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Faculty Awarded for Transformative Effect on Students

December 4, 2017

Four faculty members from the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy were among the 14 FSU faculty members honored by the Transformation Through Teaching program for their life-changing influence in their students’ lives, both in and outside of the classroom.

The awards were presented during a ceremony and dinner Tuesday, Nov. 28 at the President’s house.

“The faculty being honored tonight are not only teachers and researchers, they are mentors, role models and cheerleaders,” said President John Thrasher. “They really care about their students and have helped them discover hidden passions, pushed them to reach higher and encouraged them to dream bigger. It’s clear these professors have made an impact in the lives of their students that will last a lifetime.”

The Transformation Through Teaching program is an initiative established by FSU’s Spiritual Life Project, which seeks to foster integrative relationships that provide support for students in their lifelong search for meaning and self-realization.

The awards recognize faculty members whose contributions in the lives of their students go beyond conventional academic instruction. The following honorees were nominated by their students for their dedication to helping students find their authentic selves and pursue their dreams.

The 2017 Transformation Through Teaching Award winners from the college are:

John Felkner, assistant professor of urban and regional planning (left), with Alexandra Duprey and Long Chen, who nominated him for encouraging and mentoring students through all facets of life

“In many ways, I strive to have the kind of academic and professional success that Dr. Felkner has. He has shown me that I can reach this success in my life through many possible avenues. Dr. Felkner encourages all of us to use him as a resource, to meet with him to talk about our career goals, and he even required that we schedule one-on-one appointments with him throughout the year. He always gave advice from his own experiences as a young adult, which inspired a few of my own choices as I navigate this weird period between college and career. His advice was always specific to me, to the courses I was taking and to the outcomes I wanted. However, some of our greatest conversations were about family, sports, traveling or just life in general. In these conversations, he was authentic in his honesty, his constructive criticism and in his encouragement.” — Alexandra Duprey

Bruce Manciagli, social entrepreneur in residence, (left) with Kailon Thompson, who nominated him for sparking her passion for social entrepreneurship and “change making.”

“The experiences that I have had with Mr. Manciagli over the past two semesters have left an indelible impact on my life. I can sincerely say that he has inspired a passion in me to pursue social entrepreneurship and explore the ways in which I can give back to the community and make a change in society. He often stressed what it means to be a part of a ‘change maker’ society, and how we as students can think of ways to increase our impact in making society better. I am really grateful for him and all that he has done.” — Kailon Thompson

John Reynolds, professor and department chair of sociology, (left) with Sarah Barber, who nominated him for positively impacting the lives of students in and outside of the classroom.

“Dr. Reynolds helped me realize the route that I wanted to take regarding my future. I was questioning how I wanted to impact the lives of others, when I took a step back and realized that I want to be a professor because of the way Dr. Reynolds impacted my life. I hope to one day impact students’ lives in the same way. He helped me decide this route without even knowing it. We had many conversations in museums and coffee shops, and I realized that he cares very much about educating the youth and being as much as a help as he can. He was always making us think about situations beyond what was taught in the classroom and expanding our knowledge about the world around us.” — Sarah Barber

Annette Schwabe, associate dean of Undergraduate Studies, director of liberal studies and professor of sociology, (left) with Marigny Nevitt, who nominated her for guiding and encouraging students throughout their entire college experience.

“I cannot imagine what the past four years of my life would have looked like if I had never met Dr. Schwabe. She took the time to tell me that she saw my potential and wanted to help me continue to grow. I would never have completed my honors thesis if Dr. Schwabe had not encouraged me to continue my research. When I started graduate school, Dr. Schwabe made a point of maintaining contact with me and continuing to develop our relationship. She has always encouraged me to take on new endeavors. Now, as I am applying to law school, she continually asks me questions that force me to look at variables I hadn’t considered before and points out characteristics I hadn’t noticed in myself previously. I wouldn’t have had the courage to become the person I am today without Dr. Schwabe’s guidance.” — Marigny Nevitt

Read about all the awardees in this article by Susan Hansen of University Communications.

For more information about Transformation Through Teaching, visit the Spiritual Life Project.

Photos by FSU Photography Services