The University’s Awards of Excellence for Faculty and Staff are aligned with the University’s Strategic Pillars and Values and are designed to identify and celebrate individuals that make outstanding contributions to the success of Georgia Southern University.
Under each recipient’s name and title, you will see an excerpt from their letters of recommendation that encapsulates their exemplary achievements and impact on our students, colleagues, and community.
A total of 26 awards are available annually. This year the review committees awarded 16 recipients. Recipients will receive a University Medallion and $1000 to be used for professional development.
2021 – 2022 University Awards of Excellence Recipients
The Student Success award is designed to promote and reward those who have demonstrated outstanding efforts to increase student success.
Jeff Klibert, Ph.D., ABPP
Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Student Success Award
“One thing that stands out to me looking back is just how much time Jeff was willing to dedicate to my success, not only as a student and future psychologist, but also as a person…it changed the way I moved in the world…he has continued to be an advocate for my success, which I believe speaks to his commitment to his students, even well after they have graduated. Jeff has shown, with his actions, his genuine care regarding his students’ longer-term success. Of all the educators I came into contact with over my 12 years as a student in higher education, he truly stands out as being a primary contributor to so many success stories, mine included. He is generous, calm, thoughtful, and above all a supportive positive force for those around him.”
– Kayla LeLeux-LaBarge
Teaching and Academic Excellence
The Teaching award acknowledges those that improve student learning and prepare students to compete in the global marketplace.
Beulah Narendrapurapu, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science and Mathematics
“I see her sincerity, time dedication and immense passion for the tasks she undertakes…she genuinely cares about her students and wants them to earn knowledge and not just absorb the information…Beulah’s passion for teaching is dominantly visible. Pre-COVID, each semester, our department hosted a midterm ‘study mixer workshop.’ She co-led, coordinated and created worksheets for reviewing several topics during the study mixer. She seamlessly incorporates daily life examples (baking, cooking) to solve problems related to dimensional analysis and others. This aligns with her teaching philosophy that is: ‘to foster reasoning skills, I allow students to be in an environment of discovery.’”
– Debanjana Ghosh, Ph.D., M.Sc.
The Academic Excellence award recognizes those individuals who provide or promote educational opportunities or resources that stimulate students’ academic progression and graduation.
Heather Huling, M.Ed. (’08, ’12)
Instructor, Department of Elementary and Special Education, College of Education
Academic Excellence Award
“One of the most influential lessons I have ever been taught in life was during Mrs. Huling’s Curriculum and Methods course…Mrs. Huling modeled what it is like to be a flexible, understanding and kindhearted teacher. Now, being a first year teacher, Mrs. Huling continues to be an influential person in my life. She is someone I can always count on being there to listen and give me advice no matter if it is about the good, the bad or the ugly. Being a new teacher, I have been very thankful to have a support person cheering me on each step of the way. Heather Huling is the true definition of a good, dedicated, and impactful teacher and leader. She not only wants her students to succeed during the time in her class but in life.”
– Emily Bannister
Research and Discovery & Innovation
The staff award for Research recognizes one staff member for outstanding support in the conduct of research or who have advanced processes, methods and systems through research.
The faculty award for Research recognizes a faculty member for excellence in research and/ or creative scholarly activity.
Tilicia Mayo-Gamble, Ph.D., MA, MPH, CHES
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Community Health, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health
“Another noteworthy contribution of Dr. Mayo-Gamble’s work is reflected in the methodological approaches she undertakes in patient-centered, community-engaged research. She often utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods, including using patient-driven and community research initiative processes, to gain greater insight on effective ways to enhance health and well-being of patients managing chronic disease. Further, she recognizes that health management does not occur in a vacuum, and as such her studies are designed to include not only the patient as research partners but also patients’ caregivers, medical health providers and community stakeholders to ensure that her work reflects the collaborative nature of health care management. Dr. Mayo-Gamble’s passion to develop innovative community-engaged and community-based strategies to increase access to quality healthcare services in medically underrepresented and medically underserved communities is evident of her commitment, resilience, and ‘can do’ attitude to engage in research that matters.”
– Velma McBride Murry, Ph.D.
The Discovery & Innovation award recognizes those individuals that promote creative scholarly activities, technologies and/ or environments that encourage innovative and problem-solving research collaboratives.
John Carroll, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of Science and Mathematics
Discovery & Innovation Award
“…Dr. Carroll has combined thoughtful experimental design with an impressive command of the literature to isolate and probe key research questions across a range of topics, from plant-animal interactions to supply side, chemical and landscape ecology. Because his work remains grounded in theory and supported by careful manipulations, his results have advanced ecological thought and supported resource management decisions. For example, his groundbreaking work on macroalgae as alternative habitat for bay scallops remains the seminal treatment of the subject in New York and thus an important data point for the management of scallops there and elsewhere. The work also provides a rare quantitative example of how macroalgae functions in seagrass-dominated ecosystems – a topic of increasing relevance as drift algae come to replace seagrasses in many urbanized estuaries.”
– Bradley Furman, Ph.D.
Creative Services Manager, University Communications and Marketing
Discovery & Innovation Award
“Over the past two years, Christy has been a key individual for developing and perfecting the University’s refreshed visual identity that has helped achieve record freshman classes two years in a row…She dove into competitor research, studied branding case studies within higher education and beyond, and distilled the University’s mission and values. The outcome was a fresh new branding that’s allowed Georgia Southern to stand out from the crowd not only in Georgia, but also in new markets across the region.”
– Chris Camiscioli
The Inclusive Excellence award recognizes those individuals who generated valuable ideas that have helped to develop new or improved processes, methods, systems, programs or services for their team, their department, our University or the external community.
Addie Martindale, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, School of Human Ecology, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Inclusive Excellence Award
“A common theme across all of Dr. Martindale’s research and creative scholarship endeavors is utilizing critical analyses to identify systemic problems in the contemporary fashion industry and providing alternatives and suggestions that highlight and promote diversity, equity, and inclusiveness…Dr. Martindale remains attentive to equity issues amongst students by utilizing Open Educational Resources and through incorporating service learning into her courses…Dr. Martindale’s commitment to inclusive excellence is woven throughout all of her work at the university. From her research on the experiences of under-served populations in the fashion industry, to her dedication to diversity and inclusiveness in her teaching, to her lead role in the university’s period-equity program, Dr. Martindale demonstrates an all-encompassing approach to inclusive excellence. Indeed, elements of equity and inclusiveness are integral to all of Dr. Martindale’s work at Georgia Southern, and she continually develops and promotes this university pillar on a daily basis.”
– Robert A. Yarbrough, Ph.D.
Operational Efficiency, Effectiveness and Sustainability
The Operational Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Sustainability Award was designed to recognize those with a commitment increase operational efficiency and effectiveness while maximizing financial capital and human resources to ensure the University’s long-term sustainability–investing in our people and processes to grow others.
Administrative Assistant II, Departments of Elementary and Special Education, and Middle Grades and Secondary Education, College of Education
Operational Efficiency, Effectiveness and Sustainability Award
“Lori embodies operational efficiency…and does it all with grace and a smile. Whether coordinating supplies for faculty, solving problems with the department’s copy machine or tracking down information for a student, Lori effectively and efficiently completes the task at hand. Innovative and creative in her problem-solving, she ensures faculty have the support and supplies needed to support student success. Whenever a colleague encounters a challenge, my advice is always to ‘ask Lori.’ She is unwavering in her willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ to help faculty and in the process contributes to the overall effectiveness of our college. Lori’s commitment to both effectiveness and efficiency of the college is also evident in her leadership role on the staff council. In this role, she facilitates communication among staff to ensure consistency of service across departments which directly impacts the quality of our students’ experiences and education.”
– Michelle Reidel, Ph.D.
The Sustainability Award was designed to recognize those with a commitment to increase operational efficiency and effectiveness while maximizing financial capital and human resources to ensure the University’s long-term sustainability–investing in our people and processes to grow others.
David Owens, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education, College of Education
“…sustainability is a commitment that both grounds him and drives him. As a science educator, he is deeply engaged in sustainability-related issues and the complex ethical challenges they present… As he addresses sustainability-related issues in his classroom, he does so in a way that will sustain the impact of his instruction into future generations of science students…His excellence in teaching, research, and service are possible in part because of how his activities in all three areas cohere around science education and sustainability, the latter as an ethical commitment as much as an academic interest. As a humanist, Dr. Owens’ work acknowledges that human flourishing is only possible to the extent that our planet is inhabitable. Raising awareness of threats to that, in other words championing sustainability, is his moral starting point.”
– Amee Adkins, Ph.D.
Community Engagement and Collaboration
The Community Engagement award was designed to give recognition to those who display outstanding community engagement in support of the University.
Administrative Assistant I, The STEM Center for Education, College of Education
Community Engagement Award
“I’ve seen Mary engage kids and parents on a personal level. Mary is also great at bringing volunteers together to accomplish the task at hand. She can make a successful community engagement happen on a large or small scale through event planning and coordinating effort…Mary will be the first to jump in to do whatever may need to be done, by offering services and providing opportunities for people like me to join her in engaging the community with excellence…Anytime something extra is needed, Mary is the first one to help. If you need a project accomplished just put Mary on it…Mary is a person that I would always want to have on my side. She is a great worker, volunteer, but most of all she is a great person and friend. I have known Mary for years and I am still amazed at the things she can accomplish.”
– Roberta Graham
Gloria Stuart, CPA, MAcc (’99)
Senior Lecturer, School of Accountancy, Parker College of Business
Community Engagement Award
It is a great privilege to to attest to the impact Gloria Stuart and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program has made in the community…The program gives the accounting students an opportunity to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice…On the other hand, the community benefits by getting their taxes professionally prepared at no cost to them…She taught me to go the extra mile for people that you do not even know…As a college student, it is hard to be able to give money to help people that are in need. The VITA program gives us an avenue to contribute to society and to be able to help people save money and live more comfortably. This made me feel like I was able to make a small difference in the community…Along those served by the VITA program, I have truly benefited from Professor Stuart’s leadership, compassion and concern for her students and her community.”
– Katie Mancil
The Collaboration Award recognizes and promotes those who are dedicated to service to their departments, students, faculty, other departments on campus, and/ or the surrounding community through communication, innovation, integrity and inclusion.
Andrew Hansen, DrPH (’93, ’95, ’12)
Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Community Health, Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health
“He holds a strong belief that all voices must be heard and is intentional in providing that channel for section leadership team members and member stakeholders (of the American Public Health Association) at large. The sense of group collective and teamwork is absolutely core to his values…Andrew once shared a story from his coaching days at Georgia Southern University and Statesboro High School of how he involved all players in devising a team expectations contract and the positive, motivational impact it had as players felt ownership and choice in how the team was managed. He inspired and encouraged many…that their voice and opinion matters – and continued to display this value…while being faithful to always asking and identifying opportunities for how we can include others in the decision-making process.”
– M. Margaret Barth, Ph.D
The Integrity Award honors those who practice ethical awareness in decision making and demonstrate an on-going commitment to integral ethical behavior and practices.
Catherine Howerter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Elementary and Special Education, College of Education
“…Dr. Howerter recognizes that preparing effective teachers not only involves preparing teachers who know their content and have the pedagogical skills to ensure all students can learn, but also preparing teachers who understand and abide by state laws and policies that govern teacher behavior and have an awareness of the ethical dilemmas impacting teachers and how to make sound ethical decisions. She is particularly passionate about ensuring teachers know how to support the learning of students who are often marginalized in schools–those with intellectual and developmental disabilities…She is a team player and a team builder. She values quality and ensures that her work reflects the highest standards.”
– Deborah Thomas, Ph.D.
This award recognizes administrator-level employees (e.g. Program Directors, Assistant/Associate Department Chairs, Department Chair, Directors, Executive Directors, Managers) who, through their extraordinary leadership over the last year, demonstrated exemplary responsive leadership to students, colleagues and other customers of Georgia Southern University. The award recognizes leaders who, in addition to fulfilling their administrative and managerial roles with dedication and creativity, demonstrate vision and an outstanding commitment to excellence. Nominations should describe specific actions taken by this leader and how these actions benefited faculty, staff, students and/or the surrounding community. The actions by the nominee must reflect the following six values of Georgia Southern: Collaboration, Academic Excellence, Discovery and Innovation, Integrity, Openness and Inclusion and Sustainability.
McKenzie Peterman, M.Ed. (’04, ’17)
Academic Advising Coordinator, Armstrong Advisement Center
“McKenzie has dedicated her talents to multiple university departments throughout her career at Georgia Southern University. From serving as the Assistant Director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs to her numerous roles in the Office of Admissions and Office of Academic Advising, McKenzie has demonstrated her commitment to both the university and student success. Through her professional roles, McKenzie has invested her time and energy to the intentional development of both her students and professional staff. She is committed to developing their abilities to problem solve, think creatively, and recognize the importance of their support networks. She is an excellent resource and role model for everyone around her as she represents her authentic self on a daily basis and leads with her values.”
– Jodi Kennedy
Amy Luna, Ph.D.
Director, Psychology Clinic, Department of Psychology, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
“…she led the clinic’s transition to telehealth in response to the pandemic. The abrupt transition could have resulted in a loss of services to people needing therapy, but throughout this process no clinic clients went without service because of Dr. Luna’s heroic efforts…This required intensive planning of technical issues, addressing professional ethical considerations, and training the student therapists in these issues so they could work within appropriate standards. This occurred in a short time frame initially but involves ongoing work to adapt as policies in the profession are updated. As a result…(s)he has extended the reach of the clinic to Millen, Savannah, and throughout the state.”
– Michael Nielsen, Ph.D.
The Team Award recognizes a group of individuals comprised of three or more employees (staff and/or faculty) that contribute to one of the five strategic imperatives while demonstrating one of the six core values to help the University be the best place to work, learn, and succeed.
Members will receive a certificate, team photo with the President and a crystal plaque to be displayed in the office of the team leader.
The Eagle Experience
“In its inaugural year, The Eagle Experience was a university-wide initiative to create a comprehensive philosophy of programming and engagement that encompassed all new student elements from admission through the first year of enrollment resulting in desired first year outcomes. This reimagined and innovative programming focused on all aspects of new student transition to create a welcoming and engaging experience designed to provide students and supporters with the resources for academic and co-curricular success.”
– Brenda Richardson
“This team improved services to students at the critical period during students’ transition to the university…The Eagle Experience will forever transform students’ transition to Georgia Southern.”
– Shay Davis Little, Ph.D.
Amy Smith, co-chair AVP Enrollment Management
Ken Gassiot, Ph.D., co-chair AVP Student Affairs
Christine Ludowise, co-chair Former Associate Provost
Dustin Anderson, Ph.D., co-chair Associate Provost for Student Success and Advising
Allison Lyon Former Assistant Director of New Student and Family Programs
Alexis Stinson Director of Enrollment Services
Crissie Elrick Communications Manager, University Communications and Marketing
Christy McNutt Creative Services Manager, University Communications and Marketing
Takeshia Brown Director of Office of Multicultural Affairs
Jenny Lynn Anderson Marketing Manager, University Communications and Marketing
Jennifer Syno Director of Academic Advising
Memory Littles Director of Student Activities
Nailah Mitnaul Graduate Student
Years of Service
Years of Service recipients will receive a service year certificate and a service year lapel pin.
Patricia McCubbins, Production Chef, Chick-Fil-A
Robert Harris, Professor, Gretsch School of Music
Pamela Bourland-Davis, Professor, Department of Communication Arts
Olivia CarrEdenfield, Professor, Department of Literature
Martha Hughes, Senior Lecturer, World Languages and Cultures
Craig Banks, Research Technician and Adjunct Instructor, Department of Biology
James Bigley, Professor, School of Human Ecology
Matt Fallin, Professor, Gretsch School of Music
Douglas Frazier, Associate Dean for Administration and Operations, Library General Operations
Gregory Harwood, Professor, Gretsch School of Music
John Hobe, Professor, Department of Elementary and Special Education
Brett Larson, Professor, Department of Biology
Will Lynch, Department Chair/Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Hans Mortensen, Associate Professor, Department of Art
Jeffery Orvis, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Alison Rushing, Instructor, School of Nursing
Ronnie Sanders, Grounds Foreman, Grounds Operations
Timothy Teeter, Associate Professor, Department of History
Deborah Thomas, Associate Dean – Associate Professor, COE-Assoc Dean-Ed Prep/Assess
Terry Thompson, Assistant Professor, Department of Writing and Linguistics
Daniel Gleason, Director/Professor, James H. Oliver, Jr., Institute for Coastal Plain Science
Patricia Holt, Professor, Technology Leadership
Goran Lesaja, Professor, Department of Mathematical Science
Nan LoBue, Principal Lecturer, Department of Writing and Linguistics
A total of 9 committees reviewed the Faculty, Staff and Team awards. Six of the committees provided a peer-review process for the applicants and three committees were joint committees. The joint committees consisted of members from both the faculty and staff. The charge to the following committees was to review application packets and decide on the Awards of Excellence winners. Each committee evaluated the applicants based upon a set criterion and rubric. Rubrics were designed per award.
University Awards Committee
Patricia Holt, Co-Chair, Professor, College of Education
Trina Smith, Co-Chair, Executive Assistant to the Provost, Office of the Provost
Vivian Bynoe, Head, Reference & Instruction, University Libraries
Mark Hanna, Professor,Parker College of Business
DeAnn Lewis, Accounting Information Analyst, University Budget Office/Staff Council Chair
Miranda Ross, Admissions Counselor, Enrollment Management
Nalanda Roy, Associate Professor, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
David Simpson, Director of Student Media Administration, Student Affairs
Kip Sorgen, Assistant Professor, College of Education
Scott Taylor, Coordinator of Academic Intervention & Outreach, Academic Affairs
Kesha Ward, Compliance Specialist, Office of the President
Christine Whitlock, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science and Mathematics
To be eligible to receive an Award of Excellence, an employee must be employed by the Georgia Southern University or the former Armstrong University for a minimum of three years at (the nomination period of August 1st) and must have received a rating of meets expectations or higher on the previous 2 performance evaluations.
All personnel up to, but not including, Directors and Chairs are eligible for nominations for Awards of Excellence. Directors in this instance does not infer to Academic Program directors, rather Directors within Divisional units.
An employee who has won a particular award in the past 3 years is not eligible to compete for that exact same award.
Certain Award Review Committees may have eligibility criteria that supersede these criteria, these are set as a minimum.