Professor Doug McLeod Wins Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award

Doug McLeod, Evjue Centennial Professor, has won the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He is one of five faculty members on campus who were selected to receive the Chancellor’s award, an honor that has been given out since 1973 to recognize UW-Madison’s best educators.

Doug McLeod headshot
Doug McLeod, Evjue Centennial Professor

McLeod joined the J-School faculty in 2000 and has been a champion of the Wisconsin Idea, consistently incorporating hands-on learning into his courses and teaching students how their work applies to the real world.

“We are delighted to see Doug earn this well-deserved recognition,” said Kathleen Bartzen Culver, Director, Professor and James E. Burgess Chair in Journalism Ethics. “Students rave about his engaged and professional focus. He sets ambitious goals for them and does everything in his power to help them achieve.”

For the past decade, McLeod has taught two of the J-School’s most in-demand courses, JOURN 445: Creative Campaign Messages and JOURN 564: Mass Media and the Consumer, in which he stresses the impact of his lessons beyond the walls of the university.

“It’s great to be recognized by the chancellor and the university. Of all the professional awards that one could get, this one means the most to me by far,” McLeod said. “The fact that my colleagues, former students, grad students and undergrads wrote letters that recognize what I bring to the table, that’s what means a lot to me. That’s why I do what I do.”

Professor Doug McLeod poses with a graduate at the 2023 Winter Graduation Celebration.McLeod’s impact on his students extends beyond his classrooms, as well. Recognizing a gap in the university’s offerings, he led the development and implementation of the Sports Communication Certificate, one of the most popular J-School offerings. He then saw the demand for deeper data and analytic skills in communication professions and co-led the creation of the Digital Media Analytics Certificate. These efforts have helped maintain the J-School’s reputation as one of the best career preparation programs on campus.

Dhavan Shah, Jack M. McLeod Professor of Communication Research, praised McLeod’s passion for innovation and commitment to his students.

“I can think of no other SJMC faculty member, including our multiple Distinguished Teaching Award winners, who have had a larger impact on our students through sustained excellence in teaching, curriculum development of certificate programs, and advising and mentoring,” Shah said.

Professor Doug McLeod's class Creative Brand Strategies poses together on a client trip to Shorewood Village, WisconsinOutside of the J-School, McLeod donates his time to other students, as well, which is something he has liked best about his time at UW-Madison. He serves on the UW Athletic Board, chairs the WSUM Student Radio Governance Board and supports the Precollege Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence (PEOPLE) Program’s summer workshops. These provide middle school students the opportunity to learn more about the college experience.

Despite this heavy service involvement across campus, McLeod always makes time for his students. His students admire his strong passion for mentoring.

“I think if you talk to any one of his students, all of them would be able to tell you great stories about his ability to provide guidance that is firm without being heavy-handed,” said Jo Lukito (Ph.D.’20), assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication. “All the features that you look for in a mentor – congeniality, professionalism, a level of respect and treating you like an equal – Doug exemplifies all those things.”

Recent graduate Isabel Garlough-Shah (JBA’23), also appreciated his guidance as an undergraduate student. “[Professor McLeod’s] teaching goes beyond the classroom as he is always willing to provide students with new insights on life and share skills to bring into the workforce,” Garlough-Shah said. “Professor McLeod is one of the main faculty at the UW who I will fondly remember as I graduate.”

McLeod credits his students, from middle schoolers to undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates, in accepting this honor.

“It’s easy to be the coach when you’ve got really fantastic players. You could be a great coach, but if you’ve got bad players, it doesn’t matter,” McLeod said. “I am blessed to work with top-notch, really good, talented people, which makes my job super easy.”

McLeod will be honored at the Distinguished Teaching Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 16, at Memorial Union.