COPLAC sponsors 2 awards annually,
one for students and one for faculty.

The David J. Prior Award for Students

DavidPriorThe David J. Prior Award was created in 2012 to recognize senior-level undergraduates whose academic careers and future goals have been shaped by the transformative power of the liberal arts and sciences experience at a COPLAC institution. Each student's reflective personal essay highlights one or more of the following features of COPLAC's student-centered approach to teaching: emphasis on active learning, ethical reasoning, interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge, community engagement, critical and reflective skills, and connections between liberal learning and informed, active citizenship.

The legacy of David Prior - his career-long commitment to superior undergraduate teaching, his desire as a consortium leader to make the outcomes of an education at our public liberal arts institutions widely recognized, and his deep concern that all students, regardless of financial circumstances, have equal access to a high-quality education anchored in the liberal arts and sciences - is the inspiration for this award.


2018 Winner of the David J. Prior Award

Annika Olesen, University of Alberta's Augustana Campus 

Annika Olesen grew up on a homestead with her parents and sister in Canada’s Northwest Territories. She is graduating this spring from the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta with a B.A. in Global and Development Studies. She is happiest when she is outdoors, cross-country skiing/running, and working with populations at risk. Her future plans include all three of those elements, as well as continuing to call the North home.

Read her essay here

2018 Honorable Mentions

Noah Chichester, SUNY Geneseo

Noah Chichester is a senior Vocal Performance and History major with a minor in Medieval Studies at SUNY Geneseo. He is from Potsdam, NY. He has performed as a soloist with the Geneseo Chamber Singers and Geneseo Symphony Orchestra as well as serving as assistant conductor for the Geneseo Festival Chorus. He wrote an honors thesis for the History major focusing on the intersection of food and culture in medieval Iberia. After graduating from Geneseo, he plans to travel and later apply to graduate programs in choral conducting.

Read his essay here.


Darcie Scales, Georgia College

Darcie Scales is a senior History and Geography double major with an International Studies minor at Georgia College & State University. She studied abroad for a semester in Graz, Austria, and both her program capstones focus on minorities and vulnerable groups. She hopes to continue this focus on minority issues with a global perspective in her work as she attends the Historic Preservation graduate program at the University of Georgia.

Read her essay here


Charles Dunn Award for Faculty

dunnThe 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, had established 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.


2018 Winner of the Charles Dunn Award

Dr. Jennifer M. Flory, Georgia College & State University

A member of the faculty at Georgia College in Milledgeville since 2005, Jennifer M. Flory is Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities, and Interim Departmental Co-Chair for the 2017-2018 school year. Flory holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Otterbein College, Master of Music and Doctor of Music Arts degrees in Choral Conducting from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. In 2014, Flory was initiated into Omicron Delta Kappa, a National Leadership Honor Society, and selected as a Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellow for the 2014 Summer Symposium Program.

In addition to an ambitious schedule of teaching, scholarly and creative activity, and service, Dr. Flory guides Georgia College Choral Ensemble students in leadership roles through election of Choral Council officers and appointment of choral librarians, section leaders, and assistant directors. A number of her assistant directors have gone on to graduate work and professional success as music educators and conductors. Dr. Flory builds positive, ongoing relationships that challenge students to do their very best while nurturing them with kindness and support. She mentors them as musicians and leaders and continues these bonds after graduation, assisting alumni in personal and professional situations.

Dr. Flory conducts choral ensembles and teaches music education/conducting courses. She is an active guest conductor and serves as a choral/vocal adjudicator. She also performs as a mezzo-soprano soloist and is Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church in Milledgeville. Flory’s three most recent scholarly articles explore the choral music of prolific New Zealand composer David Hamilton and are featured in the Research Memorandum Series (RMS), a journal of The American Choral Foundation. Flory was also compiler for two earlier issues of RMS; the first article indexes the choral-orchestral music and the latter the choral music of Emma Lou Diemer. Flory has presented on topics such as technology, sight-reading, choral concert programming, contemporary a cappella singing, and contemporary commercial music voice pedagogy for the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA).