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Liberal Arts Professors Honored for Excellence in Teaching, Research

By Edwin B. Smith

University of Mississippi

Faculty members honored during the spring faculty meeting for the College of Liberal Arts include (from left) Ted Ownby, winner of the college’s Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement; Eden Tanner, recipient of a campuswide Frist Student Service Award; Saumen Chakraborty, Edmonds New Scholar Award; Jared Delcamp, Melinda and Ben Yarbrough Senior Award for the Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Emily Bretherick Rowland, Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award; Jacqueline Frost DiBiasie-Sammons, Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen; Carrie Smith, Edmonds New Scholar Award; and Timothy Yenter, Howell Family Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Eight University of Mississippi professors have been honored by the College of Liberal Arts for their excellence in teaching and research.

Three professors were recognized for their exceptional teaching. Timothy Paul Yenter, associate professor of philosophy, received the Howell Family Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. Named after alumni donors Dr. Norris Howell (BS 75) and Lynne Thomas Howell (BA 74, MBA 76), both of Ripley, the endowment provides funds to recognize the outstanding teacher within the college.

Emily Bretherick Rowland, instructional assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received the Outstanding Instructor of the Year Award. Jacqueline Frost DiBiasie-Sammons, assistant professor of classics, was presented the Cora Lee Graham Award for Outstanding Teaching of Freshmen.

Donald L. Dyer, distinguished professor of modern languages and associate dean for faculty and academic affairs, celebrated Rowland, Dibiasie-Sammons and Yenter.

“The College of Liberal Arts is extremely proud of its three newest teaching award winners,” he said. “They span the liberal arts disciplines and represent the best the college has to offer in the classroom.

“In fact, the college has a rich tradition of valuing and honoring its best teachers. It cultivates and nurtures the best of pedagogical practices and methodologies for betterment and improvement. The students of the three being honored, as well as their colleagues, have spoken, and this year ensured that we honor some of the master teachers among us.”

Five professors were recognized for achievements in research. Recipients of the Edmonds New Scholar Award are Saumen Chakraborty, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Veronica Menaldi, assistant professor of modern languages; and Carrie Smith, assistant professor of psychology. 

Ted Ownby, the William F. Winter Chair and professor of history and Southern studies, received the College of Liberal Arts Award for Research, Scholarship and Creative Achievement. Jared Delcamp, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is the recipient of the Melinda and Ben Yarbrough Senior Award for the Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Excerpts from their nomination letters praised each of the research award recipients.

“(The) Chakraborty group (which is made up of both undergraduate and graduate students) does significant research that lies at the interface between biochemistry and inorganic chemistry and focuses on exploring the role of metals in biology,” one letter read. “But beyond the science, Dr. Chakraborty’s primary motivation is to help students achieve academic excellence and professional growth.”

Smith and her lab engage in three primary research activities: investigating people’s daily and relational well-being, examining the interpersonal aspects of personality and individual differences, and exploring the experiences of gender and gender ideology.

“Smith has demonstrated exemplary performance in research and creative achievement,” one letter stated. “Among her accomplishments in research to date are 41 peer-reviewed articles and three book chapters. She has also been a presenter and co-presenter for 100 presentations given regionally, nationally and internationally.”

A nomination letter for Ownby states, “(He) has distinguished himself as one of the most productive and pioneering scholars in both the History Department and in the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. (His) impact on the lives of students at both the graduate and undergraduate level is broad and lasting. 

“But more striking is the tone of deep affection and regard his former students use in describing their relationship, which in many cases extends far beyond the UM campus and into their professional lives.”

Delcamp has established an extraordinary track record with more than 80 peer-reviewed publications in internationally recognized journals,and more than $4 million in major grant funding earned at the university, plus three multi-investigator, multi-institution NSF EPSCoR grants totaling $30 million.

“In his time with the university, Dr. Delcamp has grown a productive, diverse and inclusive research environment,” one of his nomination letters states. “As a true testament to the diversity of Dr. Delcamp’s activities, he has developed a summer school program for high school students in economically disadvantaged areas of north Mississippi.”

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