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.
Kirstin Ringelberg (Department of Art). Kirstin is a truly inspiring teacher and mentor. Her way of working with students exudes everything Elon University values in a Teacher/Scholar. Kirstin’s teaching foundation is the extensive and sophisticated knowledge of her field, including the most cutting-edge works and methods. With this knowledge, Kirstin then crafts ways to engage students in these very challenging aspects of art history. Kirstin’s assignments, examinations, and, more importantly, her lively class discussions make the most of her students’ enthusiasm and even their frequent resistance to new art and approaches. In fact, Kirstin has a unique ability to harness student resistance, using that energy to first engage, then challenge, and finally to transform. Never content to stay in the confines of the classroom, Kirstin has led students to study abroad in places as far flung as France, Italy and Japan. In these teaching and mentoring situations, she has brought out the best in each student, providing an ideal level of challenge and encouragement so that each one can reach her or his fullest potential. Kirstin has been so enthusiastic and successful as an instructor that she deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the marvelous success of the university’s Art History major, a degree that will have six graduates in only its first year. She has continued to use her teaching talents as well as expand and hone them by teaching the very challenging team-taught courses for the Honors program. She is also in demand for a variety of important campus programs, including Women and Gender Studies, American Studies, and African-American Studies. Perhaps the greatest things that can be said about Kirstin is that her faculty colleagues look to her as a source of insight and encouragement to improve their teaching and students seek her out for the inspiring challenge she provides. Kirstin, thank you for your excellence in Teaching.
Scott Windham (Department of Foreign Languages). Scott is a model of excellent and innovative foreign language teaching. He challenges students to perform at a level beyond what would seem possible at their stages of linguistic development. Yet with Scott’s guidance and encouragement, his students produce remarkable results. One example of Scott’s unique approach to the teaching of language as well as the outstanding achievement of his students, is The Germany Project. The Germany Project is a web-based, multimedia "encyclopedia" written by German students at Elon. This work has inspired other faculty to attempt similar projects. Colleagues are continually amazed at the quality and quantity of work that Scott’s students are able to produce and at the remarkable integration of cultural studies and language development in his courses. Scott incorporates technology into his classes on a daily basis. He uses PowerPoint, audio, internet and visual resources to enhance his language classes, and he teaches his students to use these components in their class presentations and assessments. In addition, Scott continues to develop his courses through enthusiastic participation in CATL workshops and has mentored Fellows students who have participated in SURF. Scott’s unique approach to teaching, which challenges students to integrate linguistic development and growing cultural awareness of the German-speaking world, has led to increased interest in German Studies at Elon. He helped develop the German Studies minor and a study abroad relationship with Heidelberg University. Student comments emphasize his enthusiasm, his organization, his energy, and the challenging nature of his classes. Students consistently cite Scott as one of the best faculty members at Elon, not just in the department of Foreign Languages. Scott, thank you for your excellence in Teaching.
Cindy Fair (Department of Human Services). Cindy is an outstanding teacher; known for her energy, creativity, and rigor. Her students are consistently enthusiastic on two points: how much work they do in her courses and how much they’ve learned in the process. They often even add that her courses are fun. As a classroom teacher, Cindy is a virtual wellspring of innovative ideas. These range from her “famous” Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother Skits to engage students in the application of theory, to simulations of complex community meetings, to the use of academic service-learning and community based research. Cindy was one of a core group of faculty who developed the Elon College Fellows Program. In this program she teaches a Fellows section of the Global Experience and co-leads the Winter Term Fellows course that studies in Washington, DC. Within this program and through her work in the upper-division Fellows seminar, she provides a carefully designed and scaffolded experience for students, providing a model for learning to think like a social scientist. Cindy has mentored numerous student research projects on a wide array of topics, some springing from the students’ interest (such as a project on Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy) and some closely connected with her own research on children affected by HIV/AIDS. Her research students have presented at highly competitive conferences in social work and human services as well as at NCUR, have co-authored articles with her for publication, and won impressive fellowships to graduate schools. Cindy also has a strong record in the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has presented and co-authored an article on undergraduate research, conceptualizing this experience as a “cognitive apprenticeship” for students. Finally, Cindy is currently a CATL Scholar working on a project to enhance the academic depth and rigor of student internships. Cindy, 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, the University, and the 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 three Elon College Faculty.
Ayesha Delpish (Department of Mathematics). While Ayesha is an outstanding teacher and scholar, we recognize her today for her excellence in service and leadership. Ayesha has notable contributions to the University in many areas, including the Lyceum Committee, the Graduate Council, the Philips-Perry Black Excellence Awards Process, the African/African American Studies Committee, and the Georgeo Scholarship selection committee. Ayesha was also instrumental in designing and implementing the new Statistics minor at Elon. Her outstanding leadership was critical in the development of new classes, advocacy on campus, creation of an innovative case-study pedagogy, and recruitment of students into the new statistics minor. Ayesha currently serves as the Statistics program coordinator and teaches General Statistics, Statistics in Application, and an online section of Statistics. Last summer she ran a three-day workshop for faculty on the new Statistics in Application class, which was crucial for instructors who taught the class for the first time in the Fall semester. Ayesha has received both CATL and SAS grants to support her teaching and program development. She recently led the department’s successful job searches for two new statisticians, showing remarkable enthusiasm, initiative, and attention to detail in the process. Ayesha has also mentored a SURE student and co-mentored two students in their Senior Seminar mathematics research projects. Finally, not only has Ayesha given a tremendous amount of excellent service to Elon, you might say she has given her entire life. Ayesha is the faculty-in-residence in the International Pavilion. She organizes cultural and social events and serves as the faculty mentor for the 22 students who live with her in the pavilion. It would be hard to over-estimate the impact Ayesha has had on her students, the department and the University. Ayesha, thank you for your excellence in Service-Leadership.
Brian Digre (Department of History and Geography). In a number of important ways, Brian has made lasting and significant contributions to Elon University. While it would be difficult to list all of the ways he has made the University better, three examples of his leadership and service come to mind as deserving special mention. First, Brian has singlehandedly forged a lasting relationship with people and institutions in Ghana that has enabled our students to have a deeper, more global educational experience. Literally hundreds of students have had their horizons broadened and their perceptions challenged through Brian’s Winter Term course in Ghana. Most of us speak enthusiastically about the importance of being a global citizen, but there are very few who have done more than Brian to actually accomplish that worthy goal. In addition, perhaps more than any other single individual, Brian has been responsible for developing and nurturing the International Studies major, making it one of the most successful interdisciplinary program on campus. The international studies major currently ranks in the top 5 majors within Elon College with respect to numbers of students. The interdisciplinary nature of this major makes the job of being its coordinator especially difficult, since faculty members participating in the program are essentially on loan from their home departments. A more domineering person would probably not be so successful under these circumstances, but thankfully this attribute represents the very opposite of Brian’s personality. He is known as an easy-going, thoroughly decent person whose commitment to democracy engenders the spirit of cooperation on which his program depends. Finally, Brian has proven to be a successful grant writer, serving as the principal investigator for two successful Department of Education grants. The first helped Elon to establish the thriving International Studies major and African Studies, and his recent success promises to do the same in Middle Eastern and Arabic Studies. The obvious theme here is that Brian’s dedication and his willingness to go beyond what is expected of him have made Elon University a much better place and providing new opportunities for our students. Brian, thank you for your excellence in Service-Leadership.
Prudence Layne (Department of English). Prudence exemplifies the definition of excellence in service and leadership. Over the past year, she has committed her efforts to several tasks that clearly display her dedication to the growth and improvement of Elon. Prudence has served on numerous committees, including, co-chair of the Multicultural Expansion Committee, the Disabilities Committee, the International Studies Committee, the Phi Beta Kappa Committee, theFund for Excellence Committee, the Perito Award Committee, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Committee. Last summer she led an IDD-sponsored workshop for twenty faculty members on creating a successful summer online course. Prudence also serves as Director of the African American/African Studies Minor. In this significant role, Prudence has shown excellent leadership and administrative savvy. She has grown the program dramatically, to one with more than 50 students, and 23 graduates this spring. Prudence has created several amazing courses for the English Department and for the African/African American Studies program. She has also created and led the study abroad course to South Africa, as well as expanded the Call of South Africa into a designated service learning course. In the department, Prudence helps put together events to showcase faculty scholarship, and she gives students and faculty a chance to get to know each other better through readings, social events, orientations, and open houses. Finally, Prudence uses her service at the University to raise awareness about diversity issues in our campus community and to provide opportunities for faculty, students, and staff to understand these issues in terms of their pedagogy, scholarship, recruitment, hiring and retention policies. Her department chair indicates that Prudence may have accomplished more in three years than many do in a career! Prudence, 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 Elon College Faculty.
Lynn Huber (Department of Religious Studies). In addition to being an outstanding teacher and active member of Elon’s faculty, Lynn is an active, committed, and nationally recognized scholar. Her past year’s professional activity illustrates such excellence. In this last year, Lynn’s first book, “Like a Bride Adorned”: Reading Metaphor in John’s Apocalypse, was published. In her book, Lynn “argues that Revelation's persuasive power resides within the text's metaphorical nature.” She “articulates a method for exploring how Revelation employs metaphor to shape an audience's thought” and “engages one set of conceptual metaphors in relation to Revelation's literary and social-historical milieu.” Her work’s significance becomes clear when one learns that an entire panel at her professional organization’s annual meeting was dedicated to a discussion of her book. During the same year, Lynn published four articles. One, “Sexually Explicit? Re-reading Revelation’s 144,000 Virgins as a Response to Roman Discourses,” was accepted as an extended and opening article in the Journal of Men, Masculinities, and Spirituality. Two co-authored pieces on using visual art to teach biblical texts were published in the edited collection, Teaching the Bible through Popular Culture and the Arts. One article, an introduction to the different ways that visual art might be used in a biblical studies classroom, was also published in the Society of Biblical Literature Forum. In addition to these publications, Lynn led the organization of a panel, “John’s Apocalypse and Cultural Contexts Ancient and Modern,” for the Society of Biblical Literature’s annual conference, and presented a paper on medieval readings of Revelation’s violence as part of that panel. For the same professional organization, Lynn has been elected as a steering committee member for one of the organization’s units. Reflective of Elon’s teacher-scholar model, anyone who might walk into Lynn’s classroom would see the intimate connections between her scholarly engagement and her teaching. Lynn, thank you for your excellence in scholarship.
Megan Squire Conklin (Department of Computing Sciences). During her six years at Elon, Megan has gained international recognition for her creation, development, and leadership of a project called FLOSSmole. FLOSS stands for “free, libre, and open source software.” Open source software refers to programs whose source code is made available to the public for modification and distribution free of charge and without the restrictions typically placed on software developed in a closed commercial environment. FLOSSmole is a team of software developers who write programs to gather and analyze data about open source software projects and then freely provide the results back to the FLOSS research community. Under Megan’s leadership, the project has continually grown in size and reputation, and she currently co-leads an international team of 14 developers and over 100 active users and contributors. Megan received two recent grants from the National Science Foundation. A $100,000 grant from NSF titled “A Data and Analysis Archive for Research on Free and Open Source Software and its Development.” Storage and processing of large amounts of data obviously require space and computing power, and Megan also received from NSF five terabytes (5000 gigabytes) of storage on a network known as the TeraGrid, considered to be the largest, most comprehensive distributed cyber-infrastructure for open scientific research. Megan had several refereed publications and presented her research at international conferences in the United States, Ireland, and Italy. Megan was also recently appointed to the Editorial Review Board of the new International Journal of Open Source Software & Processes. Megan’s scholarship extends beyond computer science to the scholarship of teaching and learning. She is currently a CATL scholar with a focus on expanding teaching and learning about technology and society and the history of computing, by using an immersive, historical role-playing game from the "Reacting to the Past" series to explore the impacts of invention and technology on society. Megan, thank you for your excellence in scholarship.
Congratulations to each of the award winners!!!!
Each of the departments will now present their Student Excellence Awards. The presenter will briefly describe the award and read the names. I ask that the students come forward to receive their award. We will go in the order presented in the program.
To further honor all of our recipients and celebrate our excellence, I have arranged for a special performance. At CELEBRATE! last year, one of our very own faculty – Richard Gang …also know as Pudge when not performing in an equity theater – pulled together some of our very talented students and put on a great concert. I am delighted that Pudge …. and his students were willing to perform for us today for this special event. Please join me in welcoming Pudge and the Oaktones…and the Satin Sheets.