NEW ORLEANS – Appalachian State University’s Dr. Amanda C. Howell and other top educators around the Sun Belt Conference were recognized Monday as the league announced its first-ever Faculty Member of the Year Awards.
Howell works in the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences, in the College of Arts and Sciences at Appalachian State.
There is one award winner from each Sun Belt institution. The honors recognize a faculty member who displays valuable classroom skills such as developing relationships, being a good communicator and showing a passion for teaching, and engaging and inspiring students while also separating themselves from their peers outside the classroom by regularly attending athletics events and displaying enthusiasm for the athletics department.
“These educators continue to go above and beyond to positively impact the lives of students and student-athletes at our Sun Belt universities,” Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill said. “We are honored to recognize their dedication to student success on their respective campuses.”
The concept for the award originated at the Sun Belt’s 2018 fFall Meeting during conversations between the Sun Belt Ambassadors, a collection of student-athletes from around the conference and Faculty Athletic Representatives. The Sun Belt’s 12 honorees come from nearly 10,000 full-time faculty members, and the combined enrollment across the conference is more than 160,000 students, with student-athletes comprising more than 3,100.
In Boone, Howell’s genuine and sustained enthusiasm for student success in her classes after nearly a decade of teaching is evident to her Appalachian State colleagues and students. She has served as a Senior Lecturer since 2016 and is a two-time finalist for the Non-Tenure Track Excellence in Teaching Award.
Howell, who has a B.S. in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry, received her Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2006. Most recently, she participated in a Course (Re)Design workshop provided by the Center of Academic Excellence at Appalachian State, where she believes “experiences such as those keep her teaching fresh.”
Howell’s “positive attitude and willingness to help students is unlike any other professor” and the way that Howell has a unique way of “presenting material, making the class inclusive, is approachable and understanding.”
The other inaugural award winners are Little Rock’s Rachel E. Tennial (Department of Psychology), Arkansas State’s Shane Hunt (Department of Management and Marketing), Coastal Carolina’s Deborah Breede (Department of Communication, Media and& Culture), Georgia Southern’s William Brian Dowis (School of Accountancy), Georgia State’s Kris Varjas (Director of the Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate, and Classroom Management), Louisiana’s Ruben D. Henderson (Assistant Director of Student Activities), ULM’s William Hey (School of Allied Health), South Alabama’s Alan Chow (Department of Marketing and Quantitative Methods), UTA’s Bethany Shaffer (College of Liberal Arts), Texas State’s Amy Perry (Department of Political Science), Troy’s Michael Orlofsky (College of Communication and Fine Arts).
About the A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences
The A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry with eight different concentrations and an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree in fermentation sciences. The department’s programs prepare students to attend graduate and professional schools, as well as for employment in the pharmaceutical and fermentation industries and other business sectors. Learn more at https://chemistry.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university’s strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
Front row l-r: Kelsey Hejny, Haley Welborn, Savannah Hendrix, Marla Yokeley.
Back row l-r: Stephanie Goodman, Nicole Fisher-Mercer, Hannah Lee, Marissa Brown, Sandra Aguiano-Campos.