Auburn University to recognize 2022 Faculty Award winners on Nov. 17

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Auburn will recognize the 2022 recipients of the university’s most prestigious faculty awards for teaching, research and outreach during its 16th annual Faculty Awards ceremony on Nov. 17.

“An important aspect of Auburn’s campus community is ensuring our faculty feel valued and recognized for their work,” said Interim Provost Vini Nathan. “This year’s honorees reflect the level of impactful teaching, research and outreach that so aptly defines our university and drives our mission.”

Below is the full list of faculty and staff award winners from the 2021-2022 academic year:

New alumni professors

With support from the Auburn Alumni Association, Alumni Professorships acknowledge five new tenured faculty members each year who give Auburn students support and guidance while advancing the university’s reputation for future generations of alumni. The five being honored this year are:

  • Evelyn Bornier, professor, Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, College of Liberal Arts

  • Brigitta Brunner, professor and associate director, School of Communication and Journalism, College of Liberal Arts

  • Charlene LeBleu, professor, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, College of Architecture, Design and Construction

  • Mahmoud Mansour, professor, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Xinyu Zhang, professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Alumni Professors are honored at the university’s annual Endowed Faculty Recognition event in October.

Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards

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 selected 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 her department’s 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, Blaine has influenced many to change their major to neuroscience. 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

  • Nancy Barry, professor and program coordinator, 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

  • 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.

Department Award for Excellence in Education

  • 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.

Faculty Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

  • 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

  • Brian Connelly, professor, Luck Eminent Scholar, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Harbert College of Business

Categories: fine arts, liberal arts, architecture and design, business, social and human sciences 

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, The 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.  

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

Categories: sciences, biomedical sciences, engineering and agriculture 

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.

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 our 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, College of Agriculture

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.

More information about the awards, including a list of previous winners, is available on the Faculty Awards website.

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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.