In recognition for her attention to student success and her ability to motivate students toward excellence, Wendy Fothergill of Colorado State University’s School of Education was recently honored with a CSU Online Innovative Educator (OLIE) Award.
“The award is our opportunity to recognize a faculty member who has gone above and beyond to engage with students, exemplifying outstanding instruction and relationship building in an online or distance program,” explained Mike Palmquist, Associate Provost for Instructional Innovation.
Fothergill, who teaches in CSU’s teacher and principal licensure programs, received five nominations from students for the award. Each student recognized Wendy’s ability to personalize the material for the individual learner.
“Wendy is a phenomenal instructor who has established strong relationships with my entire cohort of 30,” said Savannah Church, “Wendy demands high levels from her students and truly desires success from every student.”
A number of students saw Fothergill as not only a great educator, but an example for instructors.
“Any student or person in general who has the good fortune to work with Wendy should consider themselves lucky, as she is a rare person and instructor and should be treasured,” said Alexandra Lutze, “I feel that I have gained a lifelong friend and ally, and that is not something I can say about any other professor from online or live classes.”
Steven Hogan said simply, “CSU needs more Wendys.”
A legacy of distance learning
The programs in which Fothergill teaches were some of the first distance programs CSU offered. “Distance was so, so, so small at that point in time. Online was not even really in our vocabularies,” Fothergill said in her acceptance speech, “So online learning was something we hadn’t even imagined and then all of a sudden it blew up. All of a sudden I could sit in my office and I could observe a principal licensure student in Bogotá, Columbia.”
Despite a deep appreciation for the award, Fothergill said, “I would like this to be cut in 44 different pieces and shared with every one of my teacher licensure and principal licensure students.” Fothergill began her career intending her to inspire her students, however she says, “What I didn’t realize was that I had it all wrong. My students are the ones who make a difference. My students are the ones who inspire me every day.”