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University Presents top Honors for Teaching, Service During Employee Awards May 13

May 13, 2022

OBU presented its highest three employee awards during the Service and Honors Awards ceremony Friday, May 13. Employees were also recognized for milestone years of service to the institution. The event took place in the Geiger Center on the OBU campus in Shawnee.

Each year, OBU presents three important awards to recognize quality teaching and faithful, productive service: the Distinguished Teaching Award, the Promising Teacher Award and the Meritorious Service Award. Nominations for the awards are made by alumni, current students, faculty and administration. In addition to public recognition and a token of the university’s appreciation, the recipients receive cash awards from a fund provided by OBU graduates John and Janet Hudson of Edmond, Oklahoma.

Dr. Tawa Anderson, associate professor of philosophy, received the Distinguished Teaching Award. The highest honor for OBU faculty members, this award is presented to a faculty member who has taught at OBU for five consecutive years or more. This faculty member has exemplified in his or her teaching career those characteristics of the superior instruction delineated in the “Commitment to Excellence,” a statement of teaching expectations and objectives adopted by the faculty, administration and the Board of Trustees.

Anderson joined the OBU faculty in 2011. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Alberta and a Master of Divinity in pastoral ministry from Edmonton Baptist Seminary. He then earned a Ph.D. in worldview and apologetics from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has completed additional graduate studies in philosophy, apologetics and world religions at Ambrose Seminary, Tyndale Seminary, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and ACTS Seminaries. He previously served as a Garrett Fellow at SBTS, guest lecturing in a broad variety of philosophy courses. Prior to that, he served for seven years as the English Pastor of Edmonton Chinese Baptist Church and part-time Baptist Chaplain at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He previously served as both director and assistant director of the honors program at OBU, and in 2016, he received OBU’s Promising Teacher Award.

Dr. Jessica Rohr, assistant professor of English, TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), received the Promising Teacher Award. This award is presented to a junior faculty member who has taught at OBU less than six years, has demonstrated outstanding potential as a teacher, and has the characteristics of one who may be a future recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Rohr joined the faculty in 2017. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in intercultural studies from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. She then earned a Master of Arts in English (TESOL) from Missouri State University. She later earned a Doctor of Philosophy in linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington. She previously served as an adjunct instructor for both UT Arlington and Baptist Bible College, as well as an instructor of record for several years at UT Arlington. She also spent several years teaching English to second language learners in the United States and in China. Informed by these experiences, her research interests include TESOL, second language acquisition of phonology and learner corpus research.

Carrie Myles, associate dean, academic support services, and executive director of the Milburn Center, received the Meritorious Service Award. This award is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has made a substantial commitment of years and service, and who has been a loyal and faithful faculty or staff member.

Myles joined the OBU staff in 2000, beginning her OBU career as an admissions counselor. In 2002, she was promoted to assistant director of admissions, and in 2005, she was promoted to associate director of admissions. In 2013, she was appointed as the executive director of the Milburn Center at OBU. In that capacity, she oversees the Student Success Center and academic advising. In 2021, she was promoted to associate dean, academic support services, while retaining her role as executive director of the Milburn Center. She earned a bachelor's degree in family psychology from OBU in 2000. She then earned a master's degree in adult and higher education and student affairs from the University of Oklahoma in 2010.

The University also recognized employees for milestone years of service, honoring those who reached these marks in both 2021 and 2022. The event was not held in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the University recognized the 2021 honorees during this year’s ceremony.

Dr. Albert Chen, professor of physics, was recognized for 35 years of service.

Dr. Robbie Henson was honored for 30 years of service. She is the chair of the School of Nursing, Lawrence and Marion Harris Chair of Nursing, and professor of nursing.

Three employees were recognized for reaching 25 years of service in 2022, including Mike Manlapig, athletic facilities coordinator; Ford Mastin, head track coach; and Denise Jett, collections librarian. Tara Colvin, endowed scholarship manager and NCAA liaison, was recognized for reaching 25 years of service in 2021.

Two employees were honored for achieving 20 years of service, both in 2021. They include Dr. Rich Rudebock, Robert L. and Sara Lou Cargill Chair of Business and professor of business, and Chele Marker-Cash, creative director/publications manager.

Four employees achieved 15 years of service in 2022, including Tony Morgan, electrician assistant; Dr. Keith A. Harman, Ernest C. Wheeler Chair of Business and professor of business; Dr. Bruce A. Perkins, associate professor of religion and director of the prison divinity program; and David Dollins, carpenter I. Four employees were also recognized for reaching 15 years of service in 2021, including Deanna Spruiell, administrative assistant, art and communications; Crystal McKee, director of administrative development; Terra Bogle, payroll manager; and Richard Shannon, armed security officer.

Employees honored for 10 years of service in 2022 include Robert Davenport, director of athletics; Steve Fluke, associate athletic director for compliance; Dr. Joy Turner, director of global mobilization and professor of Christian ministry; David Gardner, assistant director, Bison Recreation and Wellness; Dr. Tawa J. Anderson, associate professor of philosophy; Dr. Bruce Carlton, director of the Bachelor of Arts in global marketplace engagement and professor of cross-cultural ministry; Dr. Sarah Marsh, associate professor of mathematics; Jack Moore, director of development and assistant to the president for strategic partnerships; Mark Heard, assistant track and field coach; Jason Spradlin, police lieutenant; Chris Jensen, head football coach; and Jason Melot, assistant football coach and recruiting coordinator/linebackers.

Employees honored for reaching 10 years of service for 2021 include Sharon Eulberg, assistant to the vice president of campus life and dean of students; Dr. David Houghton, chair of the Dickinson School of Business, Lloyd G. and Betty E. Minter Chair of Business, professor of business, and director of the MBA program; Britton Buss, vice president of technology and digital innovation and chief technology officer; Michael Hayes, HVAC technician II; and Gayla Blackwell, dispatch/switchboard operator.

Employees honored for reaching five years of service in 2022 include Kalyn Fullbright, director of admissions; Melissa Scott, student financial services counselor; Mark Fisher, software support/system analyst; Dr. Chris Jones, professor of chemistry and director of STEM innovation; Dayla Rowland, resident director for Kerr Residence Center and West University Apartments; Rebecca Coon, assistant professor of nursing; Rusty Willoughby, university records coordinator; Dr. Shaelene Fipps, assistant professor of nursing; Benjamin Baxter, chair of communication arts and assistant professor of animation and media production; Jaime Brantley, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Robin Brothers, assistant professor of nursing; Joshua S. Brunet, assistant professor of art; Dr. Antonio Chiareli, professor of sociology and intercultural studies; Dr. Rebecca Farley, assistant professor of education; and Dr. Daryl Green, Dickinson Chair of Business and associate professor of business.

Additional employees honored for reaching five years of service in 2022 include Dr. Camille Lafleur, assistant professor of marriage and family therapy; Scot Loyd, assistant professor of communication studies and director of forensics and debate; Dr. Chad Payn, chair of the Division of Exercise Science, Sports and Recreation and assistant professor of exercise science, sports and recreation; Dr. Stephen Sims, assistant professor of music, worship leadership; Rachel Stewart, logistics coordinator; Kaleb Miears, resident director of The Lodge and The Village Apartments; Dean Horton, lead utility crew worker; Julie Rankin, director of library services; Kirt Henderson, director of student success; Will Brantley, vice president for enrollment management; Kyle Opskar, resident director for Agee Residence Center; Melissa Stroud, director of student leadership and engagement; Dr. Susan DeWoody, provost and chief academic officer; and Justin Hull, video production coordinator.

Employees honored for reaching five years of service during 2021 include Breanne Gifford, student services coordinator, graduate programs; James Boise, carpenter assistant; Ben Cleveland, assistant athletic director for sports medicine; Tammi Welch, accounts payable coordinator; Jamie Adcock, facilities services coordinator; Dr. Heath A. Thomas, president and professor of Old Testament; and Lisa Hancock, payroll coordinator. Chris Cox, head baseball coach, was recognized for reaching five years of service in 2020.