Baylor professors of the year come from all across the arts and sciences
We’ve reached the end of another academic year at Baylor, when final grades are submitted, seniors are graduated — and Baylor’s professors of the year are named.
The Collins Outstanding Professor Award is voted on each year by the outgoing senior class and includes a cash prize of $10,000. Past Collins Professors include Dr. Tom Hanks (1998), Rachel Moore (1999) and Dr. Blair Browning, BA ’95, MA ’99 (2012).
Dr. Jonathan Tran, associate professor of religion, has been named this year’s Collins Award winner. “The award is huge to me, since it’s something students choose, and, hence, speaks to a life with students that I’ve always seen as part of Christian education,” Tran says.
The Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year award honors a professor who “makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor,” based on teaching, research and service, and comes with a $20,000 award. Past recipients include Dr. Kevin Pinney (2006), Dr. Bill Hillis, BS ’53 (2009), and Dr. Roger Kirk (2012).
Dr. Alden Smith, professor and chair of classics and associate dean of the Honors College, is the 2017 Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year. Smith, a Baylor professor since 1994, is dedicating the monetary award to a scholarship fund that honors one of his former students who passed away during his first year of teaching.
Funded by the Centennial Class of 1945, the Baylor Centennial Professor Award annually provides $5,000 of financial support to aid professors with specific research projects. Past honorees include Robert Darden, BSED ’76, Dr. Greg Garrett, and Dr. Richard Russell.
Dr. Sarah Alexander, associate professor of anthropology, and Dr. Jungjun Park, graduate program director and associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, are this year’s Baylor Centennial Professors. Alexander’s project involves traveling to Guatemala City and Merida to study the diaries, journals and other miscellaneous texts of colonials and local farmers, so that she might find historical insight into the era’s weather and climate. Park’s project is focused on constructing a bilingual database to train school-based speech-language pathologists and graduate educators across the country.
Twelve more Baylor faculty members — many of whom were once Baylor students themselves — received Outstanding Professor awards for 2016-2017: Robert Darden, BSED ’76, professor of journalism, public relations and new media; Dr. Tamara Hodges, MSED ’89,EDD ’94, senior lecturer of educational psychology; Dr. Jeff Hunt, BA ’03, senior lecturer of classics; Dr. Benjamin Kelley, professor of mechanical engineering; Dr. Jill Klentzman, lecturer of mechanical engineering; Dr. Jonathan Rylander, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; Dr. Deborah Williamson, BA ’85, associate professor of vocal studies; Dr. Michele Henry, professor of music education; Dr. David Jack, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Dr. Richard Russell, professor of English; Dr. Sara Perry, assistant professor of management; and Dr. Cheryl Riley, BSN ’94, MSN ’03, clinical associate professor of nursing.
Sic ’em, Baylor professors!