Award Information 2017 Honorees
The Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching

Gerald and Emily Leischuck, 1964 graduates and retired Auburn University administrators, created the Endowed Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching in 2005 to recognize two full-time, tenured faculty members who have demonstrated effective and innovative teaching methods, along with a continuing commitment to student success through advising and mentoring.

Christy L. Bratcher
Christy L. Bratcher

Christy Bratcher was raised in both Alabama and Florida. She attended the University of Florida for a BS in animal science-safety and processing of meat. While an undergraduate student, she worked at the meats lab, and because of her experience on the topic, she was offered an opportunity to teach a course during her senior year. During this experience, she discovered her passion for teaching, and she decided to further her education in meat science. She completed a MS thesis at UF on characterizing muscles in the chuck and round for tenderness and aging response. She then moved the University of Missouri-Columbia to pursue a PhD, where she worked on a biosensor for detection of calpastatin in meat for her dissertation. She worked in the industry for a short time before joining Auburn in March 2008. She teaches two courses per semester, advises the Collegiate Cattlemen, and participates in outreach events in addition to her research, which focuses on meat quality, food safety, and consumer perception of meat.

Kelly Dean Jolley
Kelly Dean Jolley

Kelly Dean Jolley has been teaching at Auburn since 1991. He works in the theory of judgment, philosophical logic, philosophical psychology, and metaphilosophy. He has written on many philosophers: Plato, Aristotle, Kierkegaard, Frege, Wittgenstein, Thoreau, Emerson, Merleau-Ponty, and J. L. Austin, among others. He is married to Shanna, an optician, and his two children, Eli (theater), and Sydney (philosophy), both graduated from Auburn. He counts his biggest sources of inspiration as his teachers, including some he has known only on the page, like Socrates and Wittgenstein. Others influences include Lewis White Beck, James Haden, Kathy Spencer, and Fay Sauer.

Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach

The Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach honors the engagement of exemplary faculty members and demonstrates the tremendous impact Outreach has on our community, state, nation, and beyond.

Donald Mulvaney
Donald Mulvaney

Donald Mulvaney, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture, received the Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach in recognition of his exemplary record of engaged scholarship in developing innovative youth and adult extension leadership programs for Alabama’s beef cattle producers. His distinguished outreach accomplishments have contributed to the growth and economic impact of this dynamic state industry, but also serves as a model of engagement for other states to follow in their animal agricultural programming.

Creative Research and Scholarship Awards

The Creative Research and Scholarship Award recognizes faculty members who have distinguished themselves through research, scholarly works and creative contributions among the categories of fine arts, liberal arts, architecture & design, business, social/human sciences and sciences, biomedical sciences, engineering and agriculture.

Kenneth M. Halanych
Kenneth M. Halanych

Dr. Ken Halanych, the Schneller Endowed Chair and professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, was honored for his internationally recognized research on the Antarctic ecosystem and invertebrate phylogeography. His work has been published in top scientific journals, including Science and Nature, and he has received nearly $7 million in extramural research funding.

Chris Newland
Chris Newland

Dr. Chris Newland, professor in the Department of Psychology, received the CRSA for his research on the behavioral impact of drugs and environmental contaminants that act on the brain. His work blends experimental psychology and behavior analysis with a focus on environmental health and neuroscience. Dr. Newland’s research has received nearly $5 million in extramural funding, from agencies such as the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Research and Economic Development Advisory Board Advancement of Research and Scholarship Achievement Award

Created to recognize high quality, competitive research and scholarly activity, the Advancement of Research and Scholarship Award recognizes exceptional efforts to advance Auburn’s research and scholarship mission

Mona El-Sheikh
Mona El-Sheikh

Dr. Mona El-Sheikh, the Leonard Peterson & Company, Inc. Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, was honored for innovative research that links socio-economic adversity, family risks and well-being, with physical health, sleep processes, and brain function. Supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation among others, El-Sheikh and her colleagues’ groundbreaking work on the role of sleep and sleep problems in child development has expanded to include sleep regulation in adults and adolescents. Her findings help identify and address insufficient sleep as an important public health issue.

Provost Award for Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring

Established in 2012, the award recognizes faculty who demonstrate a strong commitment to undergraduate research, whose efforts support Auburn students interested in careers in research and creative works and who have demonstrated outstanding service to students.

Sushil Adhikari
Sushil Adhikari

Dr. Adhikari began academic work at Auburn University as an Assistant Professor of Biosystems Engineering in 2008, promoted to Associate Professor and tenured in 2013 and became full Professor in 2017. Dr. Adhikari earned his B.S. with Gold Medal in Mechanical Engineering from Tribhuvan University in Nepal, M.S. degree in Energy Technology from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand and Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from Mississippi State University. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Alabama.Dr. Adhikari has been devoted to discovery and education in Biosystems Engineering at Auburn University. His research and teaching efforts are focused on biofuels and bioenergy - namely gasification, pyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction and hydrogen production. Dr. Adhikari’s research has led to better understanding the role of biomass properties on syngas quality, and hydrocarbons production using biomass gasification, pyrolysis and liquefaction processes.

Departmental Award for Excellence in Education

The Auburn University Departmental Award for Excellence in Education was created in 2013 and is administered on behalf of the Office of the Provost through the university’s Biggio Center and the University Senate Teaching Effectiveness Committee. The award recognizes the efforts of departmental faculty for their commitment to improving education at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

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Department of Physics

The Auburn University Department of Physics has more than 25 faculty, 60 undergraduate students, and 50 graduate students. Each student receives a sort of individual attention that is usually only available at much smaller schools. Additionally, the department has one of the leading plasma physics programs in the country, along with strong research in atomic, molecular, and optical physics and condensed matter/solid states. In Spring 2019, the department will move to the newly renovated Leach Science Center, where most of the laboratory facilities are currently housed. The state-of-the-art building is designed to foster collaboration between faculty, house undergraduate laboratory classrooms, and connect faculty and graduate students in the lab.

President’s Outstanding Collaborative Units Award

Created in 2011, the award recognizes existing faculty collaborations among two or more departments, divisions, offices, or programs within the university. To be considered, the work of the collaborative units must have advanced the excellence, impact, and reputation of representing units and the university as a whole.

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Aquaponics Working Group

The Aquaponics Working Group brings together researchers from fisheries, horticulture, and biosystems engineering to study aquaponics, a field often called “the future of farming” because of its highly efficient use of water to grow both fish and produce. Auburn’s Tiger Dining is also an partner, getting year-round access to high-value products in return for a reasonable investment. In turn, researchers are afforded the opportunity to study a working model that otherwise would be too costly to operate.

Eight people pose for a photograph.
Food Entrepreneur Working Group

The Food Entrepreneur Working Group brings together faculty members and others interested in helping budding food entrepreneurs. Faculty from animal sciences, fisheries and aquaculture, food science, and business join with representatives of the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center to sponsor conferences where aspiring entrepreneurs learn about labeling, regulations, business plans, marketing, and finding financing.

New Alumni Professors

The Alumni Professorship program recognizes tenured faculty members with direct responsibilities in two or more of the institutional missions of instruction, research and outreach. Faculty selected to receive a professorship must have demonstrated exceptionally meritorious performance, distinctive competence and potential for continued high productivity and excellence.

Kira L. Bowen
Kira L. Bowen

Plant pathology professor Kira Bowen earned her BS in plant sciences from Penn State University and graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and the University of Illinois. She is an applied plant disease epidemiologist interested in how weather affects plant diseases and how diseases affect plant yields. Bowen has studied diseases of peanuts, wheat, corn, and other plants, and has recently gotten involved in the study of biofuel crops. She is very active in her professional society and currently serves as president-elect.

Robert S. Boyd
Robert S. Boyd

California native Robert Boyd is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics at Auburn. He received his PhD in botany from the University of California, Davis, in 1986. In 1988, he became assistant professor in the Botany and Microbiology Department at Auburn, becoming professor when the biological sciences department was created in 2000. In 2013, Boyd became the department’s Undergraduate Program Officer, a position he still holds, and in 2015 served as the department’s interim chair. Boyd has taught courses ranging from freshman introductory biology to graduate-level classes. His current teaching focuses on upper division/graduate courses in conservation biology and plant ecology. Boyd’s research interests include the management of rare and endangered plants, as well as the ecology and evolution of metal hyperaccumulator plants. He has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, has been a guest editor for special issues of three scientific journals, and has served on editorial boards of three additional scientific journals.

Z. Y. Cheng
Z. Y. Cheng

Z.Y. Cheng received his PhD in electronic engineering in 1995 from Xian Jiaotong University. After a postdoctoral appointment in materials science at Penn State University, he joined the Auburn faculty in 2002. Cheng was promoted to associate professor in 2007 and professor in 2011. He has developed national and international reputations for his contributions in the fields of smart materials and structures, electroactive polymers, dielectric materials, and biosensors for food safety and security

J. Scott McElroy
J. Scott McElroy

Scott McElroy is a professor in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences at Auburn. He received his MS from Auburn and his PhD from the NC State University in crop science with a minor in plant ecology. McElroy maintains an active international research and teaching presence, previously serving as an elected board member for the European Turfgrass Society and currently serving as the US representative to the International Turfgrass Society. In his youth, McElroy was an avid basketball player, signing a basketball scholarship with Northwest Community College in Phil Campbell, Alabama, for his freshman year and transferring his sophomore year to play at Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Alabama. McElroy is married to Nichole McElroy, DVM. They have three children, Joseph (13), William (12), and Trent (10). In his spare time, McElroy is a member of the Auburn Masters Swimming Team, plays golf (very badly), and attempts to avoid mowing his own lawn at all costs.

Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award

Recognizes the outstanding teaching of undergraduates from nominations made by department heads, deans, alumni, and students. A committee of retired faculty selects the recipients.

Kevin Moore
Kevin Moore

Kevin Moore teaches in the architecture and interior architecture programs where his focus has been to integrate interior and exterior environments for renovations, additions, and new buildings in urban settings. His research focuses on experiential variety over time by incorporating landscape features and promoting passive environmental stimuli in combination with social and spatial potentials. An example of creative scholarship demonstrating these principles is “Beyond the Groundwork,” an exhibition of alumni and faculty work designed and fabricated with Amanda Herron Loper. The exhibition design was awarded Best Creative Scholarship at the Interior Design Educators Council South Region Conference in 2013. Moore also serves as the faculty advisor for the Auburn chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture (NOMA) Students. Teams from Auburn have consistently competed in the NOMA student design competition, winning first place in 2011, 2012, and 2013, and second place in 2017. Before teaching, Moore worked for more than 10 years on a diverse range of projects with several award-winning architecture firms, including Eskew+Dumez+Ripple in New Orleans and Lohan Anderson in Chicago.

Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship

The Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship Award is jointly sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association and the Graduate School and is awarded to a faculty member on the basis of excellence in research.

Henry w. Kinnucan
Henry W. Kinnucan

Henry Kinnucan hails from the Midwest, where he received a BS degree in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois and MS and PhD degrees in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the Auburn faculty in 1983, he spent three years as a research associate in the department of agricultural economics and management at Cornell University. He served as his department’s graduate program officer between 2009 and 2015, a period that saw graduate enrollment in his department reach an all-time high of 54 students, including 34 at the doctoral level. His international involvement includes serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Tromso, Norway, from 1999 to 2012, and teaching in the graduate programs at universities in China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. His publications include four co-edited books and more than 100 journal articles. In recent years, his research program, which centers on agricultural prices, policy, and trade, has been supported by the National Science Foundation. He has served as major professor to 45 graduate students, and has mentored eight visiting scholars.

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