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Three receive Socrates Award for excellence in teaching

Three faculty members received APSUs Socrates Awards during the Academic Honors and Awards Ceremony April 27.

This years recipients are Dr. Spencer Buckner, associate professor of physics, Dr. Dwonna Goldstone, assistant professor of English, and Dr. Uma Iyer, assistant professor of psychology and coordinator of industrial/organizational psychology.
Three faculty members received APSU's Socrates Awards during the Academic Honors and Awards Ceremony April 27.

This year's recipients are Dr. Spencer Buckner, associate professor of physics, Dr. Dwonna Goldstone, assistant professor of English, and Dr. Uma Iyer, assistant professor of psychology and coordinator of industrial/organizational psychology.

The Socrates Award recognizes tenure-track faculty judged by their students and peers as outstanding teachers. Although academic advising, research and creative activities are factors, the primary award criterion is excellence in teaching.

Buckner earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Texas Tech University. He came to APSU in 1999 from Moorhead State University in Minnesota, where he was a visiting assistant professor. At the time, APSU offered one astronomy course, with 27 students taking the class each semester. Since then, Buckner has expanded the astronomy offerings to include a minor in astronomy, and the number of students registered for astronomy has risen to more than 250 per semester. The number is expected to increase to 350 by Fall 2005, according to Dr. Jaime Taylor, professor of physics and chair of physics and astronomy.

In additional to his scholarly achievements and honors, Buckner is known for his professional contribution to the local community. This has included organizing observations of Mars and the lunar eclipse, lecturing at local schools, giving planetarium shows and judging regional school science fairs.

Buckner also advises the Del Square Psi physics club, which was honored as the “Student Organization of the Year” for 2005 during APSU's Student Organization and Leaders Awards.

In his nomination of Buckner, Taylor wrote: “He clearly enjoys having the opportunity to expose students and people in general to the joys of astronomy and the joy of learning.”

Goldstone was appointed assistant professor of English at APSU in 2001. She holds a doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin. She earned a master's from Brown University and a bachelor's from the University of Iowa.

She came to APSU after serving as an assistant instructor at The University of Texas at Austin, editing two social studies textbooks and teaching English at a Virginia high school.

Goldstone has an impressive list of professional presentations, including appearances at The Roxy Regional Theatre and the Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library.

Dr. Susan Calovini, professor of English and chair of languages and literature, wrote in her letter of nomination: “ … [Goldstone] has re-energized our program in African-American and African literature. These courses that once were fortunate to enroll 10 students now are filling regularly with 20 to 25 students.

“By no means is her popularity the result of easy grades or low standards. Dwonna is challenging, provocative, even demanding, and her standards for writing and scholarship are among the highest in the department.”

Iyer earned a doctorate in philosophy from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India. Her two master's degrees (philosophy and psychology) and her bachelor's degree are from the University of Kerala, India.

After serving as a visiting assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at the University of Albany from 1999-2001, Iyer came to APSU in 2001. Her extensive research background includes two community studies: “A Qualitative Study of Human Needs in Clarksville-Montgomery County, Tenn.” And “A Study of the Perceptions and Attitudes of Human Service Providers in Clarksville-Montgomery County, Tenn.”

Of Iyer's work, Dr. David Denton, associate professor and chair of psychology, wrote: “I was extremely impressed with the level of energy and excitement she brings to her classroom efforts. Her love of industrial/organizational psychology, her academic specialty, is evident in every conversation one has with her about this field.”

Each recipient of the Socrates Award receives $500, an engraved plaque and an original pottery piece created by Ken Shipley, assistant professor of art.
—Rebecca Mackey