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The Elon College Faculty Excellence Awards for 2005 were presented on April 21, 2005

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.

We are honored to present the Excellence in Teaching Award to three Elon College Faculty.

Robert Vick (Department of Biology). Robert is a passionate teacher who has taught a wide variety of courses.  His pedagogical bag of tricks includes inquiry-based labs in which students develop and test hypotheses of their own invention, humorous anecdotes from his clinical experiences at the Medical College of Virginia, interactive lectures using the Socratic method, scavenger hunts, minute quizzes, journal clubs, case studies, web-based exercises, electronic quizzes on Blackboard, collaborative in-class projects, and many others.  Robert is widely recognized as a master teacher by students and fellow faculty members.  His incredible rapport with students is based on mutual respect.  Comments from students include: "hard as heck, but well worth the effort, Dr. Vick shows a great interest in the class, I wish he taught more classes; Dr. Vick is one of the greatest teachers that I had in all my schooling, he is always willing to help you whenever needed, he makes learning fun and makes hard things a lot easier to understand; Dr. Vick is an individual who embodies all that Elon advertises and he is a person whom I can truly call a friend."  His undergraduate research mentoring has resulted in research journal publications, peer-reviewed student presentations at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, student presentations at the North Carolina Academy of Science, and numerous on-campus SURF presentations.  In recognition of his teaching excellence, Robert has already received the SGA Outstanding Professor Award in 1998, SGA Faculty Member of the Year Award in 2000, Greek Faculty Member of the Year Award in 1999, and was selected as a Faculty Assisting New Students in 1999 and 2001.  Robert, thank you for your excellence in teaching.

Fred Rubeck (Department of Performing Art).  Fred is a teacher who challenges and stimulates, brightens and enthuses, and who engages his students in their own learning, reflection and critique.  When considering the various ways that theatre energizes and informs our individual and collective worlds, no one makes these connections more vivid and relevant to students and audiences than Fred Rubeck.  As a director, he is thoroughly committed to his craft.   Every rehearsal is filled with creative energy, insight and masterful direction.  He has a great creative talent and whether he is at the helm of The Crucible or Picasso at the Lapine Agile, his direction demonstrates currency, creativity and commitment.   Students note that Fred's tough but positive approach in the classroom made their acting skills improve far beyond what they thought possible.  His classroom work is excellent - well-prepared, organized and very effective.  The students in Fred's classes describe their experience as:  "the best acting class I've ever had; organized, focused and teaches us important life skills; he displays a passion for his work that is so encouraging to his actors and is always responsive to the needs and concerns of the students; Elon is lucky to have educators like Professor Rubeck as part of the faculty, he has touched the lives of many of his student."  His students have attended some of the best graduate programs in the country, including Yale and the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.   Fred is also known for his dynamic service to the life of the institution as well as outstanding professional activity.  His creative spirit, work ethic and dedication to the department, the university and his students make him an exemplary and cherished faculty member.  Fred, thank you for your excellence in teaching.

Jean Schwind (Department of English).  Jean is the consummate teacher: thoroughly prepared for every class, creative, and varied in her presentation, always aware of new books or other material that could be used in her courses, willing to share class decision-making with her students.  In the English Department, it has long been a truism that if you want to know how to make student class discussion meaningful, observe Jean's class.  Jean has created numerous new courses and regularly teaches several sections of Global Studies, including Honors sections of Global -- an honor in itself.  A tireless worker in the English department-committee member, colleague, and teacher "Jean is a voice of caring and wisdom in the department.   Her colleagues are amazed and awed by her energy, intelligence, compassion, and generosity.  Jean shares freely the pedagogical material she has worked hard to develop.  As a result, many faculty have been the beneficiaries of her creative teaching techniques.  On a weekly basis, students - from freshmen to seniors - are heard praising Jean for her challenging, creative and outstanding teaching. Student comments include: "the best teacher I have ever had; she makes me enjoy literature; I have never worked so hard or learned so much."  Jean has been a research mentor to many students, several of whom have gone on to present research at SURF and NCUR.  While remaining devoted to her teaching and her students, Jean has been a strong voice on Academic Council and in the General Studies Program and continues to maintain an active professional life.  A colleague notes that Jean represents the ideal combination of qualities that any teacher needs, but rarely possesses.  Jean, thank you for your excellence in teaching.

The Excellence in Service/Leadership Award recognizes a faculty member who richly contributes  to the ongoing welfare and betterment of the College, University and profession. We value the many service and leadership roles performed by faculty. The teacher-scholar document calls on faculty to "dedicate their talents, experience, and leadership skills to activities that sustain, develop, and improve the entire institution." We value presence on campus, noting over time who does the big and little tasks that make us a better College.  The selection committee focused on the tangible results of service for the preceding year. 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.

We are honored to present the Excellence in Service/Leadership Award to two Elon College Faculty.

Tom Arcaro (Department of Sociology and Anthropology).   Tom has long challenged his students not just to "talk the talk" but to "walk the walk" of a concerned global citizen.  For many years at Elon, this faculty member has himself walked that walk.  Tom has consistently understood his teaching to be an expression of his broader commitment to address the social problems and injustices of our society and the world.  As Founding Director of the university's Project Pericles Program, his work (and that of his students) is changing the character of our university.  The class of 2006 Periclean Scholars has already made their mark with extensive work studying and responding to the AIDS epidemic in Africa through their own films, fundraising, and other forms of support.  The class of 2007 has begun addressing nutrition and poverty issues in Honduras.  The Periclean Service Sabbaticals program is currently granting month-long service opportunities to four Elon employees a year.  Course Enhancement Grants - building service components into classes - were received by 36 Elon Faculty.   And "The Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility" has become one of the major recognitions for faculty at our institution.  Through the years, he has advised social organizations, developed the Sociology Honor Society, supervised student internships, been a pioneer in the Global Studies program, directed the winter Term in London, chaired FR&D and coordinated Asian/Pacific Studies.  Most recently, the Periclean documentary film "The Measure of our Humanity" was accepted as part of the Artivist Film Festival in Los Angeles.    Developed by Tom, Jay McMerty and several students, the film embodies the commitment of our students to the broader problems of the world.  Tomorrow that group will travel to Los Angeles to attend the opening and participate in the surrounding events.  Tom, thank you for your excellence in Service-Leadership.

Pam Kiser (Department of Human Services).  Pam is widely recognized across campus as an excellent teacher and outstanding administrator.  Despite the demands of university service and administration, Pam's door is always open.  Her availability and generous spirit extend to students, faculty and deans.  While most department chairs consider their responsibilities as chair to be their most significant service to the institution, in Pam's case it is but one of her major areas of campus involvement.  As chair of Human Services she leads and manages a rapidly growing and ever-changing department with creativity, professionalism, and wisdom.  As the Kernodle Service-Learning Faculty Development Fellow she has established the Service-Learning Faculty Advisory Committee, of which she is now chair, and developed the Service-Learning Faculty Scholars Program.  She coordinates faculty workshops related to Service-Learning and organizes the Brown Bag series of faculty lunches.  Her expertise in service-learning was recognized with a Project Interweave grant for 2004-2006.   Pam's leadership currently includes service on: the Civic Engagement Committee, the Community Outreach Committee, the Experiential Education Advisory Committee, the Faculty Diversity Committee, the Phi Beta Kappa Committee, the Health Benefits Advisory Committee, and the Family Policy and Faculty/Staff Benefits Committee, to name only a few.  If this isn't enough Pam provides significant leadership to community agencies including Cross Roads and the Juvenile Crime and Prevention Committee.  In recognition of her expertise, Pam was a finalist for the Thomas Erlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning by the National Campus Compact.  Pam is truly a creative leader and a stabilizing force within the Human Services Department, the College and the University.  Pam, thank you for your excellence in service-leadership.

The Excellence in Scholarship Award recognizes a faculty member whose scholarly work has made a significant intellectual impact. Elon's teacher-scholar model describes scholarship as "the most fundamental form of professional activity." We value the scholarship of discovering new knowledge, integrating knowledge, applying knowledge, and developing pedagogical innovations.  The selection committee considered tangible evidence of peer-reviewed research and creative activity that was published or presented during the preceding year. Equally important were intangible factors such as supporting the scholarly endeavors of colleagues, advancing the University'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.

We are honored to present the Excellence in Scholarship Award to two faculty.

Kevin Boyle (Department of English).  Kevin is known as a fabulous teacher, much loved and respected by students. He has created numerous courses and taught in Ireland and London.  A very funny man; his introductions of speakers are legend and always much anticipated.  Kevin brings in wonderful visiting writers; he organizes readings for the English department and the Hartmann creative writing award; and for many years he was in charge of Colonnades.  Already an award winner and poet of note, Kevin had an incredibly productive year.  Kevin has had eleven individual poems published.  His poem the Natural Bridge was published in a Special Diaspora Issue of the Emigrant. Kevin also had translations of two poems written by major Spanish poets accepted for publication.  He presented a paper in Havana, Cuba and came in second place in a North Carolina fiction contest. Additionally, he published four book reviews and gave numerous readings.  Later this year, Notre Dame Press will include Kevin?s poem The Lullaby of History in The Book of Irish-American Poetry.   While this is already an impressive list of scholarship, there is more.  Kevin?s book of poetry Home for Wayward Girls was recently published and received the New Issues Press Poetry award.  A colleague notes that Kevin's poems are striking for their steadfast desire to soak themselves in the often inexpressible feelings and thoughts that lie at the heart of everyday life, his work is filled with an affectionate humor that is thoroughly unsentimental, these are smart, moving poems by a writer who deserves our attention.  Kevin, thank you for your excellence in scholarship.

Brant Touchette (Department of Biology).  As a member of the Biology Department and the Environmental Studies Program, Brant has excelled in the areas of teaching, student mentoring, and scholarship.  His research interests include the physiological-ecology of submersed and emergent aquatic flowering plants and their responses to human-induced disturbances in freshwater, estuarine, and marine habitats.  His research also focuses on the development of new technologies to identify and mitigate harmful algal blooms of cyanobacteria that result when nutrient-enriched runoff enters natural waters.  Brant is an extraordinarily active researcher who has worked on 7 different research projects in the last year.  He has received external grant funding totaling over $85,000.00 to support his work:  three grants to support wetland research projects and 4 grants to support his water quality research.  His work has resulted in 4 published papers, 5 published abstracts, and 3 scientific presentations over the last year.   Brant is a strong supporter of undergraduate research and currently has 7 students working under his supervision.  Recently, three of these students presented their research in a poster session at the annual Water Resources Research Institute meeting.  One of these posters won an award.  In the last year, Brant has inspired the students in his botany class by giving them the opportunity to conduct real-world research.  With a grant from Tarheel Research Limited, his botany students have conducted and continue to conduct controlled experiments in the Elon University green house to test the efficacy of a newly developed company product?seeds encapsulated with added plant hormones to increase germination success and growth.  It must be working, because Brant's scholarship is already seeing tremendous success and growth.  Brant, thank you for your excellence in scholarship.

During the program in Whitley Auditorium, David Runkel, a junior Math-Education major, music minor and North Carolina Teaching Fellow, and  Sharon LaRocco, Instructor of  Music and University Accompanist. dazzled the audience with a saxophone-piano performance.  

Elon College Faculty excellence Awards for 2004.