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College of Arts and Sciences Honors Outstanding Faculty

BOONE—The College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State University has recognized five faculty members for their outstanding teaching, research or service to the region.

They are Melany Fisk, Alan Hauser, Rennie Brantz, Eric Bowne and Mary Connell.

Fisk, an assistant professor of biology, received the William C. Strickland Outstanding Young Faculty Award presented to an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences who has made significant contribution to the intellectual life of the university.

A member of the faculty at Appalachian since 2001, Fisk’s research focuses on soil ecology. She has authored or co-authored more than 15 published articles. She has been the principle investigator on a $250,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and co-principle investigator on a $240,000 National Science Foundation Grant.

The college’s Donald W. Sink Outstanding Scholar Award was presented to Alan Hauser, a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. The award recognizes a faculty member’s sustained contribution to his or her discipline, record of scholarship and involvement in scholarly organizations.

Hauser has been a member of the faculty at Appalachian since 1972. He is the author of more than 50 journal articles, book chapters or book reviews dealing with Biblical interpretation and Biblical studies. He is senior editor of the international journal “Currents in Research: Biblical Studies.”

Eric Bowne received the Outstanding Part-Time Teaching Award. Bowne is an adjunct instructor in the Department of Anthropology. He teaches the courses “North American Indians” and “The Rise and Fall of Southeast Chiefdoms.” His book, “The Westo Indians: Slave Traders of the Early Colonial South,” was recently published by the University of Alabama Press.

“Part-time teachers do not exert part-time effort,” College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Lyman said. “They exert full-time effort and extremely high-quality effort. They are part of the reason the university is able to do what it is capable of doing.”

The Jimmy Smith Outstanding Service Award was presented to Rennie Brantz, a professor in the Department of History. The award recognizes sustained service to the college, university and academic discipline.

Brantz came to Appalachian in 1973. He served for 14 years is director of the university’s Freshman Seminar Program. He also is co-founder of the Office of Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies. He has held the I.G. Greer Professorship in History, and received grants from the German Government (DAAD), National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Fulbright Commission. In 2002 he received the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. He also has chaired the university core curriculum committee.

Mary Connell, a professor in the Department of Biology, received this year’s Outstanding Teaching Award.

Connell came to Appalachian in 1974. She was described by faculty and students as a faculty member who is well respected, often intimidating because of her knowledge of the course material, and someone who teaches challenging and demanding courses, but someone who is never too busy to talk with students and help those students who are really trying.

One nominator wrote that Connell was responsible for his love of teaching in the public schools, perhaps the highest praise an educator can receive.

“The single aspect of higher education that is absolutely necessary is a talented faculty,” Lyman said. “We are fortunate to have them here at Appalachian.”