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.
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
In the spring of 2001, Dr. Gill was elected vice president for
professional services within the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing
Excellence is all she knows! said Dr. Alfred
White, chair of the communication sciences and disorders
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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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