Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences presents awards for excellence

Faculty garner awards for Excellence in Mentoring, Service-Leadership, Teaching and Scholarship. Program and administrative assistants were recognized for hard work during COVID.

Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences recognized excellence among faculty and staff with awards for teaching, mentoring, service, leadership and scholarship on Monday, Aug. 16.

Excellence in Mentoring

CJ Fleming, associate professor of psychology

Fleming has mentored more than 50 undergraduates while at Elon, including a Lumen Scholar, Honors Fellow and several Elon College Fellows. She prepares those students for research presentations at disciplinary and undergraduate research conferences as well as academic publication. Her commitment to mentorship is evident in her participation in a mutual mentoring group with faculty in the natural sciences and in her deeply and critically reflective self-evaluations. In addition to research mentoring, Fleming also actively mentors undergraduate internships. As the current faculty fellow for internships, she has devoted time across departments and offices, working closely with the Student Professional Development Center to improve the quantity and quality of internship experiences throughout the College.

“Dr. Fleming is an amazing colleague who contributes to the department in so many ways. In addition to her direct mentoring and advising of students, she also has advanced departmental activities designed to help students as they begin their time as psychology majors and plan for life after Elon,” said David Buck, associate professor and chair of the psychology department.

Excellence in Service-Leadership

Jason Husser, associate professor of political science and policy studies

As director of the Elon Poll, much of Husser’s service to the university and College is in the public eye — providing community outreach and news releases for the poll, participating in televised panel discussions around elections and politics, and as the subject of interviews by news outlets across the region. Husser implemented long-term planning for the poll as well as established partnerships with the Charlotte Observer and McClatchy newspapers. He is also generous with his time and energy behind the scenes, working on numerous boards and committees. He began a term as Academic Council chair in May and is also the social and behavioral sciences representative on that board. Husser was previously the Faculty Fellow for Civic engagement, and he served on the Ready & Resilient Academic Affairs Committee, the Council for Civic Engagement, Strategic Planning Committee, the Presidential Inauguration Committee, and chaired Academic Council’s Student Life Committee. He also successfully chaired several faculty searches.

“Jason Husser is a model faculty member at Elon and is a true teacher-scholar,” said Sean Giovanello, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Policy Studies. “Throughout the entirety of the pandemic, he gave his best and then some to his students, colleagues, department, college and university.  This honor is well deserved.”

Amanda Tapler, senior lecturer in public health studies

Since joining the public health studies department four years ago, Tapler has led and participated in many initiatives and programs for her department, the College and the university. She served as an interim department chair in 2019, co-led the PHS Writing Excellence Initiative, is a faculty mentor to Kappa Omicron Nu — the public health studies honor society — and supports special events and activities hosted by the department. Tapler is a member of the Internship Faculty Council and previously served on the Social Sciences Curriculum Committee. For the university, she co-led the Peer Mentoring and Peer Education Committee, served on the Student Wellness and Well-Being Committee, and serves on the Global Education Advisory Committee, Lumen Committee, and was appointed co-chair of the Special Committee on the Lecturer Track, among numerous other roles. Tapler is also active in the community, sitting on the board of the Women’s Resource Center of Alamance County, coordinating the Comprehensive Rural Health Project as faculty fellow with the Project Pericles program, and serving as a Community Advisory Group member for SHIFT NC Sexual Education Grant: Alamance Youth Connected – A Systems Thinking Approach to Achieving Optimal Health through Preventing Unplanned Pregnancy and STIs.

“Professor Tapler’s outstanding service and leadership can be felt across multiple schools and contexts. Regardless of setting, she is generous with her time and expertise,” said Cindy Fair, professor and chair of the department of public health studies. “She is known as a strong advocate for students, staff and faculty. Elon is lucky to have her.”

Excellence in Scholarship

Amy Allocco, associate professor of religious studies

Allocco is a sought-after scholar in the field of Hindu studies. She has published articles and book chapters and made numerous presentations at academic conferences around the world. Allocco often supports her scholarship through successful grant proposals. She authored or co-authored three national or international grant proposals, was awarded $1,000 Mellon Foundation-Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYC) Curriculum Development Grant and a Wabash Center-IFYC Cohort Grant of $7,500 for interreligious pedagogies with colleagues from St. Thomas and Augsburg universities. Her most recent scholarship is published in The Journal of Hindu Studies and Fieldwork in Religion and will be in a forthcoming volume of The Georgetown Companion to Interreligious Studies.

“Dr. Allocco is an outstanding teacher, mentor, campus leader and scholar, widely recognized for her brilliant ethnographic research,” said Geoff Claussen, associate professor and chair of the religious studies department. “We are so fortunate to have her as an Elon faculty colleague.”

Andrea Sinn, associate professor of history

Sinn is an expert in Jewish history and also has published articles, chapters and shared her expertise at conferences across the globe. For example, in summer 2018, she gave three invited presentations in Germany and Austria, including the keynote lecture at the international conference Sankt Ottilien: The Benedictine Monastery and its Jewish History, 1945-48, organized by the Institute of Jewish History and Culture at Ludwig Maximilian University, St. Ottilien Archabbey, and the Jewish Museum Munich. Sinn participated in an international research colloquium hosted by the City Archive of Munich and taught a seminar at the European Summer School for Jewish Studies at the Jewish Museum in Hohenems, Austria. Her recent scholarship in German and Jewish studies appeared in Redesigning Liberal Education, Rebuilding Jewish Life in Germany and Central European History. Sinn is currently researching for an upcoming project.

“Everyone in the Department of History and Geography is elated at the recognition that Dr. Sinn’s scholarship has received from the Elon community,” said Rod Clare, associate professor and chair of the history and geography department. “We all congratulate her on this achievement.”

Excellence in Teaching

Ryan Kirk, associate professor of geography

Kirk teaches numerous courses across geography, environmental studies and Elon’s Core Curriculum. He is committed to reacting and adapting to student needs, celebrating individual development and supporting students beyond standard course objectives. Last year, Kirk adapted a three-week unit of his urban design course to address racism in response to the national need to address institutionalized racism. Adapting to the hybrid classroom, Kirk incorporated new pedagogies adapted from a summer technical design institute focused on flexibility in learning options, group dynamics and project management, and by bringing in outside speakers to professionalize the material. His courses employ hands-on learning and field studies, problem-based learning, collaboration and the professional application of knowledge. Students consistently express appreciation for the variety of approaches in his teaching and his care for their individual learning.

“Dr. Kirk is one of the most wonderful humans I have ever met,” said Robert Charest, associate professor and chair of the environmental studies department. “I have never encountered anyone more engaged and enthusiastic about teaching and about learning. His light is always shining bright. Even as a seasoned professor, I am proud to say that I consider him a mentor. For very good reasons, he is loved by students, faculty and staff alike. While his office is in the Department of History and Geography, we are truly fortunate that Dr. Kirk holds space for the Department of Environmental Studies. He is an integral part of our community.”

Titch Madzima, assistant professor of exercise science

Madzima teaches many upper-level exercise science courses, among them Physiology of Exercise, Exercise Testing and Prescription, Physical Activity and Cancer and research methods. He has also mentored 14 students in undergraduate research while at Elon. Madzima sets annual goals for teaching and learning in his courses.  Taking advantage of Elon’s opportunities to improve engaged learning — participating in institutes to strengthen writing within exercise science courses and the use of technology — he is currently focused on increasing activity-based learning and deepening mentoring experiences. He employs various pedagogies and technologies in the classroom, and integrates discussion and education on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion in his courses. In the Aids for Health and Performance course, Madzima had students write a review of a particular “aid” both for a popular magazine as well as a formal review of the scientific literature.  Students find him to be enthusiastic, passionate and knowledgeable.  He holds them to high standards and requires them to present evidence to support their assertions.

“Dr. Madzima is so deserving of this award as an outstanding teacher-scholar-mentor and a generous colleague,” said Caroline Ketcham, professor and chair of the exercise science department. “Our students are so fortunate to learn from him in and out of the classroom.”

Staff Excellence

Program and Administrative AssistantsStaff award recipients, Monday, Aug. 16

The College recognized all program assistants and administrative assistants with the Staff Excellence Award. This is the second year the award has been bestowed to College staff who go above and beyond their duties for the benefit of students, faculty and colleagues.

“This year we want to show our deep appreciation to the program assistants and administrative assistants across the College who were integral to helping us all navigate COVID,” said Gabie Smith, dean of the College. “These hard-working individuals were constant sources of support to faculty and students throughout a most challenging year. In some ways, they became the faces of their departments as students often turned to them first for help. We are eternally grateful.”

Recipients were:

  • Montrisha Bethea, administrative assistant for Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences
  • Beth De Ford, program assistant for psychology, human service studies and public health studies
  • Linda Hibbard, program assistant for Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences
  • Jessica Hill, administrative assistant for Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences
  • Melissa McBane, program assistant for political science & policy studies and philosophy
  • Tracy McBane, program assistant for mathematics & statistics and computing sciences
  • Marnia McIntyre, program assistant for international and global studies, history & geography, sociology & anthropology
  • Debbie Perry, program assistant for the department of education and wellness and exercise science
  • Kimberly Rippy, program assistant for music and performing arts and coordinator of auditions and interviews
  • Patty Rooney, program assistant for biology, chemistry, physics and environmental studies
  • Jeana Schickedantz, program assistant for English
  • Annetta Womble, program assistant for Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences, art & art history and religious studies