UVU Communication Professor wins Award from NCA

UVU Communication Professor wins Award from NCA

Though she’s been teaching at UVU for only a year, communication professor Leandra Hernandez is already being recognized for her unique teaching philosophy. She has already been recognized through  the 2020 UVU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Inclusion Award and the UVU 2020 Faculty Champion of Inclusion Award — both of which recognize her vital work to promote increased collaboration between students and healthcare organizations that lead to more culturally competent and relevant understandings and practices. Her most recent teaching award, however, comes courtesy of the National Communication Association (NCA), from whom she received the 2020 Activism & Social Justice Division Pedagogy Award. 

“I was ecstatic [when I found out I’d won the award from the NCA],” Hernandez said. “It feels amazing to be recognized for my teaching efforts and validates my teaching and mentorship philosophy, which are grounded in principles and practices of social justice, activism, diversity, and inclusion. It is part of the larger recognition of the importance of social justice approaches to pedagogy.”

Each year, after evaluating candidates based on colleague recommendations and teaching observations, theNCA Activism and Social Justice Division selects one individual to receive the pedagogy award at a national level. “We had a highly competitive pool of applicants, and the award committee had to make difficult choices,” said a member of the award committee. “But [the committee] agreed that [Hernandez’s] application materials stood out among the rest.” 

Hernandez was further recognized for her work to create safe spaces for and mentor marginalized and excluded students, connecting her courses and students directly to local organizations to engage in vital justice-related work. These efforts were showcased by leading a project where her students worked to enhance equitable, social justice-informed healthcare for deaf communities, African refugee communities, Hispanic/Latino families who have children with disabilities, and domestic violence survivors.



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