Maxey Parrish Wins Collins Outstanding Professor Award

April 27, 2005
News Photo 2842

by Julie Carlson

Maxey Parrish, lecturer in journalism at Baylor University, has been named the recipient of the 2005 Collins Outstanding Professor Award. As this year's winner, he will be recognized at May commencement exercises, receive a $10,000 cash prize and deliver a public lecture - The Next Greatest Generation - at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 3, in room 245 at the Castellaw Communications Center.

"Winning the Collins Professor Award is a tremendous honor," Parrish said. "Anytime students recognize a teacher, it's meaningful. The Class of 2005 is special to me. I started my full-time teaching career when they - at least those who'll graduate in four years - came in as freshmen. So we've grown up together."

Journalism chairman Doug Ferdon first worked with Parrish four years ago and recognized his potential as a teacher.

"Maxey and I team taught a sports writing class together," he said. "He did so well that I asked him to join the journalism faculty. Maxey transcends the classroom and that's why he is so great in the classroom. He has study sessions for students during the final week of classes and during finals. He spends hours in his office counseling and advising students. In short, he carries the classroom to the students."

Baylor history professor Michael Parrish, who happens to be Maxey's brother, was not surprised by his sibling's honor.

"His reputation as a superb classroom teacher has grown steadily for several years. In the longstanding tradition of great teaching at Baylor, Max is devoted to his students. They respond to him, and he is proud of their accomplishments," Michael said.

A Baylor alumnus, Parrish received the bachelor of art and master of science in education degrees from the university. He joined the Baylor faculty in 2001 but worked as sports information director in the Baylor athletic department from 1980 to 2000. Before joining the Baylor faculty, he was director of university relations for Rivals.com based in Seattle, where he handled negotiations with the professional sports organizations and the NCAA. He also organized a journalism training program for more than 800 sports writers.

Parrish worked as a press officer at eight events for the United States Olympic Committee, including the Barcelona and Atlanta games, the World University Games in Czechoslovakia and Korea, and NCAA national championships and football bowl games. He remains active with the College Sports Information Directors of America and also edits the Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas.

Previously recognized for his dedication to students, Parrish has received three teaching awards from Mortar Board, including the 2004 Circle of Achievement Excellence in Teaching. He was recognized by Phi Beta Kappa for his work with students and has been named an honorary member of Golden Key International Honor Society. Additionally, he has led student summer mission trips to Ukraine, Armenia and other Eastern European countries. He is faculty sponsor of Kappa Chi Alpha and a faculty partner with Allen Residence Hall.

"Maxey cares for each of his students, not just as an educator, but as a friend," said Baylor junior Amanda Lewis, who had Parrish for a public relations writing course. "While his teaching style is superior, his authentic concern for the well-being of each individual student surpasses any professor's job description. From offering coffee to sleepy students at 8 a.m. to noting scripture references while grading assignments, Maxey goes out of his way to provide a nurturing class environment. Professors as caring as Maxey are hard to come by, but I believe he exemplifies the professional, yet compassionate, faculty at Baylor."

"My father always told me that there are no boring subjects, just boring teachers," Parrish said. "I try not to be boring, and this probably makes me a bit unconventional. I teach that good writing must relate to the reader and I feel that a teacher must relate to students. So I try to reach students - in the classroom, in my office, in the hallway, anywhere on campus. I walk into class every day feeling a solemn obligation to do everything I can to help them reach the full potential God has for their lives."

The Collins Outstanding Professor program was funded in 1994 by the Carr P. Collins Foundation to honor outstanding teachers at Baylor University. Recipients are chosen annually by a senior class vote.

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