Kennesaw State honors outstanding faculty, staff

KENNESAW, Ga. | Aug 11, 2017

KSU Foundation recognizes excellence in annual ceremony

Kennesaw State University President Sam Olens recognized more than three dozen individuals Thursday during Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony at which the Kennesaw State University Foundation awarded more than $141,000.

“I am honored to be the president of Kennesaw State University, and I am excited to be a part of this ceremony that rewards deserving members of KSU’s faculty and staff for their work and commitment to making KSU the world-class university that it has become,” said Olens.

The Foundation awarded $120,000 in funds recognizing faculty excellence in research, teaching and professional service. The Foundation also awarded $21,000 in funds for staff and administrator awards.

David Jones
Philosophy Professor David Jones took top honors as winner of the University’s Distinguished Professor Award.

Jones said he was honored to be recognized by the KSU Foundation for his teaching and research.

“We have one of the most unique philosophy programs in the nation with an impressively talented faculty serving our students,” Jones said, “and I believe one or two others in the history and philosophy department will be recipients of this award in the future.”

In making the presentation, Ken Harmon, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said the KSU Foundation selected Jones, who has taught at Kennesaw State since 1994, from among a group of three finalists.

“The selected recipient of this award has not only been distinguished in his excellence in teaching but has also held leading roles nationally and internationally,” Harmon said of Jones. “His service has distinguished our university as an educational leader with prominence in research and service.”

Harmon noted that Jones has been the founding editor of a prominent journal and held leadership roles over many years, and has provided active service to a number of academic communities at the local, regional, national and international levels. He has served as the philosophy student association faculty advisor for the last 22 years, and originated several programs such as Asian Studies and Peace Studies.

The award, which recognizes achievement and excellence in teaching, research and creative activity, and professional service – and the integration of all three of these disciplines into a coherent career thread at Kennesaw State University. It comes with a $20,000 award.

The other two Distinguished Professor Award finalists, physics professor Nikolaos Kidonakis and computer science professor Chih-Cheng Hung, each received $2,500 from the KSU Foundation. 

Faculty and staff awards

Other faculty awards included:

  • KSU Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award winner: Laura Davis, associate professor of English ($10,000)
  • KSU Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award finalist: Tyra Burton, senior lecturer of marketing ($2,500)
  • KSU Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award finalist: Darina Lepadatu, professor of sociology ($2,500)
  • Professional Service Award winner: Doreen Wagner from the WellStar School of Nursing ($10,000)
  • Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Awards winner: Roxanne Donovan, assistant chair of interdisciplinary studies and professor of psychology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences ($10,000)
  • Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Awards winner: Maia Hallward, professor of Middle East politics, in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences ($10,000)
  • Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Awards winner: Christina Scherrer, professor of industrial engineering ($10,000)
  • Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Distinguished Faculty Award for International Achievement winner: Linda Hightower, professor of visual arts ($5,000)
  • Diversity Advocate Award winner: Roxanne Donovan, assistant chair of interdisciplinary studies and professor of psychology ($5,000)
  • Outstanding Community Engagement Award winner: May Hongmei Gao, professor of interdisciplinary studies ($5,000)
  • Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award winners: Heidi Scherer, associate professor of criminal justice ($5,000)
  • Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award winners: Jing He, assistant professor of computer science ($5,000)
  • Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award winners: Michelle Devereaux, associate professor of English education ($5,000)
  • Outstanding Part-Time Teaching Awards winners within each of the degree granting colleges ($1,000 each):
  • College of Architecture and Construction Management: Nicholas Papleacos

       -     College of the Arts: Natashya Armer-Giardina

       -     Bagwell College of Education: William Beeland

       -     Coles College of Business: Robert Gnuse

       -     College of Computing and Software Engineering: David Stabler

       -     Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering And Engineering Technology:Hal McClain

       -     College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Mandy McGrew

       -     College of Science and Mathematics: Horace (Price) Webb

       -     University College: Kecia Le’mae Jones

       -     WellStar College of Health and Human Services: David Martinez

Faculty and Staff awards

Staff awards included:

  • Distinguished Staff Award winner: Leigh Ann Oder of Management and Entrepreneurship with the Coles College of Business ($5,000)
  • Outstanding Team Award winners: Fola Teru, Jesus Soto, Shae Abston, Jessica Conteras Martinez, Frank Roork, Cartina Salgado, Theresa Street and Deborah Thompson from Building Services Leadership ($625 each for a total of $5,000)
  • Exceptional Customer Service Award winner: Donald Brookshire from Student Sports and Recreation ($2,500)
  • Excellence in Innovation Award winner: Colin Chadwick of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity ($2,000)
  • Outstanding Supervisor Award winner: Karen Marks from the Department of Career Planning and Development ($2,000)
  • Outstanding Administrator Award: Darrin Theriault from Academic Testing Services ($2,000)
  • Students’ Appreciation Award winner: Dusty Jackson from Student Sports and Recreation ($1,500)
  • Positive Impact Award winner: Officer CJ Dickens from the Department of Public Safety ($1,500)

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit