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Campbell Receives Top Teaching Award at ABAC Honors Day

April 21, 2017

Dr. Erin Campbell, Professor of English, received the top award presented to a faculty member at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College on Thursday when she was honored with the W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Award for Teaching Excellence at the annual Honors Day ceremony.

Anita White, Administrative Assistant in the Health Center, received the Roy R. Jackson, Sr., Award for Staff Excellence, and Dr. Gail Dillard, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs, was selected as the recipient of the E. Lanier Carson Leadership Award for College Administrators.

Christina Dent, an Assistant Professor of Nursing, was honored with the W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Excellence in Advising Award, and Dr. Thomas Grant, Assistant Professor of Journalism, received the first ever W. Bruce and Rosalyn Ray Donaldson Award for Excellence in Student Engagement.

Campbell earned her associate degree in interdisciplinary studies from St. Petersburg (Fla.) Junior College.  She continued her education with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Tampa, a master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her doctorate degree in English from the University of Mississippi. Campbell began teaching at ABAC in 2000.

Students consistently mention Campbell’s enthusiasm and engagement as characteristics which make her an outstanding teacher.  Others emphasize her high academic standards, which challenge them to do their best, and her insistence on deep critical thinking.

“Teaching is not merely what I do for a living,” Campbell said.  “It is what I am, who I am, and how I am.”  In a nomination letter, one of Campbell’s students wrote, “It is not who we are, but what we do that defines us.  That is what this professor does.  She teaches. She is and will always be the best professor I have ever had in my life.”

In an ABAC career spanning 21 years, White has been a dedicated and loyal member of the ABAC staff.  Often the first person of contact when students get sick, and in some situations, need a little something extra – whether it be an ear to listen, a mother figure to give a kind word or billing assistance – she is there to make sure students get what they need.

One colleague says of White, “From my very first day at ABAC, she has made me feel welcome with her sweet smile and kind spirit.”  Her supervisor adds, “She brings cheer and good humor onto this campus daily.”  And one of White’s co-workers writes, “She is an inspiration to me, and I hope to accomplish my job with half the kindness and grace shown by Anita.”

Dillard began serving as the interim vice president for academic affairs at ABAC on July 1, 2014.  She had previously served the college as vice president for student affairs, director of evening and off-campus programs, interim vice president for student and enrollment services, director of ABAC on the Square in Moultrie, director of the early admissions program, coordinator of the Honors Program, and a professor of English.

Dillard received her bachelor’s degree in English from Georgia College, her master’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her Ph.D. in English from Florida State University.  She began her ABAC career as a part-time English instructor in 1988.  One letter of nomination said of Dillard, “She is one of the most thoughtful, ethical, and principled leaders I have known.”

Advising students at ABAC since 2009, the words “available” and “caring” are the words most often used when talking about Dent.  Her students say she responds promptly to e-mails, texts and phone calls   One advisee stated, “Her office is always open for her students, and she will frequently go out of her way to speak to me or call me to check on my classes.”  No small feat for someone who advises over 80 students each semester on top of her teaching schedule.

Dent received her associate degree in nursing from ABAC, and her B.S.N. and M.S.N. degrees from Valdosta State University. She is currently earning her doctorate in nursing philosophy from the University of Phoenix and will graduate this summer.  She has been a part of the ABAC faculty since 2010.

The new Student Engagement Award award honors faculty who excel in mentoring students through interdisciplinary collaborations, innovative projects, internship opportunities, undergraduate research, or other academic enrichment experiences which engage students in an active learning process.  To be eligible for consideration for the award, a faculty member must be in a full-time, tenured or tenure-track position with two or more years of continuous service to the college.

Grant earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Washington State University, his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. in journalism from the University of Idaho.  Since his arrival at ABAC in 2012, Grant has supervised interns, mentored senior capstone projects, led multiple study abroad programs, and involved students in a variety of hands-on learning activities which have extended far beyond the walls of the traditional classroom.

Grant has also led five groups of students on Study Abroad experiences to India, France, and Italy.  As advisor of The Stallion newspaper, Grant has grown the staff from approximately nine students to 33. Once he had the newspaper on sound footing, he started Stallion TV and slowly began to introduce broadcasting into his journalism classes.  Now, only three years later, his students produce daily You Tube reports and a 30-minute newscast twice monthly.
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