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University of Mobile Announces Top Faculty and Staff Awards and Promotions

Kathy DeanNews

MOBILE, Ala. – The University of Mobile’s highest faculty and staff honors, the Megginson Awards and Faculty Engagement Award, were announced May 5. The university also announced promotions and noted years of service during the online awards event that normally occurs at the annual faculty/staff spring luncheon on campus. University employees participated in the event via Zoom.

Following the announcement of the prestigious awards, UM President Lonnie Burnett and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Ted Mashburn emceed the lighthearted “Rammy Awards,” where employees voted for peers to receive awards ranging from the Gumby Award for the most flexible in any situation to the Baby Yoda Award for a unique individual of few words, but someone you can always count on to save the day.

The Megginson Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the university in the areas of teaching, research and service. Recipients are chosen by committees of peers from among nominations sent by students, faculty and staff. The recipients are honored for their character, ethics, accomplishments, and contributions to the university.

The Faculty Engagement Award honors a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in student engagement inside and outside the standard classroom setting and intentionally fostering community among students. Recipients of this award are nominated by faculty and selected by a committee of peers.

The 2020 William A. Megginson Teaching Award was presented to Dr. Troy Henderson, professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Troy teaches at every level of college-level mathematics. He approaches each class with passion and precision…always willing to try different approaches to problems if students don’t understand the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of the material. Not only is he enthusiastic about math itself, but he also speaks openly about his faith and how Christianity relates to the structure and beauty of mathematics,” his nomination reads.

 The 2020 Mitford Ray Megginson Research Award was presented to Dr. Stephen Schuler, who was also promoted to full professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences. Schuler’s research on Milton’s epic “Paradise Lost” was published in the prestigious journal “Milton Studies” in 2019 as “Eternal Duration: Milton on God’s Justice in Everlasting Time.” He also presented the research titled “Just in Time: Milton on God, Time, and Eternity” at the 2017 Conference on John Milton at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

  The 2020 Emma Frances Megginson Service Award was presented to Cindy Godwin, administrative assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Cindy exhibits a servant’s heart, always giving to others and expecting nothing in return. When Cindy sees a need, she is always ready to help. She gives personal time to make sure the students have what they need…becoming their Mom away from home,” her nomination read.


The 2020 Faculty Engagement Award was presented to Julie Hughes, assistant professor of nursing and simulation coordinator in the School of Nursing, College of Health Professions. A UM alumna, Hughes was cited for being student-focused and going above and beyond expectations for impromptu clinical rounds. “Julie prays for the students before each exam. She has a calming and humble spirit. She is an asset to the nursing faculty,” her nomination read.

Faculty promotions were announced. Faculty promoted to full professor receive a university medallion that is worn at graduation and official university ceremonies. Promoted to full professor was Dr. Stephen Schuler, professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences.

Additional faculty promotions include Dr. Leslie Baggett, associate professor of biology, College of Arts and Sciences; Lourdes Baumer, assistant professor of Spanish, College of Arts and Sciences; Tammy Brown, assistant professor of nursing, School of Nursing; Dr. Karen Dennis, associate professor of education, School of Education and Rusty Roberts, associate professor of accounting, School of Business.

Faculty gaining tenure include Dr. Matthew Downs, associate professor of history and associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Patrick Jacobs, director of opera and professor of music/voice, Alabama School of the Arts; and Dr. Stephen Schuler, professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences.

Service awards were presented to faculty and staff for years of service. Employees are honored at five-year marks.

35-Year Service Award: Vicki Burgin, Jane Byrd, Ted Mashburn.

25-Year Service Award: Marie Batson, Elaine Kyser, Linda Maloy, Kay Sellers.

20-Year Service Award: Cindy Bruns.

15-Year Service Award: Lona Brown, Lonnie Burnett, Jon Campbell, Lisa Davis, Nancy Gautier, Terri McNellage.

10-Year Service Award: Amber Campbell, Jenna Goodwin, Kenn Hughes.

5-Year Service Award: Karon Bishop, Charlotte Hester, Thomas Earl Jackson, Carla Denise Johnson, Greg Johnson, Mary-Claire Marshall, Billy Musgrove, Katherine Reeves, Michael Snow, Aimee Var.

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs. Founded in 1961, the University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres.

For more information about the University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is associate vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.