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Award-winning Professors

May 27, 2008

Dr. Mona M. Choucair, BA '86, PhD '00, was selected by this year's senior class as the 2008 Collins Outstanding Professor, an annual award provided by the Carr P. Collins Foundation that recognizes and honors extraordinary teachers at Baylor.

The Collins Professor receives a cash award of $10,000, delivers a special lecture and is recognized at spring commencement.

"I am both humbled and honored by this recognition from the senior class," Choucair said. "I have loved working with so many of these young people both in the classroom and through extracurricular events. I love what I do here at Baylor, and I pray daily that it shows through my words and my actions. Thank you to the Collins family for their generosity and support."

In addition to teaching an American literature course through the department of English, Choucair has a dual teaching appointment in Baylor's School of Education. Along with Dr. Randy Wood, BA '70, PhD '78, and Dr. Doug Rogers, BA '78, BS '78, Choucair teaches a freshman academic seminar on English research and writing topics for one of Baylor's first Engaged Learning Groups (ELG)--Hispanic Families in Transition: A Study of Literacy and Education. She also teaches education courses on Young People's Literature and Teaching English in the Secondary School.

Dr. Wallace L. Daniel Jr., The Ralph L. and Bessie Mae Lynn Professor of History, was honored with the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award in April.

The annual award is presented to a Baylor faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor through teaching, research and service. Daniel will receive $20,000 and will present a public lecture.

"I am greatly honored and also humbled by the Cornelia Marschall Smith teaching award," Daniel said. "But a person never stands apart from the many people who have contributed to who we are and what we become. I can only think of the several thousand students whom I have had the privilege of teaching and of being part of a lively community of learners at Baylor."

An historian specializing in early modern and contemporary Russian and European history, Daniel joined the Baylor faculty in 1971. He has served in several positions at Baylor, including dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. He will join Mercer University as provost in July.

"Baylor is a community that has held for me the highest ideals of service to others, and the greatest gift of all is to have been a part of it," Daniel said.

Dr. Robert Darden, BS '76, associate professor of journalism, was selected for the 2008 Baylor Centennial Professor award, which will allow him to research black gospel artists and the effects of their music on the civil rights movement.

The class of 1945--the Baylor Centennial Class--established an endowment fund to annually support faculty development.

Darden will use the Centennial grant to conduct research at the Birmingham Public Library and Civil Rights Museum, which have large repositories of tapes of church services, public gatherings, speeches and concerts related to the civil rights movement. He will study the music on these recordings as well as interview people active in the civil rights movement and gospel artists from that era.

The Centennial Professor Award coincides with Darden's work on the Charles M. Royce Black Gospel Music Restoration Project. In May 2006, Baylor received $350,000 to develop the Project, which is allowing the University to acquire, clean, digitize and catalogue black gospel music, preserving it for generations. The ultimate goal of the project is to preserve and store a digital copy of the audio long term and to provide a full catalog of materials.

Baylor daily receives rare 78s, 45s, and LPs to digitize from the "golden age" of black gospel music, which overlaps with the civil rights movement.

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