Roger Kirk To Give the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Lecture

Roger Kirk (left) received the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year award from Jim Bennighof (right). (Matthew Minard/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
Feb. 27, 2014

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Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275

WACO, Texas (Feb. 27, 2014) - Roger E. Kirk, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Master Teacher in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences and recipient of the 2012 Cornelia Marschall Smith Award, will present his lecture, "What I Have Learned About Teaching Statistics," in honor of the award on Friday, Feb. 28.

The Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year award is based on:

• Teaching, which is judged to be of the highest order of intellectual acumen and pedagogical effectiveness
• Research, which is recognized as outstanding by the national and international, as well as local, community of scholars
• Service, which is regarded as exemplary in building the character of intellectual community at Baylor

The award is named for Cornelia Marschall Smith, Ph.D., a 1918 Baylor biology graduate, who earned a master's degree from the University of Chicago in 1925 and her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1928. She was a professor of biology at Baylor from 1940 to 1967, chair of the biology department from 1943 to 1967 and director of Strecker Museum from 1943 to 1967. She retired in 1967, but maintained an office in Armstrong Browning Library to assist charitable causes. In 1980, Baylor honored Smith with an endowed chair known as the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professorship in Biology. She was celebrated among her colleagues, students and alumni for fine teaching, generous mentoring and her many interdisciplinary interests. She was a lively and continuing contributor to the Baylor intellectual community until her death on Aug. 27, 1997, at the age of 101.

"During his 54 years of service on Baylor's faculty, Roger Kirk has taught thousands of students and served extensively in professional societies and in the Baylor and local community," said James Bennighof, Ph.D., vice provost for academic affairs and policy and professor of music theory in Baylor's School of Music. "Perhaps even more remarkably, he has at the same time produced an extraordinary body of research . . . ."

Jim Diaz-Granados, Ph.D., chair of the department of psychology and neuroscience, said he has been one of Kirk's colleagues for 15 of Kirk's years at Baylor. Diaz-Granados said that Kirk "exemplifies the spirit of the award. Over his long career, he has distinguished himself and brought distinction to Baylor University in teaching, research and service.

"I can assure you that there is no more humble, kind or thoughtful faculty member on this campus," he said. "For someone with such a high level of accomplishment, he is both unassuming in manner and generous with his time and guidance. I can say, without equivocation, that every member of our department considers it an honor to call Roger Kirk a colleague, and a privilege to call him friend."

Kirk's lecture will address how he teaches the sophomore-level statistics course, designed for psychology majors.

"My talk will describe a variety of teaching techniques that I have found to be especially useful in my teaching career," Kirk said.

Though his topic covers teaching psychology statistics, anyone interested in teaching will find the lecture useful, he said.

Kirk's lecture will take place at 3 p.m. in Packard Hall (Room 101) of Marrs McLean Science Building, 1214 S. Fourth St. A reception honoring Kirk will follow.

by Rachel Miller, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University's oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 26 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit

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