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2018 Award for Excellence in Online Teaching

Recipients of the 2018 Award for Excellence in Online Teaching were the following.

Dr. Lynda Harkins

Clinical Associate Professor, Respiratory Care


Dr. Harkins initiated her first distance education program in 1984. A new concept at Texas State University, this hard-copy correspondence program offered respiratory care students in rural areas an opportunity for professional growth. Dr. Harkins was instrumental in converting the program to interactive education via T1 lines and television. As technology advanced, she included online resources in her face-to-face courses. She learned from this experience that teachers can interact with remote students quite effectively when they make themselves available. Through trial and error, Dr. Harkins found instructional strategies that worked well and some that did not. Her passion has always been to create a distance learning experience that is as effective as the face-to-face classroom. Today’s technology effectively bridges the gap between student and teacher. Dr. Harkins has created numerous online courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. She has also received teaching awards, including Graduating Student Recognition, Texas State; Professor Appreciation, Texas State Panhellenic Association; Alkek Innovative Teaching Award – Digital Curriculum; Excellence Award for Teaching, College of Health Professions; and Favorite Professor Award, Alpha Chi Honor Society. Dr. Harkins is being recognized today for her online course, RC 5303: Research Methods.

Dr. Arzu Ari

Professor, Respiratory Care


Dr. Ari is a trained physical therapist and respiratory therapist with 25 years of 

experience as a manager, clinician, educator, and researcher. She earned her master’s degree in public health from Istanbul University and her master of science in allied health and Ph.D. in higher education administration from Georgia State University. Dr. Ari has taught graduate and undergraduate-level online courses in respiratory care for 19 years. She began teaching at Texas State University in September 2017 and developed several online courses during her first year at Texas State. These courses include RC 3212: Pharmacology, RC 5303: Research Methodology, RC 5305: Applied Research, and RC 5307: Advanced Respiratory Care Seminar. Dr. Ari was recognized for her online course, RC 5305: Applied Research and Statistics.

Dr. Ari has been regarded as an outstanding researcher and educator in the field of respiratory care by different institutions in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. Since October 2000, she has received 14 prestigious awards for her accomplishments in research and education. Last year, she was selected as Distinguished Faculty by the Zhejiang Respiratory Care Alliance in China.

Dr. Tricia Burke

Associate Professor, Communication Studies


Dr. Burke completed her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Arizona, and she has been teaching at Texas State University since fall 2013. She teaches courses in health communication, interpersonal communication, and empirical research methods, and she has been teaching health communication online and family communication as a hybrid course since taking the Texas State Online Course Development workshop in summer 2014. She is being recognized for her online course, COMM 4326: Health Communication. In designing this course, Dr. Burke wanted to engage with students in a novel way; therefore, she decided to record podcasts with various health communication experts both within and outside Texas State. These podcasts gave students the opportunity to hear from others about health communication, as well as to learn more about her as a teacher and a person. Dr. Burke recognizes the benefits of online education and aims to continue exploring creative methods to engage with students in her online classroom.