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Journalism prof Nancy Sharkey receives SBS excellence award

Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
Professor of practice Nancy Sharkey talks with journalism senior Trey Ross about her ongoing honor’s thesis in the Marshall Building on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Sharkey has been with the UA School of Journalism for six years and was recently received the 2016 SBS Dean’s Award for Excellence.

Professor and Associate Director of the UA School of Journalism, Nancy Sharkey, won the 2016 SBS Dean’s Award for Excellence in Upper Division Teaching from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

David Cuillier, director of the School of Journalism, and Elizabeth Eaton, a journalism senior and former student of Sharkey, nominated her for the award.

“She goes beyond to engage students in all sorts of activities,” Cuillier said. “She has a way of connecting with students where they just feel important and valued. I think she’s probably single-handedly kept 10-20 percent of our majors just because of her engagement.”

Sharkey also won the Hugh and Jan Harelson Excellence in Teaching Award through the Journalism School back in May.

“She cares so much about students, for her teacher course evaluation she often averages a five which is phenomenal, that means each student gives her a five,” Cuillier said.

READ: UA journalism director David Cuillier heads to congress to improve FOIA

Sharkey began teaching at the School of Journalism in 2010 after working for the New York Times as a senior editor for over 25 years and as a graduate student professor at Columbia University’s School of Journalism for over 20 years.

“What I love about undergrad teaching is the enthusiasm, excitement and development of students as they go through their four years,” Sharkey said. “I think journalists are by nature explainers and that had a lot to do with it.”

There are two other awards given out under the category of SBS teaching awards: the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Lower Division Teaching and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.

Each of these honors awards a stipend of $2,000 to each recipient.

Nominations for the awards are made by SBS faculty and the award committee. Students can also submit letters of nomination.

“The very first day of class she was telling us about her career at the New York Times and it made me realize that what I write can have an impact on other people,” Eaton said. “Hearing that you can actually make a change as a journalist, I talked to her after class and she had me change my major and put me into JOUR 105 that very day.”

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Eaton said despite Sharkey having a successful career, she felt that Sharkey has no arrogance as a professor and genuinely knows she still can learn a lot from her all of her students.

“Nancy is just the best person ever and anyone who has the opportunity to have her is just blessed because she has helped me so much,” Eaton said.

Eaton has had Sharkey as a professor in many classes and is now her teaching assistant for her JOUR 105 class.

“It’s been really rewarding to see the younger reporters grow,” Sharkey said “There’s a consistent experience that happens with every class—I feel the class wakes up and engages in the material and becomes very interested and passionate about the material. That to me is the most exciting part of teaching to me, is seeing that enthusiasm.” 

Follow Angela Martinez on Twitter.

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