UMW Presents Top Faculty Awards

UMW bestowed honors on several professors at the general faculty meeting in August.

  • Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss received the 2020 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award. Established in honor of Shirley Van Epps Waple ’52, the nomination-based award recognizes instructors who have made significant contributions to their scholarly or creative area of expertise. The recipient must be a full-time faculty member for at least seven years.

“Exemplifying the UMW teacher-scholar model,” Liss has coauthored published research with more than 40 students in her two decades at Mary Washington, presented at numerous professional conferences and written several books, said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Keith Mellinger, who presented the award. “In the words of her department chair, Liss’s ‘ongoing record of stellar and consistent professional activity places her in the very top tier of our talented faculty.’”

  • Professor of History and American Studies Allyson Poska received the J. Christopher “Topher” Bill Award for her contributions to the university and her involvement and leadership in the community. This award goes to a member of the full-time teaching faculty who has served at UMW for at least seven years and has a significant record of service accomplishments.

In 28 years at Mary Washington, Poska has served on or chaired more than 20 university committees, said Assistant Professor of Biology Parrish Waters, who presented the award. She also helped establish the Women’s and Gender Studies major, serving as chair for six years. In the community, Poska “brings a strong voice to advocate for those who may otherwise go unheard,” he said, citing her service to local organizations like Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, Empowerhouse, and the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank.

  • Associate Professor of Computer Science Stephen Davies was presented with the Grellet C. Simpson Award, the institution’s most prestigious honor for excellence in undergraduate teaching, given to a senior faculty member.

Known for “extremely challenging but exceptionally creative courses,” Davies creates materials and assignments tailored specifically for his students, said Provost Nina Mikhalevsky, who presented the award. He’s authored three textbooks that have been adopted by other UMW instructors for their classes, she said.

  • Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences April Wynn received the UMW Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, presented to an exceptional member of the faculty who has served the institution for at least two years but no more than five.

Praising Wynn’s empathy and enthusiasm as both a faculty member and director of UMW’s First-Year Experience, University Faculty Council Chair Andrew Dolby presented the award to his colleague. Wynn “is thoughtful, diligent, and meticulous in carrying out every service or obligation she agrees to take on,” Dolby, a professor of biology, said.

  • John Burrow, a lecturer in the College of Business (COB), was recognized with the Graduate Faculty Award, which showcases an exceptional full-time faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in graduate teaching and professional leadership in a graduate program. The person selected must have served in a full-time position at UMW for at least two years.

Presenting the award, COB Dean Lynne Richardson quoted a recent student, who said that “everyone respects and thinks highly of Burrow.” At UMW, he has established relationships with local organizations to provide real world challenges for his students, Richardson said. He also helped create a project management certificate and MBA opportunities for cohort classes at the Dahlgren Campus.

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