Communication prof receives Professor of the Year award

contact: Cara Barnes
| WMU News
Photo of Sue Ellen Christian.


LANSING, Mich.—Western Michigan University Professor Sue Ellen Christian has been recognized as one of the state's three recipients of the Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year award, which recognizes the outstanding contributions and dedication exhibited by the faculty from Michigan’s 15 public universities to the education of undergraduate students.

The Academic Affairs Officers of the Michigan Association of State Universities will recognize the nominees and recipients of this annual award during a Friday, April 15, luncheon held at the Lansing Center. The other two winners are University of Michigan Professor Brian Coppola and Grand Valley State University Professor Matthew Boelkins.

Sue Ellen Christian

Christian is a professor of communication with a dual appointment in the School of Communication and Department of Gender and Women's Studies at WMU. She earned a B.A. in English from Hope College and an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Michigan.

She has received many awards and grants since arriving at WMU in 2001, including the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Achievement in Teaching Award in 2009 and the WMU Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014. She has used many of these grants to support taking her students into local high schools and the community for experiential learning about journalism, multimedia, diversity and bias, and she advises students through journalism internships and the Student Media Group board.

"Professor Christian demonstrates a commitment to her discipline which extends well beyond the role of instructor and greatly benefits the Kalamazoo community and Western Michigan University," says Timothy J. Greene, WMU provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Her book, "Overcoming Bias: A Journalist’s Guide to Culture and Context" is used in newsrooms and classrooms as a guide to addressing implicit biases in news practice. Christian continues to serve as an active journalist, writing news and opinion pieces for outlets locally and nationally. Her previous staff positions as a reporter include The Detroit News, Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has been vital in updating the undergraduate journalism curriculum at WMU since her arrival in 2001 and has developed a new course titled "Global Media Literacy," available to students across campus through the general education program.

"Professor Christian represents the very best of teaching, innovation and dedication to student success," says Dr. Daniel J. Hurley, CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. "With her real-world experience and involvement with students, she symbolizes excellence in higher education for which Michigan's public universities are globally renowned."

Michigan Association of State Universities

The Michigan Association of State Universities serves as the coordinating board for Michigan’s 15 public universities, providing advocacy and fostering policy to maximize the collective value these institutions provide in serving the public interest and the State of Michigan.

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