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2002 Regents’ Academic Excellence Awards Presented

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Atlanta — May 7, 2002

Five University System of Georgia’s faculty members and three academic programs were recognized today as recipients of the 2002 Regents Teaching Excellence Awards and the Research in Undergraduate Education Awards.

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 sixth year that the teaching awards have been presented; the research awards were established in 2000. Each recipient receives $5,000.

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

Regents Teaching Excellence Awards

Faculty Awards

Two-Year and State Colleges:
Dr. Timothy L. Rhoads, assistant professor of biology, South Georgia College - Rhoads, a member of the SGC faculty since 1997, was cited for having creatively blended traditional teaching methods with modern technology in providing an outstanding learning environment for students. Among other things, he has been successful in securing a number of grants that have allowed the college to upgrade its biology lab equipment to accommodate the teaching of current laboratory techniques.
Regional and State Universities:
Dr. Kenneth S. Sajwan, professor of biology, Savannah State University - A member of the SSU faculty since 1992, Sajwan won the 2001 White House Millennium Award for Teaching and Research Excellence at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. During his tenure at Savannah State, he has developed two degree programs and secured nearly $2 million in grant monies.
Research Universities:
Dr. Timothy M. Renick, associate professor of philosophy and director of religious studies, Georgia State University - On his arrival in 1986, Renick became the first faculty member in GSU’s religious-studies program. Within five years, he expanded the program’s course offerings to the point of proposing a baccalaureate degree in religious studies. Today, the program has sixty undergraduate students and nine students pursuing master’s degrees.

Dr. Linda Medleau, professor of dermatology, Department of Small Animal Medicine, University of Georgia - Since joining the faculty of UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984, Medleau has earned numerous awards, including three Faculty Recognition Awards, a Distinguished Teacher Award, and UGA’s most prestigious teaching award, the Josiah Meigs Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000. One of her accomplishments has involved transforming a lecture-only dermatology course into an interactive, problem-solving and technology-enhanced experience for students.

Department/Program Awards

Regional and State Universities:
School of Nursing, College of Health and Professional Studies, Georgia Southern University - The School of Nursing has embraced the concept and practice of continuous improvement in its programs. The quality of these programs is underscored by the performance of nursing graduates, who have a pass rate of 91 percent on the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Exam), compared to the statewide pass rate of 83 percent and the national pass rate of 84 percent. In addition, the university’s nurse-practitioner program has a pass rate of nearly 99 percent on the national certification exam, and 14 of the program’s19 graduating classes since 1990 have achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the first try.
Research Universities:
Department of Oral Rehabilitation, School of Dentistry, Medical College of Georgia - The strength of this department’s faculty is reflected in student performance. During the past nine years, MCG students have ranked from first to 12th place nationwide in their performance on the sections of the National Dental Board Examination that deal with disciplines taught solely by oral-rehabilitation faculty. The faculty’s commitment to teaching quality and student learning is evidenced by the development of a peer-evaluation program, the customization of course content to enhance learning, the development of in-course remediation for students and the encouragement of self-assessment by students.

Regents Research in Undergraduate Education Awards

Faculty Awards

Regional and State Universities:
Dr. Sarah Robbins, associate professor of English, Kennesaw State University - Robbins, a KSU faculty member since 1993, has distinguished herself through a number of nationally recognized, innovative projects, such as the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project. This National Writing Project site allows K-12 and college-level teachers to study the teaching of writing collaboratively via summer programs funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Georgia Humanities Council. Robbins has expanded the project recently to support other subjects, such as literature and history.

Department/Program Awards

Regional and State Universities:
RN to BSN Online Nursing Completion Program, Kennesaw State University - To address the urgent need for more baccalaureate-prepared nurses, the faculty of Kennesaw State’s RN-to-BSN nursing completion program decided to make it more flexible by offering all courses online in addition to in the classroom. Anxious to maintain the quality of instruction, the faculty first sought training in the design of Internet-based courses and later conducted research comparing the outcomes of the online courses to those of classroom-based courses. The research revealed that online students attained better grades than traditional students and felt that the online courses were more comprehensive than the on-campus courses they had taken previously. The program has been enthusiastically received by students.

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