Baylor professors of the year represent chemistry, journalism, English & music
Another academic year has come to an end. Final grades have been posted, books returned, students graduated — and Baylor’s professors of the year have been awarded!
The Collins Outstanding Professor Award, which is voted on by the outgoing senior class, awards the recipient a $10,000 cash prize. Past Collins professors include Rachel Moore, MA ’69 (1999), Dr. Mona Choucair, BA ’86, PhD ’00, (2008), and Dr. Jane Damron, MA ’09 (2019).
Baylor’s Class of 2021 chose Dr. Paul Zinke, senior lecturer in chemistry, as this year’s recipient for the Collins Award. “It is an honor to be recognized by the students of Baylor University for my contribution to their education,” Zinke says. “I feel both pleasantly surprised and very grateful to be bestowed with the Collins Award. I also feel very privileged to have worked with such a wonderful group of students and colleagues on the Baylor faculty.”
The Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year 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. Bill Hillis, BS ’53 (2009), Dr. Roger Kirk (2012), and Dr. Gaynor Yancey (2019).
Dr. Mia Moody-Ramirez (MSED ’98, MA ’01), professor and chair of Baylor’s Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, is this year’s honoree. “Dr. Cornelia Marschall Smith was a true trailblazer and a role model for women,” says Moody-Ramirez. “It is a privilege to follow in her footsteps… I am looking forward to continuing to give back to the Baylor community.” (That commitment began immediately, as Moody-Ramirez says she will use the award to set up an endowed scholarship for students in her department.)
The Baylor Centennial Professor Award is funded by the Centennial Class of 1945 and provides $5,000 for financial support to aid professors with specific research projects. Past honorees include Robert Darden, BSED ’76 (2008), Dr. Richard Russell (2012) and Dr. Greg Garrett (2013).
Two professors were selected for the 2021 award: Dr. Michael-John DePalma, associate professor of English, and Dr. Lesley McAllister, professor of piano and director of piano pedagogy. Each professor plans to use the award to support work on his/her upcoming book — DePalma’s, a work on how social Christian theology played a key role in interfaith engagement at Andover Settlement House at the end of the 19th century; McAllister, a piano method book that incorporates a story narrative with yoga postures and breath work.
A dozen more Baylor faculty members received Outstanding Professor awards for 2020-21: Dr. Randall Bradley (church music); Dr. Stephanie Gerow (education); Dr. Mark Long (PhD ’01, Middle East studies); Dr. Stephen McClain (engineering); Dr. Robert Miner (Great Texts); Dr. Yuko Prefume (BA ’04, MSED ’06, EdD ’15, Japanese); Dr. Daniel Romo (chemistry); Dr. Laila Sanguras (education); Dr. Keith Schubert (engineering); Dr. Lakia Scott (education); Dr. Julie Anne Sweet (history); and Dr. Elon Terrell (engineering).
Sic ’em, Baylor professors!