Today@Sam Article

SHSU Recognizes Four Outstanding Faculty Members

May 12, 2016
SHSU Media Contact: Julia May


Provost Jaimie Hebert (far left) and President Dana Hoyt (far right) recently recognized the 2016 Faculty Excellence Award recipients.  They are (from left) Sheryl Murphy-Manley, Dwayne Pavelock, Sanjay Mehta, and Madhusudan Choudhary. — Photo by Brian Blalock

Four Sam Houston State University professors whose teaching, scholarly accomplishments, service, and academic engagement stand out among their peers have been honored with SHSU’s 2016 Faculty Excellence Awards. 

The recipients are Sheryl Murphy-Manley, professor, School of Music, Excellence in Teaching; Madhusudan Choudhary, associate professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Excellence in Scholarly and Artistic Accomplishment; Dwayne Pavelock, professor, Department of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering Technology, Excellence in Service; and Sanjay Mehta, professor, Department of Management and Marketing, the David Payne Academic Community Engagement Award. 

Sheryl Murphy-Manley, Excellence in Teaching

Murphy-Manley, professor of musicology, has taught in the School of Music for more than 15 years. 

“My teaching philosophy is rooted in the desire to provide opportunities for my students to experience musical and historical empathy,” she said. “My philosophy is student-centered with personal, musical and educational goals at its heart. I am fortunate to wake up each day with anticipation and eagerness to meet my students to see where history and music will take them.” 

“Dr. Murphy-Manley is committed to the highest standards of teaching in both undergraduate and graduate education,” said Matthew McInturf, SHSU professor of music, director of bands and director of the Center for Music Education. 

“She is a consistently excellent role model for our students,” he said. “She leads them to read critically and to write in a professional voice with style and accuracy. While enforcing high standards of discipline and ethical practice, she entices them with intellectual challenges and compassionate feedback. 

“Her skills as a teacher/scholar extend to other faculty assignments, ranging from chairing committees to working on joint/multi-discipline projects,” said Scott Plugge, director of SHSU’s School of Music.

“People love working with her and she thrives in a collaborative environment. She is consistently ranked as one of our top faculty by her peers,” he said. “The students in her classes feel engaged and challenged in a very positive environment. She is the kind of person you need to represent academic integrity to the greater university community.” 

Madhusudan Choudary, Excellence in Scholarship and Artistic Accomplishment

Choudhary came to SHSU in 2008. He has been recognized for his seminal contributions to the field of microbiology, his continued commitment to high-quality research, and his impact in the field as well as on the lives of his students through mentoring their research endeavors.

“Dr. Choudhary’s research area has been focusing on understanding the structure/function of bacterial genomes, and his research employed a variety of molecular, statistical and bioinformatics approaches,” wrote one nominator.

“The discovery of multiple chromosomes in bacteria has set the new paradigm in microbiology, and he was the key player in developing this novel cornerstone of microbiology,” the nominator said. “His continued research publications have made significant contributions to the field of microbial genomics and bioinformatics, including the annotation of the fully sequenced genome of Rhodobacter sphaeroides.” 

Another colleague wrote, “Throughout the seven years of continuous research collaboration, co-teaching the genomics and bioinformatics course, and co-advising many biology students at the university, I have had ample opportunity to observe the depth of Dr. Choudhary’s extraordinary scholarship in his research field—particularly in microbial genomics, computational genomics and bioinformatics—as well as his laudable mentorship to students.”

Dwayne Pavelock, Excellence in Service 

Pavelock feels that he has been fortunate to work with service-oriented colleagues within the Department of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering Technology who have set a high standard for him.

“My department has exhibited a commitment to service and communicated its desire for all faculty and staff to be involved in such activities; thus, many have provided a positive model after which I could pattern my own efforts,” Pavelock said. 

Others with whom he has been associated commented about the many ways Pavelock has demonstrated his willingness to serve.

“A most public role Dr. Pavelock plays for the Texas FFA is serving as co-chair of the State Leadership Development Event on the campus of SHSU,” said Barney McClure, executive director of the Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas. “I have always felt this is one of the classiest events hosted by any university. Bringing hundreds of teachers, student, parents, and judges together to host such an event requires a massive effort on his part and always creates a positive impression of SHSU.” 

“The Texas FFA Collegiate Association was formed in 2001, and Dr. Pavelock was one of the pioneering faculty members who supported it and made it possible,” said Tom Maynard, executive director of the Texas FFA Association.

“In addition, Dr. Pavelock has supported the annual convention by bringing student volunteers to participate alongside our official convention committees,” he said. “In doing so he provides valuable support to our efforts, but more importantly, he provides a valuable experience for future agricultural educators.”

“Adult professionals have also benefited from his work,” said Doug Ullrich, professor of agricultural sciences and engineering technology and Bachelor of Arts in Applied Sciences coordinator at SHSU. 

“Having obtained a number of grants for professional development activities, he has conducted workshops in horticulture, agricultural mechanics, work-based learning, advanced animal science, safety and youth leadership. His role in the teacher preparation process has resulted in more than 400 teachers receiving certification in agriculture,” he said.

Sanjay Mehta, David Payne Award for Academic Community Engagement

Sanjay Mehta, professor of marketing and management, has spent years committed to academic community engagement through his teaching, research and exemplary service, according to comments from the ACE coordinators, who selected him for the honor. 

“Dr. Mehta not only teaches students how to make a difference in the community, he also frequently speaks to community, professional and campus audiences on the value of academic community engagement,” a coordinator said. 

Mehta has sought a number of opportunities to engage his students with real-world projects that show how their work can produce meaningful results. 

“Dr. Mehta graciously agreed to partner with my non-profit swim team to help bolster our marketing,” said Mike McCauley, executive director and head coach at Premier Aquatics Club of Klein. “His class interviewed me, conducted research and prepared several marketing suggestions. 

“They then invited not only me, but also members of my board of directors to a final presentation where all of their recommendations were laid out before us,” McCauley said. “We walked away with lots of printed information and since then, have employed a number of different approaches. Our team has experienced growth and remains financially stable because of Dr. Mehta’s partnering.”

Congregation Beth Shalom of The Woodlands is a small Jewish synagogue serving the communities of Montgomery and North Harris counties. In 2013 the synagogue connected with Mehta to ask for help in boosting membership and community engagement. 

“From the first visit with Dr. Mehta, we realized that his desire to help our organization was equally matched by his desire to provide a meaningful learning experience for his students,” said Neil Z. Platt, immediate past president of the congregation.

“Dr. Mehta’s passion and unending enthusiasm for learning, sharing and genuinely making us better was contagious,” Platt said. “Not only has our membership increased, but also our budget is balanced, while allowing us to make significant improvements both to our physical facilities as well as our community offerings. In addition, we have increased our community outreach, including providing regular meals and mentoring with the local youth shelter, as well as support to the local women’s and senior centers.”



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