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Honors and awards ceremonies to change

April 16, 2002

The chair of the Honors and Awards Committee at Austin Peay has announced changes in several ceremonies held to recognize the achievements and contributions of Austin Peay faculty and students.

The announcement followed months of work by committee members, who were asked to explore how the University could address student and parent complaints that too much time is devoted to faculty awards during Commencement ceremonies. The changes were finalized "after much deliberation and attempts to seek input from all constituent groups," said Dr. Camille Holt, chair of the committee.

In the past, elaborate preparations were made for the 480-520 students whose grade-point average made them eligible to attend the Academic Honors Ceremony.

Unfortunately, "only about 80 or 90 students were showing up," says Holt. "That's a lot of expense and trouble for a small number of students."

Committee members met with the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and representatives of Student Affairs to solicit their feedback on a proposal to combine Awards Day and the Academic Honors event. The change was discussed among various groups and eventually was approved by Dr. Hoppe and other administrators.

The committee also proposed that the event be moved from 4 p.m. to 3 p.m., at the request of numerous non-traditional students whose family obligations make it difficult for them to attend a 4 p.m. ceremony. That change was approved as well.

The Academic Honors and Awards Ceremony will be held at 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 30 in the UC ballroom. Faculty will process into the room in regalia. The president, vice president of academic affairs and Laurel Wreath president will offer remarks. Though names of award recipients will appear individually in the program, students will be recognized as a group and will receive certificates following the ceremony.

The second issue committee members were asked to explore was complaints about faculty-award Commencement.

"We talked with lots of individuals about possible solutions, and the solution that seemed to get the most support was to move faculty awards to the Spring Faculty Meeting," Holt says.

Thus, all faculty awards will be given at the next Spring Faculty Meeting, which is slated for 3 p.m., Tuesday, May 7. Following remarks from last year's Alumni Distinguished Professor, presentations will be made to the new Alumni Distinguished Professor, Hawkins Awardee, Distinguished Community Service awardees and to all Socrates Awardees. Graduates will be approved, and faculty service pins will be presented. The meeting will take place in the Morgan University Center.

At Spring Commencement, scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, May 10, the Drane and Harvill/Civitan awards will be presented to students, as usual.

Presentation of one award will continue to be part of the Commencement ceremony: the Distinguished Achievement Award. "That award can go to anyone-a student, an administrator, someone on staff or faculty or a friend of the University," Holt says. "So we left that as part of Commencement."

Overall, response to the proposed changes has been favorable, Holt says. "We've had only one complaint."

Questions about the changes can be directed to any Faculty Senate representative, individual deans or any member of the Honors and Awards Committee.