NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Seven Stephen F. Austin State University faculty members recently were selected to receive Teaching Excellence Awards.
SFA’s Teaching Excellence program is an opportunity to recognize outstanding faculty members for their contributions to the university through excellence as teachers. Each of the university’s six colleges selects a member of its faculty to receive an award. One adjunct faculty member from among all colleges also is chosen.
The selection is based upon knowledge of subject matter; quality of lectures and assignments; enthusiasm for teaching; interest in and availability to students; sensitivity to the learning environment; effectiveness as a teacher as assessed through student, peer and alumni evaluations; commitment to continuous improvement of their own classroom teaching; and contributions to the quality of teaching within the university through assistance and encouragement of other faculty members.
Rusche College of Business
Dr. Stephen Shrewsbury is an assistant professor of legal studies who joined the SFA faculty in 2017.
“My focus in being a college professor as a second career has always been on employing the most effective teaching methods possible to engage students and help them learn,” Shrewsbury said. “Being recognized by my peers in the College of Business motivates me to press on toward that goal even more.”
Prior to his arrival at SFA, Shrewsbury served as general counsel and director of legal services for the U.S. Air Force in the United Kingdom and Japan. He also served as general counsel and chief of operations and international law for Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii; deputy general counsel for U.S. European Command in Germany; legal advisor for the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece; deputy staff judge advocate for the 20th Fighter Wing in South Carolina; and chief of military justice and tort law at the Ogden Air Logistics Center in Utah. From 1993 to 2017 Shrewsbury also worked as an executive trainer and instructor for the U.S. Air Force. His research interests include air and aviation law, corporate ethics, and international business ethics.
James I. Perkins College of Education
Dr. Lauren Burrow is an associate professor who joined the Department of Education Studies in 2015. Her service and research focus on service learning through community engagement and MotherScholarhood, which explores the unique realities resulting from the intersection of mothering and scholar identities throughout all stages of academia.
Burrow said this award confirms that, “I am on the right track with the creative risks and innovative pedagogy I am pursuing in my courses. It will push me to continue to develop my own knowledge and skills so I can continue to contribute directly to the communities that make up our city and campus.”
She added that her department promotes collaboration, creativity, innovation and critical thinking.
“My position provides the resources and platform that allow me to put my knowledge and expertise into action to tackle the social injustices that matter with other skilled and talented colleagues,” Burrow said. “Being an associate professor makes me feel like I am actually making worthwhile contributions to future generations.”
Burrow believes that teaching is one of the most important and most difficult careers one can pursue.
“All my personal and professional responsibilities converge to benefit students who are training at SFA to become future teachers,” she said. “I love my job, so this award will always be cherished.”
Burrow said two of the greatest assets she has as a teaching professor are her own children and her colleagues.
“As a MotherScholar, I am constantly inspired by how my children consume knowledge, take risks and enjoy learning. They help me be better at my job, and they are so proud of me winning this award,” she said. “Additionally, I work with some of the most incredible women scholars, who are constantly encouraging me to try out new strategies and always willing to collaborate to take our course instruction to cutting-edge levels.”
Burrow also is co-founder and co-instructor of SFA’s Community Responsiveness and Engaged Advocacy in Teacher Education program, or C.R.E.A.T.E., which allows teacher candidates to gain a deeper understanding of their students’ lives outside school.
College of Fine Arts
Dr. Jamie Weaver serves as an associate professor of musicology. She began teaching at SFA in 2008.
“I believe education should be achievable for anyone who has a passion for learning, and the passion and talent of SFA’s students have inspired me to keep exploring ways to serve them better,” Weaver said. “I am honored to receive this award from the outstanding, dedicated faculty within the College of Fine Arts.”
Weaver holds a Master of Music in vocal performance and pedagogy from Texas Christian University and earned her doctoral degree in music history from the University of Oregon. As the recipient of an International Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship, Weaver conducted her dissertation research in Bologna, Italy, exploring compositional ethics of composers in Florence and in northern Italy during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Her current research interests include the pedagogy of music history, rhetoric in the music of 17th-century Italy and projects in the field of disability studies in music.
Weaver promotes the enjoyment of music throughout the East Texas community by writing program notes for symphony orchestras and other performing ensembles in the area.
Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture
Dr. Jared Barnes, associate professor of horticulture, joined the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture in 2014. His teaching and research interests include connecting people with plants; fruit and vegetable production nursery management; plant breeding; southern perennials; and the ecology, cultivation and design of naturalistic plantings.
“I am so honored to receive this teaching award,” Barnes said. “I love cultivating minds by sharing the wonders of the plant world, and having my passion recognized is very touching for me.”
Barnes’ outreach and contributions in the field of horticulture are locally and nationally recognized. In 2016, he was named the Perennial Plant Association’s Young Professional of the Year, as well as a member of Greenhouse Product News’ Class of 40 Under 40. In 2017, he received the Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful Sustainability Award. Most recently, he was honored with the Perennial Plant Association’s Academic Award.
Barnes received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee at Martin and master’s and doctoral degrees in horticulture science from North Carolina State University. When he is not in the classroom, he can be found mentoring students and working with plants in the SFA Plantery and Sprout Garden located behind the Department of Agriculture Building on the SFA campus.
College of Liberal and Applied Arts
Dr. Sudeshna Roy is a professor in the Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication. She joined the SFA faculty in 2008. Roy received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from the University of Calcutta in India and her doctoral degree in communication from Washington State University.
“I am very grateful to have received the Teaching Excellence Award for my college,” Roy said. “My current and past students have allowed me to become a more intuitive and passionate teacher through the years.”
Roy has served on numerous theses committees; presented at local, national and international conferences; served in various leadership positions with the National Communication Association; and is a member of the SFA Office of Multicultural Affairs Caucus. Since 2014, she also has served at the graduate director for the Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication.
“I have learned valuable lessons in many aspects of teaching from my peers and students, such as providing more clarity to my coursework, taking the material to another level, being rigorous yet compassionate, staying open to change and, most importantly, actively working to provide historical and cultural contexts about marginalized groups so we can all be more tolerant as human beings.”
Roy’s research interests include intercultural communication, peace and conflict studies, and the media.
College of Sciences and Mathematics
Dr. Brian Barngrover, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has always had an interest in chemistry. His passion for the science started in his hometown of Wamego, Kansas, with his physics and chemistry teacher.
It was this enthusiasm that piqued Barngrover’s interest and later led him to a classroom of his own.
After graduating high school, Barngrover majored in forensic science and biomedical chemistry with dual minors in physics and criminal justice at Kansas Wesleyan University. He then attended Kansas State University and earned a doctoral degree in computational theoretical physical chemistry.
At SFA, Barngrover teaches introductory chemistry, general chemistry and physical chemistry courses, as well as graduate physical chemistry courses. While he focuses primarily on chemistry, he strives to lay a foundation for students to build on in whatever career they choose.
“I try to be the most excited and passionate person in the room about chemistry as I am teaching, that way the students can try to stay engaged as well as feed off my energy,” Barngrover said.
“Dr. Barngrover does more than just stand in front of a class and give a lecture to the students,” said Dr. Michael Janusa, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “He is always experimenting, refining and improving the delivery and content of the courses he teaches. This is a sign of an excellent teacher who cares about his profession.”
Adjunct Faculty Member
Dr. William S. Davis is a visiting assistant professor of education studies who joined the Department of Education Studies in 2020. His research and service focus on teaching world languages for social justice and well-being.
“I am honored to receive this recognition,” Davis said. “The most meaningful part of the award is the sense of validation I feel for my ideas and the work I do daily within our area of secondary education. It is exciting to know that SFA values building community with students, encouraging engagement with diverse perspectives and approaches to teaching, and teaching for diversity and social justice.”
As a former high school German teacher, Davis started his doctoral program wanting to become more knowledgeable about world languages education and curricular design.
“Supporting the journeys of preservice teachers is a career I never knew I would be a part of,” Davis said. “After teaching a few courses in teacher education, I soon realized how fulfilling it was guiding new teachers in becoming culturally responsive educators for the diverse children of U.S. schools. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Davis said he looks forward to continuing school-based research to explore how in-service world language teachers enact culturally sustaining curricula.