Dr. Melba Vélez Ortiz Wins Top Teaching and Outstanding Faculty Mentor Awards

Dr. Melba Vélez Ortiz is nothing short of spectacular. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She earned her doctorate at the University of Illinois-Champaign with her primary focus on communication ethics and she has taught at the university level for 21 years.

Dr. Vélez Ortiz is well-published and a trailblazer in the field. She has published in journals including Communication Education and Journal of the Association for Communication Administration. She has also received numerous awards for her exceptional teaching, including but not limited to the Professor of the Year Award from GVSU Trio Programs in 2017 and the Kimboko Award for Outstanding Graduate Faculty from GVSU Graduate Student Association in 2017.

Earlier this year Dr. Vélez Ortiz was nominated for the 2019 Top Teaching Award in Communication Ethics presented by the Communication Ethics Division of the NCA and she won! This award recognizes achievement in pedagogy at the national level. At the 2019 NCA convention in Baltimore where she received the award, she also participated in a panel discussion titled “A Student’s Guide to Surviving Communication Ethics.”

But as if that were not enough, she was also selected for the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award for Fall 2019. This is an honor given by Grand Valley State University to faculty members who have been nominated by the graduate students for outstanding mentorship.

These awards come as no surprise to anyone that knows Dr. Vélez Ortiz personally. Her students adore her, her colleagues respect her, and anyone that encounters her leaves with a smile on their face. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone as passionate about the study and application of ethics as Dr. Vélez Ortiz. She always manages to sprinkle ethics into the classes she teaches, no matter what the subject may be.

Pat Arneson, Ph.D. at Duquesne University, the colleague that nominated Dr. Vélez Ortiz for the award, said;

“As Dr. Vélez Ortiz writes in her teaching philosophy, ‘Every course I teach, no matter what the subject, is an ethics class.’  She situates communication ethics as the foundation of good communication, character building, and engaged citizenship. She provides thought-provoking readings and assignments designed to enhance students’ learning experience.”

The only thing that matches her passion for ethics is her passion for students. Students get far more out of their classes with Dr. Vélez Ortiz than just a letter grade…they get life lessons and unforgettable memories.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the help of Professor Chad, Dr. Vélez Ortiz’s beloved companion and guide dog. Please help us congratulate Dr. Melba Vélez Ortiz. We’re so proud of you, Melba! And we are proud of you too, Professor Chad.