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Ball State University instructor, Colleen Steffen, named outstanding campus adviser


Christine Cordial, SPJ Awards Coordinator, (317) 920-4788, ccordial@spj.org
Isaac Taylor, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 920-4785, itaylor@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists has named Colleen Steffen as the recipient of this year’s David L. Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award. Steffen teaches at Ball State University, where she advises the student SPJ chapter.

The Outstanding Campus Chapter Adviser Award, initiated in 1978, is presented annually to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the campus chapter for which he or she serves as SPJ adviser. In 1993, the SPJ Board of Directors voted to change the award name to the David Eshelman Outstanding Campus Adviser Award in order to honor Eshelman, a longtime member of the Society and SPJ Board parliamentarian, who was killed in 1993. A list of previous honorees may be seen here.

In her nomination letter, chapter president Sophie Gordon says Steffen has acted as a pioneer in developing the BSU student chapter and helping it thrive. According to Gordon, Steffen has rejuvenated the chapter by “working with her officers to transform it into something impactful for the community.”

Over the past year, under Steffen’s guidance, the chapter successfully developed educational and social programming aimed at encouraging the larger campus community to identify with journalists and combat fake news – including visits to elementary and middle school classrooms to educate students on the importance of media literacy.

“What makes Colleen outstanding is her commitment to students and the organization,” Gordon said. “She makes sure the organization truly is student-driven, but she also makes time to speak with officers and offer guidance whenever she is needed. From giving us lists of contacts in the community to throwing out ideas for events, she gives suggestions but empowers students to make the decision. This leadership style has allowed students to grow as leaders themselves and become productive collaborators.”

Steffen will be honored at Excellence in Journalism 2018, Sept. 27-29 in Baltimore.

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