CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University presented its top faculty and staff awards for teaching, research and service for the 2002-03 academic year Friday, April 25, at its annual spring General Faculty Meeting and Awards Convocation.
2002-03 award recipients
Mimi Fenton, associate professor of English, won the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. The Paul A. Reid Service Award for faculty went to Bob Buckner, instructor of music and marching band director, while the Paul A. Reid Service Award for administrative staff went to Andy DeGrove, superintendent of maintenance in the Division of Facilities Management. James Carland Jr., professor of accountancy, finance and entrepreneurship, received the University Scholar Award for distinguished scholarly achievement.

The honors were announced by Western Carolina Chancellor John W. Bardo, who also presented the Support Program of Excellence Award to the University Health Services Center. Other major awards recognized at the convocation include The University of North Carolina Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching, won by Grace Allen, associate professor of accountancy, finance and entrepreneurship; the Collaborative Education Experience Award; and the Scholarly Development Assignment Program awards.

The Collaborative Education Experience Award is designed to support well-rounded student learning experiences that go above and beyond traditional course requirements and support Western’s mission related to teaching and learning. Emphasis is on collaborative activities that promote holistic student development. The 2003 winners are Julie Temple, assistant professor of human environmental sciences, and Glenna Batson, assistant professor of physical therapy. They collaborated on the annual Abilities Challenge Event, designed to heighten awareness of environmental barriers faced by the physically disabled by providing an opportunity to pilot a wheelchair through an obstacle course that accurately represents those challenges.

Recipients in the Scholarly Development Assignment Program are Daryl Hale, department head and associate professor of philosophy and religion; William Kwochka, associate professor of chemistry; Anna McFadden, associate professor of educational leadership and foundations; David Shapiro, professor of communication disorders; and Mary Warner, associate professor of English. The Scholarly Development Assignment Program provides leave from usual work commitments to full-time tenured faculty so they may pursue concentrated scholarly work. Recipients are chosen on a competitive basis by a faculty committee.

A new university award, the Integration of Learning Award, is designed to recognize faculty members who work to promote the integration of teaching within activities of the Division of Student Affairs. Recipients of the award are Daryl Hale and N. Dane Scott of the philosophy and religion program, and Brian Railsback, head of the English department, for their proposal for the creation of a “humanities house.”

Fenton, winner of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, is completing her 11th year as a member of the Western faculty. She received the award by meeting every item on a list of “characteristics of a great teacher” developed by the awards selection committee to guide its deliberations, Bardo said in announcing the award. Those characteristics include an interactive teaching style, being able to adapt to meet the needs of students, caring for and challenging students, enthusiasm, professionalism, and the ability to connect subject matter to students’ lives.

“She was willing to take risks in the classroom when she thought it would add to learning, even if there was a risk of failure,” Bardo said, quoting the committee. “She showed enormous enthusiasm about teaching. Dr. Fenton obviously loves her field and loves teaching it. It is refreshing to see someone so passionate about their teaching.”

Buckner, winner of the Reid faculty award, has been in charge of athletic bands at Western since 1991, growing the marching band from 82 members to 230 in 2002. He directs the Cathouse Pep Band, teaches a marching band techniques course for music education majors, and supervises music student teachers. Buckner also was recently named chairman of the N.C. Marching Band Committee.

“The name Bob Buckner has long been associated with bands both in the state of North Carolina and on the national level. He has been active as a teacher, consultant, designer and adjudicator for more than 36 years,” Bardo said. “Our bands have performed at regional high school exhibitions, Bands of America regional competition in the Georgia Dome, Bands of America Nationals in Indianapolis – in fact, they just received an invitation to perform there a second time – and an Atlanta Falcons professional football halftime show.”

The recipient of the Reid staff award, maintenance superintendent DeGrove is responsible for the day-to-day supervision of seven trade shops within facilities management, which includes about 60 trades people and technicians who keep Western’s campus operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Bardo said. He also has been involved in numerous campus leadership activities, and was one the original committee members that developed the current campus governance structure.

“Andy has the responsibility of overseeing the hands-on operation of a 100-plus-year-old campus that is interfaced with the 21st century and undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion. This sometimes requires responding to mechanical problems at 2 o’clock on a Saturday morning and, on at least one occasion, even personally going down in a sewer manhole to help troubleshoot a problem,” Bardo said. “The best description of Andy DeGrove’s contributions to this campus comes from his nominator, who said ‘Andy is not just a spoke in the wheel that operates the university, he is the hub and the grease that keeps the wheel turning.’”

Carland, who won the University Scholar Award, has been a member of Western’s College of Business faculty since 1982, earning his master’s degree in business administration from Western. He is acknowledged as a leader in the fast-growing field of entrepreneurship studies, and he was instrumental in the development of North Carolina’s first undergraduate degree program in entrepreneurship, established three years ago at Western, and WCU’s brand new master’s degree program in the discipline, the only program of its type in the state.

“Dr. Carland’s research expertise encompasses entrepreneurship, with concentration on the entrepreneurial psyche,” Bardo said. “Due in part to Dr. Carland, entrepreneurial psyche is a full-blown discipline, and one of the most important and influential in the entire field of business administration. The Carland Entrepreneurship Index, first published in the 1990s, has been translated into more than a dozen languages and is in use by entrepreneurship researchers around the world. It is clear that Jim’s work has and continues to influence entrepreneurship researchers around the world.”

In presenting the Support Award of Excellence, Bardo praised the University Health Services Center for its efforts to provide “excellence in service.” He singled out the center for improving efficiency and for reducing the average wait time for patients, despite seeing an increasing number of patients – up to 90 per day – and while preparing for a move to new facilities.

“Each member of the staff has been challenged to increase his or her level of commitment and expertise to the campus community, thus the level of patient care as well as community involvement has improved,” Bardo said.

“Health Services is proud of its team approach to establishing healthy standards of living among our students.”

Maintained by the WCU Office of Public Relations
Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2003
Copyright 2003 by Western Carolina University