news-category: Awards

Dr. Elizabeth Amato Receives Gardner-Webb’s Excellence in Teaching Award

Associate Professor Exemplifies the University’s Mission and Motto, ‘pro Deo et Humanitate’

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Karen Aubrey recently recognized the winners of the faculty awards for 2021-22. Dr. Elizabeth Amato received the Excellence in Teaching Award. This honor is presented each year to an exceptional faculty member with at least five years of full-time teaching service to the University. The award recognizes academic rigor, effective course design, and dedication to students.

Recipients are nominated by one of their peers and receive a recommendation from their department chair. In addition, both faculty and students have an opportunity to score and leave comments and feedback to help make the final determination of the winner. The award also recognizes a faculty member who exemplifies the motto and mission of Gardner-Webb. It includes a $1,000 cash prize and the invitation to speak at Fall Convocation. 

Dr. Elizabeth Amato

Amato is associate professor of political science and international relations in the Department of Social Sciences. While making the presentation, Aubrey asserted that in her teaching and life, Amato exemplifies the mission and motto of the University, “pro Deo et Humanitate,” For God and Humanity.

Aubrey continued, “She is said to have fully committed to providing interesting and thought-provoking course work for students, as well as mentoring and advising students in and out of her major. She demonstrates her love for teaching every day, in and out of the classroom.”

Aubrey read a few quotes from Amato’s students that describe her teaching style:

•          “Her classroom is filled with positivity, and she always has a smile on her face.”

•          “What every student dreams of in a teacher.” 

•          “A caring and thoughtful professor who chooses to include and push students to be the best.”

•          “As a first-year student, I would not have been as successful as I was without her guidance.”

•          “No other professor has taught me more, whether in life or classes, than her.” 

•          “She perfectly represents what makes Gardner-Webb great.” 

Further, Aubrey praised Amato for continuing to develop her professional skills in scholarship through involvement in several political science organizations. Amato attends conferences regularly allowing her to keep her classes relevant and up to date. In 2018, she completed her first book, “The Pursuit of Happiness and the American Regime: Political Theory in Literature.” In addition, Amato has authored multiple articles and chapters and served as a go-to resource on elections for regional media and public events.

Amato has rewritten the curriculum for political science, developed a Political Science Club and a Pre-Law Society. She has designed and taught informative and interesting courses. She brings a contagious enthusiasm to her classes and holds students to high standards out of a genuine desire to prepare them for professional success. 

Aubrey concluded, “Her students are always first. Most often you will find her involved in long conversations with her majors, not just answering questions, but truly engaged in hearing their ideas and helping them formulate their thoughts into quality essays and papers. She also mentors any student interested in pre-law helping them to formulate a plan for their success.”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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