In ceremonies held across the University of North Georgia (UNG) recently, faculty and staff were recognized by President Bonita Jacobs and university administrators for their professional achievements and their contributions to the university’s success and the positive momentum the university is experiencing.
"To continue this momentum and to take advantage of the unusual opportunity consolidation has afforded UNG, we needed to consider bold new initiatives to provide institutional support for faculty and staff development and innovation," Jacobs said. "With this in mind, I announced three presidential-level awards at the beginning of the semester."
At the fall Faculty-Staff meetings, Jacobs announced the creation of Presidential Summer Scholar Awards, the Presidential Professional Engagement Awards, and the Presidential Academic Innovation Awards.
Six Presidential Summer Scholar Awards, worth up to $10,000 each, were granted to faculty members to sponsor meaningful research and scholarly and creative activities. The recipients of the awards were:
- Johanna (Rickman) Luthman – History, Anthropology, Philosophy
- Glen Smith – Political Science and International Affairs
- Timothy May – History, Anthropology, Philosophy
- Victoria Hightower – History, Anthropology, Philosophy
- Andy David – Music
- Chris Dockery – Visual Arts
The second award, the Presidential Professional Engagement Award, granted sums of up to $2,000 to 25 faculty members to remain state of the art in their disciplines.
The third, the Presidential Academic Innovation Award, supports 40 awards of up to $1,000 each and 10 awards of up to $5,000 each to focus on academic innovations and partnerships that promote institutional practices that support student success.
Faculty members were allowed to apply for one of the three awards, and faculty committees reviewed each submitted budget proposal to select the recipients. This semester's presidential awards were the first of their kind at UNG following the consolidation and the economic recession that depleted grant opportunities for professors across the nation. The initiative represents an investment of $200,000 toward faculty and staff support and advancement of the university.
Other prestigious, campuswide awards were also bestowed.
Dr. Thomas Cooper, associate professor of mathematics, received the Distinguished Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Award for his outstanding teaching philosophy and research that has demonstrated sustained, exemplary engagement. As the recipient of this award, Cooper will be the UNG nominee for the University System of Georgia Regents' Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Dr. David Broad, professor of sociology, was given the Distinguished Teaching Award, which recognizes excellence in teaching by a faculty member over the course of a distinguished career. He has had a sustained and documented impact on student learning both in and out of the classroom.
Terrence Holeman was recognized as the Staff Council Staff Member of the Year. Holeman, one of several selected as a staff member of the month, was nominated for the award based on his dedication to the university and commitment to excellence.
The Eleanor Crawford Award, which recognizes an outstanding staff member on each of the Gainesville and Oconee campuses, was awarded to Donna Grizzle on the Gainesville Campus and Brian Wesnofske on the Oconee Campus. The award, named in honor of the first employee hired when then-Gainesville Junior College was established, is given for extraordinary loyalty, dedication and service to the university, fellow employees and students.
Other awards were based in the five categories of campus-based engagement, learning, leadership and teaching and the Alumni Distinguished Professor Award, which went to Dr. Mark Spraker. Additionally, faculty members who were granted promotions and tenure were recognized.