Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award


The Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) announced their annual “Distinguished Teaching in Journalism Award”. The award goes to the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications professor, Mike Foley. According to the SPJ’s site, this award; “honors a collegiate journalism educator and recognizes outstanding teaching ability, contributions to journalism, journalism education and contributions toward maintaining the highest standards of the profession.” Foley is a master lecturer, and teaches writing and reporting courses at UF. This prestigious national award is a first-time win for a UF professor.

Foley weighed in on the award; “I’m flattered with the honor, but I’m more proud to be a part of this college,” Foley said. “I’m gratified by those students and colleagues who nominated me for this prestigious award.” Foley stated.

While this may be the first SPJ award Foley has won, this is by no means his first encounter with professional accolades. In 2012, The Princeton Review’s book “The 300 Best Professors” included Mike Foley. This came after UF named him a “distinguished alumnus” in 1994, and named him teacher of the year for both the college, and the university in 2007. It seems that Foley is getting recognized on a national scale for his excellence in providing journalism education.

It’s been a long, accomplished road to Foley’s current position as a distinguished journalism educator. He earned his bachelor’s in journalism in 1970 from UF. In 2004, Foley earned is master’s in mass communication from UF. Foley has been a faculty member at UF since 2003. Before becoming a faculty member at UF, Foley worked at The Tampa Bay Times for close to thirty years. The Tampa Bay Times holds the honor of being the largest newspaper in Florida. Foley’s time spent at the Times, left him prepared to be the dynamic, effective journalism educator he has become.

As the first professor from UF to receive such an honor, and an alumni himself, the staff and students at UF are both proud and grateful of his presence. The dean of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications Diane McFarlin, released a statement regarding the award.

“Mike continues to bring great distinction to our college, as a teacher and a role model,” McFarlin stated. “His passion for journalism is an inspiration to our students and his colleagues, myself included.”

In response to the award, McFarlin and Foley released the question and answer video segment seen above. It’s always inspiring to see educators getting the recognition they deserve. While one great journalist can expose a story to millions of people, the amount of inspiration and knowledge that a journalism educator provides to their students, and the world, is countless.

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