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Award Winners Recognized at Convocation

September 15, 2021

Winners of several prestigious university awards were announced Tuesday as Texas Christian University’s Convocation ceremoniously launched the beginning of the academic year. The full event is available to view online.

Awards included the Wassenich Award for Mentoring in the TCU Community, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, the Maryrose Short Teaching Excellence Award and the Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar. The full list of nominees can be viewed here. New and newly endowed faculty were also recognized.

Chancellor’s Award

The Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar was awarded to Jo Beth Jimerson, Ph.D., associate professor of educational leadership.

“Thank you to the university for the support it has given me,” said Jimerson, who took on overseeing TCU’s lab schools on an interim basis, only to meet the unprecedented educational period of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The experience, I feel, was truly indicative of how hard everyone at the university worked during this period.”

One of the nominators wrote, “It is so rare to have a professor like this person who is a true expert in a field with the ability to facilitate deep learning and exploration, while continuing to distinguish themselves as a scholar.”

The Chancellor’s Award recognizes extraordinary creative teaching and scholarship. Each academic dean selects an honoree at the college/school level, and these are submitted to the chancellor as nominees for the university-wide award. The winner receives $25,000, and nominees each receive $2,500.

Wassenich Award

The Wassenich Award for Mentoring in the TCU Community was awarded to Laura Luque, Ph.D., biology instructor, by Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. “Dr. Luque does an amazing job with our students, especially those transitioning into college life at TCU,” Chancellor Boschini said.  

One of her mentees said, “This person is an outstanding mentor, even as I passed their courses and the mission came to a close, they guided me in the next part of my academic journey.”

Mark and Linda Wassenich established this award to celebrate faculty and staff members who serve as role models, advisors and guides to students. Alumni and students may nominate individuals, and the winner is chosen from a committee of primarily faculty and staff. Winners receive $3,000, and nominees receive $750.

DEI Award

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award was presented to Ebony Rose, senior learning and development consultant in Human Resources.

“In the spirit of humility, I want to take this opportunity to say that I hope we all make sure everyone feels seen and valued and cherished in the space that we are in,” Rose said.

One of the nominators wrote, “She contributes above and beyond, working hard to achieve a universally verdant vision of TCU for everyone – regardless of status or position.”

The DEI Award honors the important work of further transforming the TCU community into one that celebrates the university mission and creates a world-class university built on a heritage of inclusion. Faculty, staff and students may nominate an individual. Finalists are selected by the DEI Award Committee who provides recommendations to the chancellor. The winner receives $5,000.

Maryrose Short Award

The Maryrose Short Teaching Excellence Award was presented to Mikio Akagi, Ph.D., assistant professor of the history and philosophy of science.

“I want to thank the students who inspire me to want to help them and the faculty and staff across campus who inspire everyone to work harder,” Akagi said.

The Maryrose Short Award recognizes excellence in teaching and is specifically focused on exceptional untenured, full-time faculty members, including non-tenure track faculty with five years or less at TCU. Nominations from colleges and schools are submitted to academic deans who select the top three to submit to the provost for final selection. This award was established by Dan Short, Ph.D., former dean of the Neeley School of Business, in memory of his wife, Maryrose Short. The winner receives $6,000 with the stipulation that $1,000 be used for a professional development activity.

New Endowed Faculty Appointments

Faculty members who are new endowed chairs and professors were also recognized.

“Endowed faculty positions are essentially creating new knowledge and shaping a vibrant future through exemplary research and teaching and are among the most prestigious and enduring investments a donor can make,” Provost Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg said.

The positions are as follows:

Newly endowed positions:

  • Marilyn and Morgan Davies Endowed Dean of Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences Christopher Watts, Ph.D.
  • Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair for Early Childhood Education Jan Lacina, Ph.D.
  • Ronald E. Moore Professor in Humanities in the Honors College at TCU Frederick W. Gooding Jr., Ph.D.

Endowed positions, newly appointed:

  • William L. and Betty F. Adams Chair of Education Jo Beth Jimerson, Ph.D.
  • Luther A. Henderson University Chair in Leadership David Allen, Ph.D.
  • M.J. Neeley Professor in Management Abbie Shipp, Ph.D.
  • Jean W. Roach Chair of Laboratory Schools Damian Patton, M.Ed.
  • Saul B. Sells Endowed Chair of Psychology Kevin Knight, Ph.D.

Watch TCU News for more on these winners.