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U of M Will Honor Outstanding Teachers April 21
For release: April 14, 2006
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Four professors have been chosen to receive the 2006 University of Memphis Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award. Each will accept a $2,000 award during the University's annual Faculty Convocation at 2 p.m. April 21 in the Michael D. Rose Theatre.

The honored teachers are Dr. Charles Hall, associate professor of English; Nancy H. Mardis, associate professor of accounting; Dr. Stephen J. Scanlan, assistant professor of sociology; and Dr. William T. Smith, associate professor of economics.

Hall is noted for his first-hand knowledge of cross-cultural linguistic situations and extensive international experience. "He is fluent in many languages and has been invited to lecture on his special subject, American legal English, around the world," said English Department Chairman Dr. Stephen Tabachnick. "I have seen Dr. Hall at work in China as well as in the U.S., and he makes the same enormously positive impression on students abroad as he does on our students."

Hall also serves as director of the department's ESL program in the Czech Republic. A graduate of Oakland University, he earned his advanced degrees from the University of Florida.

Mardis is praised for caring about her students and being sensitive to their individual needs. "Her students seek her out on a regular basis for assistance and guidance outside of the classroom, and she is a valuable resource for them," said Dr. Kenneth Lambert, director of the University's accountancy program. "The courses she most frequently teaches tend to be large in size, but she manages the classes very well. She challenges the students to achieve and gets very good results."

Mardis earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Oklahoma and her J.D. degree from the U of M.

Scanlan's students consistently rate him as an outstanding teacher. "Along with traditional lecture, Dr. Scanlan uses a variety of teaching techniques, including in-class experiments, collaborative learning exercises, and role-playing, that actively involve students in their own learning," said Dr. Larry Petersen, interim chairman of the Sociology Department. "No matter what technique he uses, he is highly enthusiastic about the course material, and he communicates that enthusiasm to his students."

A graduate of the University of Dayton, Scanlan earned his advanced degrees from Ohio State University.

Smith is considered an exceptionally gifted teacher in a department where the majority of faculty members have been recognized for outstanding teaching. "His knowledge of the discipline and his technical skills are unsurpassed," said economics chair Dr. Julie Heath. In one difficult course in macroeconomic theory, students formed their own study groups that met on Sunday afternoons. When Smith learned of their plans, he showed up to help. "The students had not asked him to show up, he just did – Sunday after Sunday," Heath said. "and not just with that class, but for several others. If students show the desire to learn, he'll go to the ends of the earth for them."

A graduate of the American College in Paris, Smith earned his master's degree from the University of Miami and Ph.D. degree from the University of Virginia.

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