Communication Professor Honored for Empowering Students

A communication studies professor has been honored for empowering, inspiring, and demanding nothing but excellence from her students.

Patty Hawk, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, has been awarded the Margaret J. Prouty Faculty Teaching Award. The award recognizes and rewards Nebraska Wesleyan University faculty for the pursuit of excellence in teaching and honors a faculty member who has made a distinct difference in the intellectual lives of students. Faculty are nominated by students and colleagues.

“She stimulates the need for her students to change the world,” wrote a student nominator. “Not often do we walk into a classroom and become so changed while we are there, that we leave with change and hope in our hearts.”

Hawk began her career at NWU in 1997 as an adjunct professor. She became an assistant professor of communication in 2007. Hawk is often requested as an academic advisor and has served twice as the senior class sponsor.

Students describe Hawk as genuine, encouraging, engaging, relatable, personable, wise, and witty. Many students first encounter Hawk when she makes her “how to give a great speech” presentation to first-year students in their liberal arts seminars.

“Some are so impressed that they end up declaring a communication major, partly so they can take more classes from her,” wrote another nominator.

Students commended Hawk for her ability to connect class concepts and lessons to real-life experiences enabling their lessons to stay with students well beyond the classroom. In addition, students praised Hawk for the way she cares for them, continually checking in with them, especially after hot-button discussions that may raise emotions beyond the day-to-day.

“She isn’t just all fun and games,” a nominator wrote of Hawk, who is often described as a hilarious and charismatic individual. “She also communicates high expectations and holds all of us as students accountable for our own education. She expects high quality work, commitment, and dedication.”

Previous Prouty Award winners include:

  • 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

Congratulations! Tony would

Congratulations! Tony would have been so pleased.


An incredibly well-deserved honor! I am proud to call you my colleague.

Post new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
Patty Hawk, Assistant Professor of Communication, has received the Prouty Faculty Teaching Award.