GSU professors recognized with national awards

Taisha White and Erin McGuiness

Three Georgia Southern professors have recently been recognized for their professional work in the past few months.

Each professor has been presented a variety of awards for their contributions to academia, both on and off GSU’s campus.

Craig Roell, Ph. D., historian of economic business and advertising at GSU, was the recipient of the Sons of the Republic of Texas 2015 La Bahia Award for his book, “Matamoros And The Texas Revolution,” which discusses the the historical significance of the Texas Revolution.

The Texas native has also written five other publications during his professional career. His book subjects range from presidential bibliographies to piano works.

When connecting with his students at GSU, Roell suggest a sneaky approach.

“I fool them into realizing that history isn’t a bunch of facts and dates that you have to memorize. It’s really about life,” Roell said.

Roell also goes into how his attitude in classrooms determines the mood of his students.

“If you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re teaching, how do you expect others to be enthusiastic about the subject?” Roell said.

Another professor who has received recognition for their contributions outside of GSU is assistant professor, Carole Bennett.

Bennett, assistant professor of nursing, contributed a chapter to the textbook, “Global Health Nursing: Narratives from the Field,” which received the American Journal of Nursing (AJN) Book of the Year award for 2015. Her chapter “Resilience and Recovery: Mental Health Care in Post-Conflict Rwanda” speaks on her work on mental health in Rwanda.

In addition, Bennett is one of the founders and primary staff members for the new division in the School of Nursing, Post-Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) at GSU.

Sharon Radzyminski, Ph. D., department chair of the School of Nursing, praised Bennett for her chapter contribution for being committed, highly intelligent and experienced.

“Her real life experiences are unbelievable valuable,” Radzyminski said. “When you have someone that is that good at what they do, and [Bennett] is, the benefit to the students is overwhelming.”

Radzyminski also commented on Bennett’s connection with her students.

“She is a very hands-on educator. You’re not going to find Dr. Bennett behind a wall somewhere. She works really close with them [her students]; she’s really dedicated to them,” Radzyminski said.

While these two professors have been awarded for outstanding work off-campus, there have also been professors awarded for their success on campus as well.

Chris Caplinger, director of First-Year Experience (FYE) and assistant professor of history at GSU, was the one of 10 recipients of the 2016 Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award.

Caplinger believes that FYE is an important course that students should take when first attending GSU.

“The reason FYE exists, essentially, is because it’s unrealistic to think that students are going to walk on campus and be these fully actualized adults that have got their stuff together completely- it’s the process,” Caplinger said.

Caplinger feels it’s important to maximize the college experience for students.

“I don’t want students just to graduate. I don’t want students just to “survive” Georgia Southern, I want them to ‘thrive,” Caplinger said.

Having award winning professors at GSU brings a feeling of importance to students.

First-year graduate clinical psychology major Bridget Barney explains how she believes the award winning professors improve GSU.

“It definitely makes GSU look more distinguished because we have a great teaching faculty that has experience and credibility,” Barney said.

Senior biology major, Elena Rentschler, also expressed her excitement for the multiple recognitions GSU professors are receiving.

“It makes me feel happy,” Rentschler said. “It’s good because I want to be able to go to a school with great merit and great professors.”