Closeup of Jessica Willoughby
Jessica Willoughby

Jessica Willoughby, assistant professor in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, was honored for her innovative and effective teaching methods by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Willoughby received a third place teaching award from the Communicating Science, Health, Environment and Risk division of the AEJMC.

“In my classes, I try to highlight the value research can add to communication, having my students apply critical thinking and analytic skills to the creation of messages,” Willoughby said.

One of the assignments for which she won the award gives students an opportunity to participate in formative research and reflect on that experience before using the research to develop health communication messages.

Applied assignments like this can help provide future communicators with strong experiences that can aid in their understanding of the role research can play in communication, Willoughby said.

“Dr. Willoughby is a strong teacher who brings her experience and research into the classroom and helps students to see the connections between the two,” said Stacey Hust, chair of Murrow’s Strategic Communication Department.

A committee selected awardees based on nomination letters and information provided in a teaching packet that included a statement related to teaching philosophy and an example assignment.

Willoughby presented her approach and how she applies it inside and beyond the classroom in an award winners’ teaching panel session at the conference.

“I’m grateful for the recognition and appreciate the engaged and active students in the Murrow College who continue to learn with me and inspire me to think of different approaches to present course concepts,” Willoughby said.