Another welcome tradition at Middle Tennessee State University’s Fall Faculty Meeting is the annual presentation of the MTSU Foundation Awards, which recognize, celebrate and reward university faculty members for their accomplishments inside and outside the classroom.
This year’s recipient of the foundation’s Career Achievement Award, considered the pinnacle of recognition for stellar MTSU professors, is Dr. Kevin E. Smith, a nationally recognized professor of anthropology at MTSU since 1988, a full-time faculty member since 1994, and the founder and director of MTSU’s anthropology program in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts.
“Thank you to MTSU for allowing me the opportunities to earn this award,” Smith said Thursday, Aug. 24, pointing out that achieving such an accomplishment is “because of the opportunities that we have here at MTSU as faculty.”
Smith’s research interests lie in the archaeology of the southeastern United States with a particular focus on the late prehistoric Native American cultures of Middle Tennessee pre-1500 A.D., Tennessee’s late 18th- and early 19th-century frontier period, and African-American life from slavery through Reconstruction. He’s an internationally recognized scholar on middle Tennessee’s archaeology and an acclaimed mentor to hundreds of students whose involvement in the more than 30 different courses he’s taught at MTSU is enabling them to take their knowledge and talent around the world.
Smith said he felt MTSU’s anthropology program has been vital over the years in preserving archaeological sites around the region as the areas around Nashville experienced tremendous growth and development over the years.
He gave special thanks to Dr. Marilyn Wells, the only anthropology professor at MTSU when Smith was hired and now a professor emeritus. Wells charged Smith with developing the program, he said.
“I took on that challenge,” said Smith, adding that he’d be teaching his 5,000th MTSU student this year. “We’ve had great faculty and great support.”
In addition to his university service, Smith has organized or chaired more than 20 national, regional and state conferences and symposia and conducted archival and collections research for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Tennessee State Museum, among others.
MTSU alumnus Ron Nichols (’70), vice president of the MTSU Foundation, was on hand to present 14 more MTSU professors with awards Thursday for their achievements.
The five recipients of the foundation’s 2017 Outstanding Teacher Award are:
- Virginia S. “Ginny” Danby, Womack Educational Leadership Department, College of Education.
- Timothy R. “Tim” Graeff, Department of Marketing, Jones College of Business.
- Rebekka King, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, College of Liberal Arts.
- Seth J. Marshall, Department of Psychology, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.
- Janet K. McCormick, Department of Communication Studies and Organizational Communication, College of Liberal Arts.
The nine additional foundation award recipients for 2017 are:
- Julie A. Myatt Barger, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts – Outstanding Teaching in General Education Award.
- Becky B. Alexander, Department of Elementary and Special Education, College of Education, and Tyler A. Babb, Department of Aerospace, College of Basic and Applied Sciences – Outstanding Achievement in Instructional Technology Awards.
- Sekou M. Franklin, Department of Political Science and International Relations, College of Liberal Arts; Virginia Hemby, Department of Marketing, Jones College of Business; and Nancy Ruth James, director of the MTSU Child Care Lab, College of Education – Outstanding Public Service Awards.
- Mary B. Farone, Department of Biology, College of Basic and Applied Sciences – Distinguished Research Award.
- Charles O. “Odie” Blackman, Department of Recording Industry, College of Media and Entertainment – Creative Activity Award.
- Hugh E. Berryman, Department of Sociology and Anthropology and director of the Forensic Institute for Research and Education at MTSU, College of Liberal Arts – Special Projects Award.
The MTSU Foundation also recognized 11 new faculty emerti and two dean emeriti and 42 newly promoted and/or tenured faculty members across campus. You can view the complete 2017 MTSU Foundation Awards program, which includes more details about the award winners and other honorees, via PDF at http://ow.ly/Y9k730eDq1V.
The current MTSU Foundation president is MTSU alumnus Tom Provow (’78).