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Published April 22, 2019
Until now, one of the common sentiments when discussing the University of Wyoming’s Scott Freng and the Ellbogen awards was surprise that he hadn’t already been recognized.
Freng is among the three 2019 recipients of the John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, which was established in 1977 by businessman John P. Ellbogen to “foster, encourage and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW.” Other winners this year are Pamela Langer, Department of Molecular Biology associate professor; and Dana Robertson, executive director of the Literary Research Center and Clinic and an associate professor of elementary and early childhood education.
Since 2002, Freng has been a highly active member of the Department of Psychology, starting as a temporary lecturer and now serving as a senior professional lecturer. He is trusted with instructing some of the most important classes in the department since most of his efforts are devoted to teaching. One such course is “PSYC 5760: Teaching of Psychology,” which serves to train future college teachers. Freng developed and has taught the class since its inception.
However, Freng also has significant research and publication credentials during his time on the UW campus. He has published a variety of papers focused on his social psychology interests in prejudice and psychology/law. He is truly interested in the “science of teaching,” according to Narina Nunez, head of the Department of Psychology.
“Scott has devoted his career to college teaching,” she says. “Simply put, teaching is Scott’s passion. That passion is clearly conveyed to his students. Scott is a gifted teacher and a gift to our university.”
That appreciation of Freng’s work is echoed by fellow Psychology faculty member Matt Gray.
“It is abundantly clear to me that the most dedicated, conscientious -- and, frankly, the very finest -- instructor in the department has not yet received the award,” Gray says. “I have had the opportunity to observe his teaching firsthand and have – in the context of extended term and promotion process -- read consistently glowing course evaluations by students in all of his classes, year in and year out.”
Many of those who have taken a class from Freng or come under his tutelage remember him as genuinely compassionate and concerned about the success of his pupils.
“I have recently graduated from the University of Wyoming and can say that Dr. Freng is one of the most memorable and, by far, the most caring professor that I have met,” Bailey Thompson says. “The students at the university greatly benefit from his professionalism, structured classroom and caring nature. Through his advisemen,t I became a better writer and learned new ways to think about the world.”
Freng’s impact on his students clearly goes beyond the classroom.
“Even though I have left UW almost nine years ago, the value and passion Scott taught me are still present today in my teaching and work with students,” says Andre Kehn, an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Dakota. “Scott is a dedicated educator and will always put the students’ learning experience first. He is an excellent teacher and mentor who has not only impacted me, but countless students at UW who were fortunate enough to have him as a professor or mentor.”