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First-Year Professor Wins NWU's Top Teaching Award

Jonathan Redding, visiting professor of religion, was named the 2017-2018 Margaret J Prouty Teaching Award winner. "There has never once been a day where he wasn't excited to teach us," said a student nominator.
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Jonathan Redding, visiting professor of religion, was named the 2017-2018 Margaret J. Prouty Teaching Award winner. "There has never once been a day where he wasn't excited to teach us," said a student nominator. The award is the university's highest teaching honor.

A handful of Jonathan Redding’s students admitted they were a little nervous about taking his “Science and Religion” course.

“I worried that I would be too focused on my own religious convictions and not be able to properly explore the topics that would be covered in class,” said one first-year student. “Upon attending my first class and looking over the syllabus, I was reassured that I was going to be okay. In fact, as the first semester wore on, the “Science and Religion” class with Professor Redding was actually what helped me to realize that Wesleyan truly was the right place for me.”

The religion and philosophy major’s nomination was one of many asking NWU to select Redding, visiting professor of religion, as this year’s Margaret J. Prouty Teaching Award winner. The annual award recognizes and rewards faculty for pursuit of excellence in teaching and honors a professor who has made a distinct difference in the lives of students. Students, faculty and staff are invited to submit nominations.

Students celebrated Redding’s teaching style, his ability to make students think critically, and his respect for diverse opinions.

“He understands that all students have different personalities, needs and backgrounds, and he does everything in his power to meet his students where they are at and get them the assistance they need to be the best students they can be,” said another student nominator. 

“He holds students up to high expectations but expects students to hold him up to high expectations as well,” said another student nominator.

Redding began teaching at Nebraska Wesleyan last fall. Prior to NWU, Redding was a language instructor at University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., an adjunct professor at Middle Tennessee State University, and also served as a youth minister. This is the first time a professor has won NWU’s highest teaching honor during their first year at Nebraska Wesleyan. 

Students also celebrated his personal attention beyond the classroom. Redding could be found in the stands cheering on the men’s and women’s basketball teams, attending student philanthropies, judging the annual talent contest, and even accompanying a group of NWU student fans to the NCAA III National Championship basketball game in Salem, Va. 

“There are always multiple students spending time in his office because we all feel so welcomed,” said one student. “Everyone says that the best part of Nebraska Wesleyan is the people and the relationships with professors, and people like Jonathan Redding are exactly why our university has this incredible reputation.”

Assistant Professor of Biology Cindy Marolf was also a finalist for this year’s Prouty Award. 

Previous winners include:

  • John Spilker, music, 2016-2017
  • Tamra Llewellyn, health and human performance, 2015-2016
  • Angela McKinney, biology, 2014-2015
  • David Gracie, art, 2013-2014
  • Garry Duncan, biology, 2012-2013