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2019 Award for Excellence in Online Teaching

Recipients of the 2019 Award for Excellence in Online Teaching were the following.

Dr. De De Gardner

Associate Professor, Department of Respiratory Care


De De Gardner joined Texas State University as an Associate Professor in the Department of Respiratory Care in 2017. She completed her doctorate in public health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and her prior graduate and undergraduate studies at Texas State University. Dr. Gardner is a 2009 Distinguished Alumnus.

Dr. Gardner’s research interests are in the areas of cardiopulmonary disease management of critical care patients and community health education. She is a collaborator with an interprofessional team, teaching students team care for patients using simulation. Most recently, she is leading a readmission prevention study at Central Texas Medical Center using cell phone technology communication.

Dr. Gardner is recognized for her leadership in cardiopulmonary medicine and is a Fellow in two professional organizations, the American Association in Respiratory Care and the American College of Chest Physicians. Dr. Gardner is a published author of 8 book chapters, 18 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 15 grants, as well as numerous national and international presentations. In the fall of 2018, she received the American Association for Respiratory Care Education Specialty Practitioner of the Year, and in 2018, she received two education awards, the Mike West Patient Education Achievement Award from the American Respiratory Care Foundation and the Texas Society for Respiratory Care Educator of the Year. Dr. Gardner pioneered the first Master of Science in Respiratory Care program in Texas, as well as a graduate and undergraduate online respiratory care degree advancement program. She is an online education champion and received this award for her online course RC 5302: Clinical Practice Guidelines and Respiratory Care Protocols.

Ms. Julia Meritt

Senior Lecturer, Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Julia Meritt, M.Ed, has been with Texas State University since 2004 as a Senior Lecturer in Curriculum and Instruction focusing on Literacy Education. She teaches teacher candidates (seniors) in a school in Comal ISD, freshman seminar, and a fully online course, CI 3310: Public Education in a Multicultural Society, which is the course for which she received this award. Ms. Meritt completed a 16-week faculty development course, Advanced Online Course Design and Development, which meets the SACS Commission on Colleges requirements for online instructors. Furthermore, she completed a Multicultural Curriculum Transformation and Research Institute, earning CI 3310 a “multicultural perspective and multicultural content” designation. During the summers, Ms. Meritt teaches another course, Social Studies in the Elementary and Middle School, in a hybrid format, and she also has been experimenting with hybrid format teaching in two other courses. Ms. Meritt also designed and facilitated a Central Texas Writing Project Online Institute for English Language Learners for classroom teachers. Overall, Ms. Meritt has taught for 36 years including kindergarten, first grade, middle school, and university students.

Dr. Kelly Haskard-Zolnierek

Associate Professor, Communication Studies


Dr. Haskard-Zolnierek is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Texas State, where she has been teaching since 2007. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside, and her B.A. in Psychology from Claremont McKenna College. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including Health Psychology, Graduate Research Seminar, Health Issues in Diverse Populations, and Health Psychology: Prevention and Intervention. She received this award for her online course, Health Psychology: PSY 3361, which she began teaching online in fall 2013. She developed the online format after taking the Creating and Teaching an Online Course Workshop.  This course represents the first time she used Flipgrid in her teaching. She chose this external video discussion tool in an effort to build community and connection among students and instructor and to allow for more interactive discussions where she and the students could “put a face to a name.” She sees the value in online education and looks forward to continuing to teach online courses that promote community and help students connect the material to their life experiences.

Award for Excellence