Carson Bonner, Campus Carrier news editor

The faculty awards and Martha Berry Undergraduate awards are soon to be awarded to outstanding faculty nominated by the student body and also to an undergraduate student who exemplifies the standards of Berry with their vocational success, community engagement and volunteering and also their academic success. After students nominate the faculty and student they feel would be the best candidate for the award, the panel that decides the winners will discuss and then the winners will be announced at the convocation ceremony. 

            “The person who speaks at the convocation and grants the awards is usually the person who won the Carden award the previous year, but we switched up this time and it’s now the Vulcan Award winner,” administrative assistant to the provost Cynthia Womack said. “We like to have a previous winner as the speaker, that way the convocation is entirely centered around the awards.”

            The awards that students have the opportunity to nominate faculty for are the Teaching Excellence Award, the Eleana M. Garrett Award for Meritorious Advising and Caring, the Carden Award and the Dave and Lou Garrett Award For Meritorious Teaching. Several awards are funded by Berry alum who want to continue their legacy at Berry by honoring faculty, while others are community members who either want to memorialize a family member or who fund programs at Berry.

The winners of the last several years include associate professor of communications and filmmaking Curt Hersey, accounting professor Thomas Carnes, Spanish professor Julee Tate and associate professor of animal science Sunday Peters. While they did not receive the same awards, they were granted these awards for their roles as professors or advisors.

“It’s really such an honor for students and colleagues to take the time to even recognize you,” Hersey said. “I really enjoy being an advisor so being recognized for the work and help I try to give me students, and knowing it’s appreciated, meant a lot and I was so honored.”

            For the Martha Berry Outstanding Undergraduate Award, the process of awarding it to a student is very similar to that of the faculty awards. The committee reviews the nominees to see who stands out the most based on how they carry out the traits of what Berry stands for. To be eligible,  a student just has to go to Berry long enough that they can be labeled a Berry student, as well as have community volunteer work, a 3.2 GPA and exemplary work in their job either on or off campus. 

            “The award is really centered around achievement,” interim provost David Slade said. “The goal is to fully identify and appreciate a student who really lives up to what it means to be Berry, a person who lives out the head, heart and hands idea of Berry college. They have the academics, the love for the school and their connection with the community.”

            The convocation ceremony itself did not used to host the presentation of the faculty awards and the undergraduate award. These presentations used to take place at graduation, but it was decided by the provost office that it should be moved to the convocation ceremony.

            “We had the awards at graduation but it really dragged on so long and the poor students were standing outside in their black gowns in the beating sun,” Womack said. “It’s more centered around the awards themselves if we have it in an award ceremony rather than at graduation and that’s really what we want.”

            The convocation ceremony will be April 11, where faculty and students alike will have the opportunity to be presented with one of the awards. 

Posted by Campus Carrier

Leave a Reply