Annual awards luncheon recognizes Elon faculty, staff for excellence

Members of Elon’s faculty and staff, along with retiring employees, were honored May 15 for excellence and service to Elon.

2019 faculty and staff award winners included, from left, Associate Professor Amy Allocco, Associate Professor Jeffrey Carpenter and Professor Janna Anderson. Not pictured at the May 15 awards ceremony is the Rev. Jan Fuller. 

Elon recognized faculty members Janna Quitney Anderson, Jeffrey Carpenter and Amy Allocco and staff member Jan Fuller for superior teaching, scholarship, mentorship and service at the annual Faculty/Staff Awards Luncheon in Alumni Gymnasium on May 15.

In addition, longtime faculty and staff members who are retiring this year were recognized for their contributions to Elon during their years of service to the university.

Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching

Janna Quitney Anderson, professor of communications and director of the Imagining the Internet Center

Professor Janna Anderson
Janna Quitney Anderson is regarded as an influential and exemplary teacher who makes student learning come alive, whether in the classroom or preparing students to cover Internet forums around the world each year as director of the Imagining the Internet Center.

She has received many national recognitions during her career, including being named Journalism Teacher of the Year by the News Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2008. In 2010 and 2011, Anderson was the university’s nominee for U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and she has received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Elon’s School of Communications.

Anderson joined the faculty ranks at Elon in 1999 following two decades as a journalist in Minnesota and North Dakota. At Elon, she has progressed professionally and was promoted to full professor in 2014. Through the years, Anderson has taught a wide variety of course in the School of Communications and Elon Core Curriculum, including an opening course for first-year students in the school, “Communications in a Global Age.” One nominator wrote that “having a full professor with her pedagogical abilities teaching a first-year course is what makes Elon special.

Within the last three years, her courses have included Media Writing, Reporting for the Public Good, and Future of the Internet, along with independent courses such as Global Documentary Journalism, Near-Real-Time Reporting, Research into Internet Issues, and Internet Hall of Fame Project.

“Professor Anderson helps students understand the importance of communications across platforms, across populations and across the world,” one nominator wrote. “She is a top-quality professor who embraces the teacher-scholar model, mentoring and collaborating with students, engaging in scholarship with colleagues and bringing extraordinary expertise into the classroom.”

As director of Elon’s Imagining the Internet Center, she has organized and led student teams covering the annual Internet Governance Forums since 2006, with these teams traveling to Greece, Brazil, Egypt, Lithuania, Kenya, Mexico, Switzerland, France and Germany. One alumna involved in the 2006 IGF coverage in Greece described the experience as “a truly rare undergraduate opportunity.”

“Her high expectations forced me to raise my own personal standards and, as a result, I left Athens with invaluable field experience as well as the confidence, desire and ability to pursue a career in documentary filmmaking,” the alumna wrote in her nomination.

Closer to home, she organized the FutureWeb conference in 2010 in Raleigh featuring Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, and involved her students in 22 events over three days, including sessions aimed at educating high school students about Internet issues such as privacy and intellectual property. 

One alumnus wrote in his nomination that Anderson “lives up to the definition of both impact and excellence in teaching,” and takes a personal interest in their professional lives after they leave Elon. “Professor Anderson is among the first to reach out to her former students, ask how we’re doing, share our work, celebrate our successes, and welcome us back to Elon with open arms,” the alumnus wrote. “And if you get a group of Elon alums who are professional journalists together, she and her excellent teaching never — not once — fails to come up as a topic of conversation.”

Numerous alumni wrote in support of Anderson’s nomination, noting how she pushed them in the classroom and beyond, established connections with them as students and as professionals, and championed their achievements. One nominator notes that Anderson “shows an enormous amount of commitment to her students and the accuracy of their work by spending innumerable hours reviewing and critiquing assignments, meeting individually for in-depth discussions about coursework and serving as a mentor, helping students determine their best professional path.”

She’s been an advocate for new media and innovation on campus, with one nominator remembering how she encouraged students years ago to use Flip cameras to capture audio and video in the field to support their writing assignments, a practice that then was just being adopted by professional newsrooms. She’s been a valuable mentor, working with more than a dozen students who have presented research at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research.

“Helping students become better journalists, global citizens and individuals, watching us go out and make a difference in the world — that is the embodiment of Janna,” one nominator wrote.

Anderson is the 47th Elon faculty member to receive the award established by President Emeritus J. Earl Danieley ’46 and his wife, Verona Daniels Danieley, in honor of their parents.

Distinguished Scholar Award

Jeffrey Carpenter, associate professor of education and director of the Teaching Fellows Program

Associate Professor Jeffrey Carpenter
Jeffrey Carpenter has made great strides in his research and scholarship that examines the role of collaboration and collaborative technologies in learning and teaching, particularly in the ways that social media can be used for educational purposes in K-12 and higher education contexts.

An associate professor of education and the director of Elon’s Teaching Fellows Program, Carpenter joined the faculty in the School of Education in 2010 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2016. The past nine years have been marked by high levels of scholarly productivity, with his work widely read and cited and other researchers actively seeking out collaborations with him. Carpenter credits the environment and his colleagues at Elon with helping him develop into the scholar he is today.

Since coming to Elon, Carpenter has given more than 110 research presentations, many of which were delivered at top-tier national and international conferences such as the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education Annual Conference, and the International Society for Technology in Educational Annual Conference. Since 2010, he has published 40 articles, including 26 during the past three calendar years, along with three book chapters and 14 papers in conference proceedings, with one colleague noting that “quite simply, his scholarly output rivals many top teacher education scholars. I have marveled at his productivity and even sought his suggestions to understand how he maintains the intensity of productivity in his scholarship.”

Among his journal articles, 25 have focused on the use of social media as an educational and professional development tool, with three of his publications already having been cited more than 100 times and all of his publications cited 369 total times in 2018, according to Google Scholar. Carpenter writes and presents for both scholarly and practitioner audiences so that he can have an impact in the world of teacher education and K-12 education. His practitioner-oriented articles have been featured in publications widely read by K-12 educators including Educational Leadership, Phi Delta Kappan and Education Week.

“The array of research that Jeff has compiled in the past decade is undoubtedly significant,” one nominator wrote. “His study on Twitter in education, for example, is considered seminal, and he is viewed as one of the leading experts on the ways K-12 teachers use social media for professional development. Anyone working on research in this field will cite Jeff at least one time and probably more. Because of his expertise, he is sought as a reviewer from countless journals.”

In his research, Carpenter has noted that technologies such as social media provide new ways for educators and students to collaborate with a wide assortment of people, but that such technological tools also come with constraints. Carpenter has also made collaboration a key component of his approach to research, having co-authored peer-review research publications with 17 researchers from other universities.

One collaborator from another university said in his nomination that Carpenter’s name “is synonymous with educators’ use social media for professional learning, a research field that arguably didn’t even exist five years ago.” Praising Carpenter’s pursuit of collaboration, the nominator said, “I would fully expect these collaborations to continue in the future and bode well for continued levels of productivity, or perhaps increased levels of productivity. It is not easy to build up such a diverse and respected pool of collaborators, and Dr. Carpenter’s success in doing so is an important area of distinction.”

Several nominators noted that along with his productivity as a scholar and researcher, Carpenter also invests heavily in his students and the university. A nominator from another university noted that “his ability to juggle multiple research projects, while teaching, participating in service work, leading grant projects and doing administrative work for the Elon University Teaching Fellows program makes me wonder if he ever actually sleeps. He is a true role model in the field of education whom I wholeheartedly believe should be recognized for his outstanding efforts in scholarship.”

Carpenter is the 20th recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award, which recognizes a faculty member whose research has earned peer commendation and respect, and who has made significant contributions to his or her field of study.

Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility

The Rev. Jan Fuller, university chaplain

The Rev. Jan Fuller
The Rev. Jan Fuller has been the embodiment of civic engagement and social responsibility in her role at university chaplain through which she has demonstrated her commitment to creating an inclusive community that embraces all faiths.

​Fuller came to Elon in 2011 after 24 years as chaplain at her alma mater, Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Prior to her work at Hollins, Fuller served as the Baptist chaplain at Yale University from 1982 to 1987, and as an adjunct professor of higher education ministries at the Yale Divinity School from 1983 to 1987. She is a long-standing member of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, and currently serves as the organization’s president.

At Elon, she’s credited with taking a leading role in launching and developing the university’s multifaith program. The creation of a fully multifaith approach to religious and spiritual life on campus was challenging, one nominator notes, but “Jan has done this exceptionally well, helping us all appreciate that religious diversity and multifaith engagement are essential to our university’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and global citizenship.”

With Fuller’s guidance, Elon has expanded the staff at the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life to include Jewish, Catholic, Muslim and Protestant chaplains, as well as a multifaith coordinator. A colleague notes that she is one to always think outside the box. “She is a person full of impressive and ambitious ideas, ideas which always involve connecting people in relationship with one another,” the colleague notes in a nomination letter. “Social responsibility is the very essence of Jan’s work every day as she constantly searches for ways to connect students, faculty and staff, whether through the religious, spiritual or nonreligious understanding she fosters with Truitt Center programming, or through her connections in the greater community outside of Elon.”

Several nominators noted her work to build resources for the Muslim community on campus and with the Muslim community off campus. As one nominator explained, she worked with others at Elon and in the area to welcome and support the first mosque in neighboring Burlington and foster close relationships between the new mosque and the university. “The Burlington mosque has become a true community center in our area,” the nominator wrote. “They regularly express their gratitude to Elon for helping them to make a home in Burlington. To no small degree their place among us today is thanks to Rev. Fuller’s work in fostering supportive relationships for these newcomers among many community partners.

On campus, Fuller has created learning experiences that help foster social and civic engagement. One nominator explains that Fuller “is an educator committed to holistic student development and challenges all of us to consider what it means to live your best life, aligned with your values, contributing in meaningful ways to serving the greater good. … Jan is a person called to do wholehearted work for others while learning how to live a life that is also true to herself.”

In his nomination letter, an alumnus credits Fuller as the reason he stayed at Elon due to the care she has for students and the encouragement and counsel she provides. She’s engaged with students and supports them in ways outside her official role as chaplain, he notes. “Every time in her office felt more like walking into a home, as she would take the time and really invest in the projects I was working on and my personal growth at Elon University,” the alumnus wrote.

Fuller was unable to attend the awards ceremony and receive her recognition in person.

Fuller is the 17th recipient of the Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility, which is given each year to a member of Elon’s faculty or staff whose community service exemplifies the ideals of Project Pericles.

Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award

Amy Allocco, associate professor of religious studies and director of the Multifaith Scholars Program

Associate Professor Amy Allocco
Along with being renowned for her expertise and scholarship in the religious traditions of India, Associate Professor of Religious Studies Amy Allocco is regarded as a passionate mentor who welcomes her students into her own scholarly pursuits while supporting them as they pursue their own.

Allocco joined Elon’s Department of Religious Studies in 2009, and since then has been named the 2012 recipient of Elon College, the College of Arts and Science’s Excellence in Teaching Award and has held the university’s Distinguished Emerging Scholar professorship in religious studies. She was named the founding director of the Multifaith Scholars Program in 2017 and teaches courses in the religions of South Asia, particularly Hinduism, as well as Hindu goddesses, ethnography and gender in Islam.

In their nomination letters, her former students extolled her approach to mentorship, which held them to high standards while providing them the resources and support they needed to surpass those standards. One alumna notes that after first meeting Allocco, students often comment on her toughness and high expectations. “Her syllabi days are no joke and from the start she conveys to her students the quality of work she expects,” the alumna wrote in her nomination. “I have realized that she holds these expectations because she sees me as a future colleague, and has worked to show me all that I am capable of.”

Allocco has served as faculty-in-residence at the Isabella Cannon International Pavilion and as faculty-in-residence in the Global Pavilion, a role that saw her organize speakers, films and meals while facilitating discussions about issues relating to politics, religion, race and other forms of diversity

Two Elon colleagues explain in their nomination of Allocco for the award that she is “one of the university’s most prolific and dedicated mentors” in large part because of “her ability and willingness to invite her students into her intellectual worlds.” Given her area of study and research, which require students to enter cultures and observe practices far removed from their past experiences, this is no easy practice, but one at which the nominator explains Allocco excels.

“This willingness to allow students to participate in her carefully cultivated and nurtured research relationships sets Dr. Allocco apart from many other scholars and mentors who fear students might jeopardize, even innocently, their research contexts and networks,” the colleagues wrote.

Her students have regularly present at Elon’s Spring Undergraduate Research Forum, the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, the South Eastern Commission for the Study of Religion and South Eastern Women’s Studies Association. Allocco works to prepare her students for these presentations, as well as encouraging them to make scholarly connections with other attendees.

Allocco’s commitment to her students is exhibited in the personal connections she makes with them as a mentor, and as a friend. “Dr. Allocco takes the time to learn about her students on a personal level, tapping into the fact that we are all humans, not just scholars conducting research,” one student wrote in her nomination. “This in turn motivates students by being able to have conversations about roadblocks and move forward in the work that they are doing whether academically or personally.”

One nominator noted that though she graduated from Elon years ago, she still talks to Allocco nearly every week — to share funny stories and life updates, to get opinions about projects they are working on. “I’ve spoken with many other mentees of Dr. Allocco’s and they all share the same sentiment — without Dr. Allocco, we would not be where we are today,” she wrote. “The way she invested years of her time and experiences with me is the same investment she brings to every other mentee-mentor relationship. Dr. Allocco changed my life and, without a doubt, will change many, many more Elon students’ lives in the future.”

Allocco is the 12th person to be honored with the Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award, which recognizes a faculty or staff member who demonstrates a commitment to Elon undergraduates through outstanding mentoring. The award was established by Elon parents Tom and Beth Ward, their sons, A.T. ’05, Christopher ’08 and Chase ’14, and Tom Ward’s mother, Dorothy Mears Ward.