Auburn University to honor faculty in awards ceremony Oct. 27

AUBURN – Auburn University will hold its fourth annual Faculty Awards Celebrating Excellence Ceremony Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. A provost’s reception will follow.

The awards presented at this ceremony are the highest honors the university gives to faculty and this year will honor the outstanding academic achievements of 16 faculty members.

Auburn University Provost Mary Ellen Mazey will host the event and Lawrence Wit, associate dean and professor of biological sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, will be master of ceremonies. Robert Lowder, Auburn University Board of Trustees member, will give congratulations and special remarks.

“We invite the community to join us in celebrating academic achievement and honoring faculty whose contributions help elevate Auburn to the top tier of national universities,” said Mazey.

Among those receiving awards are Sushil Bhavnani, professor of mechanical engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering; and Mary Mendonca, associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics. Both will receive the Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. Morris Bian, associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts, will receive the Creative Research and Scholarship Award. Barry Burkhart, a professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts, will receive the Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach.

In addition, recipients of this year’s Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards will be recognized. These awards are presented on the basis of outstanding teaching of undergraduates from nominations made by department heads, deans, alumni and students. A committee of retired faculty selects the recipients. This year’s winners are Theodore Becker, Alumni Association professor of political science in the College Liberal Arts; Carolyn Robinson, assistant professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture; and Shari Park-Gates, assistant professor of consumer affairs in the College of Human Sciences.

Awards will also be presented to the 2009 Alumni Professors, a group of faculty who receive five-year, non-renewable professorships sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association with funds endowed from Auburn Annual Giving. These awards are presented on the basis of research, publishing and teaching. The 2009 Alumni Professors are Mary Mendonca, associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics; Subhash Sinha, professor of mechanical engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering; Frank Bartol, professor of anatomy, physiology and pharmacology and associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine; Mark Steltenpohl, professor of geology and geography in the College of Sciences and Mathematics; Wei Wang, professor of industrial design in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction; and Curtis Jolly, professor of agricultural economics and rural sociology in the College of Agriculture.

Kimberly Walls, professor of music education in the College of Education, will receive the Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship. This award is jointly sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association and the Auburn University Graduate School. The recipients are nominated by deans, department heads and others and are chosen by the Graduate Faculty Council on the basis of excellence in research.

The Distinguished Diversity Researcher Award was added this year. The competitive award is given by the Research Initiative for the Study of Diversity and the Office of the Vice President for Research to celebrate and showcase the best diversity research being done on campus. The winners are Francesca Adler-Baeder, Extension specialist and associate professor of human development and family studies in the College of Human Sciences; Mitchell Brown, assistant professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts; and Constance Hendricks, registered nurse and professor in the School of Nursing.

Contact: Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu), or
Teresa Whitman-McCall, 334/844-7521 (whitmtl@auburn.edu)