Shelly Rodgers receives first Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2018

The award was presented by Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and Commerce Bank CEO Teresa Maledy, who gave Rodgers a $10,000 check as part of the fellowship.

MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright and Teresa Maledy, Commerce Bank chairman and CEO, presented journalism professor Shelly Rodgers with the first 2018 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence on March 19 at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. Rodgers has been teaching at the Missouri School of Journalism as a professor of strategic communication since 2003.

David Kurpius, dean of the School of Journalism, said Rodgers has excelled in every situation in which she has taught and commended her mentoring and educational work outside of the classroom. “It is impossible to quantify the hours she spends throughout the year interacting with students to help them succeed,” Kurpius said. “In her work, she has consistently demonstrated a commitment to innovation and a willingness to change with the times to ensure students gain the greatest possible value from her teaching.” Kurpius said Rodgers has created nine classes during her career, including a pioneering course in interactive advertising, which was one of the first in the U.S. Rodgers said that moving forward, she wants to help the diverse population of both students and faculty and include that diversity in the classroom through lesson plans and examples.

“What I would like to do is have a platform that supports our assistant professors and new professors that are new to teaching and make sure we have the proper support and mentorship that they need,” Rodgers said.

Besides her role as a mentor, Rodgers has contributed research and knowledge to the field of strategic communications, particularly in the areas of science and health.

Some of her achievements include leading an effort to train nearly 100 science, technology, engineering and math graduate students to present their research interests and activities to public audiences more effectively.

Rodgers earned her doctoral degree from the MU. Her dedication to helping students comes from her own difficult upbringing, according to a press release from the MU News Bureau.

“Growing up with no running water or electricity, her family of eight lived well below the poverty line,” the release said. “Because of her background, Rodgers approaches any interaction she has with students with compassion, empathy and patience.”

The Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence was launched in 1991. Named after William Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, this fellowship includes a $10,000 reward and is presented to five extraordinary professors at MU each year.

Cartwright said this fellowship is a recognition of the great work that has already been done and hopefully this will encourage others to take pride in their careers and drive them forward.

“This is what Mizzou is about,” Cartwright said. “This is how we educate our students and give them the opportunity and experience to go out and change the world.”

Edited by Stephi Smith | ssmith@themaneater.com

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