Dr. Carolyn Peluso Atkins is a professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at West Virginia University. She received all of her degrees—a bachelor’s and master’s in rhetoric and public address, a master’s in speech-language pathology, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction—from WVU. She also holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Dr. Atkins was the 2005 West Virginia CASE Professor of the Year. This national teaching award, sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, is based on dedication to teaching, commitment to students, and innovative instructional methods.
Dr. Atkins also received the WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teacher, the Golden Key International Honour Society Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teacher, and the WVU College of Human Resources and Education Award for Outstanding Teacher. In 2002, she was selected as Most Loyal Faculty Mountaineer; in 2004, she received the College of Human Resources and Education Laddie Bell Award for Distinguished Service and was inducted into Mountain Honorary. In 2006, she was named Italian-American Woman of the Year by the Clarksburg Italian Heritage Festival. In 2009, she received the WVU Student Affairs Outstanding Achievement Award.
Having served on more than 100 committees at WVU, Dr. Atkins chaired the Faculty Senate and was named WVU Faculty Advocate for the Class of 2001. Currently, she serves on several University committees including the Faculty Senate, Advisory Council for Alcohol and Other Drugs, the Athletic Council, the Honorary Degree Committee, and the Outstanding Senior/Order of Augusta Selection Committee. She chairs the Human Resources & Education Hall of Fame/Outstanding Distinguished Alumnus Selection Committee and presently chairs the Speech Pathology & Audiology Undergraduate Affairs Committee. She is an invited speaker at many university and statewide events.
Named an Outstanding WVU Honors Advisor, Dr. Atkins teaches several public speaking classes with sections for student-athletes as well as students enrolled in the Honors College. She co-teaches the senior capstone course in speech pathology and audiology, is the author of numerous refereed publications, and has made over 200 presentations to regional, state, and national audiences.
Atkins is most recognized as the creator of “Student Athletes Speak Out,” a service-based program that prepares WVU student-athletes for public speaking through development of communication skills and self-confidence. In 2007 and 2008, she created and sent character education DVDs featuring nine WVU student-athletes to all middle schools in West Virginia and developed an accompanying web site (http://saso.wvu.edu). In 2008, she published Great Unexpectations: Lessons from the Hearts of College Athletes, a book about her teaching experiences. As a result of a generous donation, the book has been sent to all middle schools and all public libraries in West Virginia. In 2012, she published a children’s book entitled Living Life the West Virginia Way. A celebration of West Virginia, the book features facts about the state, information about attending college, and positive character traits exhibited by those who live their lives the West Virginia way. Also in 2012, Atkins created twenty-six radio announcements and two videos targeted for middle school audiences: Bullying is NEVER okay! and Character.Own it. Participants included twelve WVU student-athletes and the Mountaineer mascot.