Mark Finlay (left), Zaphon Wilson, Kevin Hampton, Traci Ness and Suzanne Carpenter

Armstrong Presents 2011 Faculty Leadership Awards

(May 20, 2011) Armstrong Atlantic State University honored five faculty members recently during its 2011 Leadership Awards ceremony. The annual awards recognize the work and dedication to student teaching, research, and service to the university by outstanding faculty members across all academic disciplines. The 2011 honorees are:

Mark R. Finlay, assistant dean in the College of Liberal Arts, received the Alumni Award for Distinguished Faculty Service to the Academic Discipline. The award recognizes faculty members who contribute significantly to their academic discipline, including the creation and dissemination of new knowledge and the interpretation and/or reorganization of existing knowledge. He has been a member of the Armstrong faculty since 1992, serving as professor of history and founder and director of the Honors Program. He has been honored for his distinguished teaching in 1995, 1999, and 2000 and has published over 16 critical articles, many of which have appeared in the top-ranked journals in his field. He has edited a guidebook for the survey of industrial and economic history of Georgia, written nearly 50 book reviews, and presented dozens of conference papers and invited lectures. His most recent major publication, Growing American Rubber: Strategic Plants and the Politics of National Security (Rutgers University Press), was selected by the Agricultural History Society as the best book in the field in 2009. He has served on the Editorial Board for the journal Agricultural History, been a member of the Board of Directors for the Society for Industrial Archeology and acted as a consultant for other program development initiatives. He has been awarded numerous research grants and the coveted Georgia Board of Regents' Teaching Excellence Award in 1999.

Zaphon Wilson, head of the Department of Criminal Justice, Social & Political Science, received the Award for Distinguished Faculty Service to the Community. The award recognizes the achievements of faculty members who show outstanding service to the community and specifically recognizes the use of a faculty member's academic expertise in ways that benefit the public in general. Since joining Armstrong in 2004, Wilson has served on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Coastal Empire, volunteered his service with Savannah's Crime Task Force and has been a key promoter of Armstrong's Kiss a Pig Campaign. These undertakings have strengthened the ties between Armstrong and numerous service organizations in the community. Most recently, he devoted his energy to help establish 100 Black Men of Savannah, Inc., a well-respected organization best known for its work in educational outreach and mentoring of African American young people. Working with this organization has led him to develop hands-on service opportunities in local schools and neighborhoods to help prepare our community's next generation of leaders. He has also expanded his long and distinguished record of community service through his work with the Savannah Rape Crisis Center. Serving on the Board of Directors for this organization, he contributes his professional leadership to help answer the needs of those in our community who are often without advocates.

Kevin Hampton, professor of music, received the Award for Distinguished Faculty Service to the University. The award recognizes the achievements of faculty members who have been outstanding in serving the university, including representing or serving as an advocate of the university, at academic or other functions, through committee service, development of new resources and faculty presentations. Hampton joined Armstrong in 1995, serving as professor and advisor. Since 2008, he has been involved in some of the most important and time-consuming committees at the university. Foremost, he served as the inaugural president of the Armstrong Faculty Senate. After fulfilling this role, he served on the Strategic Planning Council, Armstrong's 75th Anniversary Planning Council and chaired the search committee for the vice president of academic affairs. Throughout his years at Armstrong, he has served, and in many instances provided leadership, on numerous university-wide committees, including the Grievance Committee, the Faculty Welfare Committee and the University Executive Committee. Last year he organized, managed and hosted the annual Piano Fest 2010, as well as collaborated with the Hilton Head International Piano Competition to bring a Laureates concert to Armstrong.

Traci Ness, assistant professor of biology, received the Brockmeier Faculty Award. The award is an endowment fund established by Kristina Brockmeier, former director of library services, as an expression of her lasting interest in Armstrong's faculty and students. The award recognizes outstanding faculty members, with one to five years of service, who have demonstrated outstanding teaching and made significant contributions through service to the university and its students. In the four years she has taught at Armstrong, Ness has established herself as a master teacher whose lectures are, according to a nomination by one of her students, “dynamic multimedia, conversations with students.” Her course evaluations provide consistent perspective that she is a professor who works hard to make her courses exciting, active learning environments. Outside of the classroom she has demonstrated a commitment to promoting student involvement in research, having mentored five students in her own research.

Suzanne Carpenter, associate professor of chemistry, received the H. Dean Propst Award from the Student Government Association. The award recognizes faculty members who have been outstanding in teaching and learning, advisement, counseling and the encouragement and support of student involvement in academic and co-curricular activities, such as research and scholarship. Carpenter is a sought-out advisor and instructor whose courses always fill up quickly. She teaches a wide variety of courses in the chemistry curriculum and is the principal investigator of a National Science Foundation grant to help financially disadvantaged students complete degrees in the sciences. A pharmacist in addition to being a professor, Carpenter teaches and advises pre-pharmacy students who go on to successful complete careers in pharmacy at other academic institutions. In addition to her teaching duties, she has been involved in a number of projects that support student success, including First Year Experience, the Common Read and Navigate.