Three HPU Faculty Members Receive Standout Awards at Opening Convocation

HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 30, 2019 – Three special awards were given to High Point University faculty members at the Convocation Ceremony on Aug. 18.

HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein commissioned the establishment of the three faculty awards: Extraordinary Leadership Award, Innovation and Creativity Teaching Award and Spirit of High Point University Award.

The provost appointed a task force to develop the criteria for each award. The Awards Committee consisted of a faculty member from each of the colleges and schools, appointed by the dean of that school.

The nomination process for each award started in the spring semester, and the Awards Committee was reconvened. The committee reviewed all submissions and forwarded nominations to the president and provost. 

The winner of each award receives a recognition during the Convocation ceremony and a $5,000 award.

Extraordinary Leadership Award 

The Extraordinary Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Daniel Erb, dean of the Congdon School of Health Sciences. This award recognizes an HPU faculty member who has distinguished himself or herself through providing extraordinary leadership contributions that advance the excellence of the university. Extraordinary leadership contributions may be evidenced through innovative programs, university service, scholarly work and creative expression.

Dr. Erb is a professor of physical therapy and also serves as dean of the School of Health Sciences. Under his skilled leadership, four programs are providing education opportunities for students. He is responsible for exercise science, athletic training, physician assistant studies and physical therapy programs, each of which bears a strong reputation in the community, region and nation. Erb is a role model in his position as dean and for the students that he teaches.

“I make it clear that the classroom is ‘ours’ and not ‘mine,’” says Erb. “We are all leaders in this space, and we are all learners. If you want students to engage in leadership roles, you must encourage them to do so as well as provide guidance in how to best take on these roles. I am involved in many local, state, national and international communities in which I advocate the relevance of the liberal arts in professional education and higher education. I have also founded a school which had previously never existed in the university. HPU has provided me with opportunities of a lifetime.”

Erb has three things he believes he must demonstrate in a classroom in order to lead his students into a learning environment: communication, building and maintaining trust and managing conflict. Erb believes this is best accomplished by being authentic and credible.

“The breadth and quality of the programs Dr. Erb has put in place have changed the profile of High Point University dramatically in the time he has been in his role as dean,” says HPU Provost, Dr. Dennis Carroll. “These programs have added professional education to the rich history of liberal arts on campus. Dr. Erb has ensured that many of the liberal arts principles that enrich the lives of undergraduate students are incorporated into the health professions and applied daily in patient care settings.”

Innovation and Creativity Teaching Award 

The Innovation and Creativity Teaching Award was given to Dr. Cara Kozma, associate professor of English. This award recognizes an individual who exhibits traits and characteristics such as the creation of a unique body of research using divergent thinking, imagination and risk taking. This person models innovation in the classroom by putting curiosity, problem solving, critical thinking, deep understanding and creative brainstorming at the center of the course curriculum and classroom practice.

“The centerpiece of my teaching approach revolves around integrating service learning into my classes,” says Kozma. “This award is the result of the support and dedication High Point University and Dr. Qubein have shown for experiential learning and strong community relationships. HPU’s exceptional Service Learning Program has fostered my teaching and allowed me to develop courses and projects that have a positive impact on student learning and the local community.”

Kozma has helped train 71 Service Learning faculty how to employ this high impact practice at HPU. Along with Dr. Charmaine Cadeau, associate professor of English, she created a Community Writing Center in High Point that not only engages local children with reading and writing projects but also serves as a service learning laboratory for students in her English classes. Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas, pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in High Point where this center is located, said Dr. Kozma has transformed the environment from “a mere writing laboratory into a loving space where all children have found their place and now thrive.”

“Dr. Kozma is a dynamic teacher who is passionate about taking her students into the community to apply the craft of writing,” says Carroll. “Her passion for language, literature and sharing these rich subjects with young people is contagious.”

Spirit of High Point University Award

The Spirit of High Point University Award was presented to Dr. Joy Greene, assistant dean and professor in the Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy. This award is intended for a faculty member who exemplifies and aligns his or her value and belief system in accordance with the university and its historic relationship with the church. This faculty member leads by example and encourages colleagues and students to have a deeper understanding and expression of his or her faith.

“I feel very undeserving of this award, and it is an honor to be recognized in this way,” says Greene. “Our university was founded on Christian values and rooted in faith in Jesus Christ.  When people visit HPU, they see that Christian values, such as kindness, service and hospitality, still permeate our campus today. It is a privilege to work and serve here at HPU.”

Greene also serves as assistant dean for experiential education. She is responsible for the clerkship placements for every student in the School of Pharmacy. Her Christian values and beliefs are reflected in her every action.

“Her positivity and grace reflects as she seeks solutions to often complex and difficult situations,” says Carroll. “These beliefs exemplify and align with those of High Point University and the United Methodist Church. Her leadership by example through embracing the God, family, country values of the university encourages all with whom she comes into contact to have a deeper understanding and expression of their faith found in Jesus Christ.”

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