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Top faculty awards presented at Academic Honors and Awards Day

Three people received the Universitys highest faculty honors at APSUs annual Academic Honors and Awards Day Ceremony April 27.

Dr. Michele T. Butts, associate professor of history, received the 2004-05 Richard M. Hawkins Award for scholarly and creative activities. Dr. Susan Calovini, professor of English and chair of the department of languages and literature, is the 2004-05 Distinguished Professor of the Year, while Dr. Robert (Robbie) Robison, professor of biology, received the Distinguished Community Service Award.
Three people received the University's highest faculty honors at APSU's annual Academic Honors and Awards Day Ceremony April 27.

Dr. Michele T. Butts, associate professor of history, received the 2004-05 Richard M. Hawkins Award for scholarly and creative activities. Dr. Susan Calovini, professor of English and chair of the department of languages and literature, is the 2004-05 Distinguished Professor of the Year, while Dr. Robert (Robbie) Robison, professor of biology, received the Distinguished Community Service Award.

Recipient of the prestigious Hawkins Award this year, Butts earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from APSU and her doctorate from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

She is recognized for her outstanding research and publishing record, including scholarly book reviews, journal articles and many papers presented at regional and national meetings.

Published in 2003, her book, “Galvanized Yankees on the Upper Missouri: The Face of Loyalty,” was nominated by The Historical Society for the Eugene Genovese Best Book in American History Prize, and the University Press of Colorado nominated it for the Western Historical Association's Robert M. Utley Military History Award.

Known as a dedicated teacher and conscientious academic adviser to a variety of students, including those receiving VA benefits, Butts is APSU's specialist on the history of the American West with an emphasis on Native American studies. She played a key role in designing the new minor in Latin American Studies.

She is affiliated with five major professional organizations, serving in leadership roles in threeSouthern Regional Program Committee, Organization of American Historians and Omicron Delta Kappa. As an indication of her knowledge in the field, she composes U.S. history questions for the Educational Testing Service and is a faculty consultant for the U.S. History Advanced Placement Examination.

Dr. Dewey Browder, chair of the department of history and philosophy, said, “(Dr. Butts) is an excellent role model for all students, an outstanding scholar, diligent teacher, personable team player, compassionate counselor (and) consummate professional.”

Selected as Distinguished Professor of the Year, Calovini earned a bachelor's degree from Ohio University and a master's degree and doctorate from The Ohio State University.

Calovini has developed and taught English classes at every level, from freshman composition to graduate seminars. Although she assumed the administrative duties of department chair, she continues to teach freshman composition. “Freshman composition is all about the fundamentals critical thinking, effective writing, good grammar, logical argumentation,” she said. “And so I teach it regularly to keep myself grounded.”

Besides being a specialist in 19th century British literature, Calovini developed and taught the multicultural, graduate-level course, “Literature Across Cultures.” She has taken advantage of opportunities to teach courses in other programs, including the new freshman seminar, the Heritage and Honors programs and the Women's Studies Program capstone course, which she developed. Her obvious love for and dedication to teaching earned her the 1995 Socrates Award.

Not only does Calovini often present scholarly papers at regional and national conferences, she promotes scholarship by supporting undergraduate and graduate research, and she also serves as the graduate coordinator for English.

As coordinator of the Women's Studies Program in 1993-99, she re-energized the minor by developing new courses, collaborating with other departments on additional courses, sponsoring co-curricular programs and organizing the annual Women's History Month Conference.

Calovini's professional service is academically oriented. She served as president of the interdisciplinary Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi in 1995-96, president-elect in 2002-04 and recently assumed the two-year presidency again. She served on the Faculty Senate during 1993-96 and is a member-at-large for the APSU chapter of AAUP.

In addition to serving as department chair since 1999, Calovini co-chaired the University's SACS leadership team in 2002-04. Her multi-faceted efforts helped earn APSU re-accreditation with no recommendations for improvement.

Honored with the Community Service Award for his longtime efforts in serving this community, Robison earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A&M University and his doctorate from Vanderbilt University.

His community service includes participation in the Montgomery County Soccer Association, Montgomery County Referees Association, Leadership Clarksville, Youth Leadership Clarksville and the American Legion. He is a dedicated trainer of adult volunteers, serving on adult-leader training programs, such as the six-day Wood Badge Leadership Development Program.

However, the area of service in which he truly excels is his work with the Boy Scouts. He has served 21 years as a registered adult volunteer with Boy Scouts of America, serving locally at various times as assistant scoutmaster, scoutmaster and troop committee member.

In addition to his willingness to fill in when other adults backed out of a function, Robison offers constant encouragement and provides an outstanding role model for hundreds of local boys. One of them said, “We really are privileged to know people like Dr. Robbie.”

Besides his service on the local level, Robison has assumed leadership roles in three Middle Tennessee contingents of the National Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C.

The Boy Scouts of America has recognized Robison's service with some of its highest awards, and one of his colleagues in scouting said, “Robbie has a gift for seeing the positive in (problem) kids … and the funny thing is that these kids seem to eventually bear out his faith and, after a while, become decent human beings.”
—Dennie Burke