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STEPHENVILLE (April 16, 2015) — Five Tarleton State University faculty have been named 2015 recipients of the O.A. Grant Excellence in Teaching Awards. Created in honor of the longtime Tarleton social sciences faculty member, the awards are presented each spring in conjunction with the University Faculty Awards sponsored by the Tarleton Alumni Association.
One faculty member from each of the university’s five colleges is chosen for the honor, which includes a plaque and a cash stipend.
Selected for the 2015 awards are: Dr. Kylah Clark-Goff, College of Education, Department of Curriculum & Instruction; Dr. Heather Hawk, College of Liberal & Fine Arts, Department of Fine Arts; Dr. Joseph Schuessler, College of Business Administration, Department of Marketing & Computer Information Systems; Dr. Michael Wade, College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, Department of Agricultural & Consumer Sciences; and Dr. Mary Beth Winton, College of Science & Technology, Department of Nursing.
The O.A. Grant Excellence in Teaching Awards are given to faculty who were nominated from their respective college and chosen by the Faculty Awards Selection Committee. This prestigious award was instituted in 1983 under the former title of Distinguished Service Award. Created through a grant, the award recognizes not only teachers who are dedicated to the educational environment in the classroom but show a genuine concern for students outside academics.
Dr. Kylah Clark-Goff, Assistant Professor of Curriculum & Instruction
Goff joined the Tarleton faculty in 2011 and has 12 years’ experience as an educator. Teaching two pivotal courses for the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, she helps prepare students seeking teacher certification at the university’s Stephenville campus. In addition to teaching these courses, Goff provides workshops each semester to review the ESL strategies to ensure Tarleton students seeking teacher certification are successful on the required TExES PPR.
“If I could emulate a teacher, it would be Dr. Goff. She brings such life and positive feelings into the classroom, and I know through her actions that she absolutely loves to be teaching every day,” wrote one student in nominating Goff. “Her style of teaching cannot be duplicated and does not compare to any other teachers that I have had in the past. She is truly a role model to me as a future educator. I know that if I ever needed anything, she would be the first person to jump into action for me.”
Goff earned her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Texas A&M University, a masters of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s in education from Baylor University. Prior to joining the Tarleton faculty, Goff taught in public schools serving as a first grade and kindergarten teacher, as well as an English as a Second Language instructor abroad in both Jordan and Mozambique.
Dr. Heather Hawk, Assistant Professor of Music
Hawk has spent seven years as an educator at Tarleton and was named assistant professor in 2014. She is known as a “dynamic educator” whose “enthusiasm infiltrates every encounter she has with her students.” Hawk leads courses in fundamentals of music to interdisciplinary studies majors and music history and diction courses, and serves as vocal coach to multiple students who compete in such events as the National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions, campus concerts and recitals.
“Dr. Hawk’s students have commented over her entire career regarding what an exemplary teacher she is,” said Kelli C. Styron, dean of the College of Liberal & Fine Arts. “Her evaluations illustrate her compassion, student focus and a willingness to assist students no matter what the time of day in order that they might get their performance to be at its very best. She is truly an asset to our students on this campus. Her expertise, attention to detail and willingness to be a student-focused faculty member are traits that I wish I could clone so that we had more faculty like Heather working with our deserving students.”
Hawk holds a doctor of musical arts in vocal performance from the University of North Texas, a master of music in vocal performance from Baylor and her bachelor’s in music from Tarleton. In addition to her teaching duties, Hawk is an award-winning soprano and was named a national finalist in 2013 for the Classical Singer Competition – Young Artist Division, and won first place at the Dallas Opera Guild vocal competition in 2012.
Dr. Mary Beth Winton, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Winton joined the Tarleton faculty in 2004 and was named assistant professor in 2011. She is known for consistently demonstrating creative and innovative teaching techniques within the Department of Nursing and continuously revises courses to help students prepare to successfully take the State Board of Nursing Exam to become registered nurses in Texas. Nursing students consistently regard Winton as punctual and organized, and she is lauded as an educator who provides an individualized approach to teaching as students progress through the nursing program.
It’s noted in her nomination material, “even though pre-nursing students in her Nursing 2260 course are not assigned advisors within the nursing department, Dr. Winton advises an enormous number of students during their progression in all pre-nursing courses and reviews their plans for the following semester.”
Winton earned a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler, and both a master’s and bachelor’s of nursing from UT-Arlington. Prior to becoming an educator, Winton served in the nursing profession for 10 years at multiple medical centers across the North Texas region.
Dr. Michael Wade, Professor of Horticulture
Wade has spent 41 years as a member of the Tarleton faculty, earning full professorship in 1990. He is regarded as one of the “core foundational faculty members” within the College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, and is said to be a “true treasure among all of Tarleton’s faculty.” Wade’s students and colleagues have noted that he is a “master teacher who utilizes the art and science of teaching” and that his rapport with students adds to his effectiveness in the classroom.
“Dr. Wade possess a passion for plants that is effortlessly conveyed to his students every day in the classroom and laboratory,” one student wrote in nominating her professor. “Using his relatable, relaxed style, he has helped countless students understand the principles of horticulture, horticulture design and how they can easily be applied to everyday life. His teaching is straightforward and knowledgeable as he ensures that every student in his lectures comprehends the material.”
Wade earned his Ph.D., master’s and bachelor’s degrees in horticulture from Kansas State University. Prior to becoming an educator, he served in the U.S. Army. He has authored multiple textbooks, including most recently, Learning About Plants: A Quick Reference in Pictures (2012), and is a regular contributor to Texas Gardener magazine.
Dr. Joseph Schuessler, Assistant Professor of Marketing & Computer Information Systems
Schuessler joined the Tarleton faculty in 2011 and has five years’ experience in education. He is known for his approach to the teaching and learning process and “serves as an excellent model for our department’s faculty,” a colleague wrote in the nomination form. Recognized by the Texas A&M System with the Student Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence, Schuessler is regarded as implementing innovative teaching practices and redesigning his courses to create highly effective learning environments for his students by creating video lectures to support both online and face-to-face courses.
“I think the organization, clear expectations, communication availability and his obvious knowledge of the subject matter are definite positives of Dr. Schuessler,” said one student. “He is professional but still openly interested in his students’ grades and understanding, which is difficult to achieve. He makes you push yourself, and I personally like that.”
Schuessler holds a Ph.D. in business computer information systems, a master of information technologies, an MBA in business computer information systems and a BBA in strategic management—all from the University of North Texas.
About Dr. O.A. Grant and his legacy:
Grant was a member of the Tarleton faculty from 1948 to 1987. He served as chairman for the Department of Social Sciences from 1967 to 1976 and was named an Outstanding Educator of America in 1976. In 1983, he received the Distinguished Faculty Award from Tarleton and was appointed Professor Emeritus by The Texas A&M University System after his retirement. Grant is remembered by generations of students as a dynamic, enthusiastic and brilliant professor—a legacy embraced by the 2015 honorees.
Tarleton, a member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. With campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of integrity, leadership, tradition, civility, excellence and service.