For Outstanding Faculty Commitment to Student Success

The COPLAC Board of Directors, in memory of the contributions of Charles Dunn to the advancement of the consortium and to student success in the public liberal arts sector, establishes an annual faculty award in his name.

As President of Henderson State University for twenty-two years, and as a COPLAC President (2000-2001) and Board member for ten years, Dr. Charles Dunn placed student well-being and academic success ahead of all else, affirming Henderson State University's reputation as the "School with a Heart."

Charles Dunn understood that members of the faculty play the essential role in advancing this mission. Therefore the COPLAC Award recognizes a faculty member whose commitment to student success goes "above and beyond" the classroom and office, the traditional roles of teacher, academic advisor and mentor. She/he will have demonstrated, over the course of many years, extraordinary attention to students as individuals who sometimes face unique challenges, both on and off campus that may compromise their academic performance.

Examples of student-centered service "above and beyond" are myriad and include: hosting an undergraduate who would otherwise be alone for the holidays, stepping in to assist with transportation to the airport or for a medical appointment, or extending a gesture of friendship when a loved one has been lost. The review committee seeks to recognize a COPLAC faculty colleague who consistently practices the vision of a public liberal arts campus as a community dedicated to learning on a human scale.

2016 Winner

Joel King, University of Maine at Farmington

Joel King is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Maine at Farmington. He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics and psychology from the State University of New York Binghamton. Joel argues that some of the greatest contributions to his education came from his experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Maktab Rendah Saens School in Malaysia. He was a teacher in a program where Malay children from villages throughout the country were given the resources, education, and opportunities to pursue their dreams and achieve their optimal development. Shortly after, in his role as a stay-at-home Dad for his infant daughter, he realized the tremendous potential that exists in every child. This motivated him to obtain his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University in 1987 in the field of Human Development and Family Studies. Joel has been at UMF for 28 years. He has been selected as Faculty Member of the Year nine times, an award he cherishes because it is an honor given by the students. His research interests include intervention programs such as the Family Development Project, Adult Education, and the Rural Special Education Project. These programs address issues related to poverty, parenting, children, and access to education. In the summers, he has joined efforts with the Autism Society of Maine to mentor UMF students at Camp Summit, a camp for children with autism.

2015 Winners

Kim Misfeldt, University of Alberta-Augustana Campus

Kim Misfeldt is Professor of German and Chair of the Fine Arts and Humanities Department at the Augustana Campus, University of Alberta. She received her PhD in 2000 from Queen’s University. Kim’s literary research focuses on power relations and violence in the works of Heinrich von Kleist, Mariella Mehr and others. Her current research projects include student experience in study abroad and work on female perpetrators in contemporary German-language literature. She has published on Heinrich von Kleist, Mariella Mehr, second language pedagogy and study abroad. Recognized for excellence in teaching and dedication to her students, Kim was the recipient of the Augustana Distinguished Teaching Award in 2000 and the University of Alberta Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2011. In 2013 she received Canadian national recognition when she was named a 3M National Teaching Fellow. She is currently the director of the Canadian Summer School in Germany.

Margaret Letterman, Eastern Connecticut State University

Margaret Letterman is Professor of Psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University. She received my undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Montana, a Master's degree from Fort Hays State University in Kansas, and a second master's and PhD at Oklahoma State University in Biological Psychology. Dr. Letterman’s research interests began with the physiological aspects of learning. After joining the faculty at Eastern, she became more interested in the teaching and retention of minority students. Dr. Letterman is currently collaborating with colleagues from the Economics Department at ECSU in research on minority students and higher education.

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