SALISBURY, MD---Dr. George Whitehead, professor of psychology at Salisbury State University, has received the highest honor given to faculty by the University System of Maryland, the Regents' Faculty Award for Excellence. Whitehead was one of only 13 faculty from throughout the System to be honored at the Regents meetng on Friday, April 7. (Not every campus was represented.) He was saluted for his work in public service and service learning.
"These faculty ... represent the ideal in areas essential to the mission of higher education," said Nathan A. Chapman, Jr., chair of the board. Each award recipient also receives $1,000.embers of SSU's faculty, staff and alumni, the Salisbury community and the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, will then forward the names of three of the finalists to the Board of Regents who will interview the candidates and make the final presidential decision. It is anticipated the new SSU president will be announced in April. The starting date is July 1.
"As an enthusiastic supporter of service learning, I have been most impressed by Dr. Whitehead's work with students and faculty in this arena," said SSU Interim President Joel Jones.
"I've enjoyed collaborating with people," said Whitehead, who's been helping make the community a better place to live since 1979. Like many, his first efforts came through the PTA and his church. They continued to expand, however, to national efforts including the 1997 Presidents' Summit in Philadelphia convened by the nation's living presidents where Whitehead and 10 other citizens represented the City of Salisbury and Wicomico County. They then formed Salisbury's Promise, a local initiative focusing on helping underserved children succeed.
His public service commitments have primarily been concentrated on making life better for children. As president of the Wicomico County Board of Education, his leadership ensured a smooth redistricting process, with the board receiving accolades from supporters and non-supporters alike. He was pivotal in securing an AmeriCorps program focusing on the needs of adolescents on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore. He and a colleague submitted a grant application to the Corporation for National Service to engage SSU faculty and students in service learning. This led to the founding of the Institute for Service Learning on campus. In 1998, Partnership for Adolescents on the Lower Shore (PALS),which he helped develop, received the first Governor's Trailblazer Award for it innovative approach to securing job placement for welfare-to-work recipients. Based on his outstanding record, Governor Glendening appointed him to the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism, which oversees all aspects of service and volunteerism in the state.
Active in the University and USM communities, he is now co-writing a textbook on service learning for college students.