Faculty and staff recognized at annual awards luncheon
Four outstanding faculty members and 21 retirees were honored for excellence and service to Elon on May 14.
Elon faculty members Tina Das, Steve DeLoach, Alexa Darby and Paul Miller were recognized May 14 for superior teaching, scholarship, service and mentoring at the annual faculty-staff awards luncheon in Alumni Gym.
In addition to the awards, longtime employees of the university and retirees were recognized for their contributions to Elon University.
Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching
Professor of Economics
Tina Das expects the best from her students. She pushes them to be risk takers and challenges them in every course she teaches in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business.
“Tina motivates students to think deeper and stretch further to the point where they impress not only their instructor but also themselves,” an Elon colleague says.
Regardless of whether Das, a professor of economics, is teaching a business economics class, revamping the Business Fellows program or mentoring students in undergraduate research, a study abroad program or with their career path, she brings her own unique style and creativity to the job.
Das, who has taught at Elon for 18 years and also serves as the director of the Business Fellows program, is described by students and faculty as scary but caring: “Scary smart, scary fast and scary knowledgeable.” It is not unusual to hear students in the Business Fellows program say that they don’t want to let “Das down.”
“In my opinion, you have to truly respect someone if you don’t want to let them down,” a colleague at Elon says.
Das isn’t the type to coddle a student, but she still finds a way to show she cares. “Serving as my adviser, Das is the first person I turn to when something goes awry,” a student says. “... She is number one in my support system. Even during my most stressful endeavors, Das has been there, not to hold my hand, but to be the person in my corner rooting me on.”
When Das engages in a research project with a student, she asks tough questions and then teaches students how to research to answer them. She pushes them to do their best work and to have confidence while doing it.
Das received a doctoral and master’s degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati, a master’s degree in economics from the University of Calcutta and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Presidency College in India. She has received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in service, research and teaching in the Love School of Business in 2013, 2008 and 2005, respectively.
She is the 42nd Elon faculty member to receive the award established by President Emeritus J. Earl Danieley ’46 and his late wife, Verona Daniels Danieley, in honor of their parents.
Distinguished Scholar Award
Professor of Economics
In the 18 years that Professor of Economics Steve DeLoach has been at Elon, he has had 20 papers published in peer-reviewed journals that have earned him recognition in his field for his work.
However, his colleagues in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business consider the macro-economist “distinguished” in his field because of how hard he collaborates in and promotes research.
In addition to peer-reviewed journals, DeLoach has published a book chapter and presented multiple times at top international economics conferences. His work has been cited more than 300 times. In 2009 he received the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business Dean’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship, and in 2010 he was the Hollingsworth Visiting Scholar at Furman University.
“Steve’s record of scholarship is enviable,” a colleague at another university says. “In addition to being a solid researcher in his own right, he is a research catalyst, encouraging and enabling colleagues and students to pursue joint research projects with him.”
While DeLoach’s approach to research has changed over the years, his work has remained focused on questions pertinent to international growth and development as well as the scholarship of teaching and learning.
“Over the years, my research has evolved and matured,” DeLoach says. “The work I am doing now is arguably the best of my career both in terms of quality and quantity. Moreover, my research agenda remains robust.”
Throughout his career, DeLoach has continually broadened his research. In 1999 he collaborated with a colleague on ways to incorporate online, asynchronous discussions into intermediate macro-economic classes to help develop students’ critical thinking skills. In 2001 he worked with a colleague and studied the effects of government policy on international trade flows.
It was during that time that he started taking risks with his research. “I started learning how to ask bigger, more interesting and more policy-oriented questions,” DeLoach says. “This, coupled with my increasingly deep understanding of critical thinking and how to best facilitate online and in-class discussions, made a tremendous impact on my teaching and mentoring.”
DeLoach received doctoral and master’s degrees in economics from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska.
DeLoach is the 15th recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award, which recognizes a faculty member whose research has earned peer commendation and respect, and who has made significant contributions to his or her field of study.
Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility
Associate Professor of Psychology
When it comes to service-learning and civic engagement, Alexa Darby is hailed by colleagues as a role model.
“Even at an institution known for its civic engagement, Alexa’s dedication to community collaboration stands out as exemplary,” a colleague at Elon says.
The associate professor of psychology has taught more than 30 sections of academic service-learning courses since joining Elon’s faculty in 2005. In that time, she also has established a very meaningful partnership with the Alamance-Burlington School System. Based on nomination letters from multiple faculty members, Darby’s volunteer work and tireless commitment to elementary schools in low-income neighborhoods make her an ideal candidate for the 2014 Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility.
“Her investment and passion extends personally and professionally,” an Elon colleague says. “Professor Darby invests herself, oftentimes spending many hours with her students and aiding individual children herself. This speaks to her deep values around service, community engagement and civic involvement providing the underpinning to her work.”
In addition to teaching educational psychology, a service-learning course, Darby teaches by doing. She has provided after-school tutoring to youngsters with behavioral problems, purchased classroom materials, attended meetings, organized a science fair, led a beautification project at a school, provided support and guidance for a student-focused project suggested by a principal and helped create a community garden that benefits the families of students attending a local elementary school.
Darby serves as the academic coordinator for the Civic Engagement Scholars Program. She was the 2006-07 Service-Learning Faculty Scholar and the 2009-10 Service-Learning Research Scholar.
“Professor Darby is an unsung champion of service-learning and civic engagement,” an Elon colleague says. “Her energy is focused on the work and not the credit. She’s a role model in this regard. Capable and willing, she is often found providing service on committees that often are not in the spotlight.”
Darby is the 12th recipient of the Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility, which is given each year to a member of Elon’s faculty or staff whose community service exemplifies the ideals of Project Pericles.
Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award
Professor of Exercise Science
Whether Professor of Exercise Science Paul Miller is mentoring a student or assisting colleagues who want to get students involved in research, he is considered a role model, inspiration and great resource.
“He’s one of the most collaborative and supportive faculty colleagues we’ve ever known, and works tirelessly to help both students and faculty develop and grow,” a colleague at Elon says.
As the director of undergraduate research, Miller offers faculty development in mentoring so they are better prepared to assist students. His extensive knowledge of the process makes it easier for newer faculty members to get involved. He is willing to take time to answer their questions.
Miller’s work with students has helped many of them achieve their career goals. Students appreciate Miller’s support. For one former student, Miller turned his curiosity for the health sciences into a passion.
“Dr. Miller treated the student-mentor relationship as if we were colleagues,” the former student says. “It was an honor to feel as if I wasn’t just a student and that he trusted my problem-solving skills and knowledge of physiology. The confidence he had in me really helped me discover my own way to solve problems.”
After taking Miller’s Research Methods class, many students discover how much work is required and are motivated to take it on. “During the course of that class, Dr. Miller started to give me a realistic view of the research process but in a way that made me excited to pursue it,” a student says. “It didn’t matter that research, overall, is a very daunting process for an 18-year-old [student] because he spoke about it with such contagious enthusiasm.”
Since joining Elon’s staff in 1997, Miller has made it possible for students to present their research at a variety of conferences and get published in peer-reviewed journals. Many of his former students have been accepted into quality graduate programs.
Miller received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Michigan, a Master of Education from Cleveland State University and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Miami.
Miller is the seventh recipient of the Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award, which honors a faculty or staff member who demonstrates a commitment to Elon undergraduates through outstanding mentoring. The award was established by Tom and Beth Ward P ’05, ’08, ’14, their sons, A.T. ’05, Christopher ’08 and Chase ’14, and Tom Ward’s mother, Dorothy Mears Ward GP ’05, ’08, ’14.
Also honored for their years of service to Elon were the following staff and faculty who have retired this academic year or will do so at the end of the semester:
Edie Alexander – Administrative Assistant for the Associate Provost, Honors and Undergraduate Research
John Burbridge – Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management
Marilyn Burnett – Custodian
Betty Covington – Program Assistant for Academic Advising
Glenda Crawford – Professor of Education and Director of Teaching Fellows Program
Cindy Duke – Administrative Assistant for Isabella Cannon Global Education Center
Russ Gill – Maude Sharpe Powell Professor, Professor of English and Distinguished University Professor
Nelson Gunn – Traffic Officer
Ken Hassell – Associate Professor of Art
Martha Hill – Box Office Manager and Program Assistant for Cultural and Special Programs
Maureen Ihrie – Associate Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures
Mary Ann Inabnit – Library Public Services Clerk
William Ingram – Custodian
Sharon Justice – Assistant Supervisor of Mail Services
Connie L. Keller – Coordinator of Library Technical Services and Systems
Cynthia Lewis – Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Education
Janice Richardson – Associate Professor of Mathematics and Education
Roy Shaw – Groundskeeper
Betsy Stevens – Associate Professor of Business Communications
Tom Tiemann – Jefferson Pilot Professor and Professor of Economics
Mary Wise – Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Communications