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Sheldon receives national teaching award

8/8/2014  8:00 am

Peter Sheldon, lecturer in the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising, has received the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Distinguished Teaching Award in the Advertising Division. The award is intended to encourage and recognize individual excellence in undergraduate teaching over a sustained period of time. Criteria for the award include subject mastery and competence; classroom management and communication skills; creation of a positive learning environment, encouraging student interaction; dedication to teaching and assessment.

When contacting Sheldon about the award, the selection committee stated that they were “nothing short of awed by the enthusiasm, innovation, creativity and dedication revealed in your portfolio.”

Dr. Jan Slater, Dean of the College of Media stated, “Peter is genuine and unpretentious and this makes him an extraordinarily effective teacher and it also leads him to make excellent pedagogical choices.  His own incredible creative skills, his passion for the educational enterprise and for the welfare of his students, his deep dedication to the adverting profession, his energy and perhaps most importantly his innovativeness and accomplishments have made him a role model for his colleagues within the department as well as within the college and across campus.”

Advertising Department Head, Dr. Jacqueline Hitchon added, “All of us in Advertising are honored to have Peter as a colleague, and thrilled about his winning such a competitive and yet much-deserved award. His dedication and enthusiasm for teaching foster transformative learning experiences for his students, and his commitment to them continues long after graduation.”

Advertising department colleague, Dr. Michelle Nelson stated, “Peter is known for his creative genius and teaching prowess. He is also a diligent, thoughtful listener, problem-solver and leader. His influence on education here at Illinois is immense – both in shaping the educational experiences of our students and in mentoring our faculty.“

Sheldon began his career in the industry. His creative work has been recognized by the Clio Awards, The One Show, Communications Arts magazine and many others. He began teaching at the University of Illinois in 1993. His courses include Content Creation, Creative Strategy and Tactics, and Creative Concepts I and II.

Sheldon has received the Campus Award for Excellence in Teaching twice. “I value these awards more than any award I ever won while I was in the advertising industry,” Sheldon stated. He added, “When you teach with passion, the room becomes electric. Students sense it. They feed off it. If you’re very lucky, they acquire it.” Sheldon is a University of Illinois Teaching Academy Fellow, A member of the University of Illinois Teaching Advancement Board and has served on numerous college and university committees through the years. He is consistently rated as “Outstanding” by his students.

Those students were also a part of his nomination for the award. Brenna Essary’06 stated, “Peter’s the kind teacher who is truly invested in the students. He’s a mentor, teaching that settling for good enough is just settling. He’s the first teacher I had who critiqued work by saying, “it’s nice,” and inspire me to try harder, dig deeper, do better.“

“Peter Sheldon taught me to put ideas first. Great advertising still requires great execution, of course. But you can’t execute your way out of a bad concept. The title of Peter’s class is ‘Advanced Creative,’ and that’s what students learn to do in his classes: advance creative. To keep pushing for great ideas,” added Patrick Burke ’95.

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