East Carolina University's 2011 nominee for the Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award is Dr. John W. Howard III, associate professor in the School of Communication, College of Fine Arts and Communication. Professor Howard is completing his eighth year at the University where he has been consistently recognized for outstanding teaching, research, and service.
Dr. Howard excels as a teacher in and out of the classroom. Formal recognition of his outstanding teaching includes being named recipient of the University Alumni Association Outstanding Teaching Award (2008) and East Carolina University Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award (2009). Graduating seniors in his school have voted him "Most Inspiring Faculty Member" four times (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). He has also been invited many times to serve as Faculty Guest Coach and Invited Special Guest at student recognition events.
Professor Howard wants students to think critically and to develop understanding of themselves and others. In his philosophy of teaching, he notes: "It has often been stated that values have no place in the classroom - after all, whose values should be used? And who am I to teach others what is of value? However, the fact remains that all communication (and education) is value laden. Values are foundational to who people are and how they express themselves. 'Value-free' education then is not simply impractical it is impossible. My task in my classroom is not to convey what I value. Instead, I share strategies and techniques for exploring, identifying, and challenging both students' value systems and my own. It is through the exploration and development of values, rather than the cleansing of them, that people can come to understand how their (and others') values influence their past, present, and future. . . . Helping students respond to these challenges can aid them in recognizing how their values and biases influence their actions, (mis)interpretations, and (mis)understandings of themselves and others."
Colleagues and former students praise Dr. Howard's contributions. One former student noted: "During class lectures, Dr. Howard bridges his vast and current knowledge of the field of communications with an advanced personal skill set that enables him to engage, inform, and transform his students." A colleague wrote of his impressive depth of knowledge in surrounding disciplines and instrumental contributions to development of the interdisciplinary leadership minor. His director noted that, although demanding, Dr. Howard's consistently receives high evaluations from undergraduate and graduate students alike.
Dr. Howard's education and preparation for teaching include the BA in Political Science from SUNY Binghamton, an MS in Policy Analysis from the University of Rochester, an MA in Interpersonal Communication from Bowling Green State University, and the PhD in Communication Studies also from Bowling Green State University. In addition to being an outstanding teacher, he is an award winning researcher and popular public speaker.