Arts and Sciences Ambassadors select 25 faculty for 'excellence in teaching' awards

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The Mississippi State University College of Arts and Sciences Ambassadors created a new award to honor excellence in teaching for faculty who “eased the burden” COVID-19 restrictions placed on students in 2020.

“This is a new award that CASA chose to create this semester,” said Hannah Bateman, admissions coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences and advisor to CASA. “In our ambassador meetings, we talked about the frustrations they were experiencing. The ambassadors wanted to recognize the professors who really helped them during the fall semester. They were aware that professors were in the same boat as them and this award was a way to focus on the positives and say thank you.”

CASA is comprised of undergraduate students from the 14 academic departments in the College of Arts and Sciences who serve as a connection between the students in the college and the college’s administration. The ambassadors assist at recruitment events to tell others how they have discovered their path to success through the College of Arts and Sciences.

For the inaugural awards, CASA members selected 25 A&S faculty they wanted to recognize for “going the extra mile,” Bateman said.

Faculty members to receive the awards include, by department or division:

-- Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures: David Hoffman, Shane Miller, Molly Zuckerman

-- Biological Sciences: Brian Bill, Brandy Roberts

-- Chemistry: Steven Gwaltney, Deb Mlsna, Charles Nettles

-- Communication: Karyn Brown, Giles Lindley

-- English: Catherine Pierce, Dan Punday

-- Gender Studies: Ashley Vancil-Leap

-- Geosciences: John Rodgers

-- History: Jim Giesen, Courtney Thompson

-- Mathematics and Statistics: Jennifer Beckman, Jon Woody

-- Philosophy and Religion: Kristin Boyce, Tim Derby

-- Political Science and Public Administration: James Chamberlain, Carolyn Holmes

-- Psychology: Kimberly Brown, Deb Eakin

-- Sociology: Diego Thompson Bello

Poultry science graduate student Lauren Lindsey received the “Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award” for a cross-listed genetics course. Although not a member of the College of Arts and Sciences, CASA members who had Lindsey for a class felt her efforts were important to recognize.

MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,200 students, 323 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs, 15 master’s programs, and 27 undergraduate academic majors offered in 14 departments. It also is home to the most diverse units for research and scholarly activities, including natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities. For more details about the College of Arts and Sciences, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Sarah Nicholas | College of Arts and Sciences

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