Communication Superhero
Dave Whitt

He’s known for his love of mythology and science fiction, but his passion for teaching is no myth.

Dave Whitt, professor of communication studies, has been named the United Methodist Church Division of Higher Education 2019 Exemplary Teacher. The award honors a professor who exemplifies excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students and colleagues, and commitment to value-centered education.

“It takes just the right person to teach public speaking,” said one student nominator. “Dave is well organized yet flexible, creative, personable and funny. The combination creates a trust where students feel comfortable taking chances and making mistakes, knowing they will be compassionately coached and supported.”

Another student nominator said, “Dr. Whitt is an excellent professor, always reading, learning and pushing himself to adjust assignments and activities to enhance student learning.”

Whitt has taught a variety of communication courses during his 27 years at NWU including public speaking, mass media, persuasion and speaking in the professions, and has served for over a decade as faculty advisor of the Wesleyan Communication Association. 

Whitt is celebrated for taking his communication classes beyond the NWU classroom, creating opportunities for his students to work with Dawes Middle School students to improve their public speaking skills, and connecting his students with NWU alumni to help them experience communication studies in action.

In the summer of 2018, a Student Faculty Collaborative Research Grant sent Whitt and a student to Belfast to attend the annual U2 Conference. They were selected to present on Whitt’s Archway Seminar, “The Music and Meaning of U2.”

Currently on sabbatical, Whitt is editing and contributing to a book about teaching popular music in the classroom, which includes a chapter about his U2 class. It will be his fourth book.

The Communication Studies Department likes to call its faculty and students “communication superheroes.” There may be no better way to describe this exemplary teacher.


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