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TWU Faculty To Be RecognizedAt Honors Convocation Ceremony

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TWU Faculty To Be Recognized At Honors Convocation Ceremony


Three Texas Woman's University faculty will be recognized for contributions to the university and teaching during Honors Convocation ceremonies April 10 at 10 a.m. in the Margo Jones Performance Hall, located near the intersection of Oakland Avenue and Sawyer Street.

Dr. Kyle Biggerstaff, assistant professor of kinesiology, will receive the Mary Mason Lyon Award, presented to outstanding junior faculty members who have fewer than 10 years of university teaching experience. Betty MacNeill, associate professor of physical therapy, will receive the Humphries Award for dedication to TWU. Dr. Valentine Belfiglio, professor of history and government, will receive the Cornaro Award, presented to a distinguished senior faculty member.

Dr Biggerstaff, who began teaching at TWU in 1999, has demonstrated exemplary teaching, scholarship and service.

"Since joining TWU, Dr. Biggerstaff has exceeded every expectation set for him," said Dr. Jean Pyfer, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

"His primary assignment when he was hired was to head up a team of three faculty from different disciplines and teach a health and wellness course. He did that superbly well," Dr. Pyfer added. In addition, he was selected to become the Department of Kinesiology's certified health/fitness instructor through the College of Sports Medicine. That involved a considerable time commitment while at the same time he was in the process of completing his dissertation.

Dr. Biggerstaff has been invited to give presentations at the regional and national level, and he has received approximately $40,000 in funding for research projects, published abstracts and served as a reviewer for a professional journal and a publishing company. Dr. Biggerstaff also was in the first class of TWU's Chancellor's Research Fellows Program.

"Kyle has done an outstanding job of juggling the demands of teaching many different courses each semester, advising many students, serving on departmental and university committees and initiating research programs," said Dr. Barney Sanborn, professor of kinesiology.

"Dr. Biggerstaff is dedicated to teaching and has developed several classes and revised numerous courses for the department. He has jumped in with advising of both undergraduate and graduate students for the department ... He is an exceptional teacher," said Dr. Jerry Wilkerson, chair of the Department of Kinesiology.

During the past 18 years, Ms. MacNeill has moved up the ranks from instructor to associate professor of physical therapy and currently serves as interim associate dean for the School of Physical Therapy at the Houston Center.

"I've known Betty since 1981, when I first entered the entry-level master's program in physical therapy," said Carolyn Kelley, assistant clinical professor of physical therapy. "Her ability to teach and mentor, along with an overall commitment to her students was quite evident then, and she was able to impart to me a love for treating individuals with neurological problems. This love was newly found, because I had believed I would spend my career working to rehabilitate injured athletes.

"She is continuously looking for ways to be innovative and seeks ways to actively learn, I think, ultimately, so that she can become a better teacher," Ms. Kelley added.

Recently, Ms. MacNeill demonstrated her innovation in teaching by collaborating with area clinicians and faculty in the TWU School of Occupational Therapy to develop new courses for a certificate program in advanced pediatric therapy. The program is attracting many new students to TWU.

She committed several years of service to the Faculty Senate and was twice elected speaker pro tem and three times served as chair of the constitutional bylaws committee. Ms. MacNeill also served on the presidential search committee in 1999, and for the past two years she has chaired the Houston Center commencement committee.

"Ms. MacNeill has served the TWU community diligently and with passion for the last 29 years in the areas of academia, scholarship and service and appears unwilling to slow down ... In my estimation, no one is more suited to be recognized with this special award than she," said Dr. Mohamed Sabbahi, professor of physical therapy.

No one is more devoted to the well being of TWU or its students than Dr. Belfiglio, said Dr. Jim Alexander, chair of the Department of History.

"Val has been toiling in the vineyards of teaching, scholarship and service at TWU for more than 30 years. In all those years, he has distinguished himself as being loyal and dedicated to his profession, this department and our university," Dr. Alexander added.

"Val's strong record of accomplishment is well documents on his vita, but Val is a very modest and unassuming individual. Many of his friends at TWU may not realize that he has written many books and articles on a wide range of topics in both English and Italian. His works have been translated into several languages. The president of Italy has honored Val with special recognition for the contribution that his scholarship has made to Italian-American relations.

"His greatest love is teaching. He excels in this endeavor at all levels. Val is a natural teacher with special abilities to ask significant questions that compel his students to critically examine their facts to understand and appreciate the underlying relationships ... Students love to spend time talking with Dr. B, as he is affectionately know," Dr. Alexander said.

Dr. Belfiglio recently spent a semester in Italy on a faculty development leave doing research on the Roman republic. He will present his research in a special graduate seminar in the fall.

"During my undergraduate studies at TWU, Dr. Belfiglio encouraged me to further my education and challenged me to meet not only my academic, but my personal and professional goals as well," said Trayce Hudy, assistant to Chancellor Dr. Ann Stuart. "Because of this, I pursued a master's degree ... I consider Dr. Belfiglio not only a respected mentor, but also a valued friend."


For Further Information Contact:

Roy Kron
Director of News and Information
Tel: (940) 898-3456