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Naval War College (NWC) professor Joyce Sampson received the Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year Award from Norwich University (NU) in Northfield, Vt., for her contributions to the institution’s online history program as an adjunct professor.
 
She was selected as the best professor of the year in their online Master of Arts degree program in military history. 
 
Douglas Smith, the head of NWC’s Strategy and Policy Division of the College of Distance Education (CDE) said Sampson has displayed the same quality at NWC.
 
During her doctoral work, she minored in Middle East studies. She was asked to audit a course on the Middle East for CDE’s Electives Program. She did so well auditing, that Providence College asked her to teach the course at their campus.  She has been teaching it there ever since.
 
Smith also said she has constructed three courses on the Middle East area of study that have all received the highest student accolades for the NWC resident electives program.
 
“The award Professor Sampson has received most certainly reflects the outstanding caliber of her teaching of courses here at the War College,” Smith said. “That the award is for teaching a course on the history of warfare, equally reflects her mastery of the most profound elements of the Strategy and War Course she teaches here at the Naval War College.”
 
Sampson is the director of CDE’s Strategy and War course, and teaches for the Fleet Seminar Program, and electives on the Middle East.
 
Though the award didn’t come from NWC, it is still representative of the quality Dr. Sampson brings to the virtual classroom every day.  She teaches some theorists in both NWC and at Norwich University, which allows her “more time, after NWC hours, to explore further a key area for the Strategy courses here at NWC.”
 
Teaching at NU also provides her with an expanded teaching audience, which makes her a more effective teacher, and she treats students at NU with the same standards as she does here in Newport.
 
“In that sense, I think the fact that I received the reward presents a good face of the Navy, and the Naval War College in particular, to the Norwich faculty and to the students about the quality of our professors here at the Naval War College,” she said.
Online teaching comes with a set of unique challenges. Student-faculty relationships take more work to establish, and in the online “classroom,” discussions are made of online text-based posts.
 
Sometimes, Sampson said, students interpret things incorrectly, and making sure everyone is on the same page takes a lot more time, since every student isn’t in the classroom at the same time.
 
Sampson said presenting her personality, being clear about goals and expectations, and being an honest, concise critic helps to keep the classroom stable.
 
“I think the keys to virtual teaching are similar to those of teaching live,” she said.
 
Professor Sampson earned her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Kent State University, and a PhD in history from Florida State University in 2001. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on “Thomas Harrison and the Mid-Century Crises in the Three Kingdoms, 1616-1660.”

From NWC Public Affairs 
by Tyler Will, Naval War College PAO