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MU professor earns national recognition

Nov. 17, 2012 @ 12:12 AM

HUNTINGTON -- One Marshall University professor missed an entire week of classes this week, but he had a good excuse for his absence.

Dan Hollis, an associate professor of journalism and mass communications at Marshall, was selected as the 2012 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching West Virginia Professor of the Year.

Hollis was selected from nearly 300 top professors in the United States. This year, a state Professor of the Year was recognized in 30 states and the District of Columbia.

The selection was announced Thursday during an awards luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Hollis, who in addition to teaching is serving as interim assistant dean of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was on hand to receive his award.

"Obviously, it's a great honor," Hollis said. "I love teaching, being in the classroom and interacting with students. It's my life. Any time you get recognized for doing something you love, it's a bonus."

The recipient of the Marshall & Shirley Reynolds Outstanding Teacher Award at Marshall is annually nominated for the Carnegie award. Hollis received the 2011 Reynolds award.

Three other Marshall professors have won the Carnegie award: Dr. Karen Mitchell, a mathematics professor, in 1995; Dr. John McKernan, an English professor, in 2000; and Dr. Steven Mewaldt, a psychology professor, in 2003.

Dr. Gayle Ormiston, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Marshall, said Hollis winning the award was no surprise to him.

"Dan is very popular in the classroom, and it's obvious he connects well with his students," Ormiston said. "He is enthusiastic, fun and engaging. Dan once said the first day of school each semester is like Christmas morning to him. Most of all, he is an outstanding professor. We congratulate Dan on winning this very prestigious award."

In addition to the Reynolds award, Hollis received the Pickens-Queen Excellence in Teaching Award in 2001.

Hollis joined Marshall in the fall of 1999. He was born in southwestern Indiana and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Indiana in 1983.

In 1996, Hollis decided to return to school to pursue his true love: teaching. He received his master's degree in communications from the University of Kentucky in 1997 and taught there two years before joining Marshall.

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