Faculty and staff honored at Awards Convocation

Western Carolina University honored its top faculty and staff at the annual spring Awards Convocation on April 27.

Chancellor David O. Belcher presented the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching to Lisa Briggs, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice.

Briggs has been a faculty member at WCU since 2002 and is recognized for her motivation in working with her students. Briggs also has extended the learning experience outside the classroom for her students through assisting multiple organizations with preventing child and animal abuse and giving volunteer hours to help open a local domestic violence shelter.

On winning the award, Briggs said, “My award simply reflects the hard work and commitment of my students. I have a great subject matter to teach with highly motivated students. I am honored to receive this award on behalf of them.”

Wes Stone, associate professor of engineering and technology, was presented with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

A Georgia Institute of Technology graduate, Stone has aided his students in learning complex engineering concepts while helping to reflect their use in the real world. Some of Stone’s professional interests include machining processes, SixSigma quality and laser micro-machining.

“Lifelong learning should be a goal of yours no matter what your field,” Stone said in a previous interview. “It keeps your mind sharp.”

Dr. Phyllis Robertson, associate professor of human services, won the Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award for Faculty.

A 1987 graduate of Western Carolina University and a native of Hendersonville, Robertson serves as adviser in the School Counseling Program and teaches in the counseling core.

On winning the award, Robertson said, “I am honored to be recognized for this award as I believe it supports the importance of building professional collegiality not only within the university but within the schools and communities of western North Carolina.”

Interim Provost Beth Tyson Lofquist was presented with the Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award for Administrative Staff.

After growing up in Haywood County, Lofquist attended WCU, where she received her bachelor’s, master’s and education specialist’s degrees.

“I was quite humbled by receiving the Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award. Throughout the years of my tenure with WCU, I have witnessed my most admired and respected colleagues receive this award,” said Lofquist. “Being recognized among them was quite a surprise, quite humbling and an incredibly personal and professional honor. If I have been able to make any positive difference at WCU, I really do have to give the competent and wonderful colleagues who surround me and work with me tremendous credit—so in that spirit I share this award with many other members of our WCU family.”

Dr. David Dorondo, associate professor of history, won the Last Lecture Award and will give a “last lecture” during next semester’s Homecoming.

Dorondo received his doctorate of philosophy from the University of Oxford. He is a specialist in modern German history and has an abiding interest in military history.

“He makes history into an interesting, living, breathing narrative,” said Travis Mullen, a former student of Dorondo’s. “He makes you want to go to class to find out what happens next. He’s tough though, and it makes you a better student.”

Other awards handed out at the Awards Convocation are as follows:

Andy DeGrove, mechanical designer and project manager with the facilities planning, design and construction team, was presented with the Star Staff Award.

Shirley Beck, a library assistant in Hunter Library’s curriculum materials center, received the Judy H. Dowell Outstanding Support Staff Award.

Robert F. Mulligan, professor of economics and head of the accounting, finance, information systems and economics department, was presented with the University Scholar Award.

The Academic Program of Excellence Award was honored to the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources.

Jennifer Slama Schiff, assistant professor of political science and public affairs, was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Liberal Studies Award.

April C. Tallant, assistant professor in the nutrition and dietetics program, accepted the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award.

Meagan R. Karvonen, associate professor of psychology, received the Jay M. Robinson eTeaching Award.

Microgrant Recipients from the Office of the Provost included Risto Atanasov, Andrew Ryan Dalton, Amy Crandall Dowling, Dottie Saxon Greene, Jeffrey K. Lawson, Phyllis Robertson and Evelyn Squires Wilson.

In the College of Arts and Sciences, The Board of Governors’ Teaching Award was presented to Carmen L. Huffman

In the College of Business, The Board of Governors’ Creative and Innovative Teaching Award was presented to Grace C. Allen, Robert J. Lahm and Dolores Lorrie Willey. The Excellence in Research Award was presented to Vittal Anantatmula and Jayne Elizabeth Zanglein. Paul Douglas Johnson collected the Graduate Teaching Award, and Danial L. Clapper won Professor of Excellence.

In the College of Education and Allied Professions, the Board of Governors’ Awards for Superior Teaching was presented to Valerie Leigh Mazzotti and Ellen Sigler. The Botner Superior Teaching Award was awarded to Russell Clay Curtis. Thomas Edward Hodges was honored with the Dean’s Research Award. The Exemplary Service Award was presented to Douglas Steve McClure, and the Soaring High Award was presented to Russell Binkley.

In the College of Fine and Performing Arts, Amy Kristine Cherry was honored with the Board of Governors’ Teaching Award.

In the Graduate School and Research, the Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award was given to Ronald W. Davis, Michael Van Dyke and Diane Marie Styers, while the Hunter Scholar Award was presented to Mae Miller Claxton.

In the College of Health and Human Sciences, the Board of Governors’ Innovative Teaching Award was presented to Brian David Byrd and Burton Ray Ogle. The Faculty Student Engagement Award was awarded to Jennifer Lyn Hinton. The Faculty/Staff Leadership Award was presented to Judy Lynn Neubrander. Rebecca Lasher received the Faculty Service Award, and Jamie Crystal Vaske was honored with the Faculty Scholar Award,

In the Honors College, Recognition of Distinction in Instruction and Nurturing was presented to Pamela Yvonne Duncan, Michelle L. Scifers, Karyn Tomczak and Blair Ryan Tormey.

In the Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology, the Board of Governors Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to Yeqin Huang. The Distinguished Research and Scholarly Engagement Award was awarded to Weiguo “Bill” Yang. George David Ford accepted the Distinguished Student Engagement Award. The Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising was awarded to Chip W. Ferguson, and the Outstanding Early-Career Faculty Award was given to Martin L. Tanaka.

WCU also recognized 27 retirees, who have provided over 500 years of service combined, at the Awards Convocation.

Retiring faculty and administrative staff included Elizabeth Addison, Ruth Bennett, Louis Buck, Scott Higgins, Fred Hinson, Shan Manickam and Jane Perlmutter. Retiring staff include John Austin, Shirley Bateman, William Carter, Rena Childers, Norma Cowan, Billy Dills, Michael Guffey, Dianne Harris, Edria Heffner, Marilynn Kaufman, Billy Metcalf, Kay Moore, Janie Prentice, Linda Price, Delonda Roberts, Janet Sanders, Charles Shuler, Mike Speissegger and Hilda Wilson. David Coffee enter phased retirement.