We’d like to take this moment to recognize and celebrate another year of outstanding accomplishments in research, scholarship, creative activity, teaching, mentoring, and service. We’re delighted to recognize the worthy recipients of these awards and recognitions.

Augusta University-wide Awards

Dr. Debra van Tuyll, professor of communication and former public relations practitioner and journalist, has been an amazing mentor to many students throughout her 30 years at Augusta University and she will be missed throughout the University as she retires at the end of this year.  

Her co-authored book, Knights of the Quill, was a finalist for the AEJMC Tankard Book Award in 2011, and a book her undergraduate students wrote won the 2012 Documenting Georgia History Award from the Georgia Department of History and Archives. In 1999, she was named top magazine adviser at a four-year college by the College Media Advisers organization. She has also won awards from the Associated Press for her newswriting and from IABC and CASE for her public relations work.

While she has received many awards for her university-level research, teaching, and service, her most recent awards include the American Journalism Historians Association Kobre Award for lifetime achievement in journalism history and the Donald L. Shaw Lifetime Achievement Award which is given to a journalism historian who has had a major impact on the field of mass communication history. We are so very pleased and find it very fitting to add Pamplin Outstanding Faculty to her list of awards.  

As Dr. Hayward's colleague wrote, “What stands out the most to me is her devotion to her students. She does not merely teach them, grade them, and move them along; she shepherds them and is more available for them than any other professor in our department.” When the pandemic forced us to move to hybrid and virtual instruction last year, Dr. Hayward recognized immediately that her students needed more opportunities for one-on-one instruction. So she decided to meet with each of them individually for conversations about how the course was going or any other course-related topic. Even before the pandemic, Dr. Hayward was always in her office and available to students.  

In the past two years, she has served on more than 10 committees, such as co-advisor of the 3 Minute-Thesis competition for medical students, board member for the Center for Social Science Research, a member of the Center for Bioethics and Health Policy Committee, and board member for the AU Equality Clinic. 

She still finds time for community service with Evans High School and the Augusta-Richmond County Public Libraries. She has received four different awards at AU, recognizing her service. As her colleague wrote, “working with such a professional, unselfish, and dedicated colleague has been one of the highlights of my career – we need more faculty with her drive and love of this University and its students.” 

Dr. Avent-Holt is an internationally recognized scholar who has advanced his discipline in the areas of stratification, work and organizations, and relational inequalities. During the two-year review period, Dr. Avent-Holt has published three refereed articles, with three more in press for publication in high-ranking sociological journals. He also co-authored a book through Oxford University Press entitled, Relational Inequalities: An Organizational Approach. He has presented national and international papers in the premier professional associations and has received intramural and extramural funding to support his work, inclusive of a $200,000 NSF grant in collaboration with colleagues across the country. 

While his productivity is strong, it is his impact on the discipline that sets him apart for this award. His book is internationally recognized and was the recipient of two prestigious book awards. As a result, he has been invited to give book talks at 10 universities. His impact can be attributed, in part, to his ability to create collaborative networks with students, colleagues, and scholars throughout the world. His early conceptual work provided the intellectual foundation for an international network of researchers from Sweden, Denmark, South Korea, Japan, and Germany, which helped establish the Comparative Organizational Inequalities Network, a collaborative that works to secure grant funding, gather data, and publish articles.  

Dr. Avent-Holt’s work pushes at the theoretical and empirical boundaries of the social sciences, developing novel theoretical arguments and using novel data to observe what has before been unobservable to researchers. And, he does this as a community builder. As noted by one of his colleagues, “On a personal level, I believe that Dr. Avent-Holt’s success in the area of teamwork is possible because in addition to being a distinguished scholar, he is a genuinely kind, humble, and thoughtful human being.” He is and will continue to increase the prestige and notoriety of the social sciences at Augusta University and our understanding of structural inequalities.  

Dr. Meyer is an internationally recognized scholar who has advanced her discipline in the areas of French language education, French literature, medical humanities, and gender studies. In the past two years, she has served as co-editor of one book, published three book chapters and nine book reviews, and has two articles in press as well as a forthcoming book for publication in 2021 by Routledge, the leading academic publisher in Humanities and Social Science. She has presented at 28 international and national meetings, with multiple invited lectures as well local and regional presentations. She has received intramural and extramural funding to support her work as well.  

Her productivity is surpassed only by the merits of her contributions. Dr. Meyer's co-edited volume Rethinking the French Classroom: New Approaches to Teaching Contemporary French and Francophone Women, for example, foregrounds the intersection of French studies and gender studies and tackles issues of post-colonial and multicultural discourses. Her research focuses on essential issues of today, modeling ways in which teacher-scholars can create environments and curricula that appreciate multiculturalism and difference. Her forthcoming Routledge volume entitled, Teaching Diversity and Inclusion: Examples from a French-Speaking Classroom, resulted from a competitive grant in which she was named as a fellow to the 24th annual Holocaust Educational Foundation Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization.  

Finally, Dr. Meyer’s recognition as a scholar is evidenced in her selection to serve as vice president of Women in French, French editor of the Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, and chair of the American Association of Teachers of French. Recently, Dr. Meyer's academic peers have recognized her excellence and awarded her the honor of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des pa/mes academiques (Knight in the Order of Academic Palms). This prestigious honor from France, attests to the significance of Dr. Meyer’s contribution to French Studies.  

Dr. Hatcher is strongly committed to teaching and learning and he puts our students and their learning first. Beyond making certain that students have the courses they need to progress and graduate which often includes taking on extra courses and students, Dr. Hatcher continues to work to make sure that he is stellar in the classroom. Not only does Dr. Hatcher have a strong commitment to fostering the academic success of students through interaction with students inside the classroom but he is also dedicated to helping students outside the classroom. Dr. Hatcher works diligently as the Social Sciences Department Interim Chair as he did in the role of Director of our Masters of Public Administration Program to help students progress and graduate.   

Dr. Hatcher is also impressive in his research. He has published more than 14 peer-reviewed articles and he is co-editing a book on how public affairs programs are managed. Finally, Dr. Hatcher has served in his field, and as chair of the Small MPA program Council for NASPAA. Dr. Hatcher has also been a leader in the College and in the University. He has served as a University Senator and has been on significant committees for the Graduate School. He has been an at-large member of the Pamplin Faculty Council, which worked as our first Strategic Planning Workgroup. He works with community leaders including completing two work-force studies on cybersecurity employment and helped with strategic planning for North Augusta Forward and the Greater Augusta Arts Council. 

Finally, his administrative work is invaluable at Augusta University as the current Interim Department Chair and the former MPA Program Director. He was hired to be the MPA director in 2015 and since that time, the enrollment soared to a high of 64 students in fall 2018. Moreover, under his leadership, graduates have also doubled from 10 MPA graduates in 2015 to 28 in 2019. He also oversaw the successful reaccreditation by NASPAA in spring 2016 and completed an internal comprehensive program review. It is because of his outstanding teaching, his never-ending dedication to students in ALL programs, his outstanding impactful scholarship, and his benevolent service that Dr. William Hatcher is awarded the Graduate School Outstanding Faculty Award.

Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Faculty Awards

The following awards were developed to advance faculty recognition in accordance with our Pamplin Strategic Plan and were shaped by recommendations from the Pamplin College Promotion and Tenure Committee. While the nature and number of these awards may evolve over time, we are delighted to be able to award them to very deserving recipients.

Professor Onofrio is an exceptional professor who motivates students to do more than they ever thought possible. She adeptly balances the tough/fun professor role, inspiring students to push themselves to create works way outside their comfort zone. Professor Onofrio's students trust her in ways that embolden themselves with faith in their own potential to create well-crafted large scale works that could pass for upper level sculptural pieces. She continually revamps her courses to improve student outcomes and also designs new, experimental courses. This year in particular she’s gone the extra mile to create interactive and engaging online demos and live workshops. Her students have responded and are creating excellent work. She also took on the responsibility of teaching a Senior Exhibition course, which is the capstone course for Art and Design. She revamped the whole course to include an exhibition, presentations, and professional development.

Dr. van Tuyll recently published her eighth book, Politics, Culture, and the Irish American Press 1784-1963 (Syracuse University Press). This is a very important contribution to mass communication history and breaks new ground in an area that Dr. van Tuyll helped define: transnational journalism. This is a major event in the eyes of mass communication historians. Dr. van Tuyll is also well established as a historian of the U.S. Civil War press. While she has received many awards for her university-level research, teaching, and service, her most recent awards include the American Journalism Historians Association Kobre Award for lifetime achievement in journalism history, and the Donald L. Shaw Lifetime Achievement Award which is given to a journalism historian who has had a major impact on the field of mass communication history.

Assistant Professor Raoul Pacheco is passionate about building community in the broadest sense. He’s been a driver of transparency, diversity, and service within the Department of Art and Design for years. He helped form the sculpture/ceramics faculty collaborative workgroup to improve the sense of collaboration with the sculpture/ceramics studios. Mr. Pacheco is a mainstay in the Augusta arts community, always working to bring people together. He seems to know everyone in the field of ceramics. Pamplin constantly benefits from his networking abilities. He’s also a tireless advocate of students and has been the faculty advisor for the Mad Potters student group for years. Each year, they raise money for visiting artists on campus, sending students to the national ceramics conference, and offsetting costs for study abroad. He initiated the Chautauqua Summer Scholarship for students to attend the Chautauqua Institute in New York. He served as Committee Chair for the Georgia High School Ceramics Arts and Awards Symposium that was to be on campus last spring and regularly serves as a judge for our Fashion Trashn student competition.

William A. Bloodworth, Jr. Awards

In his assignment as the Environmental Service Tech for Allgood Hall, Mr. Herrington demonstrated a unique ability to provide great customer service with a smile and a nod. He has been commended by professors, students, and staff for his hard work and commitment to the campus community. He has handled responsibilities well and willing to assist in all areas on campus. Mr. Herrington is meticulous in performing his jobs duties from preventative maintenance as well as sanitizing and disinfecting. Mr. Herrington continues to provide compassionate and collaborative care during COVID-19. His courage and strength is admirable, and we can't thank him enough for all he does for the campus community. We're grateful to have such a shining star in our department that has risen to the challenge in these unprecedented times. He is the true definition of a dependable and reliable Environmental Services Technician.

Susan O’Keefe, a former television reporter who knows well the importance of public communication, teaches COMM 1110 for the College every semester. She is a very gregarious and highly organized instructor who consistently receives excellent feedback from students. Students note that she is approachable, organized, and though they find the idea of giving speeches daunting, she helps them through the experience and they learn from her.

Augusta University RSCA Awards
  • Dr. Trent Kays (English and World Languages) – "The Internet Fact"
  • Dr. E. Nicole Meyer (English and World Languages) – "Questioning Family Fractures in Nathalie Sarraute's Life Writing: Investigating the Archive"
  • Marianna Williams (Art and Design) – "ECC Venice Art Biennial Installation"

Augusta University Research Institute 2020 AURI Research Award
  • Dr. Mary-Kate Lizotte (Social Sciences) – Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity Award

Center for Social Science Research fellows for 2021-2022
  • Dr. Dustin Avent-Holt (Social Sciences)
  • Dr. Rhucha Samudra (Social Sciences)
  • Dr. Eunhye Kim (Social Sciences) – CSSR Summer Fellowship in Immigration Studies

Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship Awards for 2021
  • Dr. Melanie O'Meara (Art and Design)
  • Dr. Candis Bond (English and World Languages)
  • Dr. Christi Amonson (Music)
  • Dr. Angela Bratton (History, Anthropology, and Philosophy)
  • Dr. Kim Davies (Dean of Pamplin/Social Sciences)

Diversity and Inclusion – DEI Research Grant Awardees
  • Dr. Trent Kays (English and World Languages)
  • Dr. E. Nicole Meyer (English and World Languages)

Center for Instructional Innovation Boundless Teaching Awards
  • Dr. Sandrine Catris (History, Anthropology, and Philosophy)
  • Dr. E. Nicole Meyer (English and World Languages)
  • A.B. Osborne (Art and Design)

Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques

Dr. Meyer was honored as Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Knight in the Order of Academic Palms) from the Republic of France. 

Read more about the award

External Grants
  • Dr. Melissa Bemiller (Social Sciences) – Children's Hospital of Georgia – GA Trauma Commission ($25,000)
  • Dr. Holly Pinheiro (History, Anthropology, and Philosophy) – Lady A Foundation Gift ($25,000)
  • Anna Harris-Parker (English and World Languages) – Georgia Humanities Council ($25,000)
  • Dr. Jay Heslen (Social Sciences) – NSF CyberCorps Scholarships for Service: Augusta University Developing Immersive Experiences for Novel Cybersecurity Education ($907,904)
  • Pamplin College – Viceroy project - consortium - Arabic, Chinese, MAISS ($22,182)

  • Dr. Carolyn Cope, an associate professor, led the drama concentration at Augusta University for more than a decade. She had several major production hits including, Kiss Me, Kate, Steel Magnolias, and The Music Man. Dr. Cope developed a drama club that helped promote performance education in the community. She also taught public speaking and was a member of the Augusta University Arts Council. 
  • Dr. LeeAnn Caldwell retired as the paid Director of the Center for the Study of Georgia History and University Historian-in-Residence. She has had a distinguished career as a scholar, teacher, and public servant. Dr. Caldwell served at three different institutions of higher education in Georgia and she has been an important and award-winning contributor to historic preservation and public history in Augusta. And perhaps most importantly for AU, Dr. Caldwell has been an ambassador for AU. By giving history tours to each year’s class of Leadership Augusta, by serving on the governing boards of the Augusta Museum of History, Historic Augusta, and the Augusta/Richmond County Historical Society, and by her involvement in dozens of other local and state nonprofits, Dr. Caldwell has been a source of “town/gown” collaboration for decades and her efforts continue to benefit the University in many ways. 
  • Dr. Debra van Tuyll is retiring after 30 years at AU, she has contributed much to her department, the College, and the University. “She was the founding adviser of the Phoenix student publication, she has mentored hundreds of students; she published at least eight books – maybe more by now as I know she had two more under contract. She has won multiple awards as have her students.  And she has led dozens of efforts on campus ranging from the quality enhancement committee to the A-Day fundraiser. She is a whirlwind of activity and we will miss her." 
  • We will miss Dr. Hubert Van Tuyll for more than his voice at graduation. Dr. van Tuyll is a distinguished military and diplomatic historian, who has published seven books, including an oral history of Augusta area WWII veterans and a textbook of military history. He was the chair of the Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy from 2006 until 2014, and guided the department through consolidation. He has served the University and its faculty in numerous capacities, including a term as University Advocate. He is a beloved teacher, who has taught two generations of history students about the complexities of political and military history.    

An Experience Like No Other