Outstanding Educator of the Year


Last night, my school hosted its annual “Props” awards ceremony in a three-part event to honor outstanding teachers and staff.  With bright lights, flashy video, and delicious food and wine, Props 2013 was a successful tribute to those instructors and support staff who go above and beyond every single day at work.

Since a variety of schools/colleges exist under the umbrella of Full Sail University, last night honored teachers from the Liberal Arts school (English, Math, Psychology, ESL, Digital Literacy, Creative Writing); the Audio Arts school (Recording Arts, Music Production, Show Production); and the Visual Arts school (Film, Digital Cinematography).  Each school recognized teachers in areas such as Academic Innovation, Community Involvement, and Leadership.  Then, an “Excellence Award” was distributed to the one member of the entire school who went above and beyond.  Lastly, an “Outstanding Educator Award” was distributed to one teacher in that school.

Six members of the English Department were honored with Props awards, and I was one of them.  Congratulations to Josh Begley, Nicole Chapman, Rachelle Fox, Becky Lane, and Chiara Ojeda!

When it came time for the “Excellence Award” honoring a standout member of the Liberal Arts school as a whole, I was super excited to near Nicole Chapman’s name.  She has been the head of the Writing Center for years and has done amazing things for the school in her position.  Then it came time for the “Outstanding Educator” of the year.  When I heard them reading a description of the things that I do and then calling my name, I can honestly say I’ve never felt so honored.


You can see the entire Liberal Studies school Props award winners onstage here.

We have so many outstanding, creative, dedicated instructors in the Liberal Studies school under Dr. Kim Murray, so to be recognized as the Outstanding Educator of the Year is a humbling experience.  I think about the deserving Psychology of Play teachers in the Psychology Department under Joanna Leck who have worked to create one of the most dynamic, fun classes I’ve ever heard of in my entire life.  Digital Literacy under Matt Gilhooly has flourished with skyrocketing student attendance in GoTo Training sessions and creative curriculum to increase retention and success.  The teachers in our own English Department under Dr. Danita Berg have come up with this amazing multi-modal English Composition course that has changed the way students view writing.  To even be in the same category as these inspiring folks makes me one happy teacher this morning.

Alex Rister (OE)

Here is a transcript of the speech Dr. Kim Murray delivered before awarding me with the Outstanding Educator of the Year:

Alex Rister was recognized for being an Outstanding Educator, given to the faculty member who best demonstrates effective and innovative educational strategies, devotion to students, and leadership within their department and community. Alex currently teaches two courses. In addition to being dependable, courteous, and collaborative, she anticipates the needs of her students and peers—not only in their academic courses, but across the department and throughout the degree programs that include her courses. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in communications, simply to diversify her skills and better assist the department. We routinely see her on campus on the weekends, even when she is not teaching, preparing course materials or mentoring her students one-on-one. She is a positive and shining force of nature who maintains excellent personal and professional rapport with her students, long after they finish Professional Communication and Presentation or Public Speaking. In addition to presenting multiple CE sessions, she serves on several committees within Full Sail. In the larger community, she serves with Chi Omega and Junior League.”

Have you ever been surprised to win a big award?


11 thoughts on “Outstanding Educator of the Year

  1. Charlie

    Outstanding, indeed! Congratulations, Alex! And thanks for sharing your “outstanding-ness” with your readers here, too! Well done!

  2. helenthis51

    Congratulations Alex. Well deserved award. You sound awesome and I always enjoy your posts on ‘presentation.’ HT – Western Australia

  3. I have not had the pleasure of “Alex Rister, educator” but I have enjoyed these months and years of “Alex Rister, blogger”. I can see from the blogging how important teaching and knowledge are to you, so it is no surprise to me to see your name in lights ;-)

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