October 7, 2014

118th Founders' Day Award Winners

Jim Day-2014 University Scholar

Jim DayJames Day, professor of history at the University of Montevallo, was named the 2014 University Scholar. This award recognizes significant contributions to scholarship and creative endeavor.

Day earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering with a minor in history from the United States Military Academy. He received a master’s degree in U.S. history with a minor in European history from the University of Georgia, and attained the Ph.D. in U.S. history since 1865 with a minor in U.S. history to 1865 and history of technology from Auburn University.

Day served 16 years on active duty in the U.S. Army, during which he taught history at the USMA, served in leadership positions from North Carolina to the Federal Republic of Germany and graduated from Airborne, Ranger, Jumpmaster, Air Assault, Pathfinder and Jungle Operations schools as well as Command and General Staff College.

Day joined the faculty at the University of Montevallo in 1997 and has not only taught a myriad of history courses, but also has served UM at various times as chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, dean of graduate studies, and assistant vice president for academic affairs. He developed, coordinated and resourced the enrichment program, momentUM.

A member of numerous professional organizations, honor societies and community service groups, Day serves as president of Leadership Shelby County and the UM chapter of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Day’s book, Diamonds in the Rough: A History of Alabama’s Cahaba Coal Field, (University of Alabama Press, 2013) was the winner of the Alabama Historical Association’s Clinton Jackson Coley Award for best work on Alabama local history (2014). In addition, he has published a number of articles and book reviews. His many awards include the Alabama Association of Historians John F. Ramsey Award of Merit (2012), the Montevallo Connection Partnership Award (2011) and the Senior Elite Night Dedication at UM (2010).

One nominator wrote, “The publication of his book is the latest scholarship on Dr. Day’s resume. Jim previously had several articles and reviews in peer-reviewed journals and encyclopedias. Perhaps most indicative of his continuing commitment to scholarship is the fact that he currently has several other encyclopedia entries, book reviews, and a research project already in progress.” She continues, “I believe Dr. Day represents well the University of Montevallo model of excellence as a scholar-teacher.”

Benton Tyler – Faculty Service Award

Tyler Benton 03''''-kHoodBenton Tyler, associate professor of mathematics at the University of Montevallo, received the Faculty Service Award. This award recognizes a professor’s dedication to the provision of service and his or her impact upon the University community.

Tyler, who joined the UM faculty in 2005, earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with minors in computer science, physics and history from Delta Sate University. He received a master’s degree and the Ph.D. in mathematics, both from the University of Mississippi.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Tyler is active in a number of committees on the UM campus. He is president-elect of the Faculty Senate and serves on the Undergraduate Curriculum and Standards Committee and the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee, among others.

In 2005, Tyler assisted in establishing the Montevallo Organization of Gaming and continues to serve as its faculty adviser. He leads the student members on volunteer expeditions to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham and in Halloween events for local children and charities.

Tyler was instrumental in establishing the minor in game studies and design at UM in the fall semester of 2011 and has worked to recruit students for the GSD minor at many gaming, science fiction and anime conventions.

Willing to assist other faculty members in various projects, Tyler has volunteered to help with such events as Pi Day, the Alabama State Scholastic Chess Championship, Montevallo Trivia Trot, Greek Week games, Montevallo Math Trail and others. He has participated in two Life Raft Debates, winning one. He also speaks with students in elementary and high schools, camps, etc. about UM and the GSD offerings.

One nominator wrote, “Dr. Tyler’s copious service is performed by him solely because he knows it will make a positive difference to the institution.” He added, “Benton is the one I can absolutely count on for help, and without complaint. His service sets an excellent example for the rest of the faculty.”

John Burling – Academic Advising Award

John Burling 2John Burling, professor of psychology, earned the Academic Advising Award. This award is presented to a full-time faculty or staff member at the University of Montevallo who has demonstrated excellence in academic advising.

Burling earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology from Indiana University at South Bend and the master’s degree and the Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from the University of Arizona. He joined the faculty at the University of Montevallo in 1992 and has advised countless students during his time at UM.

One nominator wrote, “Despite an exceptionally heavy advising load of 70 students, Dr. Burling provides individualized attention to ensure that his advisees are well informed and well prepared. He listens to his advisees’ academic and career goals and guides them toward meeting those goals.”

Burling has served on numerous committees, both at the University of Montevallo and for outside organizations. In addition to advising students on their academic goals, he also has advised Psi Chi, the national honorary society for psychology, since 1995 and has advised the Psychology Club at UM since 1993.

His department chair recalls, many years ago, meeting a senior psychology major who recounted how she came to attend Montevallo. She and her father were visiting campuses to determine where she would apply and arrived at UM, almost as an afterthought, late on a Friday afternoon, unannounced. She was interested in psychology and wanted to talk to someone about the program. Burling graciously spent an hour with her and her father, patiently answering their questions. His willingness to spend so much time with a drop-in visitor led her to select UM. She earned a degree in psychology and went on to pursue graduate work and a career in child advocacy. Both his chair and a fellow faculty member who nominated him for this award confirm that this was far from an isolated example.

Steven Jordan – Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award

The recipient of the Adjunct Faculty Teaching award was Steve Jordan. This award is given to an adjunct instructor who has taught at UM for at least six semesters, who has demonstrated effective teaching and who has had interaction with a significant number of students.

Jordan earned a bachelor’s degree in speech with a minor in philosophy from the University of Montevallo in 1971. He received a master’s degree and accomplished post-graduate work in clinical psychology at the University of Alabama. He joined the faculty at UM on a part-time basis in 1995.

Jordan has practiced as a licensed professional counselor for 34 years, working as a therapist with individuals, couples and families in school, court and hospital settings as well as in private practice. He has served two separate terms as president of the Alabama Mental Health Counselors Association and has served in administrative positions on numerous committees and boards. He has provided mental health services following a number of disasters including the World Trade Center attacks, hurricanes Ivan and Katrina and Alabama tornados.

Jordan brings this wealth of applied experience to the classroom, using real-world examples to illustrate points from textbooks. His students applaud his humor, organization, clarity and enthusiasm.

Sandra Lott – Alumna Loyalty Award

Sandra LottSandra Lott graduated from Alabama College (now the University of Montevallo) in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in English. After earning a master’s degree from Emory University, she returned to her alma mater, where she joined the English faculty in 1960 and taught for 37 years.

During her tenure at UM, Lott taught a wide range of courses, from children’s literature to Shakespeare, from Japanese literature to African American literature. She also conducted seminars and workshops on the UM campus.

Lott has delivered a number of papers on well-known authors and has co-authored two books. Global Perspectives on Teaching World Literature was published in 1993 by the National Council of Teachers of English. The History of the English Department: Our First One Hundred Years was a publication designed primarily for alumni and UM supporters.

Always a strong supporter of the University of Montevallo National Alumni Association, Lott chaired the English Department Alumni Committee for many years. She and her husband, John, frequently entertained alumni in their home, hosting Homecoming receptions for alumni of the College of Arts and Sciences and for students in the English department. In addition, she has helped establish numerous scholarships benefiting students in various fields of study.

One of Lott’s nominators wrote, “The educational and personal values Sandra Lott received at Alabama College have shaped her life. She received a Freshman Honors Scholarship, which enabled her to attend college. Since that time, Sandra has spent most of her life at her alma mater and in the Montevallo community, and she has worked, through her teaching, service and research endeavors, to promote the values she learned there. Particularly important are the legacies of Alabama College/University of Montevallo faculty members such as Dr. Hallie Farmer, Dr. Eva Golson, Dr. Maxine Davis, Dr. Lucille Griffith, Eloise Meroney, Sarah Puryear and Dr. Katherine Vickery. Her dedication to AC/UM grew directly out of their influence and those of her classmates, and she has spent much of her life working to be true to what she learned from these incredibly strong and able women.”

Through the years, Lott has provided leadership to the Montevallo chapter of the American Association of University Women, serving as president several times. Under her leadership, the Montevallo organization has made great strides in support of educational opportunity for students from kindergarten through graduate school and has been recognized frequently by the national organization. In 2003, Lott received the AAUW Pathfinder Award, which recognizes a longtime member who has given outstanding service to the branch and to the community.

Tom Sanders-Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award

Tom SandersTom Sanders received the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award. This honor recognizes a UM professor’s dedication to the provision of a quality education and his or her impact upon students through the teaching-learning process.

Sanders graduated from the University of Montevallo with honors in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in business administration. He went on to receive a master’s degree in hospital and health administration from UAB in 1976 and a master’s degree in business administration from Samford University in 1986. After several years of post-master’s study at the University of Alabama, he earned the Ph.D. in administration – health services from UAB in 2007.

In 1975, Sanders began his career in health care administration as a resident at Baptist Medical Center – Princeton. His experience as project leader for the development of a computerized admitting and medical records system was the basis of his research project in pursuit of the master’s degree at UAB. The system was installed at both BMC hospitals.

Increased responsibilities in the areas of departmental operations, planning and development at the Montclair facility earned Sanders the title of vice president for administration and ultimately senior assistant administrator. Additional responsibilities led to promotions. In 1995, Baptist Medical Centers became the Baptist Health System of Alabama, and Sanders served as corporate senior vice president for human resources and administration and chief administrative officer until 2003.

In 2003, Sanders left the corporate world and began sharing his knowledge and experience with college students throughout Alabama. He joined the faculty at the University of Montevallo in 2005 where he currently serves as an assistant professor of business. He has been instrumental in the initiation of UM’s MBA program.

One nominator described the impact Sanders’ enthusiasm has had on his education. After earning four college degrees from three different institutions, he encountered Sanders at an orientation activity for Leadership Shelby County, where Sanders serves on the board of directors. He writes, “My first contact with Dr. Sanders came outside the classroom, but the impression that he made on me was enough to get me back in one. This past spring, I returned to my alma mater to pursue a master’s of business administration. One of the biggest reasons why I chose Montevallo a second time was my earlier experiences (sic) with Dr. Sanders. I’ve had the benefit of getting to know Dr. Sanders through Leadership Shelby County and his involvement with the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce. I feel like I learn something new every time I talk to him. His commitment to not only teaching, but his students, the university and the community are something to truly be admired. He practices in the community what he preaches in his classroom.”

In his letter of nomination, a former student spoke of Sanders’ dedication to teaching. He said, “Often times, the best professors are not always your favorite, and they are usually not the easy ones. When I thought of potential candidates for the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award, there is one professor who repeatedly came to mind. This wasn’t my favorite professor while I was a student, and he was definitely not the easiest. However, he was always fair, and I knew his lessons were based on his real-life experience from his years of working in the healthcare industry.”

He continued, “When I think of commitment to teaching, I think it goes beyond the classroom. Dr. Sanders’ commitment to his students stretches even to the workplace where he offers to assist students with challenges that he has real world experience with. It also stretches to meet the needs of the students. Montevallo students continually asked for the MBA program, and they found their advocate in Dr. Sanders. When I think of outstanding commitment to teaching, I can think of no one more deserving of such an award than Dr. Tom Sanders.”

Tammi Dahle-Outstanding Staff Service Award

Tammi Dahle(1)Tammi Dahle graduated from the University of Montevallo in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and a minor in counseling and guidance. In 1995, she returned to UM and earned a master’s degree in counseling and guidance. After working as an employee assistance counselor in the private sector for several years, she returned to her alma mater in 2000 as director of UM’s Career Center. She earned the Ph.D. in counselor education from the University of Alabama in 2003, and in 2005, took on the role of counselor and job location and development coordinator. She became director of the Career Development Center and Counseling Services in 2007, and in 2012, she was named Montevallo’s Dean of Students.

Dahle’s service to the University of Montevallo has always been directed toward students. She is a member of the UM Care Team, identifying and providing assistance to at-risk students, and she has counseled countless students, not only on career development, but also on personal and social issues. One nominator wrote, “In her role as Dean of Students, I have witnessed Dr. Dahle give of herself completely to the students of Montevallo. She has never hesitated to respond to emergencies at all hours of the night, make trips to the hospital to visit students, or contact the parent of a student that is in crisis. It is my honest opinion that there are students and former students that are alive today because of the intervention that Dr. Dahle performed in working with students exhibiting suicidal behaviors.”

Dahle represents the interests of students to the broader University community, serving on UM’s Emergency Response Team and numerous committees on campus. She has made presentations to student groups and campus organizations and works with many campus constituents to support the University.

As senior student affairs officer, Dahle is tasked with ensuring compliance with Title IX and other federal and state legislation with regards to student conduct. She has worked across campus with UM’s human resources department and campus police to be certain the University is up-to-date, in compliance and meeting deadlines established by the federal government.

While providing all these services to students and to the University, Dahle oversees the operations of the Career Development Center, Counseling Services, Disability Support Services, Health Services, Housing and Residence Life and Student Life. She is characterized by one nominator as, “… a very caring supervisor. Dr. Dahle expects her staff to work hard and to do a good job for students, but she also provides them a tremendous amount of support along with her expectations.”

Another nominator noted, “As dean, I have worked with her on a number of challenging and complex cases/issues, and she is always professional, capable and helpful. She can be counted on to provide valuable insights and solutions to help us solve difficult problems. She is always accessible and quick to assist in any matter. I can say with conviction that UM would not be progressing and flourishing as we are if we did not have such a superior person and professional in her pivotal position. The outstanding service that Tammi and her staff provide is paramount to the success of UM and the UM family.”