University of New Mexico Communication and Journalism Assistant Professor Mohammad Yousuf, is receiving one of the most prestigious awards in Journalism in this region, by the Southwest Education Council for Journalism and Mass Communication (SWECJMC).
He has been selected for the 2022 SWECJMC Educator award, an award designed to “recognize a faculty member at a SWECJMC member institution who has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to journalism and mass communication education, innovative practices, excellent student outcomes, and/or classroom-focused research.”
Yousuf was nominated for exactly these accomplishments. Since arriving at UNM, he has focused on combining journalism with big data, in teaching multiple undergraduate and graduate courses on data and computation.
He also centers his communication research on computational tools like big data analytics, natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI). Yousuf also explores how to utilize social media for journalistic use while maintaining ethics.
“I aspire to embody the combination of experience, expertise, innovativeness, and dedication that a journalism and communication instructor needs in the age of datafication and big data analytics,” he said.
SWECJMC President Alec Tefertiller said the executive committee was impressed by his contributions to UNM while being a professor so early on in his career.
“Of particular note was his commitment to creating innovative courses that have built bridges to departments across campus, as well as his mentorship of both students and media professionals,” Tefertiller said.
Yousuf's students agree. Arif Md Tareque Habib, says throughout courses he has taken with him, Yousuf has provided a wealth of knowledge, dynamic teaching, and a commitment to ensuring all students use critical thinking skills, while stepping in when they are stuck.
"I believe that Prof. Yousuf truly deserves this honor because of his integrity, honesty, and responsibility toward his teaching profession," Tareque Habib said. " Besides teaching in the classroom, Professor Yousuf helps me understand many basics of social science research. I honor him for the work ethic and the discipline he had shown during my studentship with him."
Yousuf has also curated his media and data analysis into innovative, instructional workshops, and has had research appear in the Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, the Journal of Media Ethics, and the Journalism Practice.
“I think I speak for the rest of the SWECJMC leadership that Dr. Yousuf exemplifies the commitment to mass communication education we seek to honor with this award,” Tefertiller said.
Communication and Journalism Department Chair Ilia Rodríguez said his curriculum in digital data tools and computational methods has been essential for the department's journalism education. She added it also helps undergraduate majors entering the professional field and research training of graduate students across disciplines.
"We celebrate this award in recognition of his excellence in teaching and contributions to the quality of our program," she said.
Yousuf has been invited to the Southwest Symposium at Baylor University on Nov. 4, where he will be presented with a plaque and a $100 check.