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2022 Instructional Excellence Awards Honoring Instructors for Their Contributions and Impact
2022 Instructional Excellence Awards Honoring Instructors for Their Contributions and Impact

For many UW Professional & Continuing Education instructors, teaching is something they do in addition to their full-time positions. These exceptional instructors dedicate their time and energy to sharing their knowledge with the next generation of learners to help foster our mission that everyone deserves education to thrive in this ever-changing world.

The Instructional Excellence Awards allow us to recognize several of our professional program and specialized program instructional team members for the 2021-2022 school year. With a large pool of talented professionals, narrowing down the awardees was difficult. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to this year’s recipients.

Pavel Soukenik

Instructional Excellence

UW Certificate in Localization: Customizing Software for the World

What his nominator says:

As an industry professional with 20 years of experience in localization, Pavel Soukenik facilitates annual networking events where students, employers and vendors connect and have meaningful interactions. Besides his work with students, Soukenik helped reinvent the course by bringing in guest speakers to discuss the latest trends in localization, such as gaming and machine learning.

He’s also recruited women and professionals from underrepresented communities to instruct and be guest speakers in the course to ensure the representation of various backgrounds.

Matthew Bennett

Instructional Excellence

UW Certificate in Editing

What his nominator says:

Dr. Matthew Bennett is responsive and a team player. Our ongoing communication allows us to tackle opportunities and issues quickly. Dr. Bennett will hold Zoom calls, connect on LinkedIn and alert students to changes in the team, grade delays or platform issues. He demonstrates deep empathy as many of our students are dealing with serious health issues, complex family dynamics or are studying from abroad.

Dr. Bennett also sits on the editing certificate advisory board and has taught in both the editorial roles and grammar course and the applied editing and practicum course. He has been an instructional assistant, primary instructor and co-instructor for self-paced editing. He is a proven leader and thoughtful teacher. The program is grateful to learn from Dr. Bennett and his contributions to learners getting started in the profession. 

Marcelo Guerra Hahn

Instructional Excellence

Foundations of Data Analysis

What his nominator says:

Marcelo Guerra Hahn is always looking for ways to improve the Foundations of Data Analysis course. He tries new teaching strategies to reach varied audiences, is open about co-teaching opportunities and offers the course in a group-paced, online format to attract more students.

Guerra Hahn knows this foundational course is a significant first step but continuously looks for ways to further prep students in data analysis. That way, students can enroll in more advanced programs such as the UW Certificate in Data Analytics: Techniques for Decision Making and UW Certificate in Data Science. He is also continuously available to help with info sessions, answer student questions one-on-one via email or LinkedIn and is currently contributing to other UWPCE projects.

Gerald "Jerry" Kuch

Instructional Excellence

UW Certificate in Big Data Technologies

What his nominator says:

I can always count on Jerry Kuch to say yes to anything. He jumped in as the lead and only instructor for UW Certificate in Big Data Technologies. He attends all information sessions and is willing to work on course development. This summer, Kuch helped by joining an info session scheduled at an earlier time than expected. Within minutes, Kuch was on the Zoom call interacting with students.

Additionally, Kuch’s students tout his skills in the classroom, saying he’s passionate about the material he teaches, supports them on assignments and provides meaningful feedback on tests and projects.

Rebecca Bergh (Gourley)

Instructional Assistant Award

UW Certificate in Data Visualization

What her nominator says:

Rebecca Bergh is highly responsive to program manager and instructor communication. She has attended instructor meetings as an instructional assistant (IA) to provide feedback and ideas and develop a sense of community. Bergh goes beyond expectations for this program’s IAs by holding special office hour sessions diving into particular topics within Tableau to deepen students’ understanding. She also keeps regular office hours, will cover frequently asked questions and record the office hours for any student who could not attend.

Although course evaluations do not specifically ask for feedback about the IAs, several students went out of their way to comment on how much Rebecca contributed to their learning and engagement during the UW Certificate in Data Visualization.

Christy Karras

Legacy Award — 5 Years of Instructional Excellence 

UW Certificate in Editing and Proofreading Essentials 

What her nominator says:

I'm proud to work with Christy Karras in her capacity as one of the lead instructors in the UW Certificate in Editing program, where she’s part of an award-winning team of professional educators. It is an immense pleasure to learn from her expertise and build a relationship grounded in serving learners from all backgrounds and sparking their curiosity to learn. Karras is simply an outstanding teacher in all respects, from her dedication to the field to her commitment to making learning meaningful for her students.

Adam Grupp

Legacy Award — 10 Years of Instructional Excellence 

UW Certificate in Software Product Management and UW Certificate in Business Strategy & Decision-Making

What his nominator says:

Adam Grupp recently joined the existing cohort of instructors for UW Certificate in Software Product Management and has been the point person for the certificate by anchoring all three courses in the program. His initiative in streamlining certificate content attests to his ownership of a complex process that needed attention.

Grupp’s participation in this certificate isn’t limited to transferring his technical expertise gained over the years at Microsoft to his students. Students frequently call out Grupp’s ability to be dependable, trustworthy and an excellent resource beyond the class. He stays connected with graduates and provides them with valuable guidance on technical issues in software product management, which is uncommon among working professionals with other full-time commitments.

Certificate in Audio Production Techniques Team

Team Instructional Excellence Award

UW Certificate in Audio Production Techniques

What their nominator says:

This UW Certificate in Audio Production Techniques team (Jason Devore, Dave Huber, Scott Colburn, Steve Heinke and Glenn Lorbecki) is an outstanding example of collaborative partnerships developed through cordial and collegial relationships. These instructors embrace a “be more, do more” mentality. They understand the value of working together for the end goal of serving our students and providing them with a high-caliber learning experience.

Congratulations to all our 2022 winners! Thank you to all our incredible instructors for leading courses that enable thousands of students to explore their passions and boost their careers. 


For more announcements from UW Professional & Continuing Education, visit the News & Features section of our website. To learn more about our certificates, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.

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