Reynolds School alumnus receives highest award given to public university educators

Reynolds School alumnus receives highest award given to public university educators

Will Sites, a graduate of the Reynolds School graduate program, awarded the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education

Will Sites, an assistant professor of journalism at Lincoln University, studies and teaches a lot of subjects: drone journalism, media convergence, disruptive innovation, media law and website usability. Sites, a graduate of the Reynolds School of Journalism’s graduate program, has recently received the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education as well as being named one of the top 20 journalism educators by EducationShift for his innovative work with drones in journalism.

The Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education is the highest award given to Missouri public university educators and is presented annually to one professor from each of Missouri’s 14 public four-year universities. Sites has been a full-time assistant professor at Lincoln University since 2014 and graduated with his Master of Arts from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2010.

Journalist Will Sites flies in an experimental plane that will depart Sullivan, Mo, for the Reno Air Races in Reno, Nev.

According to Sites, much of what he does in the classroom now is derived from his experiences at the Reynolds School in the environmental journalism program. Whether it was the importance of incorporating play into life and profession or the importance of understanding purpose and direction, Sites’ time at the Reynolds School was invaluable.

“Simply put, the amazing support and advice I received at the Reynolds School has led to much success and I’m eternally grateful for my time at the University of Nevada, Reno,” Sites said. “Because of my experience with grad school, I encourage my students to continue their education – and many do.”

Though many people say that a good education teaches someone how to learn, Sites believes that he learned how to teach at the Reynolds School, and mostly importantly the role that flexibility, empathy and innovation play in higher education.

“I teach at an open-enrollment historically black college and university, and diversity is the foundation of everything we stand for,” Sites said. “I learned to adopt new ways of thinking and to embrace whatever innovations and philosophies promote success for my students, and I’m proud to say that I take a lot of Nevada into my Missouri classrooms.”

Will Sites, right, of Lincoln University, takes drone journalism training from Matt Waite of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, during a drone journalism training seminar held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. June 18, 2017.

In his time at Lincoln University, Sites went from being one of two professors in the journalism program to the sole educator in that specific program forcing him to get creative. Sites has made sure to keep the faltering student paper, the Lincoln Clarion, running and propel his students toward bright futures in journalism. Though it is his work with drones in journalism and belief that journalism students should have at least some familiarity with drones before entering the workforce that has thrust him into the spotlight.

His work with drones and journalism has received attention in MediaShift, an online publication focused on the journalism industry, through a piece that he wrote highlighting its benefits. In January of 2018, he was named one of the Education Shift 20, MediaShift’s list of the 20 top journalism educators in the country.

For more information about the Reynolds School of Journalism’s graduate program, visit: journalism.unr.edu

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