Cameron University faculty members Eric Abbott, Irene Corriette, Robert McDaniel, Dr. Ann Nalley, Dr. Elisabeth Ponce-Garcia and Dr. Joanni Sailor have been honored with awards recognizing their contributions to Cameron’s academic community. Abbott was honored with the Hackler Award for Teaching Excellence, Corriette received the Faculty Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, Nalley received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring Student Research, McDaniel received the Adjunct Faculty Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, Ponce-Garcia received the Bhattacharya Endowed Lectureship for Excellence in Research Award, and Sailor was honored with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Service.
“It is a joy to recognize members of Cameron’s outstanding faculty each year,” says Ronna Vanderslice, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Although they teach in different disciplines, these award recipients each share a common goal – to assist Cameron students in completing their educational goals by providing exceptional learning experiences.”
Eric Abbott, Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts, received the 2017-18 Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Award for Teaching Excellence, Cameron’s highest faculty honor. The Hackler Lectureship in Teaching Excellence was established in 1996 by Cameron alumni Harold and Elizabeth Hackler to recognize outstanding contributions by faculty in the lives of Cameron students. Through the endowment, Abbott will receive a stipend and a grant for professional development. His name will be added to the Hackler Award honor roll plaque.
The nomination for Abbott cites him as someone who “displays passion for the work he does” and also mentions Abbott’s interactive teaching style, which facilitates student comprehension and enables students to excel in class. Abbott’s willingness to help out every student was also mentioned by the nominator, who wrote, “His wonderful disposition makes him easy to approach.”
Abbott joined the Cameron faculty in 2009 and was inducted into the Cameron University Alumni Association Faculty Hall of Fame in 2017. As a teacher, he prides himself on encouraging clear thinking and openness to the world at large. He notes, “Students have always come first in my approach to education. I have a strong belief in mentoring and guiding students in their path to success.” He adds, “Hopefully they will come away from the experience knowing that Cameron faculty care enough to make sure that their students are getting a quality experience.”
The Bhattacharya Endowed Lectureship for Excellence in Research Award was presented to Dr. Elisabeth Ponce-Garcia, Assistant Professor of Psychology. Ponce-Garcia was recognized for her leadership in what one of her colleagues refers to as an “active and thriving research lab.” Through her mentorship, Cameron undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to participate in research projects in which they earn a line of authorship in presentations and publications. Another colleague writes that Ponce-Garcia’s research is “highly valuable with the fields of psychology, human development, behavioral science, medicine and therapy.”
Faculty Excellence Awards were presented to four members of the faculty in recognition of their contributions to Cameron’s academic community.
The Faculty Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching recognizes a full-time faculty member who performs superbly in the classroom. Irene Corriette, an instructor of mathematics, was the recipient. One nominator wrote that Corriette “has been extremely instrumental in developing and successfully implementing supplementary courses.” Another cited anecdotal stories from two of Corriette’s recent students, who independently told the nominator that Corriette “thoroughly explains each concept in detail and in language that is easy to understand. She doesn’t move on to a new topic until every student in the class is comfortable with the previous concept.” The nomination also cites Corriette’s willingness to make herself available to her students to ensure they succeed in her class. Both of the students who named Ms. Corriette as their favorite teacher during their first semester as freshmen felt that she truly cared about their success.
Robert McDaniel received the Adjunct Faculty Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, which recognizes an adjunct faculty member who performs superbly in the classroom. He is an adjunct in the Department of Business. One nominator wrote that McDaniel “has shown a lot of interest in his classroom and students and has challenged them to achieve more than he was teaching,” adding that McDaniel provided his students with extensive knowledge and opportunities to better understand the lessons. McDaniel was also cited as someone who actively engages students in class and who provides regular feedback.
The Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring Student Research, which recognizes a faculty member who has an excellent sustained record of mentoring student research and scholarship, was presented to Dr. Ann Nalley, Professor of Chemistry. The nominator wrote of the impact that Nalley has on the lives of her students as they progress on to graduate school, professional schools or directly into careers in the chemical sciences. Nalley’s mentorship of students conducting undergraduate research is comprehensive. She actively seeks out and applies for funding to support student travel to professional meetings where they can present their research. She also encourages students to apply for summer research positions at other universities.
The Faculty Award for Excellence in Service recognizes a faculty member who has applied his/her professional expertise beyond the classroom to advance the university and its constituents. Dr. Joanni Sailor, Associate Professor of Psychology, was honored with the award. The nominator cites Sailor’s passion for her students and the clients they are going to help, writing, “I can see her passion in the way she teachers her students, the way she serves on the state and national board, and especially in the way she puts her heart and soul into the Cameron Psychology Clinic.” The nominator added that Sailor’s dedication to training her students properly has had a significant impact. “I feel like I have watched Dr. Sailor work her magic,” the nominator says. “She has helped transform me into someone who is going to go into society and hopefully make a difference.”
May 9, 2018