Kelsey Moore, Ph.D., an instructor of communication studies in the College of Media & Communication, was honored in May with the newly establish Diamond Award for her teaching during the global pandemic. The award, designed by the Texas Tech Teaching Academy and Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center (TLPDC) recognizes faculty who excelled under immense pressure by innovating effective online learning.
Although Moore is humbled and grateful for the award, she cites her students as the real diamonds. Moore was continuously impressed with her students' willingness to be challenged and stay positive during an unprecedented year. Whether students were logging into class from bed with severe COVID-19 symptoms or participating in Zoom classes during the winter storm, Moore was inspired by their efforts to go the extra mile.
“This award makes me proud to be part of the Red Raider family because for many of our students, this was their best year ever,” Moore says. “It was the year that they discovered their resilience and fortitude. Now, they are shining brighter than ever.”
For Moore, the Spring 2021 semester was one of the greatest, yet challenging, moments of her academic career. She redesigned her entire course so its instructional strategy and curriculum better accommodated student needs in light of modality changes. Moore emphasized engagement and flexibility throughout her course redesign.
“This award means more than anything because it reminds me that in life and in teaching, our greatest challenges often become our biggest victories,” Moore says. “As an instructor, there's only so much I can do, so there was a lot of communication with the students to see what worked. It really is a team effort because I wouldn't be here without them.”
Complemented by her students' resilience and fortitude to continue their education, Moore was challenged to change the narrative for the Spring 2021 semester. Moore framed her course as a community service to help those suffering through the pandemic. Moore oversaw the management of six non-profit clients across 25 online student groups.
“I noticed that the Lubbock community has some very deep needs,” Moore says. “I thought my students might be able to have a transformative experience by working with them as clients. With the help of the Office of Outreach and Engagement and TrUE [Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences], I created a project where students received real experiences. I even had clients trying to hire my students at the end.”
The Diamond Award recognizes faculty like Moore who “go the extra mile” by showing compassion and dedication to their students. Either through constructive feedback or taking a moment to memorize each student by name, Moore makes it her mission to be a mentor figure for her students by prioritizing their mental health.
“I always encourage them to take care of themselves, which students have said is rare,” Moore says. “I work with a lot of high-achieving students who want to make a 100 on everything, and I often tell them it's okay to make the B in my class. It will not make me think less of them. Always work hard, but don't burn yourself out for just one class.”
Leading by positive example, Moore finds herself enjoying the victories of her students. Specifically, she loves to see the “light bulb” moment where students apply concepts to industry practice. Former students periodically reach out to express their gratitude to Moore as a result.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” Moore says, quoting Aesop, a Greek fabulist and storyteller. “We may never know of our impact, but we can be sure that there is one.”