Excellence in Online Teaching: William Fassbender, Founders Day Faculty Awards, Academic Year 2022-23. Portrait of William Fassbender.

William Fassbender

Will Fassbender, assistant professor in the Department of English in the College of Letters and Science, has won the Excellence in Online Teaching Award, which recognizes exemplary contributions to the practice of online instruction and the teaching profession. Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the award comes with a $2,000 honorarium.  

Fassbender has taught several innovative online and hybrid courses and helped prepare a generation of future English teachers to use new modalities in their own teaching, according to a nomination letter by English professor Robert Bennett. The letter outlined how Fassbender models innovative practices for MSU’s English education majors to use when they enter the classroom as teachers themselves, either online or in person.  

Fassbender taught a fully online course in which he helped students think outside of traditional technology by facilitating class discussions on Goodreads.com, a social media website. Students said it made the experience “feel as real as possible for a virtual class.” When teaching hybrid classes, Fassbender modeled flexibility by offering face-to-face and online options based on students’ comfort and concerns related to COVID. Most significantly, Fassbender taught a graduate course to English teachers across the country, tailoring his approach to their interests and introducing them to a wide range of instructional technologies.  

“Dr. Fassbender is not only an excellent online teacher himself; he is also preparing an entire new generation of online teachers to excel as well," Bennett wrote.