SALISBURY, MD---A critically acclaimed author, a professor who made the nursing profession more accessible to hundreds and a mathematician who takes as much interest in mentoring her colleagues as she does her students are this year’s recipients of the Salisbury University Distinguished Faculty Award.
The 2005 awards go to Dr. Michael Lewis of History, Dr. Lisa Seldomridge of Nursing and Dr. Kathleen Shannon of Mathematics and Computer Science.
Students in Lewis’ courses credit him with transforming their lives. “In [his] courses my interest in history grew from a pragmatic aim of merely earning a degree into a keen desire to question, analyze and learn,” said one. Lewis’ book, Inventing Global Ecology: Tracking the Biodiversity Ideal in India, published in 2003, helped open eyes around the world. According to a recent review in the journal Nature, “It is people such as Lewis and the debate that books like this can initiate that have the potential to make a real difference to difficult and chronic global problems.”
At SU, Lewis was instrumental in founding the environmental issues major, which he directs. He also developed seven new courses, including one which resulted in a book of student essays on environmental history. An essay he wrote about this course has been nominated for a prize by the American History Association Teaching Division.
According to Dr. Maarten Pereboom, chair of the History Department, Lewis has an “ability to open people’s minds and to help them find focus and direction for their talents and passions.” He has devoted time to students both in and out of the classroom, helping them develop their research interests and consider graduate school opportunities. He has led SU’s Algonquin Orientation Experience for new students three times and regularly takes students on weekend environmental trips.
In addition to his work in academics, Lewis has chaired SU’s Senate Membership and Elections Committee. In the community, he has served on the Pemberton Historical Park Advisory Board. He also has published a dozen articles, essays and book reviews during his five years at SU. His edited volume, American Wilderness, is scheduled for release in 2006.
Writes one former student, “There is no teacher, advisor or mentor who embodies the character of our institution more.”
The chair of SU’s Nursing Department from 1996-2002, Seldomridge led the Nursing Program in making great strides that have been felt throughout the region. In streamlining the second-degree Nursing Program from five semesters to three, she made the degree accessible to many more students. She also worked to forge a partnership between SU and Delaware Technical and Community College for registered nurse (R.N.) students and develop a curriculum for an R.N. to B.S. program.
clDespite support for returning to the chair’s position, Seldomridge gave up the title in 2002 to return to full-time teaching. As a nursing instructor, she made sure her door was always open to students—literally. Her Friday afternoon drop-in office sessions, during which students may share observations or ask questions about their work, are wildly popular, say colleagues.
In addition to classroom and clinical lessons, she teaches students the importance of political activism in the nursing field and how they can help shape healthcare legislation. She also helped the Nursing Department become a campus leader in online learning, using the WebCT application to post syllabi, quizzes and schedules as well as potential answers to difficult scenarios faced by nurses in real life.
Today, as I take care of my patients, I remember my experience with Dr. Seldomridge and I hope that the care I give them is a reflection of the many things she has taught me,” says former student Kimberly Upton, R.N.
Seldomridge helped lead the department to another high in 2002-03 as accreditation coordinator, facilitating visits from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Maryland Board of Nursing. She also authored the self-study document presented to both agencies. In 2004, CCNE granted SU’s Nursing Programs full accreditation for the maximum period of five years. The department also received full approval from the Maryland Board of Nursing.
During her 19 years at SU, she has written for many publications, including two chapters in Quick References for Psychopharmacology, chosen as Book of the Year by the American Journal of Nursing. She also has received several awards, including the American Association of University Women Outstanding Dissertation Award. She was selected as one of 20 George Mason University Leadership and Health Policy Fellows nationwide.
Shannon is chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, of which she has been a member since 1989.
"Year after year, Dr. Shannon continues to deliver excellent classroom instruction along with keeping her courses fresh and up to date,” said Dr. Tom Jones, dean of the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology. “Kathleen epitomizes a faculty member who puts students and their learning at the center of her world.”
Beyond that, her department’s Promotion and Tenure Committee noted her dedication to mentoring junior faculty members, assisting them during their first years at SU.
The recipient of two National Science Foundation grants, Shannon has been instrumental in developing new courses and mathematics laboratory techniques for her department. Beyond academics, her colleagues have commended her for her work in University governance as a member of the Faculty Senate, where she has been an advocate for issues including faculty pay, tenure, promotions, work load and sabbaticals.
In addition to her work at SU, she has authored many publications and developed several presentations. Her textbook, A Discrete Mathematics Primer for First Year College Students, currently used at SU, is scheduled for publication by Addison-Wesley in 2007.
Chaired by Dr. Homer Austin of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department, this year’s Distinguished Faculty Award Review Committee also included Dr. Jill Caviglia-Harris of Economics and Finance, Dr. Grace Clement of Philosophy, Dr. Memo Diriker of Business Management, Dr. Nomsa Geleta of Education and Dr. Victoria Hutchinson of Communication and Theatre Arts. For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu. "