David Nguyen

Assistant Professor Dr. David Nguyen receives the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University

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Patton College's David Nguyen receives the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award


Counseling and Higher Education Assistant Professor Dr. David Nguyen received the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award at the Graduate Professional Student Appreciation Week Celebration Event at Walter Rotunda on April 23. Established in 1972, the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award annually recognizes one Ohio University professor who has demonstrated exemplary performance as an instructor, researcher, and faculty member.

Nguyen is the 46th OHIO faculty member to receive the award and the first Patton College professor to win it since 2007.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would win an award like this at Ohio University because of just how many talented faculty members there are here,” said Nguyen. “To win this award is an indescribable feeling, and it’s truly an honor because I’m blessed with such wonderful students.”

Faculty must be nominated by graduate students to be considered for the award. The Graduate Student Senate’s Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award Committee determines the winner.

Students from the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program nominated Nguyen, who will deliver the keynote speech at the Graduate Commencement Ceremony in Spring 2020. Nguyen received more than 20 nominations, including one from recent graduate Dr. Katy Mathuews.

“Dr. Nguyen is very dedicated to supporting his students,” said Mathuews, who received her Ph.D. in Higher Education in December 2018. “Through his research methods class, I was able to develop a robust dissertation proposal that launched me into a successful research process. Throughout the class, he challenged students to do their best work and helped us achieve more than we thought possible.”

Another doctoral student, Antonique Flood, had a similar experience with Nguyen. Flood was initially intimidated by the level of excellence Nguyen demanded, but he mentored her through the research process and helped her procure grant funding for her study.

“Dave is an inspiring teacher, researcher, and mentor who cares deeply about the success of his students,” said Flood. “He values our growth inside and outside the classroom. I appreciate him as a professor, researcher, and person. His impact has been indelible.”

As principal investigator, Nguyen teaches students how to research effectively and use their findings to inform data-driven decision-making. He connects the professional to the personal to explain concepts, expand each student’s research capacity, and instill confidence.

“Dave sees in each of his students what we don't see in ourselves,” one of his nominators wrote. “He has personally helped me to see myself as a scholar and someone who can enter into the world of published academic work. Dave has helped me to build confidence and to think critically in a way that allows me to add to the literature within [our field].”

Nguyen was humbled by these words.

“The students are the best part of my job,” he said. “Whether its interacting with them in the classroom or in a research setting, I encourage them to ‘bring it’ and to challenge me and others to be the best in our field. I’m hopeful that our engagement will make them better aspiring academics and professionals.”

Nguyen has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Syracuse University, a master’s in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University, and a doctorate in Higher Education from Michigan State University. He thanked his doctoral professors for encouraging him to pursue a faculty career.

“They showed me what it was like to be committed to teaching and research,” he said. “As an educator, I try to share my enthusiasm for the topic with students and hope to challenge them to reach their academic apex as they seek to effect change wherever they land after Ohio University. To be honest, I never really know that what I do in the classroom has an effect on people. I just try to give them the best possible experience while seeking academic excellence while in community with the students. I think that’s what makes this type of award so special to me.”

Nguyen has accomplished a great deal since arriving at OHIO in 2016. In fact, he was selected to be a 2019 National Data Institute Fellow with the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES). He was also named an Emerging Faculty Leader by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), a respected professional organization in Higher Education and Student Affairs.

Nguyen has fulfilled his obligations to these organizations while continuing to put his students first.

“Dave has been one of the most authentically caring faculty members that I have had,” said Kendra Lutes, who is pursuing a master’s in College Student Personnel. “Whether he is sending me a job posting or asking about my life outside of class, he has always been thoughtful and considerate of who we are as students outside of our paper and assignments. He has set an example of what both a student affairs scholar and practitioner should be.”