Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences recognizes faculty with excellence awards

Faculty members were recognized on Aug. 20 for excellence in mentoring, service and leadership, teaching and scholarship. 

(front row) Shannon Duvall, Polly Butler-Cornelius, Safia Swimelar, Buffie Longmire-Avital; (back row) Chad Awtrey, Mina Garcia-Soormally, Paula Rosinski

Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences recognized Excellence in Mentoring, Service & Leadership, Teaching, and Scholarship among its faculty on Monday, Aug. 20.

Buffie Longmire-Avital, associate professor of psychology, was recognized for her Excellence in Mentoring. Longmire-Avital& consistently applies her expertise to mentor students in deep and meaningful ways. H er undergraduate research students show significant outcomes of their collaborations – presenting at professional conferences and co-authoring manuscripts.  Her impact as a mentor goes way beyond undergraduate research. Through her work as a professor and as coordinator of African & African-American Studies, she mentors, guides, advises and attends to many who could potentially feel marginalized at Elon. 

Safia Swimelar, associate professor of political science and policy studies, and Paula Rosinski, professor of English and director of Writing Across the University, were awarded for their Excellence in Service & Leadership.

Swimelar has provided significant service through her leadership as coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program and as major coordinator for the International & Global Studies Program. She led a thorough review of the International & Global Studies Program and, with the assistance of advisory board members, has made pertinent curricular revisions. In each of her leadership roles, Swimelar consistently draws on her expertise – engaging with members of our community as we seek to deepen our understanding of nationalism and identity politics, ethnic conflict, and human rights. 

Rosinski was instrumental in developing and implementing our QEP relating to “writing across the curriculum.” She has served as the director of Writing Across the University and coordinated the Writing Excellence Initiative since fall 2015. Rosinski has a long record of successfully partnering with faculty colleagues, and students, across campus to strengthen disciplinary writing, through writing institutes, consultations, and workshops.

Shannon Duvall, associate professor of computing sciences, and Polly Butler-Cornelius, senior lecturer in music, were recognized for their Excellence in Teaching.

Duvall is an exceptional teacher of many challenging introductory and upper-level courses including programming languages and graphics and game programming. Her department colleagues know her as a creative, energetic and focused teacher who always “gets the best from her students.” Recently she borrowed from a framework known as “SCRUM” to encourage students to choose their own preferred learning strategies (using individual or team models & flipped or traditional pedagogies).  This approach was highly successful in scaffolding the material for students and engaging them in their own learning process. 

Butler-Cornelius routinely teaches applied voice to well over 100 students majoring in music performance, music in the liberal arts, music production and recording arts, music education, and musical theatre. All of the vocal instruction is individualized to the student and typically endures across six or more semesters. Her chair notes that she holds her students to “very high standards and commitment to steady, rigorous, hard work.” The incredible accomplishments of her students serve as one indicator of her teaching excellence.

Chad Awtrey, associate professor of mathematics and associate director of undergraduate research, and Mina Garcia-Soormally, associate professor of Spanish, were awarded for their Excellence in Scholarship.

Awtrey a nnually publishes multiple research papers in high-quality disciplinary journals, often with student co-authors. He has established a strong track record of obtaining grant funding that enables him to continue his collaborations with math educators, high school students, and undergraduate research students.  Awtrey recently received The Henry Alder Award from the Mathematics Association of America in recognition of his excellence as an educator. 

Garcia-Soormally is a very active scholar and writer. She has developed strong collaborations with a number of colleagues at other universities. Most recently she is working with colleagues on an edited volume relating to Social Injustice in Early Modern Spain. One of her book manuscripts is due to be published this fall and she has signed a contract for the publication of a second book with the University Press of Colorado.