Copeland, Gibson and
and Johnson honored


The first faculty awards honoring outstanding contributions by teacher/scholars at the School of Communications were awarded April 1 at the spring Communications Advisory Board banquet: Ray Johnson is the recipient of the inaugural Excellence in Teaching Award; Gerald Gibson is the recipient of the Excellence in Service/Leadership Award; David Copeland is the recipient of the Excellence in Scholarship Award. A plaque with winners' names will be placed in the Dean's Suite of the school.

Dean Paul Parsons announced the winners. "We have an outstanding faculty in the School of Communications," he said. "They instruct and inspire our students, they serve as leaders of the university and they create knowledge and information. Today we honor three of our faculty for their teaching, service/leadership and scholarship, knowing that they represent a larger faculty who make Elon and this school excellent."

The dean, Associate Dean Brad Hamm and Don Bolden, chairman of the Communications Advisory Board, determined the recipients. Next year, one of this year's recipients will take Dean Parsons' place on the selection committee.

The Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes a faculty member who exemplifies the Elon teacher-scholar - outstanding in the classroom, current in the discipline and committed to the intellectual development of students. Elon's mission statement calls for "a rich intellectual community characterized by active student engagement with a faculty dedicated to excellent teaching." The selection committee looked for excellence in the classroom as tangibly demonstrated by teaching and administrative evaluations for the preceding three years. Equally important were intangible factors such as inspiring students in the discipline, embracing ways to engage students in active learning, being available to students outside the classroom, being known as an excellent academic adviser, and having a willingness to teach where needed.

Johnson is in his 20th year at Elon. "Like the university, he has changed with the times and stayed excellent at what he does," Parsons said. "Ray is known as an innovative teacher, whether it's incorporating streaming video in TV production or teaching his popular general studies course, Kennedy Assassination & Film. Students use strong phrases when describing him, and I quote: 'Incredible professor... Genuinely caring... Easy to talk to... Passionate about editing... Great personality...'"

The Excellence in Service/Leadership Award recognizes a faculty member who richly contributes to the ongoing welfare and betterment of the school, university and profession. Elon University's teacher-scholar document calls on faculty to 'dedicate their talents, experience, and leadership skills to activities that sustain, develop, and improve the entire institution."

Gibson has served Elon for 22 years, acting as an ambassador for the school in many capacities and leading the renovation of Elon's former library in its transformation to a modern School of Communications. "We value presence on campus," Parsons said, "noting over time who does the big and little tasks that make us a better school. The selection committee focused on the tangible results of service for the preceding years. Equally important were intangible factors such as a willingness to volunteer one's time when needed, to carry new ideas to reality, and to engage in shared governance. From the moment the renovation of McEwen was announced, Gerald was involved in the planning and placement of every small item - cables and electrical outlets - as well as big items such as the two television studios added to this building. He worked tirelessly. Gerald has handled hundreds of tours, works far more than his share of admissions weekends, and is always willing and flexible to jump in at the last minute to ensure that everything runs smoothly. He is everyone's technology helper. Gerald does hundreds of things during the year that might not seem to get recognized, which is why we are recognizing him with the inaugural service/leadership award this year."

The Excellence in Scholarship Award recognizes a faculty member whose scholarly work has a significant intellectual impact. Elon's teacher-scholar model describes scholarship as "the most fundamental form of professional activity," and the institution values the scholarship of discovering new knowledge, integrating knowledge, applying knowledge and developing pedagogical innovations. In making its decision, the selection committee considered tangible evidence of peer-reviewed research and creative activity that was published or presented during the preceding three years. Equally important were intangible factors such as supporting the scholarly endeavors of colleagues, advancing the school's reputation, and mentoring students in undergraduate research.

"At Elon, a professor cannot be measured by the articles published, to the exclusion of the lives inspired," Parsons said. "Some people plan to write or edit one book in a lifetime. David Copeland appears to be working on a book a month! He is editor of a 14-volume series on media and war, editor of another seven-volume series, author or editor of five books already published and he has a textbook coming out this summer. The best part is that his time on scholarship does not diminish his attention to teaching, his service to the university, or his time spent meeting with students outside of class."

Copeland came to Elon in 2001 from Emory & Henry College in Virginia, where he was recognized in 1999 as Virginia Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation. Since coming to Elon, he served as president of the American Journalism Historians Association, and he's a member of Elon University's Academic Council. To read more about Copeland, in a related feature story, click here.

Following the awards presentations, members of the first graduating class of Communications Fellows were introduced by Hamm, and three of them, Alyssa Martin, Chad Nason and Anna Brodrecht gave brief presentations. The luncheon program also featured a briefing from Elon President Leo Lambert on the proposed Elon University law school.




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Last Modified:  4/02/04
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