2 USU Eastern English Professors Win Departmental Awards


USU Eastern Press Release

Utah State University Eastern English faculty members Jason Olsen and Jeremy Ricketts have earned awards from the Department of English in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. Olsen earned the departmental award for Researcher of the Year, while Ricketts won the departmental Lecturer of the Year award.

“Jason and Jeremy are two of the many fantastic faculty members we have in our English department here at USU Eastern,” said Doug Miller, chief campus administrator at USU Eastern. “Both are deserving of these departmental awards, and both work extremely diligently to provide quality education for our students.”

Olsen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and a master’s degree in creative writing from Eastern Washington University. He would go on to earn his doctorate degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University in 2009. Olsen entered his 15th year teaching at USU Eastern and is an associate professor and is also the Editor in Chief of USU’s Journal on Empowering Teaching Excellence.

Olsen credits several of his research projects in helping him earn this award, two of which are in-progress and the other which was recently published. In September 2023, Olsen published a creative writing book called “Intersecting Genre: A Skills-based Approach to Creative Writing.” The book discusses the way different creative writing genres can teach writers how to improve their own work.

“It’s exciting to be give this honor for a couple of reasons,” Olsen said. “First, it’s rewarding to be recognized for the work I’m doing and the different things I’m researching and writing. I love doing this stuff and being recognized for it is really special. Also, it’s great to gain recognition for our campus. I love being an example of the great research and work going on throughout USU and especially at USU Eastern and other statewide campuses.”

Ricketts earned a bachelor’s degree in both English and History from the University of Memphis, a master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Alabama, and a doctorate degree in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Ricketts joined the USU faculty in 2020 as a lecturer, working for two years at the Logan campus. He came to USU Eastern as a lecturer in January 2023.

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from my colleagues in the English department,” Ricketts said. “This award represents more than a personal achievement; it’s a reflection of the vibrant and engaging community here at USU. My journey as an educator has been profoundly shaped by the collaborative spirit of my colleagues and the unwavering enthusiasm of my students.

He continued, “Each class is a new opportunity to spark a lifelong love of learning as we collectively explore the ever-evolving narrative of the world around us. I am so grateful to be on this journey, especially for the opportunity to witness and encourage the intellectual and personal growth of each student, which continually renews and inspires my passion for teaching.”

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