Baylor Faculty Honored with 2020 Centennial Professor Awards

  • Full-Size Image: 2020 Centennial Professors
    Baylor University faculty members Lisa Shaver, Ph.D., and Joe C. Yelderman Jr., Ph.D., have been selected to receive 2020 Centennial Professor Awards for their respective research projects.
  • Full-Size Image: Dr. Lisa Shaver
    2020 Centennial Professor Lisa Shaver, Ph.D., professor of English and director of women’s and gender studies at Baylor University.
  • Full-Size Image: Dr. Joe Yelderman Jr.
    2020 Centennial Professor Joe Yelderman Jr., Ph.D., Yelderman, professor of geosciences and director of Baylor’s Wastewater Research Program and The Institute of Ecological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (TIEEES).
April 16, 2020

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
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WACO, Texas (April 16, 2020) – Baylor University faculty members Lisa Shaver, Ph.D., and Joe C. Yelderman Jr., Ph.D., have been selected to receive 2020 Centennial Professor Awards for their respective research projects on women’s rhetoric and the impact of drought on groundwater in the Central Texas region.

The Centennial Professor Award, created by the Baylor Class of 1945, honors two tenured faculty members with $5,000 for research projects that facilitate a faculty member’s development and contribute to the academic life of the University. Such projects might include travel for study or research, the development of innovative teaching materials or other professional development activities.

Shaver, professor of English and director of women’s and gender studies, will conduct archival research in Chicago examining Christian activist Lucy Rider Meyer’s personal and professional papers at Northwestern University and visit the four sites of the Chicago Training School that Meyer established, as well as the Chicago History Museum, to gain additional historical context for her upcoming monograph on women’s rhetoric.

Meyer (1849-1922) was a Christian activist during the progressive era and one of the most influential women in the large, powerful Methodist denomination. A visionary educator, she opened the Chicago Training School for Home and Foreign Missions and was an innovator in Christian social work, a female STEM pioneer and advocate for science education and public health care. Shaver’s monograph will situate Meyer alongside other female leaders in the progressive era, including her friends and fellow Chicagoans Frances Willard, president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and Jane Addams, founder of the Hull House Settlement.

“With the help of this award, I hope to draw attention to Lucy Rider Meyer, who has largely been forgotten,” Shaver said. “She is an example of the ‘new Christian woman,’ who chose to pursue Christian activism—social actions that enacted her faith. Ultimately, my book will show how Meyer not only exemplified this new Christian woman, she created a training school and career paths for thousands of new Christian women, who went on to open hospitals, schools, orphanages and countless other institutions.”

Yelderman, professor of geosciences, directs Baylor’s Wastewater Research Program, as well as The Institute of Ecological, Earth and Environmental Sciences , a Ph.D.-granting research institute that provides interdisciplinary research and non-traditional graduate student training to address the most challenging problems facing ecosystems and the environment.

Yelderman will conduct research on the magnitude of drought impact on baseflow and groundwater levels in the Central Texas region through field observations. He will look specifically at how groundwater is decreasing in Texas and whether baseflow gauges can be used to detect the changes in water level. His research has ramifications for Texas and beyond the state.

“It is hard to identify something more important to Texas than water supply,” Yelderman said. “The Centennial Faculty Development award will allow me to do three very important things: 1) Immediately gather data on what I think may avert an impending water resource calamity, 2) use the data to apply for additional research funding and 3) relay the information and experience to my students. I am honored and indebted to the foresight of the Centennial Class for this opportunity.”

The selection of this year’s Centennial Professor Awards was made by the Centennial Faculty Development Review Committee, chaired by Joaquin N. Lugo, Ph.D., associate professor and graduate program director in the department of psychology and neuroscience.


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 18,000 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 90 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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