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U of M Faculty Recognition Ceremony Will Be April 19 in Rose Theatre
For release: April 16, 2007
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Faculty Convocation at the University of Memphis will be observed Thursday, April 19.  The ceremony recognizing faculty members for outstanding teaching, research, and service will take place at 2 p.m. in the Rose Theatre.  U of M faculty members, dressed in full academic regalia, will walk in procession to the Rose Theater from the College of Communication and Fine Arts beginning at 1:40 p.m.

Grammy Award-winning blues scholar Dr. David Evans in the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music has been named the recipient of the 2007 Willard R. Sparks Eminent Faculty Award, with its $20,000 stipend.  The award recognizes exceptional and sustained contributions to scholarly-creative achievement, teaching, and service as well as the bringing of recognition to the University.

Evans earned a bachelor’s degree in Classics from Harvard and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in folklore and mythology from UCLA. He came to the U of M in 1978 to establish and direct the enthnomusicology/regional studies doctoral program.

He has published three books, more than 80 articles and book chapters, and contributed entries for a number of encyclopedias and dictionaries. His Big Road Blues: Tradition and Creativity in the Folk Blues is the definitive study of how blues are composed and passed from generation to generation through oral tradition. He also is editor for the American Made Music series of books of the University Press of Mississippi.  Evans has produced album notes for 84 recordings, mostly of blues and gospel music. His album notes for Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: the Worlds of Charley Patton won a Grammy award in 2003.

Evans has released 50 recordings of his African-American blues, gospel, and folk music, including one of Venezuelan music. Many were for the U of M’s High Water Records.  An accomplished blues and gospel musician in his own right, Evans has recorded one CD with the Last Chance Jug Band and one under his own name. Until the early 1990s he performed mostly as a guitar accompanist. Evans now performs mainly as a soloist across the U.S. and overseas.

He has also served as a musicological consultant on three films projects for Steven Ross, the U of M’s award-winning professor of communication.  Outside of music, his work on African-American folktales, riddles, rhymed toasts, and folk arts adds depth and dimension to his musical work.

Four professors will be honored with the Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award.  Receiving the $2,000 award will be Dr. Leigh Ann Duck, associate professor of English, Dr. Jack Grubaugh, associate professor of biology, Dr. Monika Nenon, professor of foreign languages and literatures, and Dr. Robin Poston, assistant professor of management information systems.

Duck is coordinator of literature and textural studies, director of the English Honors program, and interim director of Women’s Studies.  Her teaching style is characterized as “engaging and welcoming,” and she is “dedicated to her students and to the development of great courses.”

Grubaugh, who also is director of the Meeman Biological Field Station, is recognized as an excellent advisor and teacher who makes learning biology interesting and who “makes his courses rigorous and challenging, yet entertaining.”

Nenon has taught German language, literature, and culture for 14 years and has done “an excellent job in developing the business German track, particularly the IMBA program and the University’s annual business language workshop.”

Poston, who is also a systems testing research fellow for the FedEx Institute of Technology, is admired for her enthusiasm for her students, the material that she teaches, and the University as a whole.  She “goes beyond traditional boundaries to make her classes interesting, relevant, and fun.”

The U of M Alumni Association will also present awards for Distinguished Research, Excellence in Engaged Scholarship, and Creative Achievement.  Recipients of the $2,000 award are Robert Hetherington for achievement in the creative arts; Dr. Catherine Martin for the humanities; Dr. Shannon Blanton for social sciences and business; Dr. Carl Halford for the sciences, engineering, and math; and Richard Janikowski and Dr. Phyllis Betts for excellence in engaged scholarship.

As chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, Hetherington has been a productive and acclaimed director at the University and in Memphis. He has directed shows at the U of M, Playhouse on the Square, Theatre Memphis, and Opera Memphis.  His productions have won numerous awards for direction, acting, and design.  He is affiliated with the prestigious Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, and was in residence at the Shaw Festival of Canada in 2005. He published several essays in the Shaw journal Pshaw!

Martin, professor of English, joined the U of M in 1990.  Since earning her Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Cruz, she has published four books and 43 articles, book chapters and reviews. Martin has edited two collections of essays: Milton and Gender was published in 2004 and Francis Bacon and the Refiguration of Early Modern Thought in 2005.

Blanton is chair of the Department of Political Science. Her work in the field of international relations has garnered her national and international regard. Blanton’s work is devoted to examining connections between U.S. arms transfers and the democratic performance, human development, and human rights records of recipient countries. Her research is recognized for its rigorous methodological character as well as for its public policy importance. It has appeared in top-ranked journals of political and international relations.

Halford, professor of electrical and computer engineering, has brought recognition to the U of M in the field of electro-optical and infrared imaging sensor systems, and is world-renowned in imaging sensor system performance modeling. He has sustained an externally funded research programs for many years while serving the University in a variety of roles, including department chair for 10 years.

Halford leads the Herff College of Engineering’s efforts to increase productivity and external funding. In 2006 he served as principal investigator on $1.4 million in external research expenditures from prestigious agencies such as the U .S. Army Research Lab, U.S. Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, and the Office of Naval Research, as well as industry sponsors.  He has also mentored more Ph.D. candidates than any other faculty member in the College.

Janikowski, associate professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and Betts, associate professor in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, have more than 10 years of experience in community-based research and problem-solving.  In 1997 they embarked on a series of community-based collaborative efforts within Memphis and Shelby County to address crime, housing decline, predatory lending, and other social issues. Some projects that have emerged from these collaborations include Blue CRUSH, a crime analysis and intervention strategy that has supported that has become a model for crime analysis in other cities; Memphis Project Safe Neighborhoods and Problem Properties Collaborative to address the problems of crime and blight in deteriorating neighborhoods; and the Memphis Sexual Assault Project and Court Watch. Their work has produced real results, including decreases in crime and initiation of anti-predatory lending legislation in the Tennessee General Assembly.

This year’s recipients of the Distinguished Advising Awards are Dr. Melvin Beck, professor of biology, and Donna Huddleston, an instructor and advisor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Each will receive a $2,000 award.

Beck has served the U of M as a productive researcher, an outstanding teacher, and an engaged advisor to students for 33 years. He also served as chair of the Department of Biology for many years. During three decades of service, Beck has provided advice and support to several hundred biology majors who have gone on to graduate schools, medical and other health-care related professional schools, and a range of other careers. He is currently the primary advisor for 50 undergraduate students.

Huddleston joined the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice in 1996. She is the primary point of contact on advising questions for more than 400 majors and has served more than 1,000 students during her career here, in addition to teaching two courses each semester. In spite of that heavy load, she reserves to time to speak to each of them individually at least once a semester, and is in contact with many of them on an almost weekly basis. Huddleston  has an open-door policy during the day and will schedule time on weekends or evenings to accommodate students whose work schedules do not permit them to come to campus during normal business hours.

Dr. Dennis Laumann and Margaret A. “Peggy” Quinn will each receive the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes teaching excellence at the undergraduate level and overall commitment to undergraduate education.  Established in 1966, the Briggs Award memorializes the founder of Welcome Wagon International. Nominees are judged on the basis of teaching skills, classroom performance, their role in the overall development of undergraduates, and the results of student rating surveys.

Laumann, an associate professor of history, and Quinn, an assistant professor of family and consumer science, will each receive the $5,000 award.

Laumann teaches world civilizations, African history, and Honors Programs seminars on Marxism and Che Guevara.  He is recognized as a committed adviser who helps oversee the African Students Association, and he takes a group of students to Ghana each summer for the University’s study abroad program.  He is known as a “talented and committed teacher, a mentor and friend to undergraduates, and a positive force in the campus culture.”

Quinn teaches fashion merchandising and supervises the senior project class for Family and Consumer Science.  She coordinates off-campus teaching and learning sites, as well as industry field trips to supplement instruction.  She is a “popular, thoughtful teacher” who has an active scholarly agenda, with presentations at local, regional and national conferences.

Margery Stoever will receive one of the University of Memphis’s most prestigious honors for service to the University – the Allen J. Hammond Presidential Award.  The Hammond Award is not presented every year; it is reserved for special recognition of people who have extraordinarily significant service to the University. Once called the Presidential Award for Exceptional Service, the award now honors Allen J. Hammond, the University’s late director of student financial aid.

The University’s director of Business and Finance Support Services, Stoever is being recognized for her commitment to excellence, especially during the University’s long and complicated conversion to Banner software.

A certified public accountant, Stoever began working full-time for the University in the Payroll office in 1984. Over the years she has served as manager of financial systems support and director of client services in Information Systems. She became director of Business and Finance Support Services in August 2000.

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