Learn more about these prestigious honors.

Past Recipients

Meet the previous honorees.


In recognition of life-changing research, outreach, instruction and creative scholarship, Auburn University’s Office of the Provost will present several faculty members with the university’s highest honors at the Faculty Awards ceremony Thursday, Nov. 17.

Below is the full list of faculty and staff awards:

Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award

The Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards recognize the outstanding teaching of undergraduates from nominations made by department heads, deans, alumni and students. A committee of retired faculty selects the recipients.

Jessica Starkey

Associate Professor, Department of Poultry Science, College of Agriculture

A member of the Department of Poultry Science since 2014, Starkey is an outstanding educator and has had a significant impact on its undergraduate program. She is passionate about professional development and continually challenges her students to improve themselves. By maintaining high standards, students are exceptionally well-prepared for their careers. In addition to teaching, Starkey serves on multiple student committees, provides exceptional mentoring, and engages students when they need additional support.

Sara Blaine

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences, College of Liberal Arts

A member of the Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences program in the Department of Psychological Sciences since 2019, Blaine’s teaching and mentoring consistently demonstrate her passion and dedication to students inside and outside the classroom. A favorite instructor among students, many have changed their major to neuroscience due to her influence. In addition to serving on multiple committees, developing outreach camps, and maintaining a robust research program, Blaine continues to serve as a model to students, encouraging them to pursue STEM careers. In addition, by providing her students with service opportunities in the community, Blaine is teaching her students to live the Auburn Creed.

Ford Dyke

Associate Clinical Professor, School of Kinesiology, College of Education

As an associate clinical professor in the School of Kinesiology, Dyke specializes in Performance and Exercise Psychophysiology. As an instructor, he successfully creates a learning environment that encourages active learning and applies best teaching practices by utilizing innovative teaching methods. Intending to impact his students, Dyke encourages collaboration with his colleagues in curriculum design and implementation. As director of Mindfulness-Based Performance and Health Optimization, Dyke facilitates seminars and workshops to help individuals cultivate a lifestyle of optimal health and well-being supported by mindfulness practice.

Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship

The Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship Award recognizes a faculty member based on excellence in research. It is co-sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association and the Graduate School.

Nancy Barry

Professor, Program Coordinator of Music Education, Department of Curriculum and Teaching, College of Education

An internationally recognized scholar in Music Education, Nancy Barry is an influential and caring mentor who has committed her time and efforts to support graduate students through innovative coursework, scholarly publications, conference presentations, and dissertation-based publications. With a teaching approach that evokes student-driven, responsive instruction, Barry continues to impact undergraduate and graduate music education programs nationally and internationally. In addition to numerous publications and presentations in regional, national, and international music education settings, Barry has served as a reviewer for national and international research journals and was recently selected as one of 30 scholars nationwide to serve as a screener for the 2022 Grammy Award for Music Educators.

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.

Collaboration between the College of Veterinary Medicine Equine Sports Medicine Program, the Auburn University Equestrian Team, and the College of Agriculture Department of Animal Sciences

Supporting Auburn University’s nationally recognized equestrian team, the collaboration between the College of Veterinary Medicine Equine Sports Medicine Program, the Equestrian Team, and the Department of Animal Sciences has led to an unprecedented level of customized care and training opportunities. These opportunities integrate faculty knowledge and expertise with practical application to develop a standard of care for our horses that is unprecedented anywhere else in the world. In addition, the partnership showcases how academic and athletic programs can work together and create a model for other equine sports medicine programs by providing learning opportunities for Auburn’s veterinary students, interns, and residents. Combining the resources, faculty expertise, and facilities, the collaboration has resulted in a standard of care primarily responsible for the Equestrian Team’s continued success.

Departmental Award for Excellence in Education

Created in 2013, the Departmental Award for Excellence in Education recognizes the efforts of departmental faculty for their commitment to improving education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. On behalf of the Office of the Provost, the Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning and the University Senate Teaching Effectiveness Committee administer this award.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

College of Sciences and Mathematics

With a strategic effort to improve teaching and learning, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics is recognized for its innovative efforts to enhance and expand GTA professional development, K-12 Math Teacher Recruitment and Preparation, and integration of evidence-based teaching practices in courses. By sharing best practices through the scholarship of teaching and learning, the department's efforts to create a culture of scholarly teaching have resulted in increased interest and participation in faculty development programs. Moreover, the department continues to foster a culture of assessment and support for ongoing improvement.

Provost Award for Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring

Established in 2012, this 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 shown outstanding services to students.

Robert Jackson

Albert Smith Jr. Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

With an emphasis on providing meaningful research experiences for undergraduate students, Jackson is credited with helping students acquire hands-on research experience and develop problem-solving and methodological skills throughout their research process. Overseeing more than 50 researchers, Jackson maintains a sustained effort to provide high-quality mentoring to Auburn students. The outstanding quality of his undergraduate research program is evidenced by the number of peer-reviewed student publications (17) and presentations (more than 19). By providing undergraduates with high-quality research experiences, students are propelled to future success in graduate and professional schools. His efforts demonstrate the importance of undergraduate research as a high-impact practice that ultimately launches students into productive professional careers.

Creative Research and Scholarship Awards

The Creative Research and Scholarship Awards recognize faculty members who have distinguished themselves through research, scholarly works and creative contributions. This award recognizes two categories: sciences, medical sciences, engineering and agriculture; and fine arts, liberal arts, architecture and design, business and social and human sciences.

Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Engineering and Agriculture

Jin Wang

Walt and Virginia Woltosz Professor, Chemical Engineering, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Wang is a noted scholar for her innovative research in process identification and control, systems biology, and biochemical engineering. Projects under Wang’s leadership have included studies on biogas conversion, animal feed production, and the process of turning organic agricultural waste into bioplastics. A prolific innovator, Wang holds 14 U.S. patents and is a senior National Academy of Inventors member. In addition, she is also acknowledged for her excellence in theoretical and experimental research. She has received numerous other awards, including the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award and the Auburn Engineering Council Senior Faculty Research Award.

Fine Arts, Liberal Arts, Architecture & Design, Business, Social and Human Sciences

Brian Connelly

Professor, Luck Eminent Scholar, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Harbert College of Business

Connelly is an internationally recognized researcher exploring how corporate governance structures, such as shareholders and boards, affect competition and strategic outcomes. He is the editor of the Journal of Management and former associate editor at the Academy of Management Journal. His work is often cited in media outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Following 20 years of industry experience at Fortune 500 companies, Connelly has built an academic career that includes scholarly publications that have been cited over 10,000 times and 135 invited presentations at conferences around the world. He was previously named “Researcher of the Year” by the Harbert College of Business on four separate occasions.

Auburn University 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 the community, state, nation and beyond.

Linda Gibson-Young

Professor and Outreach Coordinator, College of Nursing

Since joining the College of Nursing, Gibson-Young has established a network across Alabama that supports children living with asthma, including caretakers, school nurses, and other healthcare providers. A nurse for 24 years, Gibson-Young is a dual-certified nurse educator and has been a family nurse practitioner for 19 years. Her outreach focus is on pediatrics, specifically the triangulation of care among primary caregivers and families to develop and plan interventions for chronic childhood asthma. In addition, she has held community positions on interdisciplinary asthma management boards among two children's hospitals, contributing to education policies that transform how asthma is managed in clinical practice. Her current outreach focuses on training, service, and engaged research centers on outreach with school-based and community-led interventions via initiatives serving Alabama. Examples of her work include TigerCHAT (Community Health, Awareness, and Training), Asthma Camp Eagle, Alabama Asthma Coalition, and Pediatric Skills Day.

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. This award recognizes full-time, tenured faculty members who have demonstrated effective and innovative teaching methods, along with a continued commitment to student success through advising and mentoring.

Alan Wilson

Professor and Assistant Director, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences

A faculty member at Auburn since 2007, Wilson maintains a passion for teaching complimented by an impressive record of research publications with students. By fostering productive and educational research experiences for diverse students, Wilson leads an NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates that has supported the training of 65 undergraduates, including four students with disabilities, 18 underrepresented students, and 46 women from across the U.S. As the PI, he oversees all aspects of the program, including recruitment, professional development, and reporting. With support from 38 Auburn faculty mentors from across seven units, students from his lab have produced 30 publications. This commitment to developing the next generation of scientists demonstrates Wilson’s advising and mentoring efforts, both inside and outside of the laboratory, as well as his innovative classroom instruction that challenges students to produce high-quality scholarly work.

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