Cameron University announces winners of “University Choice Awards”

Four members of the Cameron University faculty and staff have been selected as this year’s recipients of Cameron’s “University Choice Awards.” Dr. Christopher Keller, Marty McCoy, Dr. Tony Wohlers and Dr. Chao Zhao received their awards during a ceremony tonight on the Cameron campus. Each received a plaque recognizing his/her achievement as well as a $1,000 stipend.

Photo of award winners

“At Cameron University, we have a very ambitious agenda,” says President Cindy Ross. “The ‘University Choice Awards’ recognize members of the campus community who best embrace and advance the vision of the university. This year’s recipients play a pivotal role in advancing Cameron and serving our students.”

The Cameron “University Choice Awards” were created in 2009 to recognize members of the campus community who exemplify the vision of the university, as set forth in “Plan 2013: Choices for the Second Century.” That document serves as Cameron’s strategic planning guide for the first five years of Cameron’s second century.

Nominations were made by CU students, faculty and staff. In order to be eligible, nominees must have been employed full-time at Cameron for at least one year.

“A number of deserving individuals were nominated,” says President Ross. “Nominators were thoughtful and effective in articulating why the individual nominated was deserving of the award. Cameron is proud of its outstanding faculty and staff, and we are happy to recognize those selected to receive a ‘University Choice Award’."

The University of Choice Award

The “University of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward making Cameron the “University of Choice” by providing students a top quality education. Dr. Christopher Keller, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, is the 2011-2012 recipient. The nominator cited Dr. Keller as an individual who stands out as a “beacon of uncommon quality who improves the lives and learning experiences of [his] students daily” and referred to Dr. Keller as the embodiment of “excellence that Plan 2013 strives to ensure through his dynamic instruction, advisement of The Cameron Collegian and overall mentorship as a counselor and advisor to his students.” Dr. Keller’s efforts in developing Cameron’s convergence journalism option was also noted, adding that his efforts “reflect a powerful understanding of the changing nature” of the field of journalism.

The College Experience of Choice Award

The “College Experience of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward providing students the “College Experience of Choice” by fostering a traditional collegiate atmosphere. This year’s recipient, Marty McCoy, department secretary in the Office of Public Affairs, serves as advisor to the Alpha Phi sorority.  One nominator noted that her extensive involvement with the sorority provides “female students with a chance to gain traditional collegiate camaraderie and to learn leadership skills.” Another mentioned her commitment to ensuring that the students in Alpha Phi experience everything a sorority can offer. McCoy was described as playing a crucial role in the Cameron chapter of Alpha Phi’s success in meeting the national organization’s values of sisterhood, scholarship, service, leadership, loyalty and character development.

The Location of Choice Award

The “Location of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward making Cameron University the “Location of Choice” for community and regional events. Dr. Tony Wohlers, Director of Academic Research and Associate Professor in the Department of History and Government, is the selected recipient. The nominator cited the numerous major events held on the Cameron campus that Dr. Wohlers organized, including Oklahoma Research Day in 2010 and 2011 and the Department of History and Government’s Public Policy Forums. Thanks to Dr. Wohlers, Cameron will also host the 2012 Oklahoma Political Science Association’s annual conference later this year.

The Partner of Choice Award

The “Partner of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward making Cameron University the “Partner of Choice” by expanding existing and developing new community and area partnerships that contribute to the growth and prosperity of Southwest Oklahoma. The recipient is Dr. Chao Zhao, Associate Professor in the Department of Computing and Technology. In Fall 2011, Dr. Zhao oversaw the work of a group of Cameron students who developed a new rocket-aiming system for Lockheed Martin in support of Fort Sill. Dr. Zhao mentored the students and gave them the opportunity to exercise critical thinking, problem-solving techniques, teamwork and communication, all elements that will serve them well when they transition into the workplace. The final project was presented to Lockheed Martin and Fort Sill personnel, including Major General David Halverson, to an overwhelmingly positive response. The software programs developed under Dr. Zhao’s leadership will go through a testing phase in which Army personnel will ensure the software code performs as planned, and then it is possible that the code will be incorporated into future rocket-aiming software used by the U.S. military. This project exemplifies Cameron’s commitment to partnership with Fort Sill and the U.S. Army. The potential scope is not limited to this community, but will extend throughout the country’s military corps.

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April 17, 2012

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