Local educators receive governors teaching awards

Scott J. Betz and Wade Wilson both recently received awards from the North Carolina Board of Governors.

Local educators receive  governors teaching awards
April 16
12:10 2020

Winston-Salem State University Professor Scott J. Betz is the winner of the 2020 Board of Governors Teaching Award. Betz is the chair of the Arts and Visual Studies Department. This prestigious award is given once a year to one faculty member at each of the 16 North Carolina public universities and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. The award recognizes the tremendous contributions faculty members make to the advancement of public education.

Betz was nominated by a special committee at WSSU, and then selected by the Board of Governors Committee on Educational Planning, Policies, and Programs. 

Betz has been a faculty member at WSSU since 2004, having also previously served Weber State University, Mississippi State University, and the University of Tennessee. His background as an artist and educator spans more than 30 years. His work has been showcased internationally in exhibits in more than 100 countries, including China, Colombia, Australia, Argentina, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Taiwan, Korea, Canada, Japan, and across the United States. 

Betz’s students tout him as a highly-effective, motivational, and innovative instructor. He is known to reach beyond the classroom, helping students develop skills that aren’t part of the curriculum. “I am certain that practicing painting and printmaking under the guidance of Professor Betz had a curative effect on my mind during a tumultuous chapter in my life, and I do not take his contribution to my success lightly,” said Jordan Wright, Fisk University Galleries Fellow. 

Fellow faculty members also feel Betz is most deserving of this honor. They applaud the fact that he “pushes students to think” and “nurtures their gifts.” He is known among his peers to be adaptable, often adjusting his teaching style to meet students where they are. 

“There is no better acknowledgment of the success of this university than to have faculty members like Scott Betz. He has become a beacon of success for our students, and I couldn’t be more proud of his accomplishments,” said WSSU Chancellor Elwood Robinson. 

While balancing the weight of being a full-time faculty member, Betz continues to be highly active in his own research. He was previously awarded a significant grant to further his color research and book “Gateways to Color,” which is being co-written by art historian Dr. Laura Amrhein of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. 

Betz will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a generous cash prize.

Wade Wilson, professor of sound design at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, will receive a 2020 Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, it was announced by the UNC System Office. He is one of 17 faculty members – one from each of the UNC campuses – chosen to receive a $12,500 stipend, a commemorative bronze medallion, and special recognition by the university.

The Excellence in Teaching Awards were established by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in 1994 to encourage, identify, recognize, reward and support good teaching at each of its 17 constituent institutions. Annually, each UNC campus honors several members of its faculty with campus-based Excellence in Teaching Awards and then forwards one name to the Board of Governors for the system-wide awards. Wilson was among six faculty members who received UNCSA campus teaching awards, as announced in January.

“Excellent teaching is the very foundation of a conservatory education. UNCSA students learn from master teachers who are experts in their fields, and Wade Wilson is one of our finest,” said Interim Provost Karin Peterson. “We are very grateful for his mentorship of our student artists, and we’re proud to see him recognized with the UNC System’s most prestigious honor.”

Wilson has taught in the School of Design & Production since January 2019, after teaching for 11 years in the School of Filmmaking. In both conservatories, he has leveraged experience as sound designer and editor for projects including “Shrek,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Madagascar,” “Elf” and  “The Hunger Games” to emphasize hands-on projects, teaching skills that help students land jobs upon graduation.

“I employ real world, time-tested techniques and processes that I have developed over my career as a professional sound designer,” Wilson said. Hour-long lectures are immediately followed by practical two-hour labs.

“This schedule allows the students to rapidly connect to a practical application with the weekly lecture material, which, I think, accelerates the learning process,” Wilson said.  “Students get beyond the technology at their fingertips and begin to perform as artists.

“I ask my students to see themselves as sound designers; as sound designers to see themselves as storytellers; as storytellers to see themselves as artists; and as artists to see themselves as offering something profound and meaningful to the world,” he added.

A student who nominated Wilson for the award said, “Wade brought forth insight that helped me become a better filmmaker by simply telling a story through sound. Without this, I don’t think I’d have the job that I have.”

Other students said Wilson is “an incredible teacher and mentor and his classes are some of the highest quality this school has to offer”; “the greatest teacher I have ever had”; and “the professor that all students wish to have.”

Wilson has received five Golden Reel Award nominations from the Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild. One of his most recent film projects, “Abundant Acreage Available,” was overseen by Executive Producer Martin Scorsese and won Best Screenplay at the Tribeca Film Festival. 

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is America’s first state-supported arts school, a unique stand-alone public university of arts conservatories. With a high school component, UNCSA is a degree-granting institution that trains young people of talent in dance, design and production, drama, filmmaking, and music. Established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, the School of the Arts opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system when it was formed in 1972. For more information, visit

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