Auburn University announces 2018 Faculty Awards recipients who inspire, innovate and transform

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In recognition of life-changing research, outreach, instruction and creative scholarship, Auburn University will present 19 faculty members with its highest honors at the Faculty Awards ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 13, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

The awards honor some of the institution’s most innovative teachers, researchers and scholars for their unique and distinguished contributions to advancing the university’s mission to inspire, innovate and transform in the community and beyond.

“Auburn faculty inspire students and their colleagues, and their innovative approaches to teaching, scholarship and research are transforming lives and communities,” said Auburn President Steven Leath. “They’re elevating Auburn through excellence at the core of our mission.”

A key part of that mission is a drive to further elevate the Auburn student experience. The Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching is designed 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. This year’s recipients of that award are Kelly Bryant, professor of graphic design in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction, and James H. Long, the Harbert College Advisory Council Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy in the Harbert College of Business.

Auburn is also expanding its role as a partnership university by advancing impactful and transformative research and scholarship. The Creative Research and Scholarship Awards honor the research achievements and contributions of faculty who have distinguished themselves through research, scholarly works and creative contributions to their fields. Three faculty have been named to receive this award: Shiwen Mao, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering; Cathleen Giustino, professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts; and David Ketchen, Jr., the Harbert Eminent Scholar and professor of management in the Harbert College of Business.

Auburn continues delivering tangible value through instruction and outreach, offering innovative real-world solutions to social, economic and environmental issues that allow Auburn to showcase the talents of its students and faculty. Auburn’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach seeks to recognize such exemplary efforts of faculty, with this year’s recipient being Kyes Stevens, director of the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project and instructor in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction.

Along with outreach, Auburn is a national leader in impactful research, increased workforce development, economic growth and scholarship. The Research and Economic Development Advisory Board Advancement of Research and Scholarship Achievement Award recognizes high-quality, competitive research and scholarly activity that exemplifies and advances Auburn’s research and scholarship mission. That award this fall goes to Pradeep Lall, the McFarlane Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

Through exemplary instruction, Auburn’s students are well prepared to compete in the marketplace and make meaningful contributions. The Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award spotlights this great work and will be conferred to Melanie Duffey, assistant professor of interior design in the College of Human Sciences; James H. Long, the Harbert College Advisory Council Associate Professor in the School of Accountancy in the Harbert College of Business; and Matt Hall, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction.

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. The 2018 Alumni Professors are Dennis DeVries, professor of fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic sciences in the College of Agriculture; Peter Hastie, the Wayne T. Smith Distinguished Professor in the School of Kinesiology in the College of Education; Yaoqi Zhang, professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; John Rapp, professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts; and Benson Akingbemi, professor of anatomy, physiology and pharmacology in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

As Auburn seeks to further elevate the reputation of its distinguished alumni in the marketplace, it’s important that faculty members be honored for making a significant contribution to graduate education. Receiving the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship Award will be Rex Dunham, professor in the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences in the College of Agriculture.

Also important is Auburn’s focus on undergraduate research, especially with the support students receive through mentors. The recipient of the Provost Award for Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring will be Virginia Davis, alumni professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. 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 demonstrated outstanding service to students.

As a university focused on the importance of partnerships for success, Auburn also seeks to recognize university units whose collaborative efforts have resulted in exemplary service or academic excellence. The President’s Outstanding Collaborative Units Award does just that and will go to Pharmacy Health Services and Auburn University Human Resources.

Another important accolade that speaks to how Auburn is continually inspiring its students is the Departmental Award for Excellence in Education, which will be awarded to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, chaired by Traci O’Brien. Presented by the University Senate, this award recognizes the efforts of departmental faculty for their commitment to improving education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Read more about Auburn’s faculty awards and how the university is on the move as a national leader in scholarship, student experience, outreach, research and economic development at the Faculty Awards website.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.