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April 24, 2009


UNC Board of Governors Announces University-wide Awards for Teaching Excellence 

CHAPEL HILL – The Board of Governors of the 17-campus University of

North Carolina has selected 17 of its most outstanding faculty to receive the 15th Annual Awards for Excellence in Teaching. Each award winner will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $7,500 cash prize.

Award recipients were nominated by special committees on their home campuses and selected by the Board of Governors Committee on Personnel and Tenure, chaired by Dudley Flood of Raleigh. The awards will be presented by a member of the Board of Governors during spring commencement exercises on each campus.

Winners are Cathy H. McKinney, professor of music, Appalachian State University; Derek H. Alderman, associate professor of geography, East Carolina University; Jharna D. Sengupta, professor of mathematics, Elizabeth City State University; Booker T. Anthony, associate professor of English and foreign languages, Fayetteville State University; Dorthea “Billie” Foushee, associate professor of biology, NC A&T State University; Virginia Politano, professor of physical education and recreation, NC Central University; Maxine P. Atkinson, professor of sociology and anthropology, NC State University; Samuel R. Kaplan, associate professor of mathematics, UNC Asheville; Christopher Armitage, professor of English, UNC-Chapel Hill; Margaret P. Morgan, associate professor of English, UNC Charlotte; Amy Lixl-Purcell, associate professor of art, UNC Greensboro; Susan M. Cannata, associate professor of theatre and languages, UNC Pembroke; Len Lecci, professor of psychology, UNC Wilmington; Marilyn Taylor, chair of the voice faculty, UNC School of the Arts; Sean O’Connell, associate professor of biology, Western Carolina University; Edwin D. Bell, professor of education, Winston-Salem State University; and Virginia S. Wilson, instructor and dean of the Department of Humanities, NC School of Science and Mathematics.

Established by the Board of Governors in 1994 to underscore the importance of teaching and to reward good teaching across the University, the awards are given annually to a tenured faculty member from each UNC campus.  Winners must have taught at their present institutions at least seven years. No one may receive the award more than once.


Cathy H. McKinney, Appalachian State University

McKinney joined the Appalachian faculty in 1997 and is founding director of the music therapy program in the Hayes School of Music.   She developed and has taught most of the courses in the program’s undergraduate and graduate curriculum and has earned a national reputation for guiding some of the best young music therapists in the country. She holds a doctorate in music therapy and behavioral medicine from the University of Miami.


Derek Alderman, East Carolina University

A cultural/historical geographer in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, Alderman joined in the ECU faculty in 1998. The recipient of numerous teaching awards while at ECU, he brings to his teaching outstanding research skills and a strong belief in service. He holds an undergraduate degree in history from Georgia Southern College, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in geography from the University of Georgia.


Jharna Sengupta, Elizabeth City State University

With the help of numerous grants secured from the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Education, Sengupta has established microcomputer labs and incorporated technology into the teaching of mathematics at ECSU. Known for involving students in her research, she has twice been named Teacher of the Year in ECSU’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. She holds baccalaureate and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Kalyabi in India, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in the field from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. 


Booker T. Anthony, Fayetteville State University

Former students call Booker’s enthusiasm and classroom energy infectious. His literature classes are both dreaded and anticipated by students who know that he is demanding, but also dedicated to helping them learn and excel.   A member of the FSU faculty since 1986, Anthony publishes regularly on the fiction of Ernest J. Gains. He is a graduate of St. Augustine’s College and holds master’s and doctoral degrees in English from Ohio State University


Dorthea “Billie” Foushee, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Foushee carries her excitement about science into the classroom, motivating students to excel beyond their own self-imposed limits. She engages students in her research, and many of them have presented their own research findings at local, regional, national, and international scientific conferences. A member of the A&T faculty since 1994, Foushee is a teaching fellow with the NC Science and Mathematics Network, serving as a mentor for elementary, middle, and high school science teachers.   She earned baccalaureate and master’s degrees in biology from Shaw University and North Carolina Central University, respectively. 


Virginia Politano, North Carolina Central University

A member of the NCCU faculty since 1984, Politano teaches courses in motor learning, motor development, adapted physical education, exercise science, and event management, among others. She has revised the undergraduate physical education curriculum, totally revamped the graduate program in adapted physical education, served as chair of the department, and mentored junior faculty members. She also has worked with the Durham Parks and Recreation Department to develop an after-school program for children with disabilities.   She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in physical education from Marshall University and a PhD from Southern Illinois University.


Maxine Atkinson, North Carolina State University

Head of NC State’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Atkinson has focused her research on the scholarship of teaching and learning, with an emphasis on assessing classroom teaching techniques and transforming curricula. She regularly offers teaching workshops for both first-year and graduate students, reviews departmental curricula and teaching materials, and evaluates teaching portfolios. The recipient of numerous awards for teaching and contributions to the profession, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree from Georgia State University, and a doctorate from Washington State University. She also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University.


Samuel Kaplan, University of North Carolina at Asheville

During his ten years at UNC Asheville, Kaplan has worked to prove that math is both fun and important. His students praise him for his concern, his ability to explain difficult material, his enthusiasm for the subject, and his willingness to help them at any time. He is a willing mentor to undergraduate researchers and also provides hands-on learning opportunities for K-12 math teachers in the region. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from UNC-Chapel Hill and his master’s and PhD in the field from Boston University. 


Christopher Armitage, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Since joining the UNC-Chapel Hill English Department faculty in 1967, Armitage has taught more than 20 different courses. During his long tenure, he has won virtually every teaching award available to Carolina faculty and was twice awarded a Bowman and Gordon Gray Chair for his excellence in teaching. He has made his native England and English literature come alive for students, and he pushes them not only to write more clearly and concisely, but also to think about and understand more fully what they are reading, what they are saying, and how their writing affects their readers. Armitage, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from Oxford University, also hold a master’s degree from Western Ontario University and a doctorate from Duke University.


Margaret Morgan, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

At UNCC, Morgan has championed efforts to improve the curriculum and teaching of freshman composition and has implemented new placement procedures for students for whom English is a second language. Her effect on the professional development of graduate teaching assistants, lecturers, and adjunct faculty is still being felt by students and instructors. Morgan earned a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park and a PhD from Purdue University. 


Amy Lixl-Purcell, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Lixl-Purcell began her award-winning career at UNC Greensboro in 1989.   In the years that followed, she created the curriculum for a new concentration in the Art Department--digital design. The design concentration has now more than 200 majors and the program’s popularity continues to grow. One of her colleagues testified, “Her contributions to the Art Department have been nothing short of transformational, and critical to the current and future success of the teaching of visual arts at UNC Greensboro.”


Susan M. Cannata, University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Cannata provides a nurturing environment that coaxes her students to participate. Her students are not only willing, but eager to be part of the discourse. An active participant in student activies,  Cannata is a Teaching Fellows mentor and former winner of UNCP’s Outstanding Teaching Award. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Boston University. She also holds a PhD from the University of New Mexico. 


Len Lecci, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

A licensed clinical psychologist with vast experience in hospital and social services settings, Lecci is also a scholar who has received grant funding, given numerous presentations, and published numerous articles, including many co-authored with his students. As director of clinical services for UNCW’s Memory Assessment and Research Services, he has trained graduate and post-doctoral students in the assessment of memory functions. At UNCW since 1996, he has received numerous awards for teaching excellence. He earned his baccalaureate and master’s degrees in psychology from Carleton University in Canada, and his doctorate in clinical psychology from Arizona State University. 


Marilyn Taylor, University of North Carolina School of the Arts

A faculty member in the UNCSA School of Music since 1992 and chair of the voice faculty since 1996, Taylor is recognized as an exceptional teacher, as well as a remarkable and prolific performer. Her students praise her ability to help them perform beyond their own expectations, as well as her incredible command of other languages and of music history. Taylor earned her Doctor of Music degree from the University of Indiana. 


Sean O’Connell, Western Carolina University

O’Connell joined the WCU faculty eight years ago and is now vice chair of the faculty. As a microbiologist, he works to help students overcome their fear of science by sharing the excitement of real-world research. Student research often results in articles co-authored with O’Connell and published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at professional conferences. In addition to an associate’s degree in liberal science/environmental studies from Sullivan County Community College in New York, O’Connell holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Johnson State College in Vermont and a doctorate in microbiology from Idaho State University.


Edwin D. Bell, Winston-Salem State University

Bell’s peers describe him as calm, reflective, and supportive. His publications and research focus on organizational development, program assessment, multicultural education, and the integration of technology into education. Both undergraduate and graduate students applaud his patience and his ability to listen to, mentor, and motivate them. Over the course of his career, Bell has won awards for his teaching and research and has secured grants to train elementary and secondary teachers in techniques to improve student learning. He holds degrees from Bowdoin College, Boston College, and UNC Greensboro. 


Virginia S. Wilson, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

A founding faculty member at NCSSM, Wilson has served as an instructor and the dean of humanities for over 28 years. She designed the School’s initial interdisciplinary course—“Wisdom, Revelation, Reason and Doubt”—and pioneered its distance education program by translating her Advanced Placement course in U.S. history into interactive video format for broadcast to high schools across the State. At Duke University, she teaches gifted younger students in the Talent Identification Summer Residential Program and serves as an adjunct professor in both the undergraduate education and Master of Arts in Teaching programs. She holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in history and education from Duke University.


About the University of North Carolina

The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls more than 215,000 students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees, as well as the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students.  UNC campuses support a broad array of distinguished liberal arts programs, two medical schools and one teaching hospital, two law schools, a veterinary school, a school of pharmacy, 11 nursing programs, 15 schools of education, three schools of engineering, and a specialized school for performing artists.  The UNC Center for Public Television, with its 11-station statewide broadcast network, is also under the University umbrella.



Monday, April 27, 2009

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