Posting Date: April 23, 2010

Arts College at Kennesaw State announces faculty, staff awards
Recipients honored for teaching, service and creative activity

For media inquiries: Cheryl Anderson Brown, Director of Public Relations,
770-499-3417 or

KENNESAW, Ga.The College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University yesterday announced the recipients of its distinguished faculty awards in the areas of teaching, service, and research and creative activity. The college also presented its annual staff member of the year award.

(from left) Karen Robinson, Laurence Sherr,

Michael Alexander and Shane McDonald

photo by Linda Tincher

Associate Professor of Music Michael Alexander, who lives in Kennesaw, received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies Karen Robinson, who lives in Atlanta, received the Distinguished Service Award. Associate Professor of Music Laurence Sherr, who lives in Atlanta, received the Distinguished Research and Creative Activity Award. The Outstanding Staff Member of the Year Award was presented to Shane McDonald, who lives in Marietta; McDonald is the visual arts resource coordinator.

Michael Alexander joined the KSU faculty in 2004. He is the director of orchestral activities and co-director of the Summer Clinic for Music and Dance. In addition to directing the KSU Orchestra, which he started in 2004, Alexander teaches a variety of courses from small seminars to large lecture classes. He believes that “the greatest gift a teacher can give a student is the desire and the ability to continue to learn after the teacher is no longer with the student.” His students respond well to this philosophy; as one student evaluator noted, he is “really, really passionate about music and so it is a joy to listen to the lectures.” Alexander holds a Bachelor of Music degree from University of Georgia, a Master of Music from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also the music director of the Cobb Symphony Orchestra and of the Georgia Youth Symphony and Orchestra, which is co-sponsored by KSU and CSO.

Karen Robinson joined the KSU faculty in 2000. Beyond her teaching assignments, Robinson is actively engaged in several service projects for her department, the KSU College of the Arts, the university, and the theater profession. She serves as the global learning coordinator for the College of the Arts, a role that requires her to coordinate, administer, track and report all international and intercultural curricular and co-curricular programs within the college, as part of the university-wide initiative to graduate students who are globally engaged citizens. Some of Robinson’s other service activities include heading the college’s committees for revising its strategic plan and for revising tenure and promotion guidelines as well as serving on the university’s Honors Council and the KSU faculty development and awards committee. Outside of the university, she has served for several years as a jurist for the national David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award, as a regional respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and as an adjudicator for Georgia Shakespeare’s high school monologue competition. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado and a Master of Fine Arts from New York University.

Laurence Sherr joined the KSU faculty in 1996. He teaches courses in music theory and composition and serves as composer-in-residence. The major focus of his creative activity and research is in the composition process and the creation of new music. As a composer, Sherr has received numerous commissions and has been granted artist grant and residencies by a number of public and private agencies, including Georgia Council for the Arts, City of Atlanta, the National Park Service, the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences in Rabun Gap, Ga., and The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, among others. His compositions have been recorded and performed by artists in the United States and Europe. Sherr is particularly well-known for several compositions related to the Holocaust, which are regularly performed at Holocaust commemoration events around the world. Sherr is frequently invited to give presentations or lectures about his work; most recently, he presented in Germany and he has been invited to present in Jerusalem next year. He is an active member of the American Composers Forum, American Music Center, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, Music Teachers National Association and several other professional organizations for composers or educators. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University and a Master of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Shane McDonald joined the KSU staff in 2004. As the coordinator of Visual Arts Resource Center and Computer Labs, he manages resource materials and technology for faculty to use in their classes and he oversees the student computer labs. Additionally, he helps maintain the web site and produces some promotional materials for the KSU Department of Visual Arts. McDonald was cited for excellence in customer service; one nominator wrote that he “is willing to help anyone who needs it and when asked to do something, always goes above and beyond.” In the last year, McDonald has been asked to reorganize operations within the resource center and to adhere to new policies and guidelines following a change in the university’s reporting structure for library-related offices. Despite the added responsibilities, McDonald is noted to have maintained a positive and helpful demeanor no matter what changes he was asked to undertake. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in art from Kennesaw State University. He is also active as an artist and maintains a studio in Marietta.


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A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 21,000 from 142 countries. The third-largest university in Georgia, Kennesaw State offers more than 65 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including new doctorates in education and business.

The KSU College of the Arts is one of only four Georgia institutions to have achieved full national accreditation for all of its arts programs.



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The College of the Arts at Kennesaw State University supports, defends and promotes academic freedom in artistic expression, as outlined by the American Association of University Professors, and diversity of all kinds as outlined by the university's Human Relations Position Statement.

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