Mary Garcia receives Excellence in Online Teaching Award

Washington State University logo.

Mary Garcia, human development instructor for Washington State University, is the winner of the 2023–24 Excellence in Online Teaching Award. The student-nominated annual award is sponsored by WSU Global Campus.

The award, now in its eighth year, seeks to acknowledge and reward Washington State University faculty members teaching Global Campus courses who employ best practices to engage, inspire, support, and show care for students in an online environment. Garcia will receive $3,000 in faculty development funds and a trophy in recognition of her win.

Closeup of Mary Garcia
Mary Garcia

“What an honor to be selected for the Excellence in Online Teaching award among the many awesome Global instructors at WSU,” said Garcia. “It means a lot to me to know that my students feel that I positively made a difference in their lives and nominated me for this award.”

Garcia holds the philosophy that thoughtfully engaging with students in an online environment is critical to their academic success.

“I believe that each student who takes any of my classes should have the same experience regardless of whether it’s online or in-person,” said Garcia. “Though online students are not physically in a classroom raising their hand to ask a question, I make it my goal to respond to every single post a student makes and address all their questions.”

Garcia, who lives in Colorado while working as an adjunct online instructor, was one of 56 online instructors nominated for the award.

She has been instructing online courses, and correspondence courses before that, for 24 years, teaching an estimated 6,000 students.

“I enjoy telling people that I meet that I work for WSU even though I live in Colorado,” Garcia said. “Being an online teacher has been a very rewarding experience for me.”

Christie Kittle, assistant director for WSU Learning Innovations, led the committee that reviewed nominations and selected a winner.

“Mary’s nomination stood out to us because of the outstanding responsiveness and engagement she displayed towards her students. Her dedication and passion for teaching was very evident,” said Kittle. “Mary, along with all the faculty that were nominated by their students, make a lasting impact on the lives of their students every day. We take great pride in being able to recognize those tireless efforts.”

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