Monday, August 24, 2015

[061] State historian earns MTSU Career Achievement Award; 17 colleagues also honored

MURFREESBORO — Many people say they’re interested in history. MTSU professor Carroll Van West is laser-focused on helping others study, make and preserve it.

Director of MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation, a professor of history at MTSU since 1985 and the governor-appointed Tennessee State Historian since 2013, West is this year’s recipient of the foundation’s Career Achievement Award, considered the pinnacle of recognition for stellar MTSU professors.

West’s recognition came Friday, Aug. 21, at the university’s Fall Faculty Meeting. The event includes the annual presentation of the MTSU Foundation Awards, which recognize, celebrate and reward university faculty members for their accomplishments inside and outside the classroom.

“Stewardship, shared identity, purpose and community are not only the hallmarks of his work in Tennessee but also across the South and into the far West,” the MTSU Foundation leaders noted in the event program lauding West and his colleagues.

“Carroll Van West is the most worthy recipient of the 2015Middle Tennessee State University Career Achievement Award.”

West, a native of Murfreesboro, is renowned nationwide for his work in 19th and 20th century Southern and Western history as well as architecture and material culture.

He works extensively with the National Register of Historic Places program on documentation projects, including properties like the Sullivan Jackson House in Selma, Alabama, and the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. Top among his published works is the acclaimed Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, and he continues as editor-in-chief of the encyclopedia’s website at

West first thanked retired history professor Dr. James Huhta.

“Jim started this program in historic preservation out of his own initiative and drive in 1974,” West told the crowd. “He built it into a national platform. It’s been my pleasure to guide that platform into the 21st century, but Jim laid the foundation.”

The professor then thanked his Center for Historic Preservation colleagues, whom he said “toil in the shadows” but are making a difference across the South and the nation.

West also expressed his gratitude to the hundreds of graduate students he has directed over the decades.

“If you ever wonder if graduate studies at MTSU is worth it, look at that group,” he said. “They’ve achieved great things. They’re a great group, and I’m so proud of what they do.”

MTSU alumna Kathy Jones (B.S. ’83), current president of the MTSU Foundation, also honored 17 more MTSU professors Friday for their achievements.

The six recipients of the foundation’s 2015 Outstanding Teacher Award are:
  • Dr. Mark E. Doyle, Department of History.
  • David E. Gore, Department of Engineering Technology.
  • Adam L. McInturff, Department of English.
  • Dr. Ahad S. Nasab, Department of Engineering Technology.
  • Dr. Jason L. Pettigrew, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
  • Dr. Lisa M. Sheehan-Smith, Department of Human Sciences.

The 11 additional foundation award recipients for 2015 are:
  • Dr. Mary F. Magada-Ward, Department of Philosophy – Outstanding Teaching in General Education Award.
  • Drs. Marsha D. Barsky, Department of Theatre and Dance; Lisa B. Green, Department of Mathematical Sciences; and Scott N. McDaniel, Department of University Studies – Outstanding Achievement in Instructional Technology Awards.
  • Drs. Aleka A. Blackwell, Department of English; Kim Cleary Sadler, Department of Biology; and Maria L. Edlin, Department of Economics – Outstanding Public Service Awards.
  • Drs. Nancy Sloan Goldberg, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Dr. Philip E. Phillips, Department of English – Distinguished Research Awards.
  • Drs. Cyrille Magne, Department of Psychology, and Tammy Melton, Department of Chemistry – Special Projects Awards.

As part of the university’s ongoing efforts to improve student retention and graduation rates, MTSU Provost Brad Bartel also acknowledged the top-notch work of 11 campus departments and programs during the special gathering. Those cited for their academic excellence included:

·       the MTSU Department of Aerospace.
·       the Concrete Industry Management Program in the Department of Engineering Technology.
·       the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
·       the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
·       the Department of Health and Human Performance.
·       the Department of Human Sciences.
·       the Department of Social Work.
·       the Department of Accounting.
·       the Department of Economics and Finance.
·       the Department of Political Science.
·       the MTSU School of Nursing.

You can view the complete 2015 MTSU Foundation Awards program, which includes more details about the award winners and their work, via PDF at

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