The Elon College Faculty Excellence Awards for 2004 were presented on April 23, 2004


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 inaugural Excellence in Teaching Award to two Elon College Faculty.

Mary Jo Festle (Department of History).  Mary Jo is widely known to be among the very best teachers at Elon University.  An active scholar and a campus leader, Mary Jo always remains focused on teaching.  Her dedication to providing students with the best possible experience in the classroom is legendary.   The key to Mary Jo's success in the classroom is careful, meticulous planning.  Each day and every activity is carefully conceived to achieve a goal that is relevant to the course.  She approaches teaching with a dedication and an organization that many find to be awe inspiring.  As a result, Mary Jo's repertoire includes creative, thoughtful exercises that push students to think about the past in new and meaningful ways.  In her classroom, students become active participants in the learning process, thinking about ideas and historical developments, and challenging preconceptions in ways that require them to invest in learning.  Mary Jo expects her students to work as hard as she does, challenging them to perform at a consistently high level.  These considerable skills in the classroom are complemented by her generous spirit and accessibility.   In short, Mary Jo Festle brings to her students just the right combination of preparation, creativity, support, and high expectations, a formula that?based on the student responses?brings remarkable results.   Mary Jo, thank you for your excellence in teaching.

Bob Anderson (Department of Political Science and Public Administration).  Always regarded as a fine teacher since he left administrative duties to return to the classroom a decade ago, Bob has "turned it up a notch" for the last five years.  Students increasingly recognize Bob with some of the highest student evaluations on campus.  His effectiveness in the classroom coincides with his extensive use of enhanced teaching and learning techniques available with Blackboard.  As Elon's first Technology Fellow, Bob challenged himself to find ways to make Blackboard central to his classes, using it for discussion forums and to demand critical writing assignments for virtually every class period. Students regularly comment about Bob's passion for the subject matter, the critical thinking required, and the overall challenge of his courses.  One student wrote that "Professor Anderson is so passionate about the subject, his interest rubs off! Coming to class knowing that your professor is dying for you to learn is encouraging.  I have worked very hard in this class and been challenged to no end, but I leave here with a much greater understanding and interest as well as a renewed confidence in my ability."  Bob also recently received the Washington Center's first Teacher of the Year award for the Inside Washington Seminar which Bob has taught for 11 years.  Bob, 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.

Maurice Levesque (Department of Psychology).  While being an active teacher and scholar, once again this year Maurice has continued his impressive record of truly outstanding service to Elon.  In service to the Psychology Department, Maurice coordinated a departmental sub-committee addressing revisions to the Research Methods course and worked on a Program Initiative Grant addressing undergraduate research mentoring.  Maurice continued to serve as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Steering Committee, the Social Science Scholars Committee and the Teaching and Learning Center Committee.  If this isn't enough, in his spare time Maurice also continued his service as Faculty in Residence for the Honors Pavilion.  In service to the University, Maurice completed his excellent leadership as Chair of the Curriculum Committee and began his service as chair of the Committee on Academic Integrity.  He also continued his outstanding service/leadership as Director of the Undergraduate Research Program in which he spends countless hours writing reports, planning budgets, coordinating SURF and SURE ? and the list goes on.  I often tease Maurice that he must be serving on every committee on campus.  While this may not be true, Maurice's contribution to the university is truly exemplary. Maurice, thank you for your excellence in service/leadership.

Tim Peeples (Department of English).  While Tim is an outstanding teacher and scholar, we recognize him today for his excellence in service/leadership.  Tim has many notable contributions to the department of English, including, Planning Committee, the Professional Writing and Rhetoric concentration head, the Professional Writing and Rhetoric curriculum committee, Technology committee, English 110 committee, and the English Education committee.  Tim was also instrumental in designing and implementing the CUPID lab in Carlton, where all Professional Writing and Rhetoric courses are taught.  His service to the University includes, director of both the Writing Center and the Writing Across the Curriculum program.  As Director of the Writing Across the Curriculum program for the past six years, Tim has regularly offered workshops to the English Department, the university community, and even to the Board of Trustees.  Tim has provided exceptional service/leadership on Academic Council and several notable subcommittees including the Law School Feasibility committee, the Teaching-Learning Center committee, and the Interdisciplinary Writing committee. Tim?s competence as a meticulous and skilled mediator was obvious when Tim shepherded the subcommittee on Professional Status that defined and helped implement the new faculty track system. Tim, 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 inaugural Excellence in Scholarship Award to three faculty.

Clyde Ellis (Department of History).  As a result of his numerous publications and honors, Clyde has achieved national recognition as an authority in the field of contemporary Native American culture.  In 2003 alone, Clyde published a book entitled "A Dancing People: Powwow Culture on the Southern Plains", published an essay entitled "There's a Dance Every Weekend:  Powwow Culture in Southeast North Carolina", and had six book reviews published. Clyde also had another book and three additional articles accepted for publication.  He gave a presentation in London at the invitation of the British Museum and was recognized with nominations for two distinguished national awards.  This record would be the envy of any scholar.  The fact that he is able to do so while fulfilling his other obligations as a teacher and member of the community is astounding.  In his scholarly work Clyde constantly pushes himself to address the profound and important questions raised by the historical events he studies.  He always manages to use his historical subjects as a way of providing insight into larger, more profound issues.  In his hands, the examination of American Indian education, white missionaries to Indian tribes, or powwow culture becomes an opportunity to comment on the issue of assimilation and struggle over changing cultural values, an interpretive problem with which virtually all historians grapple.  This quality, more than anything else, explains the wide recognition he is gaining.  Clyde, thank you for your excellence in scholarship.

Rebecca Todd Peters (Department of Religious Studies).  Toddie excels in the areas of teaching and contributions to the community but she deserves special recognition for her scholarly contributions.  Soon after arriving at Elon, Toddie was awarded the Jepsen Dissertation Award from the University of Richmond. Last fall her book manuscript, The Ethics of Globalization: Assessing the Moral Landscape of the (Post) Modern World, won the Trinity Prize.  This award, which includes a $10,000 award and a contract to publish the book this summer, is given by Trinity Press International Foundation "to recognize and encourage an emerging writer or scholar whose work offers new perspectives on biblical, cultural, ethical, theological or religious issues."  Toddie also co-edited a book entitled ?Justice in the Making: Feminist Social Ethics? and published an essay entitled ?Embracing God as Goddess: Exploring Connections between Female Sexuality, Naming the Divine, and Struggling for Justice?.  Toddie received a $7,000 grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning for her proposal, "Examining Women's Moral Agency and Identity in the Tasks and Experiences of Mothering" and presented her research at the Association for Research on Mothering Conference in Toronto last October.  Toddie also serves as co-chair of the Ethics section of the Southeastern Regional American Academy of Religion.  Perhaps the most commendable aspect of Toddie's outstanding scholarship is that she is able to apply it practically in current ethical and social problems facing all of us today.  Toddie, thank you for your excellence in scholarship.

Joel Karty (Department of Chemistry).  Joel has excelled in the areas of teaching, student mentoring, service and scholarship.  As a result he is known in the Chemistry department as a faculty member for all seasons. In 2003, Joel published two articles in American Chemical Society Journals -- each with an undergraduate co-author.  One of the articles was titled "Resonance Energies of the Allyl Cation and Allyl Anion: Contribution of Resonance and Inductive Effects Toward the Acidity and Hydride Abstraction Enthalpy of Propene. I will not even attempt to read the other article.  Joel also received funding on two research proposals, one from the Research Corporation Fund for "Resonance and Inductive Contributions to Fundamental Chemical Systems" for $35,000, the other from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for "Elucidating the Mechanism of Pattern Formation in Periodic Precipitation Reactions" for $34,200.  Funds from these two grants will be used to purchase new equipment, and to fund student salaries for summer research.    Finally, Joel has two book contracts with and received monetary support from Benjamin Cummings Publishing to author an Organic prep-book titled "Preparing for Organic Chemistry" and an Organic textbook.  Joel's independent research projects as well as his collaborative work with Duke University position him as one of the finest young chemists in the nation.  Joel, thank you for your excellence in scholarship.

During the program in Whitley Auditorium, music majors Jon Rahilly and Ben Newsome, along with biology major Josh Miller, entertained and fascinated the audience with their marimba performance of Mark Ford's "Stubernic."

Click on the picture to see a short video - with audio.