Campus News

Carolina Acosta-Alzuru named journalism and mass communication teacher of the year

Carolina Acosta-Alzuru-h
Carolina Acosta-Alzuru. Photo credit: Sarah Freeman

Athens, Ga. – A faculty member in the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is the 2015 winner of the Charles E. Scripps Journalism and Mass Communication Teacher of the Year Award, presented by the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, an associate professor of public relations in the department of advertising and public relations, will be honored with a $10,000 prize Aug. 4 in cooperation with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication during the keynote session of its annual conference, held this year in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“Professor Acosta-Alzuru is obviously the best of the best,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of the Grady College. “She’s run the table at UGA with the Meigs, Russell and department awards. This award proves that AdPR and Grady have teachers that are among the best in the nation.”

Acosta-Alzuru teaches public relations, graphic communication and cultural studies. She teaches both an Honors seminar (in Spanish) and an undergraduate course (in English) about telenovelas, culture and society. She is the recipient of numerous teaching awards and recognitions including the 2010 UGA Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship. She also received a Fulbright Specialist Grant to teach at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, Chile, in 2015.

“I am delighted that Dr. Acosta-Alzuru has won our field’s greatest teaching award, but I’m sure not surprised,” said Tom Reichert, head of AdPR. “In the classroom she is an artist; in the hallways, she is a magnet, always able to detect the student who needs an extra nudge. It’s an art, one that requires that extra moment, that uncompensated and often unnoticed bit of work late in the afternoon or early evening, when almost no one else is here, to make a difference in students’ lives.”

Acosta-Alzuru was one of three finalists for the Charles E. Scripps Journalism and Mass Communication Teacher of the Year Award in 2013 and 2014, and she said she is thrilled to be this year’s winner.

“This recognition means a lot to me because teaching is a continuous learning experience,” Acosta-Alzuru said. “It’s a daily challenge that I undertake guided by two words: respect and responsibility.

“As teachers we know we have the opportunity to touch lives,” she continued. “But, as I walk with my students some stretches of their intellectual journey, I’m always amazed at how much they touch my life and how much I learn from them. It’s another reminder that teaching is always mindful of the other, mutual and interactive.”