WTAMU faculty and staff awarded for significant impact in various areas of educational advancement

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Courtesy West Texas A&M University

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M faculty and staff who have had a significant impact on WT students were honored during a virtual year end meeting earlier today. WT officials said honorees were selected for their impact through excellent instruction, intellectual contributions, professional service and advancing graduate programs.

Faculty members from WT’s six academic colleges are recognized each year for accomplishments in teaching, research and service, the university said. The nomination and selection process includes input from peers, administrators, students and other WT stakeholders.

According to WT, university faculty award winners include:

  • Instructional Responsibilities Excellence Award — Dr. Mary Liz Brooks, assistant professor of media communication. Brooks was cited for exceptionally high student evaluation scores and for demonstrating “an engaging and energetic teaching style”.
  • Intellectual Contributions Excellence Award: Dr. Vinu Unnikrishnan, assistant professor of civil engineering. Unnikrishnan was recognized for receiving his third and fourth patents for biofidelic simulated tissue, which behaves biomechanically like human tissue but does not contain any biological material or attribute.
  • Professional Service Excellence Award: Dr. Gene Farren, assistant professor of sport and exercise sciences. Farren is a key contributor on important departmental and University committees and contributed to his department through remote academic advising throughout the Covid-19 shutdown.
  • Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award: Dr. Leigh Green, associate professor of education. Green taught more than a full load of classes — even doubling that number in the spring semester. That means she taught the most total number of students of all of her colleagues in the Department of Education. She held more than 500 virtual conferences with students in the spring semester and frequently steps in to assume classes for colleagues when the need arises.

WT also said additional college faculty award winners for instructional responsibilities include:

  • Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Science: Dr. Ray Matlack
  • Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business: Dr. Trevor Watkins
  • College of Engineering: Preston Tirey
  • College of Nursing and Health Sciences: Laura Reyher

Additional college faculty award winners for intellectual contributions, according to WT, include:

  • Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Science: Dr. Keshav Shrestha
  • Engler College of Business: Dr. Xiaolin Lin
  • College of Education and Social Sciences: Dr. Adam Weiss
  • Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities: Dr. Andrew Reynolds
  • College of Nursing and Health Sciences: Zeth Collom

WT added college faculty award winners for professional service include:

  • Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Science: Dr. Nate Wolf
  • Engler College of Business: Dr. Anne Macy
  • College of Engineering: Dr. Vinitha Subburaj
  • College of Education and Social Sciences: Dr. Kenneth Denton
  • Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities: Steven Dolezal & Dr. Benjamin Brooks

Staff excellence award winners, WT said, include:

  • Rebekah Bachman, assistant dean of the Paul Engler College of Agriculture & Natural Sciences
  • Lisa Mitchell, senior coordinator for graduate business programs for the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business
  • Alyson Ries, director of advising services
  • Special Academic Affairs Appreciation Recognition was awarded to Dr. Jeffry Babb and Dr. Anne Medlock for leading the Faculty Senate through challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic; and Richard Smith, assistant vice president for risk management and director of academic and research environmental health and safety, for supporting University efforts related to Covid-19 testing, contact tracing and reporting.

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