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2 profs earn top faculty awards

During Austin Peay State Universitys Honors and Awards Ceremony yesterday, two professors were presented top faculty honors for 2006-07.

Dr. Dixie Dennis, chair of the APSU Department of Health and Human Performance and interim dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, received the 2006-07 Richard M. Hawkins Award for scholarly and creative activities.

Dr. Mickey Wadia, professor of languages and literature, was chosen Distinguished Professor of the Year by vote of alumni, students and faculty.
During Austin Peay State University's Honors and Awards Ceremony yesterday, two professors were presented top faculty honors for 2006-07.

Dr. Dixie Dennis, chair of the APSU Department of Health and Human Performance and interim dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, received the 2006-07 Richard M. Hawkins Award for scholarly and creative activities.

Dr. Mickey Wadia, professor of languages and literature, was chosen Distinguished Professor of the Year by vote of alumni, students and faculty.

An alumna, Dennis earned both her B.S. in chemistry (1989) and M.S. in public and community health (1996) from APSU. In 2000, she received a Ph.D. in health education, with a perfect 4.0 GPA, from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

She returned to APSU in 2005 as professor and chair of the APSU Department of Health and Human Performance. In the two years she has been at APSU, Dennis has made many noteworthy contributions to scholarship. Dennis was nominated for the Hawkins Award by several of her colleagues. In her nomination, last year's Richard M. Hawkins Award recipient, Dr. Michelle Butts, professor of history, said, “The esteem of (Dennis') peers is demonstrated by her 2007 candidacy for the American Association for Health Education Board of Directors.”

Dennis has written two books and contributed to two others. She co-authored “Living, Dying, Grieving,” which is under contract with Jones and Bartlett. In 2003 her book, “Adult Children of Alcoholics: Consequences and ChoicesA Lab Manual,” was published by Salisbury University. Last year Dennis contributed to the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Society for Public Health Education and American Association for Health Education publication, titled “A Competency-Based Framework for Health Education.” Dennis' chapter, “Biological Basis of Spirituality,” is included in “Searching for Spirituality in Higher Education,” edited by APSU President Sherry Hoppe and Provost Bruce Speck.

In addition to pursuing book publication, Dennis has authored 22 peer-reviewed articles and has been invited to author eight other professional articles. She currently has two co-authored scholarly articles under review and two others in development.

Since 1998, Dennis has delivered scholarly and professional presentations at national conferences and conventions. Most recently, in March 2007, she made three presentations: one before the American Academy of Health Behavior and two during the American Association for Health Education Conference in Baltimore.

In his nomination, Dr. Gregg Steinberg, associate professor of health and human performance, said, “Most amazing is that Dr. Dennis conducted all this wonderful scholarly and creative activity while she had two administrative positions here at APSU…More importantly, she is exceptional in both those administrative positions as well.”

In her nomination of Dennis, Dr. Carmen Reagan, professor of marketing, echoed Steinburg's sentiments: “(Dr. Dennis) serves as an excellent role model for all faculty … exciting others about research and writing and demonstrating that scholarly endeavors can be accomplished along with heavy teaching and service responsibilities.”

Wadia earned a Ph.D. from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, in 1987. His bachelor's degree, with honors, is from the University of Calcutta, India, and his master's degree, from Jadavpur University, Calcutta.

In 1996, Wadia received the Socrates Award for excellence in teaching. In 2000, he was among a limited number of faculty who volunteered to develop APSU's first Web-based courses.

Wadia teaches myriad courses within the departmentfrom core courses such as freshman composition and world literature to Shakespeare and Technical Report Writing. His graduate seminars include classes on Shakespeare and Renaissance poets.

In support of APSU's mission to promote “global awareness” and to instill “values for life and work in a global society” in his students, Wadia is a strong advocate of study-abroad programs. He regularly takes students to London where he teaches a course in British theatre.

He has published articles on Shakespeare and technical writing in refereed periodicals and online publications, and he has made scholarly presentations at more than 30 regional, national and international conferences. He has participated in about 30 workshops, symposia and panels on myriad topics from the Holocaust to study-abroad opportunities to diversity.

In February 2007, Wadia was elected vice president of the Tennessee Philological Association and will serve as president of the statewide organization in 2008-09. Among his University service, he is public relations officer of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and the 10-year chair of the Faculty Handbook and Policy Committee.

Despite all of his scholarly work and service to APSU, Wadia puts greatest emphasis on teaching. In a letter expressing honor in being considered for the Distinguished Professor Award, Wadia wrote, “There are few rewards I cherish more than seeing a gleam of understanding or a nod of silent approval in students' eyes. I welcome the responsibility for writing recommendation letters for deserving students.” -- Dennie B. Burke