During commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Lee University President Paul Conn honored three outstanding faculty members.
Ruth Lindsey, an Associate Professor of English, received the Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Lee Cheek, an Assistant Professor of Political Science, received the Excellence in Scholarship Award. Dr. Pamela Browning, an Associate Professor of Education, received the Excellence in Advising Award.
The highest award given to a Lee faculty member is the award for Excellence in Teaching. The recipient of this award is selected by an anonymous committee which includes three faculty and three students representing six different academic departments.
"The person honored by this award in 2002 is one of the most beloved professors on our campus," said Dr. Conn. "Ruth joined our faculty in 1975, and will retire from the classroom at the end of next semester as an Associate Professor of English."
Ruth Crawford Lindsey has been a member of Lee's English faculty since 1975. She teaches College Writing, Rhetoric and Research, World Literature, Literature of the Bible, and English Grammar. She has also served as Portfolio Coordinator for English majors for several years.
"She has earned a reputation among English majors and her other students for her caring and compassionate manner of dealing with them, not just in academic matters, but in the larger arena of their lives," said Dr. Conn.
After her graduation from Lee in 1960 and prior to her return as a faculty member, Lindsey served as a missionary-teacher in Brazil for 13 years. The Bible Training School she helped to establish in the 1960s has since become a Church of God seminary.
"Forty-two years ago, Ruth graduated from Lee College and moved to Brazil to serve as a missionary-teacher for thirteen years," said Dr. Conn. "Next year, she will leave our faculty to return to Brazil to perform the same ministry. When she goes she will leave a campus of Lee University students and colleagues who love and respect her."
It is no small achievement for a professor to maintain an active life of scholarship and research, while still meeting the standards of excellence in the classroom. In the last two years at Lee University, Dr. Lee Cheek has met this challenge to the degree surpassed by no one on the Lee faculty.
A native of North Carolina, Dr. Cheek holds the M.Div. from Duke University, and the Ph.D. in political science from the Catholic University of America. Dr. Cheek is a scholar of American political history, and more narrowly of the work of John C. Calhoun. He is a prolific writer, and last year published two books. One of them, titled Calhoun and Popular Rule, was published by the University of Missouri Press, has been nominated by a national book club, and has been nominated for several national book awards. Dr. Cheek's current research includes work on an intellectual biography of Francis Graham Wilson and a study of the political though of Patrick Henry.
"In his personal religious experience, Dr. Cheek is difficult to pigeonhole," said Dr. Conn. "He is a minister in the United Methodist Church; he graduated from a Catholic university; he was teaching at a Southern Baptist college when we recruited him here to a Church of God institution. So we don't know how to label him, religiously; but professionally, he is easy to define: Lee Cheek is a scholar 'par excelens'."
Academic advising is one of the roles of Lee faculty members which usually goes under-appreciated and little recognized -- except, of course, by the students themselves, who know full well that there are few things more valuable than a faculty advisor who will do that job with energy, intelligence, and a personal touch.
"Dr. Pamela Browning is such an advisor," said Dr. Conn. Dr. Browning came to teach Elementary Education after a distinguished career in Florida public schools. She holds the Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, and serves as the chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at Lee. She also has been a recipient of the Lee Excellence in Teaching Award (1992).
"As an academic advisor, Dr. Browning consistently earns some of the highest scores in the university," said Dr. Conn. "During the past three years, she has combined nearly perfect student evaluations both in categories like 'knowledge of the major', but also in the softer and perhaps more revealing categories like 'accessibility to students.' This consistent high performance is even more remarkable when one considers that she does all this not with a handful of students, but with a load of over one hundred advisees."
"Dr. Browning is a superb example of the Lee faculty member who carries a heavy load, year after year, but who still takes the time to focus on her students at a personal level," added Dr. Conn.