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Liberal Arts faculty named university’s top teaching, research, and outreach award winners

In recognition of life-changing research, outreach, instruction and creative scholarship, Auburn University’s Office of the Provost will present several faculty members with the university’s highest honors at the Faculty Awards ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 9.

"These prestigious awards highlight the outstanding contributions of our faculty and their engagement in teaching, scholarship, and outreach. Our faculty positively impact the lives of our students and community," said College of Liberal Arts Interim Dean Ana-Franco Watkins. 

“It’s always an honor to recognize the outstanding talents and contributions of our faculty,” said Provost Bill Hardgrave. “The teaching, research and outreach that our faculty do on a daily basis has a remarkable impact on our more than 30,000 students, our state and the entire world. We are excited to celebrate their hard work.”

This year's winners from the College of Liberal Arts are:

Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards
The Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards recognize the outstanding teaching of undergraduates from nominations made by department heads, deans, alumni and students. A committee of retired faculty selects the recipients.

Jonathan Seifried, instructor, School of Communication and Journalism

Seifried has spent more than 15 years in the classroom at Auburn. The public speaking program at Auburn has very rigorous instructor guidelines to guarantee consistency across sections, and Seifried has worked to abide by those guidelines while infusing his personality into his classrooms. A testament to Seifried’s teaching excellence is the result of his mentoring and coaching of the Spring 2021 Public Speaking Competition winner. In addition, Seifried has completed the Biggio Center’s EASL, or Engaged Active Student Learning Academy, to learn about pedagogy and available technology and innovative ways to integrate it into classroom activities and lectures. He also has thought about teaching from the lens of assessment and recently participated in the Office of Academic Insight’s Meta-Assessment Institute.

Creative Research and Scholarship Awards
The Creative Research and Scholarship Awards recognize faculty members who have distinguished themselves through research, scholarly works and creative contributions. This award recognizes two categories: sciences, medical sciences, engineering and agriculture; and fine arts, liberal arts, architecture and design, business and social and human sciences.

Fine Arts, Liberal Arts, Architecture & Design, Business, Social and Human Sciences

Giovanna Summerfield, professor, Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Fluent in six languages, Summerfield is recognized for her wide-ranging scholarship focused on Sicily and the Mediterranean, anti-mafia initiatives, women’s studies, Italian cinema and religious movements and literature in the long 18th century in France and Italy. In addition, Summerfield is a published poet and short novel author. During her 17 years at Auburn, she has served as professor of Italian and French, associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and an ambassador in the Office of Sustainability’s Peer Network.


Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching
Gerald and Emily Leischuck, 1964 graduates and retired Auburn University administrators created the Endowed Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching in 2005. This award recognizes two full-time, tenured faculty members who have demonstrated effective and innovative teaching methods, along with a continued commitment to student success through advising and mentoring.

Jennifer Robinson, professor and director of the Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences Program, Department of Psychological Sciences

As professor and director of the Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences Program, Robinson’s research primarily involves using high field functional magnetic resonance imaging and psychophysiological techniques to investigate the interplay of emotions and cognition. Managing one of the only labs in the world that uniquely captures the interplay of the autonomic and central nervous systems, Robinson offers undergraduate students opportunities for hands-on training and experience that ensures they are competitive candidates for graduate programs. As a result, Robinson maintains a 100% success rate of placing graduates from her lab in graduate schools or industries of their choosing. An advocate of active learning strategies, Robinson has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to innovative pedagogy, including implementing flipped classrooms and interactive online instruction.

President's Outstanding Collaborative Units Award

Danilea Werner, associate professor of social work and Master of Social Work program director and Julie Wells, assistant clinical professor of social work, are part of the COVID-19 Vaccination Initiative, which will receive the President's Outstanding Collaborative Units Award. This award recognizes units whose collaborative efforts result in unique exemplary service or academic excellence within the university and the community. A mark of institutional success, Auburn's "COVID-19 Vaccination Initiative" brought multiple campus units together to achieve the ambitious goal of delivering COVID-19 vaccinations to Auburn University students, employees, employee's dependents, first responders, and other community members and supporting vaccine education. The level of institutional planning and unprecedented cooperation between these units was outstanding and resulted in exemplary outreach and service to our campus and community stakeholders.

"Thanks to your efforts and the efforts of many others, our campus played an integral role in advancing the health and safety of our AU family and a step towards the return of normal campus operations," AU President Jay Gogue said.

Tags: Faculty Research Communication and Journalism World Languages Literatures and Cultures Psychological Sciences Sociology Anthropology and Social Work Social Work

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