MGA Recognizes Faculty and Staff Members for Various Teaching and Service Awards

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Monday, August 9, 2021 12:00 AM
Categories: Faculty/Staff | Pressroom | School of Arts and Letters | School of Business | Honors/Awards

Macon, GA

Top, L-R: Dr. Simone Phipps, Dr. Andre Nicholson. Middle, L-R: Dr. Sabrina Wengier, Teresa Lorick, Dr. John Girard. Bottom, L-R: Terry Cantwell, Tammy Coody, Autumn Lucas.

Middle Georgia State University (MGA) honored five faculty members with awards for excellence in scholarship, teaching, service, and championing diversity.

Also honored at the 2021 MGA Convocation kicking off a new academic year were three staff members who received various service awards.

Dr. Simone Phipps, associate professor of management, received the Excellence in Scholarship Award. Phipps’s recent work has gained regional, national and international prominence. She has presented at the United Nations Global Compact Target Gender Equality live event discussing “Reimagining Corporate Efforts on Gender Equality and Sustainability,” and was a participant in the “Thinkers50 Conversation Series” celebrating International Women’s Day, discussing the topic “Cooperative Advantage: Working Toward Social Justice.”

Since 2019, she has served as an associate research fellow at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Social Innovation – one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.

The Excellence in Service Award went to Dr. Sabrina Wengier, associate professor of French, and coordinator of modern languages. Since 2014, she has served as the faculty advisor for the MGA Women’s Studies Organization, organized the MGA Arts Festival and Language Festival, and co-organized the Francophone and Hispanic Movie Series. She has given several campus talks on a wide variety of topics including “Dynamic Discussion Boards” and “Transparency in Teaching and Learning.”

Wengier has been a member of more than 20 MGA committees and boards and has served on many as an officer or chairwoman. Outside of the institution, she organizes and presents professional development workshops for high school language teachers in the region. She is dedicated to service - not just high profile service, but to the often unrecognized service that drives institutional success.

Dr. John Girard, professor of information technology who holds the Peyton Anderson Endowed Chair, received the Excellence in Full-Time Teaching Award.

Colleagues have described him as a “very engaging, dedicated, and compassionate professor." His student evaluations have been impressive, scoring at 4.8 or higher on a 5 point scale for years. During the pandemic, many of his students raved about their experiences with him as their professor. He displayed an impressive level of adaptability in his teaching and understanding, and his caring but firm philosophy proved beneficial as he helped his students during times of uncertainty. He keeps all of the planning and theory of what makes engaging online teaching hidden from the students so that it seems like an effortless, natural conversation with each of his learners. Girard is a first-class professor who cares deeply about students, provides high quality instruction, and exceptional learning experiences.

The Excellence in Part-Time Teaching Award went to Terry Cantwell, guitar instructor at MGA for 30 years.

Cantwell is credited with revamping the theory curriculum into university level coursework - a major undertaking. The music program has survived and thrived because he is a master teacher who helps students break down and apply the material and also convince them to embrace the higher level of difficulty. His teaching statement reads, "I meet students where they are. I am holistic. I count my success in the number of underprepared students who are now thriving in their personal and professional lives. I have helped them in their academic pursuits, and at times, helped pay for their tuition, rent, shoes, jackets, ties, computers, and guitars."

Dr. Andre Nicholson, associate professor of media and communication, received MGA’s first Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Award.

Nicholson has been a participant in the Governor's Teaching Fellows program, established by former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller to provide the state’s higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills. Nicholson currently serves as the faculty advisor for Black Student Unification, which promotes diversity and awareness through student events around the University. In addition, he has teamed up with a colleague to create a faculty learning community with a focus on diversity in course curriculum.

He serves as a member of several committees, including Title IX, student academic enhancement, and promotion, tenure, and post-tenure review. He has also helped organize activities for Black History Month. He helped organize and moderated a panel discussion titled “Black Lives Matter: Or Do They?” and also moderated another panel discussion titled “Legalization of Gay Marriage,” hosted by the Gay Straight Alliance.

The Staff Service Excellence Award went to Teresa Lorick, administrative coordinator, Office of Academic Affairs. The award is given to a staff member who has made exceptional contributions, exceeding normal expectations, to deliver superior service to members of the campus community and/or the community at large. Lorick is known as a staffer who never passes off a problem to someone else but digs in and finds a solution herself.

Tammy Coody, library assistant II, Roberts Library, received the Staff Unsung Hero Award. The award is for a staff member who works behind the scenes, and yet continues to go above and beyond the call of duty to improve the MGA experience for students, coworkers, faculty, and staff. Coody was instrumental in preparing for the recent renovation of Roberts Library, located at the Cochran Campus, and she is known for going above and beyond in helping students.

The Champion Award went to Autumn Lucas, nurse practitioner, Student Health Services. This annual award is for a staff member who has exemplified MGA's core values of Stewardship, Engagement, Adaptability, and Learning. Lucas is known for her commitment to engaging students, colleagues, and community partners in ways that make people want to work with her.