news-category: Awards

Gardner-Webb Faculty Members Receive Awards for Service to the University

Dr. Elizabeth Amato accepts the Excellence in Teaching Award from Dr. Downs with Dr. Aubrey standing at the podium
Dr. Elizabeth Amato receives the 2021-22 Excellence in Teaching Award from GWU President Dr. William Downs.

Honors Presented to Full-Time and Adjunct Faculty in Undergrad, Degree Completion and Graduate Programs

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Karen Aubrey recently recognized University faculty members for their dedication and service, presenting awards for 2021-22. These honors included: Rising Star, Faculty Service, Mentoring and Academic Advising, and Nancy Francis-Gregg Day-Adjunct Award. The Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Dr. Elizabeth Amato.

Additionally, Dean of the Gayle Bolt Price School of Graduate Studies Dr. Sydney Brown and Dean of Adult and Distance Education Dr. Elizabeth Pack presented awards to faculty in these programs.

Eric Johnson
Dr. Eric Johnson

Rising Star

Assistant Professor of Music Education Dr. Eric Johnson

This award recognizes a full-time faculty member employed five or fewer years at Gardner-Webb. Johnson was nominated for his dedication, academic leadership and organizational expertise.

Here are a few things he accomplished in the last academic year:

  • In service to his community, Johnson held many leadership roles in North Carolina music education. He served as the Collegiate Student Activities Chair and Interest Sessions Chair for the annual conference of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association. He was invited to present at the annual in-service conference of the North Carolina Music Educators Association in Winston-Salem. 
  • In service to the campus, he organized and hosted the two-day Music Literacy Workshop led by internationally-renowned pedagogue in the field of music education, Dr. Carol Kreuger. In the spring, he coordinated and hosted the Western North Carolina annual meeting of Middle School All State Chorus, bringing several hundred prospective students to campus.  
  • As part of the General Education Committee, he played an integral role in the redesign of Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) for the General Education core restructure. He executed all concerts presented by GWU choirs, including the spring concert tour across the state, with creative vision and meticulous preparation.
Stefka Eddins
Dr. Stefka Eddins

Faculty Service Award

Professor of Chemistry Dr. Stefka Eddins

This award is presented to Eddins for service to her colleagues across campus and in her department. She is a former faculty chair and former department chair. She serves the campus community as a member of the Committee on Committees, the Educational Policies and Standards Committee (EPSC), and the General Education Committee. She also has given her time and expertise as part of the EPSC appeals subcommittee and the ad-hoc committee to review University Promotion and Tenure standards and processes. She has served on several search committees including the physics and astronomy position and the ongoing pre-award grant specialist position.

Eddins provided guidance and wisdom in the review of departmental minors and the creation of the new bio-chemistry major. She is a team player and faithfully covers other departmental tasks. Personally, she volunteers her time at her church and with the Prosphora Ministry.

Tara Hayes

Mentoring and Academic Advising Award

Instructor and RN-BSN Program Coordinator in the Hunt School of Nursing, Tara Hayes

Hayes was recognized for her excellence in mentoring, advising, out-of-class support, encouragement, and collaboration on student research projects. She serves on many committees, advocating for all students and faculty at GWU. She has mentored many students in pursuing higher levels of education in the Hunt School of Nursing including RN-BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. She has created and presented at multiple conferences. She shares these projects and presentations with her peers in the Hunt School of Nursing helping them to continuously grow and ensure students are achieving the best quality of education. She has become a partner and mentor to new faculty, helping them to transition into academia at GWU. A new faculty member and fellow colleague said, “She has ensured that my transition into academia was enriched in scholarship, evidence-based practice, and GWU pride. She is a role-model that we all can look up to, and she is doing wonderful things in the Hunt School of Nursing,” 

Dr. Danny Stedman

Nancy Francis-Gregg Day-Adjunct Award

Dr. Danny Stedman, College of Education

Stedman received this award as a traditional undergraduate program adjunct, who has made outstanding contributions to the teaching mission of Gardner-Webb. He is the lead instructor for MELS 601 Introductory Course and Clinical Team in the Master of Arts in School Administration program in the College of Education. He has served as an adjunct in the College of Education for over 10 years. He retired from Robeson County Schools, where he was assistant superintendent and a high school principal. He currently serves as executive director for Robeson County Communities in School Educational Foundation. 

His colleagues enjoy working with him and said that he provides excellent instruction for doctoral candidates. They also described him as a fine Christian gentleman who embodies Gardner-Webb’s mission in his life and teaching. Students remark about his caring and patient attitude. One student commented, “He was always efficient and very quick to respond to any question I had. He graciously gives of his time to help guide his students to be successful. He does a phenomenal job.”

Outstanding DCP Professor, Adjunct Award

Ashleigh Church, Human Services

Church’s nominator said that she was a valuable member of the Human Services team. The person noted that she consistently works to improve on her coursework and engagement with her students, and she utilizes her real world experience as a practitioner to bring depth of knowledge to the classroom. The students said that she is one of the best professors in the program, gives constructive feedback and has prepared them to start their career. 

Dr. Joey Lord

Outstanding DCP Professor, Full-time Faculty Award

Joey Lord, Assistant Professor, College of Education

Lord is an assistant professor in the College of Education. Her nominator said that she is loved by her students and is patient, caring and kind. The nominator continued that Lord is willing to take on any task with a positive disposition and is a joy to work with. Her students reported that her course is organized well, and she is available to help when needed.

New Process for Graduate Faculty Awards

Before presenting the awards, Brown outlined a new process for the awards proposed by the Graduate Council Awards Committee: Russ Gribble, Paula Qualls, Kemeshia Swanson and Brown. This new process recommended two separate graduate awards, one for full-time faculty and the other for adjunct faculty. Nominations for graduate full-time and graduate adjunct faculty were received from faculty colleagues and graduate students in the fall and spring. In addition, the committee recommended an opportunity for graduate faculty to learn from their peers who are recognized for excellence as part of the award process. Nominees were invited to submit proposals sharing strategies to engage students, successful course activities, or research related to graduate student success.

Eight full-time and four adjunct graduate faculty submitted proposals and presented at the Online Faculty Learning Day on Aug. 6. All the winners and runners-up will receive increased stipends for their presentations, and the winners receive a small plaque.

Graduate Adjunct Awards

Dr. Sara Newell, Professor in EdD in Curriculum and Instruction

The runners-up for the adjunct graduate faculty award are Dr. Joey Bullis, adjunct professor in the Master in School Administration program and Dr. Betsy Jones, adjunct professor in the EdD in Organizational Leadership program. The winner of the adjunct graduate faculty award is Dr. Sara Newell, a professor in the EdD in Curriculum and Instruction program. Her presentation was titled, “Looking inside ourselves to build equitable and culturally responsive practices.”

Graduate Full-Time Faculty Awards

Dr. Laura Carscaddon, Counselor Education, School of Psychological Science and College of Health Sciences

For full-time faculty, the runners-up are Dr. Dale Lamb from the College of Education and Dr. Yvonne Smith from the Hunt School of Nursing within the College of Health Sciences.

Dr. Laura Carscaddon

The winner of the Graduate Full-Time Faculty Award is Dr. Laura Carscaddon from the Counselor Education Program in the School of Psychological Science and Counselor Education within the College of Health Sciences.

One of the nominating students stated: “Dr. Carscaddon is the most attentive and caring professor I have ever met. She creates a very calm and comfortable environment for her students and goes the extra mile. She can take a subject that her students are dreading and turn it into their favorite class. I am beyond grateful for my time with her.”

Dr. Carscaddon’s presentation to faculty attending Online Faculty Learning Day and available to others in the CETL Classroom Strategies Blackboard area is titled: “Using Process in the Classroom to Promote Understanding of Content.” Her presentation shared methods for applying the concept of process as defined in counseling, psychotherapy, and communication theories into the educational experience in order to promote understanding and recall of content.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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