TWU Faculty To Be RecognizedAt Honors Convocation Ceremony
TWU Faculty To Be Recognized At Honors Convocation
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
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
"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
"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
"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.
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
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