The Ersted Award for Distinguished Teaching recognizes excellence in teaching by faculty members early in their careers and has been awarded since 1957. The Ersted Award for Specialized Pedagogy recognizes early-career faculty members who have demonstrated exceptional abilities to induce students to reason and who have expertise in a particular area of teaching.


Since joining the University of Oregon in 2014, Peter Alilunas has offered courses on a wide range of topics in the area of media studies, including Introduction to Media Studies, Mass Media and Society, and Cinema, Sex, and Censorship in the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC). “He is the TED Talk professor of the School of Journalism and Communication!” lauded one colleague. Alilunas’s superb classroom teaching style is dynamic, passionate, knowledgeable, and engaging.

Alilunas is not only an exceptional classroom teacher, but also an innovative leader at SOJC. Since 2016, he has taken a leadership role in the media studies area as interim director. In this position, he successfully brought internal and external spotlights to the program to increase student interest.

His colleagues attest to his exceptional skills at holding the attention of his large classes of more than 400 students with complex matters, highly abstract concepts, and theoretical issues. He approaches the challenge by carefully and methodically unpacking these concepts and theories and connecting them to accessible, real-life examples that are relevant to students’ lives. He creates rapport with students and develops an active and positive learning environment in the classroom. Dean Juan-Carlos Molleda said, “Professor Alilunas’s teaching style is not simply attentive for students, but absorbing.”

Students are deeply impressed with his passionate and intellectually stimulating lectures as well as his ability to relate his lectures to the real world. They describe his classes as “amazingly engaging,” “extremely relevant,” and “powerful.” One student writes that his class “has raised my awareness of myself, those around me, and what is most important, the things that happen around me. Professor Alilunas was able to permanently turn on my critical thinking ability.”

In recognition of his achievement and expertise in the area of media studies, Peter Alilunas is a recipient of a 2017 Ersted Award for Specialized Pedagogy.