After serving as an editor for Men’s Health magazine and co-authoring a best-selling book with television’s Dr. Mehmet Oz, Ted Spiker can now add “UF’s top teacher” to his resume.
Spiker, the journalism department chair in the UF College of Journalism, was named UF’s 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year on Thursday.
Spiker said the award was an honor, considering all the quality professors at UF. He said one of his favorite parts of teaching is watching students move into careers.
“You always know you’re just a small piece in their entire life, but you hope you’ve made some kind of an impact,” he said.
He’s reminded of the Fall of
1987, and of Dennis Jackson, his then-journalism professor at the University of Delaware. Jackson served as an inspiration for Spiker, the catalyst of his future career as a writer and professor.
When Turner Street, a 20-year-old UF journalism sophomore, learned that Spiker received the award, all he could think to text was “Woo Hoo!” embellished with several o’s and exclamation points.
Street first met Spiker while in high school. He was visiting campus and emailed Spiker to meet up. Spiker made time to sit down with Street, which influenced his decision to enroll at UF.
“The fact he gave me time to sit down and chat about what experience I could have at the University of Florida definitely was a huge part of my decision to come here,” Street said.
Street has taken 12 credit hours with Spiker and participated in an independent study to help with his research and classes.
“He’s just a phenomenal professor, and he’s had a big impact on me, and I feel very honored to have had him,” Street said.
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