Published on May 8, 2017 by Sara Roman  
Faculty Staff Awards

Samford University’s Orlean Beeson School of Education announced recipients of the 2017 Faculty Awards at its annual awards ceremony April 7.

Education faculty and staff were recognized for outstanding contributions to the school and the field of education. Recipients were nominated by their colleagues.

David Little, professor and director of the Fifth-Year Alternative Graduate Program in ECE/Elementary Education program, received the award for Outstanding Teaching. The award recognizes a full-time faculty member for outstanding achievements, innovations and/or performances in graduate or undergraduate teaching. Little also serves as a professor in the Instructional Leadership program and the undergraduate Secondary Education program.

Myrtis Johnson, clinical experiences coordinator, received the award for Outstanding Staff. This award recognizes a full-time staff support member for outstanding performance and service in the duties assigned, and for positive interaction with faculty, staff and students. “Without Mrs. Johnson’s skills and support, the undergraduate and alternative route programs would be at a loss,” said Mandy Hilsmire, director of the M.S.E. Collaborative Special Education program and Elementary, Special Education, Early Childhood Collaborative program, “I have worked for 12 years with Mrs. Johnson, and she has always supported my schools and placements.”

Diana Cheshire, associate dean, and Instruction and Design program director, received the award for Outstanding Scholarship. The Outstanding Scholarship award recognizes a full-time faculty member for outstanding achievements in research, publication or professional presentations during the current and immediately preceding two academic years. Cheshire’s primary research and professional development interests are assessment and accreditation, reform in K–16 education, mathematics education, computer-mediated learning, and instructional systems technology.

Kathy Acton, alumni relations coordinator, received the award for Spiritual Leadership and Involvement. This award was created to recognize a full-time employee who exhibits a servant’s heart and love of Jesus Christ in service to faculty, staff, students and the community.

Leslie Ennis, professor and director of graduate admission, additionally serves Samford University as an adjunct professor for Cumberland School of Law. Ennis received the 2017 Cumberland School of Law Outstanding Adjunct Professor Award. He was nominated for this award by law students, and the final decision was made by a committee comprising faculty and students. 

“We are fortunate to have esteemed team members who have dedicated their professional lives to the improvement of education. We are grateful for their service to the community, Orlean Beeson School of Education and Samford University,” said Jeanie Box, dean.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.