Pam Kiser named Distinguished University Professor

Pamela M. Kiser, Watts-Thompson Professor in the Department of Human Service Studies and interim dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, has been named Elon’s fourth Distinguished University Professor.

The Distinguished University Professorship is bestowed upon occasion to full professors who have made distinguished contributions to teaching, scholarship and the Elon University community. The board of trustees created the honor in 2001, and a committee composed of faculty members solicits nominations and recommendations for the award.

“Over the past 29 years Professor Kiser has served as a model and mentor for her faculty colleagues, combining scholarship with a commitment to excellent teaching and an ethic of service to the community,” said President Leo M. Lambert. “As a wise leader in our academic community, Pam has made a substantial impact and advanced the university’s reputation for civic engagement and service learning. We look forward to her continued contributions to Elon, and we are pleased to honor her as a Distinguished University Professor.”

A member of Elon’s faculty since 1981, Kiser has served the Elon community in numerous roles, including department chair, faculty scholar in the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, Kernodle Center Service-Learning Faculty Development Fellow, as a member of the Academic Council and as a member of the university’s Phi Beta Kappa committee. An engaging and innovative presence in the classroom, she received Elon’s Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2007.

Kiser consistently contributes scholarly work to her field, publishing articles and making presentations in peer-reviewed competitive settings nationally and internationally. Her research focuses on experiential learning, internships and service-learning. In 2000, she published a textbook, “Getting the Most from your Human Services Internship: Learning from Experiences,” which is currently in its third edition and is used at more than 100 institutions of higher learning worldwide.

Kiser played an important role in the founding of Elon’s service-learning efforts in the early 1990s. She led the initiative to create a standard definition of service-learning at Elon, developed a service-learning faculty handbook, raised funds to support faculty scholars and course development, and guided the creation of the Social Entrepreneurship Scholars program. In 2009 Kiser received the Robert L. Sigmon Service-Learning Award from North Carolina Campus Compact for her dedication to the practice of service-learning in higher education.

An active member of the local community, Kiser works closely with non-profit organizations dedicated to human services, including the Alamance County Family Abuse Services and Crossroads Sexual Assault Response and Resources Center.

Kiser graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Wake Forest University and earned a master of social work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She later completed postgraduate coursework at UNC-Greensboro.

The three other Distinguished University Professors are Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of Philosophy emeritus John Sullivan (2002), J. Earl Danieley Professor of Sociology Tom Henricks (2003) and Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of English Russell Gill (2006).