By Gail M. Whitelaw
Outstanding Educator Award, 2019
Those who know me know that from the time I was 11 years old I wanted to be an audiologist. From the time I supervised my first student, I knew I wanted to be a clinical educator, supervising audiology students from Columbia University at the tender age of 25. Fortunately for the students that I precept and for me, my skills and knowledge have continued to grow since that time. To have those efforts recognized publicly was a highlight of my career.
In 2019, I was fortunate to be recognized by my colleagues and the Academy with the Outstanding Educator Award; surprised and humbled when I received the phone call from the committee chair.
Having been involved with the Academy for many years and having attended many Honors and Awards events at the AAA Annual Conference, I was truly honored to be recognized in the company of so many inspiring people. The true icing on the cake for me was that I received my award at the dinner at the conference—in Columbus, Ohio, my beloved hometown. Receiving the award in Columbus also meant that my best friends, including non-audiologists and some of the doctor of audiology (AuD) students from Ohio State, could share this wonderful recognition with me. Having the students in attendance was particularly important to me since the other honorees were remarkable and inspirational to our profession, particularly inspiring to young audiologists.
When the nomination materials were shared with me, I was in awe of the comments and kudos. I am so fortunate to work with those who nominated me, whether they be a student (current and former), a colleague, a preceptor, or a mentor or mentee. The nominators’ recognition and remarks touched me deeply and their letters meant even more to me than the award.
After receiving the Outstanding Educator Award, I was asked to apply for the Honors and Awards Committee, which reviews the nomination packets and works to select the award recipients. Seeing this work behind the scenes is fantastic based on the range of remarkable and talented people in audiology.
To paraphrase Christina Roup, PhD, one of my fellow committee members, “what better volunteer assignment than to be able to recognize our colleagues.”
Now this is where YOU come in. Please start thinking now about your outstanding colleagues and make a plan to nominate them for an Academy honor; we have so many people who deserve to be recognized.
With the committee efforts, the nomination process has been improved and streamlined to make it simple and easy to send in information—just one letter of recommendation at a maximum of three pages, and an updated resume or CV.
We encourage you to get together with your network of colleagues and submit a nomination packet as a group which makes it that much easier to manage. While the packet is important and thought needs to go into making a compelling case, it’s really not a daunting task and if your nominee is selected, it could make a big impact.
The committee is also exploring ways to share the Honors and Awards event at the annual conference with even more colleagues and conference attendees. I am a great believer in the expression “a high tide floats all ships,” and attending the Honors and Awards event at the annual conference is a great example of this. You will be inspired and even more proud of our profession than you are now, not to mention it’s a really fun event! Thanks for taking the time to read about my honors experience, it is among my fondest memories. I hope you will nominate our colleagues and I do hope to see you at the Honors and Awards event at AAA 2023+HearTECH Expo next April in Seattle, Washington!
Due October 14
Gail M. Whitelaw, PhD, is currently a member of the Honors and Awards Committee and the 2019 recipient of the Outstanding Educator Award.
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