Arts & Sciences professors win top awards

During the 2011-2012 academic year, professors from the College of Arts & Sciences have received some of Baylor’s most prestigious awards given to faculty.

In April, students in the Baylor senior class selected Dr. Blair Browning, assistant professor of communications, to receive the 2012 Collins Outstanding Professor Award. The award was funded in 1994 by the Carr P. Collins Foundation to honor outstanding teachers at Baylor. Recipients receive a cash award and deliver a public lecture on campus. Browning spoke April 24 on the topic,¬†“Authentic Leadership: How Critical Life Events Act as Catalysts for Change.”

Browning earned a bachelor’s of business administration and a master’s in organization communication at Baylor before receiving a Ph.D. in organizational communication from Texas A&M University.

Also in April, Dr. Roger E. Kirk, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Statistics and Master Teacher, was named the 2012 Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year. The annual award is presented to a faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor.

A member of Baylor’s faculty since 1958, Kirk was named the Outstanding Tenured Teacher in the College of Arts & Sciences in recognition of his teaching effectiveness. In 1993, Baylor appointed him as a Master Teacher, the highest honor granted to Baylor faculty members.

“During his 54 years of service on Baylor’s faculty, Roger Kirk has taught thousands of students and served extensively in professional societies and in the Baylor and local community. Perhaps even more remarkably, he has at the same time produced an extraordinary body of research, including more than 200 articles, reviews, reports, encyclopedia entries, editions of books and paper presentations, several of which have been foundational in the area of research protocols, sound experimental design and statistical procedures in the social sciences,” said Dr. James Bennighof, Baylor’s vice provost for academic affairs and policy.

A third major faculty award presented to a College of Arts & Sciences professor this year is the 2012 Centennial Professor Award. The recipient is Dr. Richard Russell, associate professor of English.¬†Russell was selected to receive $5,000 for his proposal to travel and study the works of Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney (who will visit Baylor in March 2013), as well as continue his research efforts and involvement in Baylor’s Beall Poetry Festival.

Russell said traveling to the Seamus Heaney Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and to the Seamus Heaney Papers at Emory University will benefit his teaching and research for a book about Heaney.

“I teach Heaney’s poetry, prose and drama in almost every course I conduct at Baylor, and the material I acquire from my archival research will enhance my teaching of this Nobel Prize-winning poet on both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Baylor,” Russell said.

The Baylor Centennial Professor award is funded by the Centennial Class of 1945 and supports faculty development. Each year, a Baylor tenured faculty member is designated as the Centennial Professor and is provided with funds for a project that will aid in developing of his or her ability to function as a university professor and contribute to academic life.

Leave a Reply