UA Journalism Professor Wins Top Teaching Prize

An assistant professor in The University of Arizona School of Journalism took first place in the national "Promising Professor" faculty competition. The award is given by the Mass Communication Society division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, known as AEJMC.

David Cuillier, who teaches courses on public affairs reporting and computer-assisted reporting, will be honored as one of the nation's best and brightest teachers at AEJMC's national conference Aug. 5-8 in Boston. The competition was open to faculty who have taught no more than five years full-time. Cuillier also won the graduate student category of the competition in 2004 while a doctoral student at Washington State University.

At the conference, Cuillier will give a presentation about his teaching and present two research papers: one based on a study that shows skepticism is closely tied to support for freedom of information, and the other about teaching methods in journalism education. He also was invited to speak on a panel about press access to law enforcement information.

The award is the latest in a series of honors for Cuillier, who joined the UA journalism faculty in 2006. He was named a research fellow for 2009-10 by the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the UA.

As a fellow in fall 2009, he will research public attitudes toward freedom of information, then spend spring 2010 on sabbatical to continue that research, traveling the country interviewing citizens. Cuillier also received a grant from the Society of Professional Journalists to conduct newsroom training in accessing public records.

"This award follows top national honors that Dr. Cuillier has won in the past three years for his research and teaching, and is another indication that he is one of the finest academics in our field," said Jacqueline Sharkey, director of the UA School of Journalism.

Cuillier is chairman of the national Freedom of Information committee for the Society of Professional Journalists, a member of the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona and a FOIA trainer for SPJ, traveling to newsrooms around the country to educate journalists.

Cuillier is a four-time winner of AEJMC's Great Ideas in Teaching competition. In 2007, Cuillier won the award for the top dissertation in the country from AEJMC. That same year he also won the top faculty paper award in media law.