The COVID-19 pandemic forced faculty, students, and staff at the university to shift in one week—literally over spring break in March—from traditional in-person lectures and student outreach to Zoom calls and online testing modules.
Bryce Nelson, graduate coordinator for the Physics & Astronomy Department, rose to the challenge—maintaining educational integrity for the Physics Graduate Program by redesigning courses and student orientation sessions, while still providing support for colleagues and other instructors in the department. For her outstanding efforts, Nelson has been awarded the U’s 2020 Online Excellence Staff Award by Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs.
In announcing Nelson as a recipient, Reed praised her creativity and innovation, noting her work “will help form a foundation for the future of higher education here at the U, both in terms of course design and in the educational outreach and support we provide to the community around us. The university will be able to better prepare our students for a global, and increasingly digital economy, thanks to your [Nelson's] efforts.”
Originally from northern California, Nelson received a Bachelor of Science in geology from Portland State University. She joined the Physics & Astronomy Department in October 2018.
She will be recognized at the University’s 2021 Commencement next May. Please join us in congratulating her on receiving this well-deserved award.
Digital innovation awards for Excellence in Online Education, have been created to recognize faculty and staff creativity in the transition to online-only education during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. More broadly, these awards are to recognize digital innovations in academic units across the U, not only during the emergency changes made necessary during the worldwide pandemic, but also as the University of Utah prepares for the global economy of the future.
The Online Excellence Staff Awards honor staff members whose work was critical to easing and/or maintaining the shift to digital formats.
The Online Excellence Faculty Awards recognize faculty members who have not only shifted coursework online, but also adapted pedagogy and practice in new and novel ways to help their students learn and retain knowledge via an online format.