Photos: Dr. Patrick Miller with HSU Provost Dr. Tommy Brisco; Charlene Strickland, Dr. Renee Collins; Dr. Robert Fink
Outstanding Hardin-Simmons University professors were here honored April 24, 2013, by HSU provost and chief academic officer, Dr. Tommy Brisco.
Brisco told professors gather for the last faculty meeting of the semester, “The process of selecting those of you for these awards was difficult, given the fact there are so many skilled and accomplished teachers here, this was certainly not an easy selection.”
Chosen for Outstanding Service to the Profession was Dr. Patrick Miller, professor of mathematics and the founder of the International Asteroid Search Collaboration (IASC, pronounced Isaac.)
The Internet-based space-watching program for high school and college classes around the world, directed by Miller, helps to prepare young scientist for future endeavors and trains science teachers and students to use computer software to watch for objects in space that could be potentially dangerous to Earth.
“Dr. Miller has put together a massive collaboration, with the help of many others, which includes such elements as the Minor Planet Center at Harvard University; the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley; the Astronomical Research Institute of Westfield, Illinois; the Sierra Stars Observatory Network, Markleeville, California; and the University of Arizona,” said Brisco. “I know he has been to many nations on several continents in knitting together this rather remarkable enterprise.”
Earning the Provost Award for Teaching Excellence was Dr. Renee Collins, associate professor of education and head of the Department of Educational Studies. “I have the privilege of interviewing all of those applying to be a part of our faculty, and I always tell them that while we do many things well, teaching is the centerpiece of what we do. This is a teaching institution,” said Brisco. “Dr. Collins is a mentor to many and is greatly admired by her students. She has long demonstrated to her classrooms and other teachers her commitment to excellence.”
Two professors were chosen for the Provost Award for Outstanding Service to the University, Dr. Charlene Strickland, associate professor of communication, and Dr. Bob Fink, W.D. and Hollis Bond Professor of English and creator of the faculty and staff publication, The HSU Light Standard.
Brisco says Strickland has a willingness to volunteer, and is willing to volunteer in ways that set her apart. “Her work with the University Interscholastic League is legendary. My file on her is thick with letters written from Austin and elsewhere saying how much she is admired for her service and dedication.”
HSU first hosted the regional UIL meet in April of 1993 for conference 1A schools, transitioning to hosting 4A schools in 2011. “Hosting these events and bringing these students to Abilene and to HSU provides an excellent recruiting opportunity,” said Strickland in an article written for The HSU Light Standard, which highlights the accomplishments of faculty members.
Strickland says students who place first in an academic event at the HSU regional meet receive a $1,000 scholarship if they attend HSU. “In 2012 several of our regional first place winners were champions at the state meet, and HSU doubled the scholarship offer to those students,” says Strickland.
Brisco described the professor receiving the final award as, “A person who has lifted all of our spirits for the last several years. For Dr. Bob Fink, creator and publisher, The HSU Light Standard is just the tip of the iceberg in the ways you have ministered to us over the years,” said Brisco. “It is for this reason we honor you for your outstanding service to the university.”
Fink has been publishing The HSU Light Standard each week of the fall and spring semesters since 2009. This week marks the 84th edition of the very popular on-campus newsletter.
In closing, Brisco said “These awards are a testimony as to how so many of our faculty members are committed in so many ways.” He says next year the category of Service to Students will be added and awarded to a deserving faculty member.