Arshia Anwer Wins Costello Award for Excellence in Teaching, Major Praise from Students, Faculty

By Adrianne Hutto, Production Editor

Assistant professor of communication, Arshia Anwer, Ph.D., was announced as the 2022 winner of The Costello Award for Excellence in Teaching. The ceremony was held last Tuesday and the award was given along with a $1,000 stipend. 

Anwer has been at Manhattan College since 2016. As an important member of the communication department, she teaches many different classes amongst the program, including public relations, integrated marketing communications and communication core classes.

The Costello Award recognizes a faculty member of the School of Liberal Arts who epitomizes excellence in teaching, which is a large part of Manhattan College’s mission and the mission of the Lasallian Christian Brothers.

The award is chosen based on nominations submitted by the students, making the selection process more personal and more meaningful. 

“What makes it special is that this award comes from my students, even as it is awarded by the school of liberal arts,” Anwer said. “Teaching has always been close to my heart. As a professor in higher education, our job requirements include teaching, research, and service. But teaching has always been the part that most attracted me to this profession, and I am glad the recognition is for teaching.”

Anwer was given the award by Cory Blad, Ph.D., dean of the school of liberal arts, who saw her winning as no surprise. Blad has known Anwer since she came to MC in 2016. 

“She is so intentional in everything about how she puts the class together, how she teaches the class, how she engages the class in the larger community in whatever capacity that might be,” Blad said. 

Blad also spoke about Anwer’s commitment to planning her lessons and the effort she puts into teaching her students. 

“Everything has a plan and it all works seamlessly,” Blad said. “It’s really admirable and difficult to do. It takes a lot of effort and it takes a lot of time. And it’s just another indicator of what a professional she is.”

Blad explains that Anwer’s excellence as an educator shines through in her students. 

“Students’ support is really kind of the defining feature for what takes somebody from being a good teacher to being a great teacher, and she certainly is,” Blad said. 

This support is seen through the way she views her role as a professor and how she helps her students connect with her lessons. 

 “Teaching is about understanding where your students are coming from, and meeting them where they’re at,” Anwer said. “It’s about knowing the interests and career aspirations of students so that you can guide them. It’s about being inviting and approachable so students are able to share issues with you.”

Though, Anwer does agree that there is a more personal side of it as well.

“It is also about sitting and shooting the breeze with students sometimes, getting to know what else is going on in their lives,” Anwer said. 

Christina Rella, senior communication major concentrating in integrated marketing communications, has had Anwer as a professor. Anwer’s more personal approach to teaching has had a real impact on her. 

“Dr. Anwer is an overall great professor,”  Rella said. “She genuinely cares about the success of her students both in and out of the classroom. She’s always available to talk, whether that is regarding school or life in general.”

She also spoke about the guidance she received from Anwer and how it’s impacted her. 

“She has guided me through numerous classes, internships, a change in my major, and countless amounts of situations where I simply just needed advice. She not only makes her classes engaging but also applicable to real career experiences,” Rella said. 

Victoria Correia, senior communication major with a double concentration in public relations and media production, is another one of Anwer’s students. Correia notes how she likes that Anwer challenges her students in class, which makes the work fulfilling. 

“From my experiences with her, she always wants my peers and I to think outside of the box and make work worth doing,” Correia said. 

Correia explained that the reason she decided to stick with a public relations concentration is because of Anwer’s guidance.

 “I was unsure of the path that I wanted to take, however, Dr. Anwer solidified my decision to pursue a career in public relations,” Correia said. “Each class I’ve had with her has made me feel more excited, confident and passionate about this field that I am entering.”