McLeod honored with Weiss teaching award


Poppy McLeod's teaching focuses on group communication and decision-making, social influence, intergroup communication and research methods. Students have lauded her commitment to student learning, and faculty have said she inspires her students to learn and her colleagues to improve their own teaching.

On Nov. 2, McLeod, professor and chair in the Department of Communication, received a Stephen H. Weiss Award in recognition of her excellence in teaching undergraduate students and her contributions to undergraduate education.

McLeod and three other faculty members were recognized with Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellowships, which are given to tenured faculty members having a demonstrated commitment to teaching and mentoring undergrads.  The awards were announced by President Martha E. Pollack at a meeting of the Cornell University Board of Trustees, following unanimous recommendation by a selection committee that considered 14 distinguished nominees in all. The committee includes three current Weiss fellows, two emeritus faculty members and three undergraduate students.

“Rather than taking a more typical approach for class, Poppy wrote creative and original short stories, featuring interesting characters … interacting and influencing one another in complex ways,” one colleague said of McLeod’s large course Persuasion & Social Influence. “These stories provided an unusually rich canvas for students to apply course theories and make ‘real world’ connections that are essential for mastering concepts, and are simply entertaining besides.”

The committee also noted that her engagement with student organizations and residential experiences contribute positively to the academic environment and the overall undergraduate experience.

Her teaching awards include a Merrill Presidential Scholars mentorship award in 2016; a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009; and an Innovative Teacher Award for Creativity in Undergraduate Teaching in 2008.

Former chair of the Cornell Board of Trustees Stephen H. Weiss ’57 established the Weiss fellowships in 1993 to honor Cornell faculty members for inspiring, distinguished teaching and mentoring of undergraduates.

Other Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellows are: George Boyer, professor of economics and international and comparative labor in the ILR School; Dexter Kozen, Ph.D. ’77, the Joseph Newton Pew Jr. Professor in Engineering in the Department of Computer Science, College of Arts and Sciences; and Kelly Zamudio, the Goldwin Smith Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

This article also appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.