From a colleague’s standpoint, Dr. Jennifer F. Wood, associate professor of Communication & Theatre, is one of the most approachable and helpful people around. From a student’s standpoint, she might be one of the toughest and brutally honest professors, who also helps students build professional confidence. Both standpoints demonstrate that she has proven that she genuinely cares for the people around her since she came to Millersville University in 2004. For her dedication to the University, Wood has been selected as the fourth recipient of the annual “Educator of the Year Award.” She will be acknowledged at the undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 9, 2015 and she will speak at the 2016 Honors and Awards Convocation.
“Letters of support for Dr. Wood all talked about how she was a tough professor who always expected a lot from her students, but inspired them with her passion for the discipline,” said Dr. Sam Earman, chair of the Educator of the Year Award committee.
“My public relations writing course with her was one of the most challenging courses I’ve taken at Millersville, but I would not be the writer that I am today without it,” said Olivia Miller, a senior speech communication major with an option in public relations.
As a professional communicator, Wood teaches a variety of courses including business and professional communication, organizational communication, public relations writing and public relations campaigns. She works closely with students in her capstone public relations courses by guiding them through a campaign for a nonprofit organization. In addition, Wood trains students to act in professional settings and helps them develop pieces for their portfolio using a fail-forward technique that promotes active learning. Not only that, but she also serves as a personal mentor to students every semester. She advises students on courses, co-ops and internships both within the communications discipline and outside of the discipline.
“Students talked about how Dr. Wood would always go above and beyond with advising and helping them plan their careers,” Earman said.
“Dr. Wood has been my academic advisor for a few years,” said Alexandra Blessing, a junior speech communication major with an option in public relations. “In the short amount of time we’ve known each other, she personally invited me to apply to certain internships and encouraged me to follow my dreams.”
Wood also makes an effort to keep relationships with students well after they finish at Millersville. “As students graduate from the University, I am intentional about attending graduation,” she said. “I keep up with their careers and encourage them to come back to the University. This includes purposefully inviting students to attend our department alumni event and inviting students back to speak in my classes.”
The quote she stands by? “Where you are going to be two to five years from now is based on the books you read and people you associate with.”
Thus, she remains active in her research by writing book reviews that allow her to read multiple books that serve the communication field and help her build curriculum units in her courses. Most recently Dr. Wood has completed book reviews for “Management Revue,” an interdisciplinary European journal; “Management International Review,” a journal focused on international management; “American Communication Journal,” a journal focused on interdisciplinary scholarship on communication; “Technoculture: An Online Journal of Technology in Society;” and “Communication Research Trends.”
The Educator of the Year Award Committee is composed of seven members: Dr. Sam Earman, earth sciences; Dr. Onek Adyanga, history; Dr. Kathy Brabson, early, middle and exceptional education; Dr. Richard Mehrenberg, early, middle and exceptional education; Dr. Lisa House, counseling and human development; undergraduate student Elijah Green; and graduate student Brooke Magni.
Past Award recipients include:
- Dr. Susan Luek, psychology: 2010-11
- Dr. John Wallace, biology: 2011-12
- Dr. Ed Rajaseelan, chemistry: 2012-13