College Professors Win KU Teaching Awards

Two College of Liberal Arts & Sciences professors were honored with teaching awards during the 2015 KU Teaching Summit in August.

Associate Professor of Theatre Nicole Hodges Persley received the Byron T. Shutz Award for Excellence in Teaching, and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Jeffrey A. Hall received the Ned N. Fleming Trust Teaching Award.

We caught up with both winners to find out a little more about their teaching style and favorite KU memories.

Nicole Hodges Persley, associate professor of theatre

Hometown: Born in Detroit Michigan,MAG CONVERSATION PERSLEY 011315 DRE 0032f

Undergraduate major: French –I was the non-major hanging in the Theatre department.

What’s your favorite course to teach? It’s a tie between Hip Hop and Acting

Why did you become a professor? Because I wanted to help students dream bigger dreams about changing the world.

“My favorite KU memory is…” Seeing the students I directed in  A Raisin in the Sun get their first standing ovation. I could not speak.

“I became a Jayhawk because…” I could openly be the professor I imagined myself to be.

“I’m most proud of…”  My family and being the first in my family to earn a PHD

The best advice I ever got: You can do everything, not just at at once.

My 140-character soapbox: Be the change that you want to see in the world- Gandhi

My guilty pleasure: sweet potato pie

My super power would be: invisibility

What was the last thing you read for fun? Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress

What inspires you? The pure passion of people in the moment of achieving a dream. Viola Davis’ Emmy speech was inspiring.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? An actress and a teacher.  I told my kindergarten teacher I wanted to act and teach and she said “Why not? “- the rest is history.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Lorraine Hansberry, Nawal Sadaawi, Albert Camus,
Ruth Wilson Gimore, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Deepa Kumar, Viola Davis, Malcolm X and Romare Bearden and Kara Walker.
Obviously, I’ve thought about this question a lot.


Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studiesjeff_hall3

Hometown: Topeka

Undergraduate major: English Literature

What’s your favorite course to teach? Nonverbal Communication

Why did you become a professor?  It seemed like the best job in the world to me.

“My favorite KU memory is…”  Hooding my first doctoral student last spring.

“I became a Jayhawk because…” It was a great job and a great fit to my abilities.

The best advice I ever got: You are always worth working on because whatever changes that happen in life, those changes will be with you.

My guilty pleasure: The Walking Dead

My super power would be: Making my children go to bed with a single request.

What was the last thing you read for fun?  The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

What did you want to be when you were growing up?  A teacher (of course)