Communication Arts Department Chair to receive a national award

Dr. Deborah Whitt is the Thomas L. Veenendall Advisor of the year


Zoey Heimes

Dr. Deb Whitt is to receive an advisor of the year award.

Janet Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Dr. Deborah Whitt, chair of the Department of Communication Arts and director of the Honors program, has received a national award as advisor of the year after a well-written letter was submitted by her Lambda Pi Eta students.

The Mu Gamma chapter of Lambda Pi Eta expressed that Whitt, its advisor, is always there for students. She welcomes one-on-one conversations with students.

“She listens to our opinions, she cares about our ideas and wants for the organization,” Mu Gamma secretary Lindsey Milburn said. “She is passionate about what we do as an organization.”

Whitt will be accepting the “2014 Lambda Pi Eta Thomas L. Veenendall Advisor of the year award,” for the third time, on Nov. 22.

She received this award for the first time back in 2004 in Chicago, and in 2011, she accepted the same award in New Orleans. This year, she will be back in Chicago, accompanied by Alyssa Bish, one of her national Lambda Pi Eta student advisory board members.

The award will be given at the National Communication Association Centennial Convention in Chicago during the annual Lambda Pi Eta business meeting.

“Not only is she kind, but she has challenged me to think more critically about the communication arts,” senior Bradley Dechant said.

Whitt received her B.A. at WSC then taught science and speech at St. Mary’s in O’Neil. After receiving her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she started teaching at WSC in 1985 in the Communication Arts Department and has served as department chair for many years.

Besides the national recognition as Advisor of the Year for Lambda Pi Eta, she has received the Teaching Excellence Award by the Nebraska State Colleges’ Board of Trustees (2001) and educator of the year for outstanding and dedicated service in the field of education (2004).

“It’s great to be recognized for what you’re passionate about,” Whitt said.

Aside from being the advisor to Lambda Pi Eta, Yarn Club, Cardinal Key and director of the Honor’s program, she teaches classes such as Communications theory, Intercultural, Family Communication and other basic courses of communication principles.

If she doesn’t find herself occupied with these organizations, she likes to spend her time gardening or doing yoga.

Whitt is married to Dr. Ron Whitt, whom she met at WSC. He also teaches classes in the communications field of study.

The interest of communication studies seemed to have carried on to their kids.

Four of their six kids majored in communication, and one minored in the field.