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Faculty Awards

The University of Memphis and the Office of the Provost are proud to offer the following awards. Click on each award to learn more about it and how to nominate someone or how to apply. 

Briggs Excellence in Teaching Award 
Alumni Association Distinguished Advising Award
Alumni Association Distinguished Research Award
Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award
Faculty Excellence in Engaged Scholarship
Honorary Degrees

Award details

Briggs Excellence in Teaching Award

The award was established in 1996 by the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation and recognizes outstanding educators for their positive impact on undergraduate teaching. One award, in the amount of $10,000, will be presented at the Faculty Awards Luncheon in the spring of each academic year. As requested by the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, the selection committee will be comprised of University of Memphis faculty, recent alumni and a representative of the Briggs Foundation. The administration of the award is coordinated with the assistance of the Office of the Provost.

Previous recipients of this award have demonstrated a willingness to teach all types of learners, show a personal concern for their students, demonstrate enthusiasm for their disciplines, and are willing to serve as leaders in innovation and teaching excellence in their departments. Past recipients are:

1996-97 Dr. Kevin Hagopian & Dr. Phillip Kolbe
1997-98 Dr. Thomas Caplinger & Dr. Ruthbeth Finerman
1998-99 Dr. Jack Grubaugh & Dr. Mark Timmons
1999-00 Dr. Julia Heath & Dr. Thomas D. Mason
2000-01 Ms. Candace Justice & Dr. Robert Marchini
2001-02 Dr. Melvin Beck & Dr. Charles Camp
2002-03 Dr. Nele Hempel & Dr. Kantaylieniere Y. Hill-Clarke
2003-04 Dr. Charles Biggers & Mr. Stephen Hancock
2004-05 Dr. William Jermann & Dr. John Hanneken
2005-06 Dr. Lawrette Axley & Dr. Robert Frankle
2006-07 Ms. Margaret A. Quinn & Dr. Dennis Laumann
2007-08 Dr. Nancy Mardis & Dr. Joe Hayden
2008-09 Dr. Anna Bess Sorin & Dr. Fred Albertson
2009-10 Dr. Donald Franceschetti & Dr. Irvin Tankersley
2010-11 Ms. Charlene Spiceland & Dr. John Haddock
2011-12 Dr. Mark Freilich & Mr. Kriangsiri Malasri
2012-13 Dr. Angela G. Grant & Mr. Leonard A. Jackson
2013-14 Mr. Jacob Allen & Ms. Nataliya Doroshenko
2014-15 Dr. Douglas Campbell & Dr. Shirleatha Lee
2015-16 Dr. Denis Grélé & Ms. Joanne Rhodes

How to Apply

Nominees must be full-time faculty members at the University of Memphis and currently must be teaching primarily undergraduate level courses. The nominee must have a demonstrated record of exceptional teaching skills at the undergraduate level, especially in the last three years. Tenure is not required. Previous recipients are not eligible for nomination.

Briggs Nomination Form

Please send your completed nomination form and statement in one of the following formats to Jan Brownlee.

Mail
Attn: Jan Brownlee
Office of the Provost
University of Memphis
360 Administration Building
Memphis, TN 38152

Email
Documents should be in PDF format with "Briggs Award" in the subject line
Send to jbrownle@memphis.edu

Distinguished Advising Award

The Alumni Association offers two Distinguished Advising Awards, one for faculty and one for professional advisors. The Award will be given at the Spring Faculty Convocation. The Award will be accompanied by a stipend equal to that given for the University's Distinguished Teaching Award. The recommendation is that one faculty and one professional advisor award be given annually. The Selection Committee will be appointed by the Provost and will consist of two faculty, two professional staff, two administrators, the Director of Academic Advising, and a student representative.

How to Apply

Nominations will be solicited through various media (i.e. posters, the Helmsman, email, etc.) during the Fall semester.  Both faculty and professional advisors must receive nominations from faculty/administrators and students/former students or alumni/alumnae.  Nominees must have completed at least five years of service at the University of Memphis and are at least in their sixth year of service at the time of receiving the award.  Faculty may only receive the award once.  Professional advisors may receive the award twice. For eligibility the second time, at least three complete years must have passed since the first Award was received (i.e. if the nominee first received the Award in Spring 2010, he or she would not be eligible for a second Award until Spring 2014).

Once a pool of qualified nominees has been established, candidates will be asked to provide supporting letters and a dossier.  The letters are solicited confidential letters with a minimum of one from each of the following groups: 1. Present and former advisees. 2. Faculty/professional staff. 3. Supervisors/administrators.  The dossier should support the nomination by showing that the nominee has met appropriate criteria from the Advising Award Criteria list. 

The Advising Award Criteria List includes:

  • Undergraduate Student Contact
    • frequency of contact with undergraduate advisees
    • availability to advisees
    • meeting advisees in a variety of settings
  • External Evaluation
    • advisee evaluations (summary data)
    • perception by colleague of candidate's advising skills
    • institutional recognition of candidate for advising
    • evidence of student success rate
  • Interpersonal Skills
    • caring attitude toward advisees
    • intrusive behavior which builds strong relationships with advisees
  • Advising Skills
    • appropriate referral activity
    • use of appropriate information sources
    • monitoring of student progress
    • mastery of institutional regulations, policies, and procedures
    • ability to engage in developmental advising
  • Evidence of Professional Development and Service in Advising
    • attendance at advisor development programs
    • participation in advisor development programs
    • support of advisor development programs
    • perception of candidate as an advising resource

Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award

The Alumni Association may make up to five awards annually to faculty who have brought honor and recognition to the University through their research or creative activities. The categories include:

  • Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts
  • Distinguished Research in the Humanities
  • Distinguished Research in the Social Sciences
  • Distinguished Research in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Distinguished Research in Engaged Scholarship

How to Apply

Candidates must have been employed full-time by the University of Memphis for at least five academic years prior to the semester of their application or nomination. They may apply for the award or be nominated by any full-time faculty or staff member. Former award winners may not be re-nominated within seven years of the first awards and may not receive the award more than twice. Those wishing to be considered must submit a resume with a complete list of publications, a narrative summary of research aims and achievements, and at least three external letters from distinguished referees. A $2000 honorarium and a plaque are presented to each recipient at the annual Faculty Convocation. Further information is available from the Vice President for Research.

Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award

To donate to the Sparks Award, click here.

The Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award is the highest distinction given to a faculty member by the University. The award is given annually to one faculty member who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to scholarly-creative activity, teaching, and service, bringing honor and recognition to the University. The award is given by the University of Memphis Board of Visitors and includes a $20,000 cash prize and a commemorative crystal. A University committee composed of nine faculty members will screen nominations and identify three finalists. The recipient will then be chosen from among these finalists by a selection committee composed of three members of the Board of Visitors. The award will be presented to the recipient at the Spring Faculty Convocation. Previous recipients include:

2015-16 Roy Van Arsdale, Professor, Earth Sciences
2014-15 Albert Okunade, Professor, Economics
2013-14 Kenneth Ward, Professor, Public Health
2012-13 Gladius Lewis, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
2011-12 Dipankar Dasgupta, Professor, Computer Science
2010-11 Thomas K. Fagan, Professor, Psychology
2009-10 Erno Lindner, Professor, Biomedical Engineering
2008-09 Robyn Cox, Professor, Audiology & Speech-Language Pathology
2007-08 Ralph Albanese, Chair, Foreign Languages & Literatures
2006-07 David Evans, Professor, Music
2005-06 Jerome A. Goldstein, Professor, Mathematical Sciences
2004-05 David L. Appleby, Professor, Communication
2003-04 Cyril F. Chang, Professor, Economics
2002-03 Linda A. Bennett, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, A&S
2001-02 Robert A. Neimeyer, Professor, Psychology
2000-01 Richard H. Schelp, Professor, Mathematical Sciences
1999-00 Lily Afshar, Associate Professor, Music
1998-99 Arthur C. Graesser, Professor, Psychology
1997-98 Steven J. Ross, Professor, Communication
1996-97 Stanley P. Franklin, Professor, Mathematical Sciences
1995-96 Shelley White-Means, Professor, Economics
1994-95 William R. Shadish, Professor, Psychology
1993-94 Ralph J. Faudree, Professor, Mathematics
1992-93 Steven M. Ross, Professor, Counseling, Ed. Psy., & Research

How to Apply

Faculty eligible for the award must be active and continuously employed by the University for at least five years. The award can only be given once to an individual. Chairs of Excellence are not eligible. A letter of nomination may be submitted by anyone familiar with the candidate's credentials. A nomination remains active for five years unless withdrawn by the nominee. 

Send nominations to:

Mail
Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award
Attn: Jan Brownlee
Office of the Provost
University of Memphis
360 Administration Building
Memphis, TN 38152

Email
Documents should be in PDF format with "Sparks Eminent Faculty Award" in the subject line
Send to jbrownle@memphis.edu

Faculty Excellence in Engaged Scholarship

The University of Memphis is a metropolitan research institution that seeks to serve its urban, regional, state, national, and global communities in a number of ways. Vital to this mission is scholarship that addresses the concerns and opportunities of these communities. Such scholarship:

  • Involves academic projects that engage faculty members and students in a collaborative and sustained manner with community groups;
  • Connects university outreach endeavors with community organizational goals;
  • Furthers mutual productive relationships between the university and the community;
  • Entails shared authority in the research process from defining the research problem, choosing theoretical and methodological approaches, conducting the results, developing the final product(s), to participating in peer review; and
  • Results in excellence in engaged scholarship through such products as peer-reviewed publications, peer-reviewed collaborative reports, documentation of impact, and external funding.

In keeping with this purpose, the University of Memphis has established a faculty award to recognize excellence in engaged scholarship. The Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Award will further awareness of engaged scholarship in partnerships between faculty members and students of the University of Memphis and community organizations and agencies in the Memphis/Mid-South region, the State of Tennessee, the United States, and global communities. Previous award winners include:

2014 Katherine Lambert-Pennington
2013 Lynda M. Sagrestano
2012 Joy A. Clay
2011 No award given
2010 Michael D. Hagge
2009 Dorothy Norris-Tirrell
2008 Michael Schmidt
2007 Phyllis Betts and Richard Janikowski
2006 James P. Whelan
2005 Stanley E. Hyland

How to Apply

Alumni Association Awards: Candidates may be self-nominated or nominated by any faculty or administrative staff member employed full-time by The UofM in the semester of nomination. Those not self-nominated should be informed of their candidacy by the College or School receiving the nomination. Colleges and Schools may nominate one faculty member in each category. All nominations must be endorsed by the unit chair. Nominations from the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business & Economics, Communication & Fine Arts, Education, and Engineering must be submitted to the appropriate College Council for Graduate Studies and Research. Nominations from the Schools of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Public Health, Nursing, and Law must be submitted directly to the Dean of the School. The Colleges and Schools will set their own internal deadlines prior to final submission to the Vice Provost for Research.

After review within the College or School, the Dean's office will send a single nomination from the College or School to dcummngs@memphis.edu in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research by Friday, 31 January 2014 (see Submission Process below), along with a narrative statement detailing the nominee's achievements in Engaged Scholarship. The Dean's office will notify all nominees about the results of the College or School review.

Process: Departments/Divisions should send completed nomination packets via email to their respective College/School using the Subject Line: [Year] AADRA Nominations. Each College/School should upload packets onto the UM Drive as a single PDF file for each category using the Subject Line: [Year] AADRA Nominations and submit to dcummngs@memphis.edu, Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Please check with your College/School for internal deadlines. If you need assistance setting up your UM Drive, please contact your LSP.

The nomination packet consists of the required cover sheet (last page of guidelines); a CV with a complete list of publications, along with a maximum of three copies of scholarly and/or creative activities, a narrative summary of achievements in creative activity, research, or engaged scholarship; recommendation letters from the academic unit and College or School; and at least three external letters from distinguished referees or community partners in engaged scholarship. The nominee will provide names of possible reviewers, which will be supplemented by the department chair. At the College or School level, the Graduate Director will solicit the three external letters of recommendations. Nominations of faculty who have won the award in the past should stress the nominee's work since that award was won.

For the Engaged Scholarship Award, it is important that these materials demonstrate how the faculty member has engaged in a collaborative and sustained manner with community groups; has connected university outreach with community organizational goals; has furthered mutual productive relationships between the university and the community; and has generated products—such as peer-reviewed publications, peer-reviewed collaborative reports, and external funding—that reflect excellence in engaged scholarship activities.

After review within the College or School, the Dean's office will submit a single nomination in each category appropriate to that College or School to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Administration 308, along with a letter detailing the nominee's achievements. The Dean's office will notify all nominees about the results of the review.

Honorary Degrees

The University of Memphis has the authority to award up to two honorary degrees each year to distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for extraordinary achievements that have improved the community they serve, contributed to society, as well as benefited the University of Memphis. Previous recipients include:

2015 Gary Shorb & Scott Morris
2014 Honey Scheidt and R. Brad Martin
2013 Jim Ayers
2012 Larry Papasan
2011 Bert Bornblum
2010 Maxine Smith
2009 Robert Fogelman
2008 Fred Smith
2007 Rudi E. Scheidt
2006 Harry W. Feinstone

You are invited to nominate a person for his or her outstanding performance and to whom the University of Memphis can show its appreciation. The guidelines for awarding honorary degrees are located at http://policies.memphis.edu/UM1648.htm. In order to nominate a person please review the policy above and include the following:

A letter of nomination, including:
a summary of the distinguished contributions made by the nominee whose career reflects sustained, exceptional achievement in some field of scholarship, public service, or in an artistic, literary, governmental, financial, professional, research, leadership, cultural affairs, or other endeavor;
the nominator's relationship with the candidate, and any perceived potential conflicts of interest;
an indication of the extent to which the nominee has been associated with the University of Memphis.
Any additional pertinent information.
After review of the nominees, the Honorary Degree Committee will solicit additional supporting materials including the nominee's vita and three letters of recommendation from within or outside of the university explaining why the candidate is worthy of further consideration for the award of an honorary degree from the University of Memphis.

Mail
Honorary Degree
Attn: Jan Brownlee
Office of the Provost
University of Memphis
360 Administration Building
Memphis, TN 38152

Email
Documents should be in PDF format with "Honorary Degree" in the subject line
Send to jbrownle@memphis.edu