Wednesday, March 02, 2016

[352] MTSU John Pleas Award winner Linda M. Clark says she’s “just doing her job”

MURFREESBORO — Generosity and accessibility are only two of the qualities that Linda M. Clark’s colleagues believe made her a worthy recipient of MTSU’s 2016 John Pleas Award.

The associate professor of mathematics in the Department of University Studies received the honor Feb. 25 in the Tom H. Jackson Building after hearing accolades from her fellow educators and former students.

“You work with your students and encourage them and provide that extra ‘whatever they need’ to be successful, not just in that class, but in MTSU as a whole,” said David Gotcher, interim dean of the University College.

The John Pleas Faculty Award was established in 1997 to honor John Pleas, a professor emeritus of psychology and recipient of the 1999 Outstanding Teaching Award. It is presented annually to a minority faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service.

Nominees must have completed at least five years of service at MTSU and have a record of outstanding service. Each nominee must have three letters to support his or her nomination.

Marva Lucas, chair of the Department of University Studies, noted that Clark’s assertion that she is just “doing her job” is indicative of her modesty.

“I can remember when you were hired on full-time,” said Lucas. “As your friend, as your colleague and as your chair, I have seen you turn challenges into opportunities.”

“You are a person who is dedicated as you are proficient,” said Dr. Gloria Bonner, assistant to the president of MTSU, said to Clark. “You are also someone who is as knowledgeable as you are effective, and you are as wise as you are practical.”

In accepting her plaque, Clark thanked God, her family, her colleagues and her students, but she insisted that she really didn’t deserve the award.

“You could walk down the hall in SAG (Stark Agricultural Building) and over in Peck Hall, as well, knock on any door, and you will find people, professors, who are concerned with retention and student success,” said Clark.

An 18-year veteran of the faculty, Clark is a former Faculty Senate representative for her department and a co-organizer of two ACT mathematics preparation workshops funded by a public service grant.

Among her research accomplishments is a paper on the academic success of transfer students entering MTSU. Clark presented the paper at the fourth International Conference on Research in Access and Developmental Education in 2008 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Clark is noted for using innovative multimedia tools to motivate students to do their best work, both on-campus and in distance learning.

A video of the award ceremony is available at

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