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2001 Regents’ Academic Excellence Awards Presented

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Atlanta — March 13, 2001

A “cyberspace” Socrates and a nationally recognized model United Nations program are two of the projects created by the University System of Georgia’s top faculty and departments and recognized today by the University System’s Board of Regents. Five University System faculty members and three academic programs have been selected to receive the 2001 Regents Teaching Excellence Awards and the Research in Undergraduate Education Awards.

“Academic excellence is the mainstay of our mission,” said Dr. Daniel S. Papp, senior vice chancellor for academics and fiscal affairs with the University System. “We are fortunate to have a stellar group of dedicated and talented faculty in Georgia that is attuned to innovation and involvement with students.”

The awards program recognizes and rewards both individual faculty members and departments or programs at the System’s 34 institutions for outstanding teaching that significantly improves both student performance and the teaching discipline. This is the fifth year that the teaching awards have been presented; the research awards were established last year.

System institutions can nominate one faculty member and one department or program. The nomination portfolios are reviewed by a committee composed of University System faculty members and department chairs. Each recipient receives $5,000.

Regents Teaching Excellence Awards:

  • Dr. Margaret S. Davis, professor of mathematics, Floyd College - Davis, a member of Floyd College’s faculty for 30 years, was cited for her work in designing and directing the college’s freshman studies skills and orientation course. She has taught this course since its inception without any reduction in her mathematics teaching load.

  • Ms. Jane T. Barnard, associate professor of mathematics, Armstrong Atlantic State University - The committee noted Barnard’s outstanding career of “seamless teaching and learning across levels of education, as well as across school and non-school settings.” A former public school teacher, Barnard earned four STAR teaching awards by the time she joined the AASU faculty in 1980.

  • Dr. Ronald D. Simpson, professor of higher education and science education, University of Georgia - In addition to securing funding from the Lilly Foundation in 1983 to establish a Lilly Teaching Fellows program, Simpson helped found and direct the Governor’s Teaching Fellows program, which began in 1994. Each program has served a significant number of faculty, either from UGA or higher education institutions throughout Georgia.

  • Kennesaw State University Model United Nations/Model Arab League/Model Organization of African Unity delegate programs - In 1988, Dr. Helen Ridley and the Department of Political Science and International Affairs established a Model UN team and later expanded the program to include Model Arab League and Model Organization of African Unity teams. Collectively, these groups have won numerous regional, national and international competitions. Many participants have moved on to leadership positions following graduation.

  • Valdosta State University Theatre Program - Directed by Dr. Charles R. Wheeler, this is the only Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in Georgia to have obtained accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Theatre. Graduates have been associated with scores of professional theatre and film companies, as well as some of the top post-graduate theatre studies programs in the nation.

Regents Research in Undergraduate Education Awards:

  • Dr. Deborah Vess, associate professor of history and director of Interdisciplinary Studies, Georgia College and State University - Vess developed a “cyberspace Socrates” which evolved into a comprehensive Western Civilization website designed to promote critical thinking. The Pew National Fellowship Program named Vess a 1999 Carnegie Scholar in recognition of her contributions to the scholarship of teaching.

  • Dr. Mark Guzdial, associate professor of computing, Georgia Institute of Technology - Based upon his theory that students would learn more from studying the work of other students, Guzdial created a learning tool called SmallTalk Apprenticeship Based Learning Environment-STABLE. Guzdial’s research on student learning has yielded more than a dozen journal articles, three books, and four federal or foundation grants worth nearly $1.5 million.

  • Southeastern Conference on the Teaching of Psychology - Begun in 1989, this annual conference has been nurtured through the Department of Psychology at Kennesaw State University and conference coordinator Dr. Bill Hill, a professor of psychology. The conference is a unique collaboration among teachers of psychology at all educational levels from every corner of Georgia and surrounding states. The conference has “helped create a community of scholars of teaching in the Southeast, with effects that have impact throughout the nation,” says Dr. Bernard Beins, Director of Undergraduate Programs for the American Psychological Association.

The winners of the 2001 Regents Awards for Academic Excellence include (left to right): (front row) Dr. Margaret S. Davis, professor of mathematics, Floyd College ; Dr. Deborah Morgan, assistant professor of theatre, Valdosta State University; (middle row) Jane T. Barnard, associate professor of mathematics, Armstrong Atlantic State University; Dr. Ronald D. Simpson, professor of higher education and science education, University of Georgia; Dr. Chien-Pin Li, professor of political science, Kennesaw State University; Dr. Jack Moran, assistant professor of political science and international affairs, Kennesaw State University; Dr. Charles “Randy” Wheeler, professor of theatre and director of the Theatre Department, Valdosta State University; (back row) Dr. Mark Guzdial, associate professor of computing, Georgia Institute of Technology; Dr. Bill Hill, professor of psychology, Kennesaw State University; Dr. Jacqueline Wheeler, professor of theatre, Valdosta State University; and Dr. Deborah Vess, associate professor of history and director of interdisciplinary studies, Georgia College and State University.

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