Awarded to an individual who has made significant contributions to audiology through his or her dedication and skills to the education of audiology students. The individual may be a clinical or academic educator but should be a university lecturer, faculty, or adjunct faculty member of an accredited AuD/Ph.D. program in the United States.
How to Nominate
The Academy Honors and Awards Committee encourages all Academy members to identify those colleagues they believe have made significant contributions to the audiology profession. If you know someone who should be recognized for his or her efforts, please take the time to submit a nomination packet to the committee for review. Read more about the nomination requirements and committee policies here.
Patricia Gaffney, AuD, is the 2023 recipient of the Outstanding Educator Award. She has distinguished herself as a superior professor at Nova Southeastern University, where her demanding clinical and didactic courses, clinical supervision, and research mentorship have earned her high respect from her students and her faculty colleagues.
Dr. Gaffney is highly recognized for her contributions in the areas of vestibular assessments and treatment. Her passion for vestibular diagnostics led her to develop a unique Vestibular Specialization Seminar that is one of only a handful of audiology doctoral programs to offer such specialized education.
Her expertise in clinical and academic training are valued for her leadership of her university’s inter-professional team of optometry, pharmacy, medicine, and physical therapy. She challenges and engages her audiology students in journal clubs and case studies, and she is often sought as a guest lecturer at conferences and in other academic programs.
Her students have learned to appreciate the importance of professional involvement, through Dr. Gaffney’s commitment in leadership roles. She has served as the president of the Audiology Practice Standards Organization, and on boards of the American Balance Society, the American Academy of Audiology, and the AAA Foundation.
Her nominators reported that Dr. Gaffney’s teaching philosophy is, “When you produce good audiologists, that speaks for itself in the profession. When I teach, that is in the forefront of my mind.” Dr. Gaffney is clearly demonstrating that philosophy through her commitment to excellence in teaching.
Elaine A. Mormer, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh, where she has taught didactic and clinical courses, provided clinical education, and mentored students on research projects. She currently serves as the vice chair for clinical education for the department. In this role, she oversees clinical instruction and clinical placements.
In 2013, Dr. Mormer received the Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She was the co-recipient of the Provosts’ Innovation in Education Award for her role as co-director of an over-the-counter hearing aid certificate program for pharmacy students in 2019.
Dr. Mormer has facilitated continuing education activities on evidence-based teaching, through publications and presentations. In addition, she has served as the course coordinator and annual presenter at the University of Pittsburgh’s biennial Audiology Teaching Conference.
She currently serves as the vice president for clinical education resource development for the Council on Academic Programs in Communication Science and Disorders (CAPCSD). She has worked with the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE) and the Academy’s Academic Program Committee on the annual joint Clinical Education Forum, sponsored by CAPCSD and the Academy.
Gail M. Whitelaw serves as the director of clinical instruction and research at the Ohio State University Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. She works directly with students as a preceptor in the clinic, as a professor, as the fourth-year clinic placement coordinator, and capstone supervisor/committee member. She is the audiology faculty member on the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Disorders housed at the Nisonger Center at Ohio State.
Her students describe how she always goes above and beyond. One of her former students sums it up: “Dr. Whitelaw is much more than a professor and preceptor. She is a remarkable mentor who cares deeply about the profession of audiology and the success of her students. She works harder than most to ensure that her students are receiving exceptional educational and clinical experiences.” Among her recognitions are the Central Ohio Speech–Language–Hearing Association Honors as Outstanding Supervisor, and the Distinguished Faculty Award by the Ohio State University Student Academy of Audiology.
Dr. Whitelaw’s influence extends far outside of Ohio State. She cares not only for her own students but also strives to create a better experience for all students in the profession. She was instrumental in the development of the American Board of Audiology’s Audiology Preceptor Certification and served on the board of the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD). Dr. Whitelaw is also a member of the Accreditation Commission on Audiology Education (ACAE).
Dr. Jennifer E. Weber has made significant contributions to the field of audiology through her dedication and focus on excellence as an educator, clinical supervisor, and mentor of audiology students. Dr. Weber serves as program coordinator for the audiology speech-language sciences department for the University of Northern Colorado. She has successfully integrated her robust teaching and research interests to prepare her students in amplification, diagnostic audiology, aural rehabilitation, pediatric assessment and habilitation. In addition, she has provided her students with rare opportunities in the unique field of animal audiology. By collaborating with colleagues, they established UNC’s Facility for Education and Testing of Canine Hearing and Laboratory for Animal Bioacoustics (FETCHLAB™) in 2014 and then developed UNC’s Animal Audiology Graduate Certificate Program in 2015.
Dr. Weber was instrumental in developing and implementing the doctor of audiology program at UNC. She has received recognitions such as Favorite Professor and First Year Scholars Outstanding Faculty. Her classroom teaching evaluations and personal communications acknowledge the passion, inspiration, and influence her teaching has on the audiology profession.
While her personal research has consistently produced high-quality results, she has always sought to share her research zest and experience with her students. Her colleagues and students consider Dr. Weber to be the ultimate professional and role model, as she’s challenged her students in 39 thesis and capstone committees. The capstone of one of those students yielded a paper that earned Hearing Review’s “Editor’s Top 10 Picks for Best Articles in 2015.” That former student enthusiastically contributed to Dr. Weber’s nomination packet with the quote: Dr. Weber “challenged me to think outside the box and beyond the text book. She encouraged me to ask questions that were bold and significant. Her knowledge and dedication as an educator and research advisor inspired me as a student and sculpted me into the audiologist I am today.”
As the chapter advisor for her university’s student audiology and speech-language pathology organization, Dr. Weber has also encouraged her students to prepare themselves for professional roles in audiology by fostering involvement in local, state, and national student audiology organizations. She models such commitments through her own activities outside of the university, including multiple leadership positions at the Colorado Speech-Language-Hearing Association and Colorado Academy of Audiology.
Obviously, Dr. Weber demonstrates the model of excellence in teaching. She has truly left an impact on the field of audiology by coaching audiologists to be the best they can be and then continue to share passion for excellence throughout their entire careers. The American Academy of Audiology is pleased to bestow its 2018 Outstanding Educator Award to Jennifer E. Weber AuD, in recognition of her significant contributions to the field of audiology as an educator and mentor of audiology students.
Rochelle Cherry is passionate about her field and instills that passion in her students. She challenges her students to think beyond the textbook, to see beyond the hearing loss, to become advocates for their patients, and to never settle for the status quo. While she is demanding, she is also caring and compassionate. She develops an understanding of each of her students and their lives—inside and outside the academic environment. Cherry has the unique gift to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each student and build on those to develop caring, compassionate and well-educated students/practitioners with the ultimate goal of providing the highest quality service to their patients with hearing impairment. She exemplifies what an educator should be!