As Baylor alumni and friends know, the end of the spring semester brings the announcements of recipients for the university’s recognition of professors. The following were so honored this year.
Dr. Jonathan Tran, associate professor of religion, is this year’s Collins Outstanding Professor, an award voted on annually by the outgoing senior class that includes a cash prize of $10,000. Past Collins Professors include Dr. Tom Hanks (1998), Rachel Moore (1999) and Dr. Blair Browning, BA ’95, MA ’99 (2012).
Dr. Alden Smith, professor and chair of classics and associate dean of the Honors College, is the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year, an award that honors a professor who “makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at Baylor,” based on teaching, research and service. It comes with a $20,000 award. Past recipients include Dr. Kevin Pinney (2006), Dr. Bill Hillis, BS ’53 (2009), and Dr. Roger Kirk (2012). Smith, a Baylor professor since 1994, is dedicating the monetary award to a scholarship fund that honors one of his former students who passed away during his first year of teaching.
Dr. Sarah Alexander, associate professor of anthropology, and Dr. Jungjun Park, graduate program director and associate professor of communication sciences and disorders, are this year’s Baylor Centennial Professors. A fund established by Dr. Bettye McDonald Caldwell, Dr. James Leo Garrett and other members of the Centennial Class of 1945 annually provides $5,000 of financial support to aid professors with specific research projects. Alexander’s project involves traveling to Guatemala City and Mérida, Mexico, to study the diaries, journals and other miscellaneous texts of colonials and local farmers, so that she might find historical insight into the era’s weather and climate. Park’s project is focused on constructing a bilingual database to train school-based speech-language pathologists and graduate educators across the country. Past honorees include Robert Darden, BSEd ’76, Dr. Greg Garrett, and Dr. Richard Russell.
Two Master Teachers in the College of Arts and Sciences will retire by the end of the summer. Dr. David Pennington, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Tom Hanks, professor of English, have taught at Baylor for a combined total of 90 years; Pennington joined the faculty in 1967, and Hanks joined in 1976. They are part of a select group of superior Baylor faculty members to receive the designation of Master Teacher.