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Cronkite Professor Named Top Teacher at ASU

May 4, 2008

Carol Schwalbe photo
Carol Schwalbe, a faculty member at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is the recipient of this year’s Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Classroom Performance at Arizona State University.

Schwalbe and 10 other professors were honored in a May 5 university ceremony by ASU President Michael M. Crow and Provost Elizabeth D. Capaldi. The awards were given in the fields of research, teaching and service. Schwalbe was one of two winners in the teaching excellence category.

“This would be a great honor at any university, but at the nation’s largest, which includes some 3,000 faculty members, it is nothing short of extraordinary, and tells the entire university community what we have known for a long time—that Professor Schwalbe is a very special and gifted teacher,” said Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School.

In announcing the award, Capaldi said, “The awards were conceived as a way of celebrating the top intellectual contributions at ASU annually.”

Schwalbe joined the faculty of the Cronkite School in 2002 after a 30-year career with the National Geographic Society, where she produced the Traveler online site and edited articles for National Geographic magazine. She specializes in digital media and magazine writing.

Under her guidance, students have won some of journalism education’s top awards, including those given by the Online News Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and the Society of Professional Journalists. Her teaching also has been recognized by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, which twice awarded her its Grand Prize in the Great Ideas for Teachers competition.

A hallmark of Schwalbe’s teaching style is collaboration, both with her students and with colleagues across campus. She spearheaded the Cronkite School’s first “convergence” project—bringing together classes in magazine writing, broadcast journalism and online media into a joint project on the 2004 presidential debate held at ASU. Her students have collaborated with the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism on a series of business and economic stories, and they have worked with broadcast journalism and photojournalism classes on stories about the U.S.-Mexico border.

“What all of these accomplishments represent is a deep commitment to students and an unfailing dedication to them,” said Marianne Barrett, the school’s senior associate dean who nominated Schwalbe.

“I am touched and honored by this award,” Schwalbe said. “My goal is to inspire students without overwhelming them with so much that they go away with too little. I want to light candles, not dampen spirits.”

The prestigious award came three days after President Crow announced that Schwalbe would be promoted from assistant professor to associate professor with tenure.