University of Mobile Presents Megginson Awards, Recognizes Faculty and Staff Service

Kathy DeanNews

MOBILE, Ala. – The University of Mobile’s prestigious Megginson and Faculty Engagement awards were presented at the annual year-end faculty-staff luncheon April 30. The university also announced promotions, years-of-service awards and other recognitions.

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 fosters community among students. Recipients of this award are nominated by faculty and selected by a committee of peers.

The 2024 William A. Megginson Teaching Award was presented to Dr. Wanda Jones, associate professor chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.


Jones was nominated by her students, who described the chemistry professor as “a scholarly mentor” who demonstrates excellence in classroom teaching through her engagement, clarity and passion.

A student wrote that Jones “makes sure that her teaching styles fit the needs of each student so they can be successful. She is mindful of each student’s major and relates her objectives to each individual’s interests, and she brings up her relationship with God along with a Christian mindset during her lectures.”

Jones has a special interest in understanding the learning styles of college students and encouraging the youth of her community to pursue STEM areas of study.

She joined the University of Mobile faculty in 2019. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in materials science and engineering from Tuskegee University, where she was awarded several National Science Foundation graduate fellowships and was named an Alabama Graduate Research Scholar. She received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Miles College and has done postdoctoral work at Cornell University and Auburn University.

Jones is a member of the American Chemical Society, Junior League of Mobile and Mobile County Foster Parent Association. She is a foster and adoptive parent and founded a nonprofit startup to assist children who are in foster care.

The 2024 Emma Frances Megginson Service Award was presented to Kim Howell, who has served as a mailroom clerk at the University of Mobile since 1996.


Howell is described as one who “strives to show real hospitality. She always meets you with a smile and a laugh and is always so eager to help everyone.”

Howell goes above and beyond to make sure letters and packages are mailed on schedule, and texts fellow employees to let them know when their packages arrive.

Her attitude toward students is one of encouragement: “She sports her spirit attire and keeps up with our athletes about their sport. She makes our students feel like they have a mom away from home to comfort them or help out financially if needed.”

The 2024 Faculty Engagement Award was presented to Dr. Ashley Milner, associate professor of education and the new dean of the School of Education.


Milner is a 1992 master’s level graduate of the University of Mobile with 27 years of experience in the Baldwin County Public School System before joining the UM faculty in 2016. As faculty counselor for the UM chapter of Kappa Delta Pi international education fraternity, she inspires students to serve the community in projects such as collected stuffed animals for local fire and police departments to give out when children are involved in a crisis. She holds certification in gifted education and school psychometry from the University of South Alabama; and a specialist degree in educational leadership and doctorate in curriculum and instruction, both from the University of West Florida.

“She teaches with enthusiasm and passion, which in turn gets the students excited about learning,” her nomination reads. In addition, the School of Education’s 100% pass rate on the edTPA exam that each candidate must complete before graduation is a reflection of Milner’s commitment in preparing candidates for the exam and the challenging career of teaching.

“Dr. Milner’s entire career has been devoted to teaching, counseling and leadership. Everything she does is driven by UM’s Core Values and is Christ-centered; she is very devoted to students both professionally and personally.”

Years of Service Awards

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

35-Year Service Award: Kim Leousis.

30-Year Service Award: Diane Black, Jeffrey Calametti, Dr. Kathy Dunning.

25-Year Service Award: Brian Boyle, Kim Gully, Lori Outlaw.

20-Year Service Award: Sharen Brazel, Hali Givens, Betty Greene.

15-Year Service Award: Dr. Larkisha Winbush.

10-Year Service Award: Jeffrey Caviness, Dr. Lori DeLong, Dr. Karen Dennis, Dr. Cynthia Erickson, Tracie Marks, Lawrencine Mason, Dr. Sevints Nuriyeva, Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva, Dr. Jeremy Padgett, Shadoe Valentin, Dan Waldon.

5-Year Service Award: Darnell Archey, Heather Blackwell, Hannah Clardy, Caleb Croom, Dr. Beverly Fox, Dr. Jessica Garner, David Haney, Stewart Hawley, Julie Hughes, Dr. Wanda Jones, Rolanda Morrisette, Broderick Perryman, Brittany Robinson, Mel Sansom, Dr. Kendra Strenth, Greg Wiggins.

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university with a vision of “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose,” founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions in an environment where they are known. Located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama, on a campus of over 880 acres, the university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs.The University of Mobile was founded in 1961 and is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

For information about the University of Mobile, areas of study, admissions and more, visit, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.