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Dr. Tracy McNelly receives Thoburn Excellence in Teaching Award

by Public Relations | November 23, 2022

LATROBE, PA – Dr. Tracy McNelly, Associate Professor of Education for both graduates and undergraduates in the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) at Saint Vincent College, was presented with the Thoburn Excellence in Teaching Award during Saint Vincent College’s annual Founders’ Day Honors Convocation in the Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica on November 18.

Nominations for the Thoburn Award are made by Saint Vincent alumni five to seven years after they’ve graduated. Alumni are to name one member of the faculty who made a significant impact on students through their teaching and personal interactions.


“It is obvious that Dr. McNelly maintains a great attention to detail in curating her class content and… in her instructional methods,” one alumni wrote, and that she “has shaped [them] as a future educator.”

“Dr. McNelly was one of the best professors I had at Saint Vincent,” wrote another alumni. “She’s an educator who’s truly dedicated to the success of her students, both while they’re at Saint Vincent and after they’ve graduated. I’m lucky to have had her.”

Dr. John Delaney, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, presented the award.

After receiving the award, Dr. McNelly asserted that she never looks for awards as an educator, but that she is grateful to be recognized all the same. “Educating has everything to do with the students and less about what [professors] teach,” she said. “The relationships teachers have with students has more impact than [anything else].”

“In order for learning to occur,” she continued, we must first take care of our students. She called this the “Maslow and Blooms” technique in reference to the learning models created by Abraham Maslow (“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”) and Benjamin Bloom (“Bloom’s Taxonomies”). Maslow’s model focuses on human needs, while Bloom’s focuses on educational learning objectives.


Dr. McNelly thanked her past and current students; her colleagues; Dr. Veronica Ent, Associate Professor of Education and Chair of the Education Department; and Dr. Kathleen Beining, Assistant Professor of Education. She also thanked her husband, Bob, and her son, Justin, and credited them as being two of the most important people in her life.

Dr. McNelly graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education from Duquesne University, a Master’s of Education in Reading from the University of Pittsburgh and a D.Ed.from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She also completed her Post-Doctoral Studies and received a Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility from the University of Pittsburgh.

She has written a number of articles and presented at numerous conferences across her lifetime. Her most recent work, “Media Literacy Instruction in Today’s Classrooms: A Study of Teachers’ Knowledge, Confidence, and Integrationwas published in the Journal of Media Literacy Education and was co-authored with Dr. Jessica Harvey, Associate Professor of Communication in AHSS. Dr. McNelly also advises the education honors society, Kappa Delta Pi.

The Thoburn Excellence in Teaching Award is made possible by a gift from the late Thomas W. Thoburn Jr., and Tina Thoburn, D.Ed., educators and philanthropists from Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

-Madison Kozera, English major, of Abingdon, MD