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TWU Faculty To Be Recognized At Honors Convocation Ceremony

TWU Faculty To Be Recognized At Honors Convocation Ceremony

DENTON — Six Texas Woman's University faculty will be recognized for contributions to the university and teaching during Honors Convocation ceremonies April 18 at 10 a.m. in the Margo Jones Performance Hall, located near the intersection of Oakland Avenue and Sawyer Street.

Dr. Cynthia Gill, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, and Dr. Melinda Holt, associate professor of mathematics, will receive the Mary Mason Lyon Award, presented to outstanding junior faculty members who have fewer than 10 years of university teaching experience. Dr. Allan Bird, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, will receive the Innovation in Academia Award. Joan Wall, professor of performing arts, will receive the Humphries Award for dedication to TWU. Dr. Glen Jennings, professor of family sciences and family therapy, will receive the Cornaro Award, presented to a distinguished senior faculty member. And Dr. Lybeth Hodges, associate professor of history and government, will receive the Distinction in Teaching Award.

Cynthia Gill

Dr. Gill, who began teaching at TWU in 1998, exemplifies the values of teaching, scholarship and service, according to her peers.

“She is a masterful teacher, scholar and professional. Both undergraduate and graduate students routinely praise Dr. Gill for her innovative teaching methods and ability to keep them engaged in meaningful learning activities,” said Dr. Jean Pyfer, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

Dr. Gill is equally successful in teaching classes on campus and using the teleconferencing system for speech pathology distance learning. Her accomplishments include creative research, articles and presentations on the state and national levels.

She has served her department by securing contracts with 83 clinical sites. At the university level, she is an active member of the Institute of Clinical Services and Applied Research. In that role, she has developed a comprehensive Web page, among other accomplishments.

In the spring of 2001, Dr. Gill was elected vice president for professional services within the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

“Excellence is all she knows!” said Dr. Alfred White, chair of the communication sciences and disorders department.

Melinda Holt

Dr. Holt, who also started teaching at TWU in 1998, has distinguished herself as a caring teacher and mentor who is appreciated by her students.

“Melinda is a strong team player and willingly chairs department committees,” said Dr. Frances Thompson, professor of mathematics and computer science. “She has served as statistics advisor on many research committees for graduate students in nursing and other disciplines.

“She also has proved to be a strong grants writer and already has written proposals for and received several grants for our department.”

In the few years Dr. Holt has been at TWU, she has obtained substantial federal funding for the university. She was awarded $270,000 from the National Science Foundation and $200,000 from Texas Instruments Inc. for the Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics Scholars Program. She was awarded another $87,577 from NSF for developing integrated statistics and computer science courses.

Dr. Holt has another NSF proposal pending for $299,519 titled “Expanding Pathways to Information Technology Careers for Women and Minorities,” and a U.S. Department of Education proposal pending for $1.1 million for a “TWU Talent Search Program.”

Recently, Dr. Holt was named one of six Chancellor's Research Fellow Mentors, which means she is now helping other faculty learn how to obtain external funding.

Allan Bird

It is difficult to imagine a single faculty member having a greater influence upon a university, a department and a state than Dr. Bird, noted Dr. Alfred White. Dr. Bird is an associate professor of communication sciences and disorders and has been a faculty member at TWU since 1990.

“Several years ago, the department sat at a crossroads. We had to make a decision whether we would extend ourselves by taking on a substantial distance learning program in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency, the 20 education service centers in Texas and the university, or remain consolidated on the TWU-Denton campus,” said Dr. Jean Ford, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders. “Dr. Bird stepped forward to assume the responsibility for this program.”

The program offers a master's degree in speech-language pathology to students who are working for or sponsored by public school districts. The program uses both interactive video conferencing, online courses, as well as other technology.

More than 200 speech-language pathologists working in public schools have completed the program. Assuming each has a caseload of 60, it is fair to say Texas Woman's University has touched the lives of more than 12,000 school-aged children as a result of the program.

Joan Wall

Ms. Wall, who has earned a national reputation for her musicianship, publications and acclaimed studio presence, has taught at Texas Woman's University since 1964 and has been a principal singer with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York and the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

“Joan has served the university in a wide variety of supporting roles, not the least of which is being one of our most cherished teachers and respected colleagues,” said Dr. Richard Rodean, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Students come to TWU because Joan is here. Students remain at TWU because Joan is here. We are all richer, in every sense, because our paths have crossed those of Joan Wall.”

Professor Wall teaches students in individual lessons, in masters' classes, in opera ensemble and in traditional classroom settings. Her enthusiasm about singing is infectious and it is impossible not to feel the same way when you are in her presence. She is well-respected and fondly regarded by her students, and has a way of maintaining a supportive environment while still encouraging the discipline necessary for her students to become accomplished singers.

“I have studied with Ms. Wall for several years as a student at TWU, both in private voice lessons and in the classroom,” said Wendy Lee Tedmon. “I am awed at her uncanny ability to adjust her teaching to the learning style of the student ... After a final exam, I was reluctant to leave the class because I knew she would explore new ideas and discover new methods, and I'd want to continue to learn from her.”

Professor Wall recently completed a series of five books titled Excellence in Singing, a graduate-level vocal pedagogy, and is working on demonstration videos of the same title.

Glen Jennings

Dr. Jennings has been an educator for 45 years, beginning his career in rural Kansas in a one-room school house, and teaching at TWU since 1979.

“He is a student-oriented professor,” said Dr. Bettye Myers, professor of kinesiology. “He is a splendid researcher and he successfully passes his interest to find out `why' to his students.

“He is innovative and has helped develop many introspective instruments that can provide a person with information about self. In all that he does, he bring his students along with him in the discovery and learning process.”

As a family scientist with an enthusiastic interest in research, Dr. Jennings has directed numerous dissertations over the past 20 years, including 43 since 1990, covering a broad array of topics. Always encouraging students to publish their research, he has co-authored articles in more than 20 professional journals with students, former students and colleagues.

Dr. Jennings' service to TWU has been, and continues to be, outstanding. Among the university-wide committees he has served on are the Graduate Council, the Institutional Review Board (Human Subjects Committee), a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools self-study, the Curriculum Committee, the Women's Studies Committee and the Human Relations Committee.

Seeing his mission as helping people grow themselves into better humans, he encourages challenges and genuinely cares about every student he teaches, his colleagues said. He is famous for closing each class with a heart-felt: “Now go out there and love the world!”

Lybeth Hodges

Dr. Hodges is devoted wholeheartedly to her students and to their academic success. She has taught at TWU since 1988.

“In a sense, Lybeth helped originate the concept of this award (Distinction in Teaching) at TWU,” said Dr. Jim Alexander, chair of the Department of History and Government. “She has served either as chair or a member of the Excellence in Teaching Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences since its inception. In this capacity, she helped organize our college's teaching awards program.

“During this time, several of us have thought of Lybeth as being most worthy of the teaching award, but we were unable to nominate her because she was administering the awards program. Now things are different,” he added.

Her colleagues describe Dr. Hodges as an outstanding teacher and wonderful advisor who is an advocate for her students, department and TWU. Dr. Hodges is a leader in teacher certification and works closely with the College of Professional Education to promote excellence in teacher education programs. She is a volunteer in the public schools and uses the opportunity to build bridges with the larger education community in Denton. And she has worked hard to help develop new initiatives such as the Honors Program, NET Program and international education.

“I love to teach,” Dr. Hodges said. “I have never wanted an occupation other than the one I have.

“When I was 13, my history teacher asked if I would come and talk to another of her classes about the reign of Henry VIII of England. I can still remember looking into faces of kids I didn't know, emphasizing points I thought were essential to their understanding and feeling genuinely thrilled when some of those other kids started asking me questions.

“That was it; I had found my future.”


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