Dr. Janie Fritz, associate professor in the communication and rhetorical studies department, has received the 2007 Eugene P. Beard Faculty Award for Leadership in Ethics at Duquesne University. She is recognized for her impact as an educator and her dedication to serving both the University and its students.
Presented annually to a faculty member, the Beard Award honors those who best exemplify the University’s commitment to moral and spiritual values through their outstanding leadership in ethics in family life or in University or community service. Fritz received widespread support and nominations for the award from across the University. One nomination stated that Fritz “manifests a willingness to help when needed, is unfailingly supportive of others’ projects and seeks the good in others as well as others’ good.” Another nomination declared, “No one teaches outside of the classroom as much as Janie does. Her teaching inside the classroom is excellent and her teaching outside the classroom is exceptional.”
Fritz, who first began teaching at Duquesne in 1992, is director of the M.A. program and co-director of the B.A. program for the communication and rhetorical studies department.
In the classroom, Fritz emphasizes leadership in ethics with her students. For instance, in her Ph.D. seminar, Fritz said that “students see that our current social condition isn’t accidental, but has roots in historical shifts in our understandings and moral frameworks.” Another Fritz course addresses issues of openness to others and the evidence for universal grounding for ethics across cultures.
Through her research, Fritz looks at communication processes that connect, sever and restore the ties that bind individuals to institutions. Recent projects include her edited book Problematic Relationships in the Workplace, a study of communication about and responses to ethical standards of conduct in organizations, professional civility and cynicism in organizations, and issues of public and private communication and relationships in organizations.
As her way of “living the University mission,” Fritz continues her service, beyond classrooms, to the University and the community. She is an award-winning advisor to the Sigma Kappa sorority chapter at Duquesne, has served as a mentor to incoming freshmen and has conducted time-management workshops for graduate students. She is a member of the Christ United Methodist folk choir, has taught Sunday School at Beverly Heights United Presbyterian Church and sits on the Religious Communication Association’s editorial board. “I consider myself one of the most fortunate persons on earth to be here at Duquesne University, where the spirit gives life, engaging students and colleagues in this worthwhile labor,” Fritz explains.
A resident of Bethel Park, Fritz was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and holds a B.A. and an M.A., both in speech communication, from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.