Celebrating Excellence in Education: Dr. Bradley Best Honored with the George Wythe Award

Buena Vista University recognizes Dr. Best's exemplary contributions to academia, fostering experiential learning, and shaping future leaders.

Buena Vista University (BVU) proudly announces Dr. Bradley Best as the 38th George Wythe Award recipient. Dr. Best has been a Professor of Political Science at BVU for 22 years and has served as the Director of General Education for over a decade. 

Dr. Best’s passion for teaching and his students is evident. When designing a course, he spends a great deal of time considering what ideas, puzzles, and problems to put in front of the students to help them better understand a concept or theory.  

“I ask and encourage them to become vigorous integrators. We don’t stop at just knowing what an author said or what a theory purports, but I ask them to think about how that idea or theory would look in practice,” explained Dr. Best. “I compel students to develop their own sense of why we should or should not be comfortable with the claims of an author or if there are limitations to a theory.”

Dr. Best's expertise in the realm of politics has earned him widespread recognition well beyond campus. As a trusted authority on political affairs, he serves as both an expert and a resource for journalists covering events like the Iowa Caucuses, by providing insightful analysis rooted in theory and the empirical evidence generated by social scientists in the field.

He has played a pivotal role in fostering the university's engagement with The Washington Center for Internships & Academic Seminars, a prestigious institution renowned for its commitment to experiential learning and professional development. As a result, The Washington Center has placed BVU students in the White House, the Smithsonian Institution, Congress, law firms, policy think tanks, the Department of Justice, and more. Dr. Best is revered by colleagues and students alike for his mentorship, compassion, and unwavering commitment to fostering a culture of inclusivity and academic excellence.

“I was pleasantly surprised and humbled to receive this award,” he said. “Every year the list of finalists is so impressive, and all deserving. This was especially the case this year.”

Dr. Best is looking forward to using this opportunity to create something that has permanence at BVU. “My exact plan is not set; I want to generate something that outlasts me and would be an attractant for students and something that they will benefit from.”

The George Wythe Award, named for an early US educator whose students included Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, James Monroe, and Henry Clay, is endowed through a gift from the late BVU Life Trustees Drs. Paul and Vivian McCorkle, BVU Class of 1959.

The purpose of the award is to enhance the quality of teaching at BVU by allowing the recipients to have experiences that can further their disciplinary knowledge and pedagogy. To that end, recipients of the award receive a $30,000 stipend and a sabbatical to pursue professional development and/or research.