Update from Appalachian State University
The last day of classes for the spring semester is Wednesday, and yesterday, we celebrated exemplary students, faculty and staff at a special Awards of Distinction ceremony.
Dr. Maryam Ahmed received the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Ahmed, a professor in App State’s Department of Biology, is a virologist whose research contributes to the development of cancer therapies. Her professional background includes work in immunology, cancer biology and infectious diseases. Dr. Ahmed was selected based on the nominations of her peers for her quality of teaching and prolonged commitment to App State.
Dr. Ahmed teaches a variety of classes for biology students at App State, including an advanced virology class, as well as infectious disease classes and public health classes. She also teaches a human microbiology class for nutrition and nursing students, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, she developed a vaccine class. Dr. Ahmed’s colleagues say she has expertly translated her strong research background and deep passion for promoting inclusive learning environments for all students into a demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching and student engagement learning outcomes.
Dr. Ahmed will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize. She will be recognized by the UNC System Board of Governors at App State’s Fall 2023 Commencement.
The board also selected six other App State faculty to receive campus-based awards for their innovative teaching methods in the classroom.
Emily Daughtridge, professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, is the recipient of the Appalachian State University Excellence in Teaching Award and will receive a $1,500 prize.
Winners of the Appalachian State University School/College Awards, with a prize of $1,000 each, are:
- Dr. Kara Dempsey, associate professor in the Department of Geography and Planning.
- Dr. William Gummerson, associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies.
- Dr. Christopher Seitz, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health and Exercise Science.
- Dr. Nicholas Nam Shaw, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences.
- Dr. Matthew Thomas-Reid, associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies.
We also celebrated winners of App State’s signature awards:
- App State seniors Ella Brose and Sharon Donahue each received a Ronny L. Brooks Leadership Award.
- Staff members Adam Adcock, Sarah-Davis Cagle and Amy Roberts each received a Staff Excellence Award.
- Dr. Pablo Chialvo received the Wayne D. Duncan Faculty Enrichment and Teaching Fellowship.
- Dr. Laura Ammon received the Harvey R. Durham Outstanding Freshman Advocate Award.
- Dr. Maggie Sugg received the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.
- Dr. David Koppenhaver received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.
- App State seniors Christian Martin and Rylan O’Connor and App State staff member Beth Holcomb each received a Plemmons Leadership Medallion.
On Wednesday, App State honored our 2023 Inclusive Excellence Awards winners at a program attended by faculty, staff and students, as well as community and civic leaders from Boone and Hickory, and students, teachers and principals from App State’s Academy at Middle Fork and Academy at Elkin. The event featured performances by the App State Gospel Choir and a keynote address on the importance of authentic leadership by Dr. Sharon L. Contreras, CEO of The Innovation Project.
This morning, we held App State’s annual campus budget presentations. I initiated these budget presentations in 2016 because I firmly believe our university’s budget should be transparent and easily accessible. The budget of a university need not and should not be a secret, nor should it be difficult to understand for the very people it serves. In these presentations, we learned our university community has been tenacious in its efforts to overcome every challenge and difficulty. App State has achieved so many important accomplishments this year, and the university is well positioned to move into the future — a direct result of the hard work and dedication of faculty and staff, App State’s sound financial footing and years of strong enrollment. I’d like to extend my thanks to Provost Norris, the Division of Academic Affairs and Vice Chancellor Dan Layzell for organizing this event. I appreciate the thoughtful consideration and excellent presentations by the deans.
This afternoon, we will cut the ribbon for App State’s first athletic establishment at the Appalachian 105 property — the Randy Marion Track and Field Facility. This beautiful site pays homage to the generations of track and field athletes who have contributed to the 103 track and field conference championships App State has earned. It also provides a promise to the generations of athletes to come that — with hard work and persistence — App State’s championship tradition will continue.
With Spring Commencement only two weeks away, we are preparing to celebrate the newest members of the Class of 2023. We are also already looking to the fall 2023 semester. Our first day of classes on Aug. 21 will, for the first time in App State history, be held on two campuses. This landmark day will be a milestone in the university’s nearly 125-year history that will change the future for thousands of North Carolinians in the Greater Hickory region and beyond, for generations to come.
Last weekend, we welcomed prospective students and their families to the first open house at our Hickory campus. The highlight of the day was when five students received admissions decisions and were able to celebrate with their families — and Yosef, and our Admissions team was able to immediately begin supporting them with information about next steps.
In the midst of the final, busy weeks of the semester, it has been my privilege to review the incredible successes of the year with so many faculty, staff and students this week. You are the reason we are the premier public undergraduate institution east of the Mississippi. I look forward to a strong finish to the semester and to our collective, ultimate celebration at commencement.