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April 7, 2016

The top faculty member, staff member, administrator, and academic advisor for the 2015-2016 academic year were recognized during Wednesday’s Honors Day ceremony at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.

Dr. James Galt-Brown, Professor of History, received the W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Award for Teaching Excellence.  Emily Cheek, Assistant to the Registrar, was honored with the Roy R. Jackson, Sr., Award for Staff Excellence.  Troy Spicer, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, received the E. Lanier Carson Leadership Award for College Administrators, and Dr. Cynthia Hall, an Associate Professor of English, received the W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Excellence in Advising Award.

Galt-Brown earned his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of South Carolina. He then attained his master’s degree in history from Murray State University and his doctorate in history from Mississippi State University.  He has dedicated 13 of his 26 years of teaching at the college and university level to ABAC, joining the faculty in 2003. He has had the opportunity to teach students ranging in age from 16-67 years of age during his career.

In a nomination letter, one of Galt-Brown’s colleagues wrote, “when walking past his class, one is reminded of a rock concert, comedy act, and Harvard lecture all rolled into one.” A student wrote, “after taking World History in his class, I am happy to say he has left an indelible mark on me.”

In 2014, Galt-Brown was invited to present on “Rural America in the 21st Century” at the Rural Immersion Symposium at Wal Mart Corporate Headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. In 2015, he presented “The Civil War: A Collision of Technology and Legacy” as part of the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the end of the U.S. Civil War sponsored by the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village, ABAC’s Baldwin Players, and the ABAC Student Government Association.

Spicer earned his associate of nursing degree from ABAC before receiving his bachelor’s degree in nursing from the Medical College of Georgia and his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Georgia.  He also received a master’s degree in nursing from Georgia State University.

An ABAC faculty member since 2003, Spicer has taken a number of nursing students to rural Nicaragua to aid in the medical care of the country’s impoverished population.  This mission expanded into a collaboration with Dr. Jerry Baker, Dean of the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to write a paper on basic human right of access to the benefits of technology that will be presented at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

Spicer has also brought Telehealth to the ABAC campus in conjunction with Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) to reach people in remote areas.  Most recently, he has eliminated textbooks in the School of Nursing in exchange for tablets and has partnered with Tift Regional Health System (TRHS) to create a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) at TRMC to provide senior nursing students an opportunity to acquire real-world, hands-on training with an experienced nurse.

In a career spanning 20 years, Cheek has served in a variety of capacities at ABAC including library assistant, records coordinator and assistant to the registrar.

One colleague says of Cheek, “a lot of her work is done behind the scenes, yet we couldn’t function without her.  Her knowledge of ABAC’s policies and procedures is amazing.”  And another peer notes, “She is a great person to work with because she finds the answers even if it is not her job to do so.”

Cheek has helped with the Relay for Life fundraiser, contributed during water and Gatorade drives in support of local firefighters, and provided treats in appreciation for ABAC’s Sodexo partners.  She is a member of Tifton’s Mt. Olive Baptist Church.

Hall received her bachelor’s degree in English from Mount St. Mary College.  She earned a master’s degree in English Education from Emmanuel College and a second master’s degree in English from the University of West Georgia.  She completed her career as a student with a doctorate in English from the University of California, Riverside.

Hall joined the ABAC faculty in 2008 and describes herself as “a life advisor, a career advisor, a social adviser, and an all-around ABAC mom.”  Her advisees agree saying, “she is able to see so much potential from everyone she meets and every one of her students.”

Besides her teaching and advising duties, Hall also serves as director of ABAC’s Honors Program and director of the Move On When Ready program.
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