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Graduate School honors seven faculty

BOONE—Seven graduate faculty members were honored at the annual Graduate Faculty Awards reception hosted by the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School in October.

Five graduate faculty members were inducted into the Academy of Outstanding Graduate Mentors: Scott Collier, Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science; Tim Huelsman, Department of Psychology; Holly Hirst, Department of Mathematical Sciences; Jeff McBride, Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science; and Susan Staub, Department of English.

In addition, Tim Silver of the Department of History received the 100 Scholars Award and Chris Badurek received the Wachovia Environmental Research Award.

Scott Collier
Collier joined the faculty in the Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science in 2009 as an assistant professor. Since then he has mentored 75 graduate students to be lead or co-authors on 30 publications, and has acquired external funding to support five graduate students in his lab. One of the first mentors of the Graduate Research Associate Mentor (GRAM) program, he is a champion of graduate student research and scholarship.

A nominator described Collier as an excellent teacher whose “teaching performance goes well beyond the classroom since he routinely involves his graduate students in his personal research projects.”

Holly Hirst
Hirst is a professor of mathematics and associate dean of the graduate school who was praised for mentoring both students and graduate faculty. One letter of support points out “her tireless efforts to ensure that graduate students have a smooth and fulfilling graduate career. As program directors we all try to do this; however, it is one thing following 50-100 graduate students, it is another following 2,000.”

Another nominator wrote, “She demonstrates extreme patience and a deep-rooted concern for our students’ progress and intellectual growth in our graduate program. She often meets with students face-to-face and listens carefully as they air their concerns.”

Tim Huelsman
Huelsman, a professor and graduate program director in the industrial/organizational psychology master’s program, was recognized for his ability to inspire his graduate students.

In the words of a former student, Huelsman’s “caring, positive nature coupled with an unquenchable curiosity and passion for research make him a true scholar and adaptable leader. I feel truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to work side by side with someone as inspirational.”

Jeff McBride
A colleague noted that McBride has served on more than 25 thesis committees in the last eight years, encouraging his students to seek funding to support their research as well as to present and publish their findings. He has published 10 papers with students. One of his students recently won the student presentation award at the national disciplinary conference.

Susan Staub
In a first for the graduate school, Staub from the Department of English was inducted into the Academy of Outstanding Graduate Mentors and named Distinguished Graduate Faculty for 2013. Cited in her nomination was her dedicated work through two terms as graduate program director during periods of significant change, her outstanding scholarship including three books and 17 scholarly articles, her contributions as a leader in her field of Renaissance literature, and most important, the success of the students she has mentored during her career. A colleague described Staub as “an exemplary departmental and university citizen.”

An alumna of the graduate program in English noted that Staub “inspired me to want to be an exceptional teacher and mentor like her . . . she is the epitome of teaching excellence.”

100 Scholars Award

The 100 Scholars Award, created in the 1990s by 100 faculty members at Appalachian, is designed to honor a senior faculty member who has made significant contributions to the relevant discipline. Tim Silver of the Department of History won the 2013 award. He plans to use the research funds for his study that recasts the American Civil War not only as a military struggle but also as an environmental phenomenon. No previous study of the conflict has focused on its impact on the land and the communities over which it was fought. His work is already supported by a collaborative research fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, and the resulting book will likely reach a broad scholarly and public audience.

Wachovia Environmental Research Award

The Wachovia Environmental Research Award was presented to Chris Badurek of the Department of Geography and Planning for his study of the impact of exurban development, such as housing beyond an area’s suburbs, on environmental quality in the North Carolina mountains. Badurek’s research will illuminate the economic implications of development from second homes and seasonal tourism, and make recommendations for balancing economic development with maintaining the quality of the natural areas that draw visitors.

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