Fairmont State University’s outstanding faculty members were recognized on Wednesday, April 29, during the Recognition of Faculty Achievement for their exemplary efforts throughout the 2014-2015 academic year.
“It’s wonderful to have an event like this where we can all come together to celebrate the good work faculty are doing,” FSU President Maria Rose told those gathered in the Falcon Center conference rooms. “Fairmont State truly is set apart by this tremendous faculty. While we can tout an excellent faculty-to-student ratio, as compared to larger institutions, that statistic only becomes meaningful when we consider the quality of our faculty. I consider myself fortunate to be part of this institution and consider all of you colleagues and friends.”
The event was hosted by the Faculty Development Committee, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Funding for the awards and grants is provided by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc.
“Our program recognizes members who are recipients of awards or grants promoted and publicized by the Faculty Development Committee and the Office of the Provost. These awards are to honor outstanding faculty, as well as encourage faculty research and professional development. Thanks so much to all members of the Fairmont State Foundation who so generously support faculty achievement. We appreciate it, and our students do, too,” said Dr. Denise Lindstrom, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and Chair of the Faculty Development Committee.
The following faculty members were honored at the event: Dr. Andreas Baur, William A. Boram Award for Teaching Excellence; Dr. Paul Reneau, Harold and Roselyn Williamson Straight Award; Dr. Robin Payne, Faculty Recognition Award; Dr. Rhonda Sanford, Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Fellow Award; Dr. Gwen Jones, Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Grant; Ryan Frost, Outstanding Adjunct Award; Dr. Jennifer Myers, Excellence in Academic Advising Award.
The following faculty members were recognized for their promotion to Associate Professor and received Tenure: Jason Bolyard, Hugh Costello, Alexis Hicks, Dr. Jennifer Myers, Dr. Adam Podlaskowski, Michael Ryan, Ashley Shroyer and Dr. Sam Spears. The following faculty members were promoted to Full Professor: Dr. Gwen Jones, Dr. Tad Kato and Kirk Morphew. The following faculty members were honored with Emeriti Status: Dr. D. Stephen Haynes, Dr. Tulasi Joshi, Dr. Susan Kelley, Chuck Manly and Dr. Mary Meighen.
Dr. Andreas Baur, William A. Boram Award for Teaching Excellence
The William A. Boram Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes full-time faculty at Fairmont State for outstanding achievements, unusual dedication or accomplishments in teaching. Dr. Andreas Baur, Professor of Chemistry in the College of Science and Technology, was nominated by his students for the award.
Lindstrom presented him with the award and gave the following remarks: “According to his students, Dr. Baur goes above and beyond the call of duty to teach. They feel like he cares about them as individuals as well as students. One student explained that Dr. Baur does not demand that students memorize information for the exam. Instead, he employs a strategy called the ‘toolbox,’ an organizing strategy that helps students understand how chemical reactions and mechanisms are interconnected, which according to his students, makes chemistry seem less like a graduation requirement and more like a lens with which to view the world at large.”
The committee was most impressed with Baur’s commitment to improving teaching, not only in his courses but also in his program, Lindstrom said. “According to one of his colleagues, Andreas has accomplished a truly impressive amount of assessment driven curriculum and course development that spans the categories of teaching and scholarly activity. He is a steadfast champion of assessment in his program and he continually reminds his colleagues of the inherent value of assessment to improve courses and programs. Most importantly, he leads by example in closing the loop on assessments in his courses and brings useful data to inspire discussions about programmatic improvement,” she said.
A group of seven of his students attended the event to support Baur.
“When I entered the chemistry field, there were rumors about how each teacher was. Dr. Baur’s rumors were always the same: he’s strict, his classes are hard and they are impossible to get good grades in. Some of this is true. He is strict about deadlines, but so are all the teachers. His classes are hard, but that is why they are upper level courses. However, it is not impossible to achieve in his classes. If you listen to what he says, you will succeed. Dr. Baur has taught us so much, which now we can take with us and find a job and always be on time and know just because it is hard doesn’t mean we should quit,” said student Brittany Aragon.
Baur has been a faculty member at FSU since 2000. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Regensburg in Germany.
Dr. Paul Reneau, Harold and Roselyn Williamson Straight Award
The Harold and Roselyn Williamson Straight Award honors and encourages innovative and distinctive teaching by faculty at Fairmont State. Lindstrom presented the award to Dr. Paul Reneau, Interim Associate Dean for the School of Education, Health and Human Performance and Professor of Exercise Science.
Over the past three years, Reneau has mentored more than 40 undergraduate students in completing their required research projects for their degree in Exercise Science. Of these 40 projects, 13 have been presented at regional or national conferences, 14 have published abstracts in international journals and two have been accepted for presentation at the 2015 American College for Sports Medicine national conference.
“Dr. Reneau’s commitment to his students goes beyond supporting research but is also found in his everyday teaching and advising interactions with students,” Lindstrom said.
Lindstrom read the following statement from one of Reneau’s students: “Dr. Reneau is as good as it gets. He is an all-around, top-notch professor, as well as everyday person. When sitting in his classroom, it is evident that he wants you to not only learn, but succeed. If he sees you walking around campus, he’s always the first to say hello, and if he has time, you can count on a comical conversation. Dr. Reneau really pushed me both semesters that I had him for class. While there were some days I didn’t think I would make it, there were others where he felt more like a confidant than a professor. Dr. Reneau certainly deserves to be rewarded for his incredible teaching abilities and all-around character.”
Reneau is a member of the graduate faculty. He earned a B.S. from West Virginia Wesleyan College, an M.Ed. from the George Peabody College of Vanderbuilt University and a Ph.D. from The University of Alabama. He has been an FSU faculty member since 2002.
Dr. Robin Payne, Faculty Recognition Award
The Faculty Recognition award is intended to honor a full-time faculty member who has engaged and inspired students to have original thinking and who has an active involvement and guidance in student projects. The award also honors the faculty for the capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning. Dr. Adam Podlaskowski, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, presented the Faculty Recognition Award to Dr. Robin Payne, Assistant Professor of History in the College of Liberal Arts.
“The Faculty Recognition Award is given to honor excellence in teaching and to encourage continuing efforts to excel. Recipients of the award have demonstrated a sustained, energetic and successful commitment to teaching, as well as having shown personal attention and care in advising students. The recipient of this year’s award has been an asset to her students and colleagues; and as her nomination letter points out she, ‘makes it a point to make herself available to all students who may be struggling with her class. She goes as far as to actively seek out a student who may need help and ask them if there is anything she can do,’ ” Podlaskowski said.
Payne earned a B.A. and M.A. from Washington State University and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has been a faculty member at FSU since 2012.
Dr. Rhonda Sanford, Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Fellow Award
Dr. Amy Sidwell, Assistant Professor of Community Health Education, presented the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Fellowship to Dr. Rhonda Lemke Sanford, Professor of English. The award will assist Sanford’s travel to Ireland to present a scholarly paper at an international literary conference and to research at several of the foremost research libraries in Great Britain the week after the conference.
In June 2015, she will present her paper, “The place of the Amazon(s) in Spenser’s ‘Faerie Queene’ ” at the Fifth International Spenser Society Conference, The Place of Spenser/Spenser’s Places, at the University of Dublin and Dublin Castle, Ireland. She will present at the session, moderate a session and attend paper sessions and plenaries with some of the top international scholars of the 16th century poet, Sir Edmund Spenser. She will have the opportunity to visit Spenser’s home, Kilcomen Castle in County Cork. Sanford also will use the libraries at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, University of Dublin, Trinity College and the Public Records Office to continue her research into the real lives of unwed mothers and illegitimate children in Renaissance England.
A member of the graduate faculty, Sanford earned a B.A., M.B.A. and M.A. from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She has been an FSU faculty member since 1999. She has been awarded two Faculty Development Grants, two West Virginia Humanities Commission Grants, a Folger Shakespeare Library Grant and a sabbatical, as well as a Provost Grant and a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research. She is the author of the book, “Maps and Memory in Early Modern England: A Sense of Place” (2002).
Dr. Gwen Jones, Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Grant
Dr. Amy Sidwell, Assistant Professor of Community Health Education, presented the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Grant to Dr. Gwendolyn Jones, Professor of Education in the FSU School of Education, Health and Human Performance.
Jones’s funded project is focused on providing undergraduate teacher education students with a professional presentation experience at the Southeast Regional Conference for the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) that is held in Durham, N.C., in April. The conference is within driving distance from Fairmont State University and affords students an opportunity to both present their work and experience the conference proceedings at an affordable price in both money and time.
Jones received the Faculty Recognition Award in 2013-2014. She joined the faculty in fall 2003. Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Eastern Connecticut State College, a master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Connecticut and an Ed.D. from West Virginia University in Curriculum and Instruction. She received teaching certification from the West Virginia Department of Education in 2003.
Ryan Frost, Outstanding Adjunct Award
The Faculty Development Committee presented the Outstanding Adjunct Award to honor excellence in teaching and to encourage adjunct faculty's continuing efforts to excel. The award is given to faculty members who have demonstrated a sustained, energetic and successful commitment to teaching. Lindstrom presented the award to Ryan Frost.
Frost is an adjunct instructor of percussion in the Music Department of the School of Fine Arts. He enjoys working with all students but especially non-music majors. Frost says he firmly considers it his responsibility to expand all students’ knowledge of interest in music and to broaden their appreciation of the arts in general. Among other accomplishments, he has developed the curriculum that led to the establishment of a campus African Drum and Dance Ensemble, which had its first public performance last fall. He also collaborated with psychology professor Dr. Tad Kato by leading a drum circle during one of Kato’s classes to help students understand how playing music together can develop listening, cooperation and leadership skills.
Frost is dedicated to supporting diversity on campus. “Last fall at a meeting of the West Virginia Music Teachers Association, he chose to play a piece from the Middle East using a drum from Saudi Arabia. According to one of his colleagues, Frost was surrounded by international students from Saudi Arabia who were thrilled to hear an instrument with which they were familiar being played so well by an American,” Lindstrom said.
Dr. Jennifer Myers, Excellence in Academic Advising Award
The Award for Excellence in Academic Advising is presented to honor the demonstrated excellence and commitment that academic advisors play in the education, personal development, and success of their advisees. This year’s award winner is Dr. Jennifer Myers, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice in the College of Liberal Arts.
“From her nomination letter, it is apparent that Dr. Myers is proactive, knowledgeable, compassionate and understanding, and that she customizes her advising based on the experiences, needs, goals and considerations of her advisees,” said Pam Stephens, Coordinator of Academic Advising and the RBA Program, who presented the award.
Stephens read the following quote about Myers from a student: “Dr. Myers went out of her way to inform her advisees of the policies of the University and especially the program. Even before we would meet face to face, she would e-mail changes in program requirements in a manner that was understandable and effective. She has a remarkable personality that offers students comfort and ease, and she is virtually reachable at any time. She is always extremely swift when sent an e-mail, and many times those e-mails are sent during nights and weekends. I know that she cares because her e-mails are sent from her personal phone, meaning that she took time from her personal schedule to ensure that my education was on track.”
Myers has been an FSU faculty member since 2009. A member of the graduate faculty, she is also the director of the M.S. in Criminal Justice program. She earned her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from West Virginia University.