Faculty earn praise at annual banquet

Four professors were honored for superior scholarship, teaching, mentoring and service at the annual faculty-staff awards luncheon on May 14. Those recognized included Jim Bissett, Chalmers Brumbaugh, Brian Digre and Earl Honeycutt.

From left to right: Earl Honeycutt, Chalmers Brumbaugh, Jim Bissett and Brian Digre.
Jim Bissett, Earl Honeycutt, Brian Digre and Chalmers Brumbaugh were each selected for one of the highest accolades bestowed each year on faculty and staff. The announcements, made in front of hundreds of colleagues who filled Alumni Gym for the annual ceremony, also included recognition to longtime employees of the university and to pending retirees.

Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award
Chalmers Brumbaugh
Professor of Political Science

Throughout his 22 years at Elon, Brumbaugh has been known for his enthusiastic advising sessions. Students and faculty alike turn to him for guidance and support, according to his colleagues in the department of political science and public administration.

“His tireless and unselfish commitment to hundreds of undergraduate students has made a real difference in both the quality of their academic experience while at Elon and to their transition into the adult world,” a colleague writes. “It is hard to overestimate his impact on them and on the university.”

Brumbaugh’s legendary mentoring skills have made him one of the most popular advisers on campus, and students often wait in line for hours to get a chance to speak with him. His lengthy interviews cover everything from a student’s interests and aspirations to their personal and academic struggles.

“Even at Elon, which is known to have a truly caring and involved faculty, Dr. Brumbaugh’s commitment to students is exceptional,” writes a student. “His dedication to my progress — and all of his students’ progress — is nothing but extraordinary.”

In addition to his heavy advising workload, Brumbaugh serves as faculty adviser for Model United Nations and the North Carolina Student Legislature. He was instrumental in establishing an Elon chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, and served as its first adviser in 1992. He has also served as director of the Winter Term Costa Rica course for 19 years.

Brumbaugh is an active member of the National Society for Experiential Education, serves on the Elon Experiential Education Advisory Board and was recently reappointed to a second term on the North Carolina Internship Council of the N.C. State Government Internship Program.

“Chalmers’ energy for and commitment to finding, developing and disseminating information and opportunities for our students are incessant,” a colleague writes. “Our students are the fortunate beneficiaries of his tireless efforts.”
Brumbaugh is the first recipient of the Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award, which was established this year by Tom and Beth Ward; their sons, A.T. ’05, Christopher ’08 and Chase; and Tom Ward’s mother, Dorothy Mears Ward.

Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility
Brian Digre
Professor of History

Digre created the first Study Abroad program in Africa 12 years ago when he organized a course in Ghana. For his work helping a nation and people with fewer resources than the United States, in 2003, Digre was named Development Chief by the people of Sokode in the eastern part of the country.

“It is highly unusual for a foreigner to be given a chieftaincy in West Africa or for a community there to have the arrival of Elon students, faculty/staff be the motivation for their second largest annual festival,” writes a colleague. “Dr. Digre has used his expertise in Africa and village level experience in another part of the continent (as a Peace Corps volunteer in former Zaire) to create a highly effective ‘organization’ … that benefits the Elon community and several institutions and communities in Ghana.”

The study abroad program is just one way Digre has assisted the Sokode people. He has also done the following for the population:

• Donated hundreds of books to the main library at the University of Ghana at Legon.

• Helped secure a grant from Heifer International to provide honeybees and grasscutters to the Sokode community – and to train its leaders how to raise the animals and sell their products.

• Raised and donated funds and school supplies that included two microscopes and large boxes of books for the secondary school, the equivalent of an American high school, which serves several hundred students from all six Sokode villages.

• Raised funds for the development of youth recreation programs in two predominantly Islamic communities of northern Ghana

Said a colleague: “Clearly, Dr. Digre and the Ghana Abroad Program participants have helped to bring significant development to educational facilities, educators, and communities more generally in Ghana, making a real difference in people’s lives.”

Digre is the sixth recipient of the Periclean Award, presented each year to a member of Elon’s faculty or staff whose service to the broader community exemplifies the ideals of Project Pericles.

Distinguished Scholar Award
Earl Honeycutt
Professor of Marketing

Honeycutt is the ninth recipient of the award, established in 2000 to recognize a faculty member whose research has earned peer commendation and respect and who has made significant contribution to his or her field of study.

Dozens of his articles have appeared in some of the top journals in his field, and he has co-authored four books in the past seven years,

“Very few faculty members on this campus have achieved this level of scholarship while teaching three different classes many semesters,” writes one colleague in a letter of support signed by 10 other faculty members in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. “Clearly Dr. Honeycutt is a distinguished scholar worthy of recognition on this campus.”

His list of professional accolades is long. Honeycutt received the Innovative Sales Educator Award from the United Sales Center Alliance in 2007; the Marvin Jolson 2005 Award for Best Contribution to Selling and Sales Management Practice; and the Love School of Business Dean’s Intellectual Contribution Award in 2004, among other honors.

Honeycutt also served on the Presidential Task Force on Scholarship at Elon in 2007 and, since 2006, has been a member of the Promotion and Tenure Committee.

A retired officer from the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Honeycutt earned his doctoral degree in business administration in 1986 from the University of Georgia. He joined the Elon faculty in 2002 having taught the previous two decades at Old Dominion University, UNC-Wilmington and his PhD alma mater.

Honeycutt has co-authored Business-to-Business Marketing (2001), Sales Management: A Global Perspective (2003), Selling Outside Your Culture Zone (2006) and the forthcoming Sales Management, scheduled for release this fall.

“”In terms of sheer volume and quality of research, the impact of Dr. Honeycutt’s scholarly activity is awe-inspiring,” a colleague writes in a letter of support for the award. “I doubt you will find a more prolific, highly regarded scholar on this campus who has not been so recognized.”

Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching
Jim Bissett
Professor of History

Bissett is a dedicated professor lauded by colleagues and students in several nomination letters for the award, all of which praised his excitement, depth of knowledge and high standards inside the classroom.

“It is not unusual to hear a Bob Dylan song playing, see a recent news article on the front desk, or have a television clip running when entering his classroom,” a student writes. “Dr. Bissett seems to be a history teacher that is as engaged in the present as he is in the past and those connections create a feeling of relevancy for his students.”

Bissett served from 1999-2000 as president of the Elon chapter of the American Association of University Professors and chaired the Academic Council from 1996-1997. He co-founded the Oral History Program at the university and belongs to the Organization of American Historians, MARHO: The Radical Historians’ Organization and the Oral History Association.

Bissett, who described himself as a social historian on his faculty web site, has focused much of his career research on social movements, “particularly those associated with late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American radicalism (especially Populism, American socialism, and the labor movement).”

He also has interest in the American Civil Rights movement and its oral history. He has started a project on race relations in Alamance County during the Civil Rights era.

“He is a clear, energetic lecturer, who stirs students with his obvious love for the material,” a colleague writes of Bissett in a nomination letter for the award. “They get interested in excited because he is excited, and as they get involved, they realize exactly how complex and important are the issues he is introducing them to.”

Bissett is the 36th winner of the Daniels-Danieley Award, established by President Emeritus J. Earl Danieley and his wife, Verona Daniels Danieley, in honor of their parents. Bissett joined the Elon faculty in 1990 after teaching at Western Carolina University and Duke University, where he earned his doctoral degree.

“Jim is the personification of the teacher-scholar,” a colleague writes. “I envy his ease in the classroom; I respect his dedication and preparation in teaching; I am in awe of his intellect; and I admire him tremendously as a human being.”

Faculty Retirement Presentations at the 2008 Faculty Staff Awards Luncheon

Robert G. Blake
David A. Bragg
Richard C. Haworth
Vicki H. Hightower
Carol W. Oakley

The faculty and staff listed below were recognized for their years of service:

25 Years:

Laurence A. Basirico
Betty M. Covington
Janice L. Richardson
Kay M. Riddle

30 Years:

Mark R. Albertson
Barry B. Beedle
Ronald A. Klepcyk
Rebecca Olive-Taylor

35 Years:

James H. Pace

40 Years:

Robert G. Blake