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Journalism school announces winner of inaugural mentoring award

Monday, June 03, 2013

LAWRENCE — The William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications has honored Professor Susanne Shaw with the inaugural Dr. Tim Bengtson Journalism Faculty Mentor Award. The award was established by journalism school alumnus Mark Mears and his wife, Stacy, to honor University of Kansas Associate Professor Timothy Bengtson. It is given to a journalism faculty member who provides exceptional mentorship and leadership for students at the school.

“I believe a lot in academic advising. That’s where you form relationships with the students,” Shaw said. “That’s the reason you’re here. It’s for the students.”

Shaw began her career at the journalism school more than 30 years ago and during that time has taken two leaves of absence to work as associate editor of the Tallahassee Democrat as well as the Coffeyville Journal. During her time at KU, Shaw has served as the news adviser and general manager of the University Daily Kansan, associate dean and the school graduate director.

 "Stacy and I could not be more thrilled to learn that Professor Susanne Shaw has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Dr. Tim Bengtson Journalism Faculty Mentor Award that we endowed last fall to recognize a faculty member each year who exemplifies Tim's passion for mentoring students beyond the classroom so they can achieve their full potential,” Mark Mears said. “Given the tremendous outpouring of support from students, faculty and alumni submitted as part of her nomination for this prestigious award, we could think of no one more deserving than Susanne who has always put students first in the many important roles she has played during her long legacy of service to the School of Journalism at KU.”

Currently, Shaw serves as the executive director for the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications and helps with outreach programs and the Multicultural Scholars program. Her dedication to students, Bengtson says, is unparalleled.

“She gives her heart and soul to the students and has for many years,” Bengtson said. “It’s not about what’s in it for her. It’s about what’s in it for the students.”

Shaw also serves as an adviser for KU athletes and Mount Oread Scholars pursuing degrees in journalism. She is a past executive director of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the national organization for journalism educators.

"Alumni often ask about Susanne Shaw and want to share their stories about how she helped them during their days at the j-school,” said Ann Brill, journalism dean. “Her interest in students is legendary as is her dedication to KU."

The Mears family established the fund with a $65,000 contribution to KU Endowment to benefit the journalism school with the intent to show their lasting appreciation for the mentorship Mark Mears received during his time at the school.

“Susanne is a tremendous ambassador for the university, a tireless advocate for her students and an excellent educator who represents the very best of what the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication stands for,” Mark Mears said. “She will set the bar very high for other faculty members to win this award, not only for next year, but in the many years to come."

Mark Mears earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising from KU in 1984 and a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University in 1985. Mark, Stacy and their daughters, McKenna and Brianna, live in Valencia, Calif., where Mark was most recently president and chief concept officer for Mimi’s Café.

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