Art Professor David Gracie Honored With University's Teaching Award

Students describe David Gracie as proactive, compassionate, dedicated.

“Plenty of professors in the arts want to produce acolytes,” said a Nebraska Wesleyan art student. “Professor Gracie merely wants to help his students organically become the artists and adults they were meant to be.”

Gracie, assistant professor of art, who began his Nebraska Wesleyan career in 2004, is this year’s Prouty Teaching Award winner.

The honor is bestowed each year to a professor who:

  • Communicates high expectations;
  • Encourages intellectual curiosity within and across disciplines;
  • Inspires students to do their best work;
  • Holds students accountable;
  • Engages students in class;
  • Encourages cooperation among students;
  • Respects diverse talents and ways of learning;
  • Encourages faculty-student contact;
  • Uses variety in instruction.

In nominating Gracie for the award, current art students recognized his professionalism and willingness to “take a compassionate interest in his students’ well-being, both within the classroom and emotionally, physically, and mentally.” 

In addition to his teaching, Gracie advises the student organization, Mixed Media, and arranges a visiting artist series for the club. He has organized field trips for the university’s art students to Minneapolis, Kansas City, New York City and Chicago.

When he’s not teaching or advising, Gracie can be found painting in his office where students can watch his work in progress.

“His dedication to his students, his practice, and his friends is clear in the number of us who have decided to continue careers in art,” said an alum who nominated Gracie for the Prouty Award.

“Students do not slip through the cracks on Professor Gracie’s watch, even the ones that seemed extremely determined to do so,” noted another nominator.

Previous Prouty Award winners have included:

  • Garry Duncan, 2012-213
  • Patty Hawk, communication studies, 2011-2012
  • Rita Lester, religion, 2010-2011
  • Frank Ferraro, psychology, 2009-2010
  • Gary Plank, forensic science, 2008-2009
  • Dale Benham, biology, 2007-2008
  • Bill McNeil, psychology, 2006-2007
  • Jay Chipman, theatre, 2005-2006

Others nominated for this year’s award included Jerry Bricker (biology), Nathanael Fackler (chemistry), Molly Fizke (nursing) and John Spilker (music). 

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Art professor David Gracie is the 2013-2014 Prouty Teaching Award winner.