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In The Spotlight 

Dr. Karen Young Named Hatfield Teacher of the Year, 2014-15

Clayton State University Professor of Social Sciences Dr. Karen B. Young has been named the Gene Hatfield Teacher of the Year for the 2013/2014 academic year by the University’s College of Arts & Sciences.

The Gene Hatfield Teacher of the Year Award recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding faculty members within the College of Arts and Sciences. Now in its sixth year, the annual award is presented to a teacher who displays enthusiasm, creativity, compassion, authority, authenticity, patience, persistence, or humor in their teaching and interactions with students. The Arts & Sciences Teacher of the Year award is made possible by, and is named after, Dr. Eugene Hatfield, long-time (1976–2008) history professor at Clayton State.

“I am deeply grateful to my faculty peers who felt me worthy enough to be nominated for such an award and on the notion of being chosen as the person to receive it, I am honored,” says Young, who received her bachelor’s master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California. “I am thrilled and I am humbled to have been chosen to represent such an esteemed group of colleagues in the College of Arts & Sciences in this way.”

“Established in 2008 by a generous gift from Dr. Eugene A. Hatfield, the College of Arts and Sciences Scholar and Teacher of the Year awards are bestowed annually upon two full-time faculty members whose contributions made a substantial impact in advancing the College’s mission of service through teaching, research, and creative endeavors,” explains Dr. Nasser Momayezi, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “These awards recognize scholarly excellence or outstanding teaching as determined by peer review. This year’s award recipients, Dr. Jere Boudell and Dr. Karen Young, as Arts and Sciences scholar and teacher of the year, respectively, are recognized for having brought distinction to the College through their hard work and commitment to the institution. 

“I believe that these awards are the highest honors which can be bestowed upon any faculty member at this University, because they are the best among us.” 

“I have always believed that the teaching and mentoring of students has not been just a profession for me, but a calling of the highest order and my orchestration of it, a gift!” says Young. “It is a calling for which I have accepted the social responsibility, one that I have taken very seriously, one that I have embraced very passionately and one that I will forever remain committed to.”

Since Young epitomizes the best among the Clayton State faculty, it’s not surprising that she also represents their core attributes of the University, educational experiences like experiential learning and providing community support and service. In a word, she empowers her students.

“Whether the students and I have been in the classroom together, presenting together at a professional conference, or out among the people rendering community service, nothing has given me greater pleasure than to witness the active enhancement of each student’s learning capacity and the increased social awareness, consciousness, and commitment they have exhibited,” she says. “It makes me feel like all the time, sacrifice and labor I’ve put in throughout the years has not been in vain… In every teaching moment, whether it’s been inside the classroom or in the field with students, I have tried to model for them by exemplifying the principles of teaching from the perspective of a servant-leader. I have tried to positively help enhance a student’s self-esteem and build their confidence in themselves as I lift them while they climb.”

 

Dr. Jere Boudell Named Scholar of the Year, 2014-15

Clayton State University Professor of Biology Dr. Jere A. Boudell has been named the Gene Hatfield Scholar of the Year for the 2013/2014 academic year by the University’s College of Arts & Sciences.

The Arts & Sciences Scholar of the Year Award is made possible by, and is named after, Dr. Eugene Hatfield, long-time (1976–2008) history professor at Clayton State. Preceding Boudell as recipients of the Hatfield Scholar of the Year Award are Dr. Brigitte Byrd (2009), Dr. E. Joe Johnson (2010), Dr. Jonathan Lyon (2011), Dr. Alexander Hall (2012) and Dr. Shawn Young (2013). The companion award to the Hatfield Scholar of the Year, the Hatfield Teacher of the Year, was awarded for 2013/2014 to Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Karen Young.

“Established in 2008 by a generous gift from Dr. Eugene A. Hatfield, the College of Arts and Sciences Scholar and Teacher of the Year awards are bestowed annually upon two full-time faculty members whose contributions made a substantial impact in advancing the College’s mission of service through teaching, research, and creative endeavors,” explains Dr. Nasser Momayezi, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “These awards recognize scholarly excellence or outstanding teaching as determined by peer review. This year’s award recipients, Dr. Jere Boudell and Dr. Karen Young, as Arts and Sciences scholar and teacher of the year, respectively, are recognized for having brought distinction to the College through their hard work and commitment to the institution. 

“I believe that these awards are the highest honors which can be bestowed upon any faculty member at this University, because they are the best among us.” 

“It’s truly an honor to receive the Gene Hatfield Scholar of the Year award,” says Boudell. “I’d like to thank my colleagues, from staff to fellow academics, who never hesitated to provide encouragement and support while I pursued my research endeavors. Research colleagues at the USGS National Wetlands Research Center, Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and Agnes Scott College have been a source of inspiration and provided materials, access to state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, and time.

“Finally, I could not leave out the many students with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working as a research mentor and/or teacher. All of these interactions have enriched my teaching and scholarly practice and allowed me to investigate the many mysteries of the natural world.”

A riverine plant biologist who received her B.S. from Northeastern State University and her Ph.D. from Arizona State University, Boudell’s scholarship extends into another of the STEM fields – technology, specifically, app development.

In the spring of 2013 Boudell organized an Eco Hackathon at Clayton State to explore and develop approaches to improve urban stream restoration in the Georgia Piedmont. The key to the Eco Hackathon involved participants exploring and building apps to be used to promote awareness of stream and watershed issues and for use in fieldwork. In particular, the Eco Hackathon included an introductory workshop on app building using MIT’s App Inventor, thus allowing participants to better understand the powerful computers they hold in their hands and allow them to construct simple apps.

Boiudell later followed that experience by attending the “Computational Thinking through Mobile Computing” workshop at University of Massachusetts-Lowell; a special event designed for undergraduate computer science professors and led by the famed MIT professor Hal Abelson, creator of many computer science programs, including MIT’s App Inventor.

“Like many scientists, and academics in general, I’m pretty inquisitive, and this is reflected in the diverse areas I explore,” Boudell explains. “Mobile computing is a new area I’ve been exploring through app development for use in education, outreach, and research. We carry around these small yet powerful interactive computers.  Changing how we view this technology and moving beyond apps for games or restaurant reviews is an exciting challenge. Challenge accepted.

“I believe it is critical to develop teaching materials that support faculty as they learn and implement active learning approaches in their class rooms. Here is where we challenge our students, and our students challenge us, to move beyond the memorization of facts to application and synthesis of content.”

As a riverine plant biologist, Boudell focuses on improving approaches to restoring stream environments in the face of what she refers to as unrelenting urban stress, and increasingly, stress due to changing climatic conditions. 

“Healthy riverine environments produce clean water and healthy environments in which to live,” she notes.

Boudell also says she is grateful for the new science building currently under construction on the Clayton State campus. 

“I can’t wait to see what we, the faculty, staff, and students, can do with our new building,” she exclaims.

Dr. LaJuan E. Simpson Named Chair of New Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

Dr. LaJuan E. Simpson was recently named Chair of the new Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. Dr. Simpson is an Associate Professor of English at Clayton State University, where she has taught since 2005.

"It was indeed an honor to have been selected by Dean Momayezi  for this important position," Simpson says. "I am excited about this opportunity and I look forward to meeting the needs of students who are enrolled in all of our programs."

The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies administers programs as diverse as Aviation Administration, Homeland Security/Emergency Management, Organizational Leadership, as well as Women's Studies and African American Studies. With more than 686 students enrolled in its programs, the Department offers some of the most popular majors within the College of Arts and Sciences.

A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Simpson received her B.A. from Fisk University (1994) and a M.A. (1996) and Ph.D. (1999) in English  from Louisiana State University. She supervises an academic unit that includes 7 full time faculty members and the Integrative Studies, Liberal Arts, and Degree Completion programs. "We want to meet the needs of the population in our local area (many of whom are the first in their families to attend college); the Southern Crescent and Atlanta, in particular, where many of Georgia’s leading employers are based; and finally, the growing need of distance learners, who are motivated students but otherwise constrained by geography, " Simpson reiterates.

 

"Our department serves a diverse population," Simpson explains.  "We target traditional, full time students and non-traditional students, working professionals. Typically, our students seek knowledge they cannot acquire in other academic disciplines; therefore, they desire the ability to personalize a curriculum that will allow them to reach their personal, professional and educational goals."


Dr. Virginia Bonner Named 2012 College of Arts & Sciences Teacher of the Year, 2013-14

Dr. Virginia Bonner is the recipient of the College's fourth annual Gene Hatfield Teacher of the Year Award. Dr. Bonner is an Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at Clayton State University, where she has taught since 2003.

"It is an honor indeed to be recognized by my peers for this aspect of my job that I truly value most and at which I strive particularly hard to excel. I must credit several formative mentors whose teaching skills truly inspired me, as well as the support and encouragement of my colleagues at Clayton State," Bonner said.

"It is my true delight to introduce students to—and truly educate them in—the art of cinema, " Bonner explained. "Whether I’m teaching on campus or online, I love teaching Film, Women’s Studies, and Art History."

 Bonner received her B.S. in Psychology (1991) and a M.A. in Art History (1993) from the University of Florida, prior to enrolling in the Women's Studies program at Emory University, where she earned both a M.A. (1999) and a Ph.D. (2003).

"I often hear that I’m reputed among students to be a challenging professor who assigns provocative material and never gives an 'easy A'," Bonner continued. "All true," she admitted. "But seniors and graduates always tell me later that my courses 'changed the way they see everything in the media now.' Every semester, I smile as I receive so many emails and comments from students repeating the wonderful refrain of being 'unable to watch films in the same casual and uncritical way anymore.' These phrases always confirm my raison d’être as a Film and Media Studies professor."

The College's Teacher of the Year award is made possible by the generous endowment of Dr. Gene Hatfield, who taught at Clayton State from 1976 until his retirement in 2008. Bonner is the fourth annual recipient of the honor, preceded by Dr. Caroline Clower (2009), Dr. Todd Janke (2010), and Dr. Greg McNamara (2011).


Dr. Alex Hall Named 2012 College of Arts & Sciences Scholar of the Year

Dr. Hall thanks CAS Faculty, as Dean Momayezi prepares to present him a cash award

On August 9, 2012, Dr. Alex Hall received the College's fourth annual  Gene Hatfield Scholar of the Year Award. Dr. Hall is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Clayton State University. He also serves as Assistant Director of the Society for Medieval Logic and Metaphysics and Managing Editor of its Proceedings.

During 2011, Hall co-edited the first nine volumes of the Society for Medieval Logic and Metaphysics Proceedings, which were published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

“It is a pleasure to work with my fellow faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences," Hall remarked. "My scholarship has benefited from colleagues who have helped me to find travel funding and to craft teaching schedules that facilitate research, who have read and reread drafts of manuscripts and who are kind enough yet to leave open their doors for me, no matter how many times I’ve materialized in their offices to ask what x thought of y or seek advice regarding a turn of phrase."

"I’ve consulted with faculty from departments across the College over matters as diverse as the mind-body problem, human nature and evolution, Aristotle and freedom of the will, the rhythm of Boethian prose, medieval literature, post-modern idealism and the philosophical implications of various popular culture movements," Hall continued. "All of this is to say that the faculty possess a wealth of expertise from which they generously share, and I am honored to have received from them the 2012 award for Scholar of the Year."

 The College's Scholar of the Year award is made possible by the generous endowment of Dr. Gene Hatfield, who taught at Clayton State from 1976 until his retirement in 2008. Hall is the fourth annual recipient of the honor, preceded by Dr. Brigitte Byrd (2009), Dr. E. Joe Johnson (2010), and Dr. Jonathan Lyon (2011).

Hall received his B.A. from the University of California at Davis (1992), an M.A. from San Francisco State University (1998) and a Ph.D. from  Emory University (2004). He began teaching CRIT 1101 Critical Thinking as a part time faculty member at Clayton State in Fall 2001, entering the ranks of full time faculty three years later.