouTube videos.

“Every teacher who does an online class these days should follow his example,” one student wrote. “His materials are original, well-designed and fun. Best YouTube channel ever! Please give this guy a raise, and put him on tenure.”

By keeping his classes engaging, Crawford has been instrumental in recruiting students to UW’s Statistics Program.

“Interest among undergraduates in our major and minor has grown immensely since Dr. Crawford joined us, and a goodly portion of that increase is due to Dr. Crawford’s enthusiasm for the subject, his thoughtful and encouraging engagement with students, and his active recruiting of them to become statisticians,” says Ken Gerow, director of the UW Statistics Program and a professor of statistics.

Not only do students and faculty recognize Crawford’s efforts, but teaching assistants notice them as well.

“Dr. Crawford goes beyond what is expected of him for his off-campus students,” says Alexandra McIntyre, a teaching assistant. “His efforts and dedication have been noted by many within and outside of his department.”

Crawford’s ability to transform online statistics courses is admired within the program.

“In his visionary and creative implementation of online classes, Dr. Crawford exemplifies -- maybe ‘is’ might be the better word -- the future of education for our program and for the University of Wyoming as a whole,” Gerow adds.

Crawford received a Ph.D. (2012) in statistics from Texas A&M University; a master’s degree (2006) in statistics from Brigham Young University; and a bachelor’s degree (2004) in mathematics from Southern Utah University.

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