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Sport and Exercise Psychology faculty member receives Outstanding Teaching Award

Dana Voelker, Sport and Exercise Psychology assistant professor, joins the ranks of six West Virginia University faculty members who were selected for the 2018 Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching, which honors exceptional professors who go above and beyond to inspire their students. 

In addition to Voelker, this year’s honorees include: Malayna Bernstein, director, Learning Sciences Programs; Edward Flagg, assistant professor, Physics and Astronomy; Todd Hamrick, teaching associate professor, Fundamentals of Engineering; David Martinelli, professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Carrie Rishel, professor and director, Integrated Mental and Behavioral Health Training Program. 

“Dana Voelker is a dedicated teacher who does a great job of interacting with students and facilitating their learning inside and outside of the classroom," said Jack Watson, professor and chair, Department of Sport Sciences, CPASS. "Students love her teaching style and are challenged to push themselves outside of their comfort zones in her classes. 

"Her work helps to improve the body image of female athletes through the integration of evidence-based knowledge, leadership and pedagogy. She conducts community outreach and publishes her work in the highest quality journals.” 

Voelker’s applied efforts include contributions to five student-athlete enrichment programs across three states. Voelker received a 2016 NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice grant to support a multi-site evaluation of Bodies in Motion, an educational program designed to promote positive body image in female college athletes. 

Voelker earned her B.A. in psychology with highest distinction from Penn State University. Her M.A. in counseling and Ph.D. in kinesiology were awarded from Michigan State University where she specialized in the psychosocial aspects of sport and physical activity. She spent two years as an assistant professor at The College at Brockport, State University of New York before coming to WVU in fall 2014. 

She has been the recipient of 21 academic honors and awards as a graduate student and young professional and was a University Distinguished Fellow at Michigan State University. Voelker’s passion for the sport and exercise psychology field began very young as a competitive figure skater and captain of the Penn State women’s ice hockey club. 

“Our Outstanding Teachers for the 2017-2018 academic year are all extraordinary educators, committed to incorporating best practices and real-world implications into their classrooms,” said Associate Provost for Academic Personnel C. B. Wilson, whose office administers the awards and who leads the selection committee each year. “This year, the scope of academic disciplines represented by our Outstanding Teaching Award recipients truly speaks to the across-the-board excellence of teaching at WVU.” 

Established in 1985 by the WVU Foundation, the Outstanding Teaching Award honors faculty who are particularly effective, inspiring teachers or who have established patterns of exceptional innovation in teaching methods, course and curriculum design and instructional tools. 

“We congratulate these six faculty members who go above and beyond in the classroom,” said B.J. Davisson, WVU Foundation vice president for development and chief development officer. “We are fortunate to have such top-notch teachers working with our students. Because of the generosity of our donors, the Foundation is pleased to be able to fund these awards annually.”  

Each of the six recipients will receive a $5,000 honorarium from the WVU Foundation and be recognized by President Gordon Gee and Provost Joyce McConnell at the upcoming faculty and staff awards dinner at Blaney House.

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