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Boyd earns university's top teaching award
Provost Tim Sands (left) presents Boyd with the Murphy Award

By Lindsey Tobias
Senior, Mass Communication

Josh Boyd, associate professor of communication, believes all the winners of Purdue's Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award have a specific trademark that makes them stand out. For Boyd, that goes beyond his signature bow tie.

Boyd was one of five exceptional teachers honored with the 2010 Murphy Award, which honors faculty members on campus who demonstrate outstanding teaching in all aspects of undergraduate instruction.  Boyd is one of only five communication professors who have obtained the award in its 44 years of existence.

As an award winner, Boyd received $10,000.  He also became a fellow in Purdue's Teaching Academy and received an entry in the Purdue Book of Great Teachers.

Boyd has taught COM204, Critical Perspectives on Communication, a course he created, since 2002.  According to Boyd, the class is a rare combination of a large lecture and writing-intensive course.  He credits his success in reaching students in such a unique atmosphere as one of his teaching trademarks that helped him receive the award. 

Boyd invites top undergraduate students to his house for dinner each year to discuss how to improve his course  

Another unique aspect of his teaching is the end-of-semester dinners he hosts for a handful of top students. These dinners provide Boyd with useful feedback.

"I always learn something about my class that I didn't know," Boyd said.

Boyd is always looking to create an environment where students are primarily there to learn.  He does not use a textbook in COM204, because he enjoys the flexibility of taking the class in his own direction. He also notes that it's an incentive to come to class.

His many publications often focus on the study of teaching and learning, along with his focus on corporate rhetoric. He strives to make his own teaching method engaging.

"I want to be approachable, but also have control of the room," he said.

The topic of teaching has always been close to Boyd.  His mother and his wife are both elementary school teachers, while his father has been a longtime professor at Northern Kentucky University.  Both father and son won their respective school's top teaching award during their twelfth year of teaching.

The Murphy Award isn't the only award Boyd has obtained during his time at Purdue. He has earned the Charles Redding Award for distinguished teaching at the department level five times, among other honors. 

Although he didn't think he would spend his life in greater Lafayette, he is content at Purdue. He enjoys meeting the new group of students that enter his classes in both fall and spring.

"I like getting a fresh start every semester," Boyd said.

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