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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Sam Riley


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Sam Riley, professor of Communication, for his longtime dedication to helping Virginia Tech students become better writers. Through the use of vivid examples and his obvious passion for good writing, students in Dr. Riley's journalism courses develop an appreciation for the writing process as they are given opportunities to practice their own writing skills.

Dr. Riley's teaching style in his writing courses centers on the use of classic and current examples of journalistic writing. Students are introduced to key writing concepts, provided with memorable examples, and given opportunities to produce their own pieces of writing. Key to Dr. Riley's approach is the thoughtful and insightful feedback he provides each student throughout the writing process. Whether writing comments on drafts or commenting over a student's shoulder in a computer lab, Dr. Riley interacts with his students as individuals and encourages them to be the best writers they can be. Students are also encouraged to share their work to audiences outside of the classroom.

Dr. Riley also engages his students through storytelling and discussing his research projects, which range from works on journalism history to a book on personalized license plates to a blog on America's celebrity culture.

In addition to writing courses, Dr. Riley also teaches Media Institutions and Communication Law & Ethics.

Recently, Dr. Riley has recognized "good student stories" and connected with former students through Riley's Blog of Fame, which archives examples of excellent student work from his Magazine Writing and Editorial Writing courses. In addition, Dr. Riley is always happy to make time for a current or former student.

Through his years of commitment to helping student writers and recognizing excellent student writing, Dr. Riley has made a lasting impact on many students at Virginia Tech.

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Teacher of the Week

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A list of the past winners is available.