August 7, 2007

Thressea Boyd
Director of Communications

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

VSU presents Excellence Awards to Faculty and Staff

This year’s Faculty Excellence Award recipients were recommended by a faculty committee representing all academic colleges and divisions at VSU. These recipients were chosen from a field of candidates who had already received top honors in teaching, advising, professional activity, and service within their respective colleges and divisions.

While this year’s awards mark an occasion for celebration, they are also bittersweet because two of the recipients are no longer at VSU; one has retired after nearly thirty years of distinguished service and one has taken a position at another university. However, both have been outstanding members of VSU’s faculty and are honored today for their many contributions to this university.

The 2007 Excellence in Professional Activity Award is given to Dr. Richard Amesbury, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, who has taken a faculty position at another institution.

In just three years at VSU, Amesbury produced an impressive body of scholarly work, including two books; two book chapters; eight journals and encyclopedia articles; book reviews; and numerous conference presentations. One colleague notes, that “Dr. Amesbury’s research. . . .[offers] critical and constructive efforts to change our world for the better.”

The 2007 Excellence in Teaching Award is presented to Dr. Stephen Childs, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice. Dr. Childs retired this year after 29 years of service to VSU.

Dr. Childs’ interest in teaching extends beyond his own classroom; he has also actively engaged with his colleagues in teaching discussions and leading numerous teaching circles. One of his former students summed it up best when she stated, “He has made a permanent impression upon me and has helped me to develop as a student, as a future anthropologist, and as a person. I appreciate all of the time and effort he has committed to me and my fellow students to ensure that we get the most out of our undergraduate academic experience. His absence from the department once he retires will surely be felt by students and co-workers alike.”

The 2007 Excellence in Advising Award is presented to Dr. Barbara Stanley, Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education.

Normally advising 60-80 undergraduates per semester as well as 45 graduate students, Stanley still takes the time to follow her own philosophy of advising, which is “to be responsive to the needs of each student, to listen, to affirm and to help them match their goals to the structure of the institution.”

Her former students confirm the time and effort Stanley devotes to her advising. One recently stated, “From the first moment I met with Dr. Stanley, I knew there was something special about her. Even though she had many student advisees, she took the time to get to know me as an individual. This allowed her to give me the academic guidance that met my personal needs. As a single mother working and attending college, sometimes getting my required classes scheduled was quite a challenge. Dr. Stanley always took the necessary time to make sure everything was in order and that I was making progress toward my academic goals.”

The 2007 Excellence in Service Award is presented to Dr. Fred A. Ware, Jr., Department of Management.

For over thirty-five years, Ware has devoted himself to service. One colleague described Ware’s contributions as follows, “His service activities have covered all levels of VSU and have extended to the local community and to the state level. His service is not always publicized, but it always promotes VSU and the educational mission of the university.”

Ware is especially interested in study abroad programs and has served on a variety of committees. Most significantly, though, have been his efforts as a recruiter and faculty member for the University System of Georgia Study Abroad Programs. One colleague reports, “He invested a great deal of time in recruitment, began early, and conveyed his own sense of excitement and interest to the students. Perhaps the best tribute was that they remained enriched and excited about their experience after returning from Europe.”

This year’s Excellence in Service for Classified and Administrative Staff was selected from a committee representing all divisions at VSU. The application pool was extremely competitive and the final ranking process yielded two individuals with exemplary credentials in service to others, professionalism, and diverse involvement in community and campus activities; therefore, the decision was made to select two individuals to receive VSU’s Award for Excellence in Service for Classified and Administrative Staff.

Mary Jane Doner, Administrative Coordinator for the Vice President for Student Affairs, has been associated with VSU for more than 20 years in various positions. In her current position, within Student Affairs, she deals with various student situations. She cares deeply about students and has been credited with going above and beyond her job responsibilities to ensure situations are handled correctly - she is a true ambassador for the entire university. One colleague notes, “One of her greatest assets is her very pleasant personality, always smiling and happy. Her congeniality has made her one of the most likeable employees on the VSU campus and has contributed to her success as she works across several offices in Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.”

Stanley Jones, Assistant Registrar, plays a key role in responding to questions and requests for information from students, alumni, faculty, and University administrators and does so in a constantly professional and knowledgeable manner. It has been noted that he is “recognized across campus as someone who cares about students and works to benefit VSU.” Jones is a team member on VSU’s first Process Improvement Team, which was charged with evaluating and assessing Financial Aid and Housing to streamline effectiveness (especially during peak demand times) and improve overall customer service. His contributions, as well as those of his team members, have proven to be invaluable in the university’s mission to improve effectiveness and efficiency across campus.

One colleague noted, “Stanley has a superb ability to analyze a situation, develop options for solving problems, choose the most effective option, and then get results while implementing the chosen solution.”

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