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Recognition Roundup 2019

The College of Liberal Arts is known for having highly-regarded faculty members and students. Here, we compiled just a few of the recent recognitions this semester.

SEC Academic Leadership Program

Carlos Blanton, Professor and Head of the Department of History, was named a 2019-2020 Fellow for the SEC’s Academic Leadership Development Program

Each year the Southeastern Conference (SEC) offers its 14 member schools a unique opportunity to foster that talent through fellowships that help prepare up-and-coming faculty leaders for further positions and careers in executive service. The SEC’s Academic Leadership Development Program (ALDP) launched in 2007, and Texas A&M has appointed four fellows each year since joining the SEC in 2012.

Program alumni have advanced to serve the university as deans, a vice provost and in other executive roles. This year’s fellowship class includes three department heads and an executive associate dean.

“The SEC Academic Leadership Development Program offers participants a unique environment to continue developing leadership skills in partnership with other emerging and talented leaders from across the SEC,” said Blanca Lupiani, a 2012 SEC ALDP fellow and Texas A&M dean of faculties and associate provost said. “We are excited about the future for our ALDP Fellows and congratulate them for earning this opportunity.”

Blanton joined the Texas A&M University faculty in 2001. He has published three books and won the Texas State Historical Association’s Tullis Award for Best Book in Texas History. He has published eight journal articles, three book chapters and led study abroad programs in Italy and Spain. He is a member of the Humanities Texas advisory board and is active in numerous history associations. Dr. Blanton holds a Ph.D. from Rice University.

Fellows participate in a year-long series of workshops and professional development at Texas A&M and attend two SEC-wide workshops aimed at increasing collaboration and building relationships between emerging leaders in academia. Vanderbilt University hosted the fall 2019 workshop Oct. 14 – 16, and the University of Florida will host the spring 2020 workshop Feb. 19 – 21.

Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching

Joseph Ura, associate professor of political science and current faculty member at Texas A&M University at Qatar, was recognized for teaching excellence. 

Ura and Nayef Alyafei, assistant professor of petroleum engineering, were recently honored with the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students College-level Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching. Each fall, The Association of Former Students honors outstanding faculty members for their dedication to teaching. Since the program’s inception in 1982, recipients are recognized for their talent, expertise and devotion on conveying knowledge to students.

Ura joined the faculty of the branch campus in 2019. He was selected to receive the award for his outstanding teaching in and out of the classroom as a faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M’s main campus, where, in 12 years, he taught more than 4,000 Aggies of all majors and disciplines. He is described as a rare and extraordinary teacher who has made unique and valuable contributions to teaching at Texas A&M while building a nationally recognized record of scholarly achievement and service.

OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program

The Organization of American Historians (OAH) has named College of Liberal Arts professor David Vaught as a Distinguished Lecturer. He is a historian at Texas A&M University specializing in American rural history, labor history and the history of American baseball.

Vaught is one of 21 new speakers appointed to OAH’s esteemed Distinguished Lectureship Program. He and the other scholars, who are affiliated with some of the nation’s top universities, join nearly 600 Distinguished Lecturers who share their expertise with audiences across the country, provide historical context on important topics and headline commemorations and other events.

“David Vaught brings the perspective of a scholar and the love of a fan to his talks on the role of baseball in American history,” said Katherine M. Finley, OAH executive director. “We are honored he is part of our team of Distinguished Lecturers.”

Vaught is professor of history and the history department head at TAMU. His research has been funded by three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a past president of the Agricultural History Society, former head of department, University Distinguished Lecturer, and recipient of the Melbern G. Glasscock Professorship in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence. 

OAH Distinguished Lecturers agree to donate their speaking fees to the OAH, and their work in the field is an essential component of the organization’s mission to promote excellence in the scholarship, teaching and presentation of American history. 

“OAH’s Distinguished Lecturers provide a vital service to communities, libraries, museums, and universities by increasing public awareness and understanding of the importance of American history. This is especially valuable today as our nation faces unique challenges,” Finley said. “We thank Professor Vaught for his service to the organization.”

Presidential Impact and EDGES Fellows

Thirty distinguished Texas A&M University faculty— five from the College of Liberal Arts — have been honored among the 2019 Presidential Impact Fellows and the new Chancellor Enhancing Development and Generating Excellence in Scholarship (EDGES) Fellows. 

The recipients were recognized at a reception Nov. 5, along with recipients of the 2019 University Professorships award, announced in May. The recognitions highlight Texas A&M’s commitment to investing in faculty with significant and sustained accomplishments and the promise of continued high-impact scholarship.

Chancellor Enhancing Development and Generating Excellence in Scholarship (EDGES) Fellows

Launched this year, EDGES Fellowships were developed with resources from Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp to support and honor mid-career faculty who are making significant marks in their discipline. EDGES Fellowships are awarded to faculty members with national and international acclaim and careers that are on-track for membership in national academies or national and international awards in fields without national academies. EDGES Fellows retain the right to use the title throughout their tenure as faculty members in good standing.

Presidential Impact Fellows

The third class of Presidential Impact Fellows joins with more than 40 colleagues recognized in prior years with one of the most prestigious scholarly impact awards presented to Texas A&M faculty. The award was initiated by President Michael K. Young as a significant investment in faculty excellence and a recognition of the scholarship, personal commitment, and global impact awardees are making as they rise to meet the challenges of their field and demonstrate impact.

Presidential Impact Fellows retain their new title for life and receive an annual stipend of $25,000 for three years. The goal of this investment is to allow scholars increased opportunities for national and global dialogue and collaboration across disciplines and beyond the borders of institutions.

The American Historical Association Herbert Feis Award 

Associate Professor in the Department of History Sonia Hernandez was awarded the Herbert Feis Award from the American Historical Association for her work on the Refusing to Forget project. 

Established in 1984, this award is offered annually to recognize distinguished contributions to public history during the previous 10 years. The prize is named in memory of Herbert Feis (1893–1972), public servant and historian of recent American foreign policy, with an initial endowment from the Rockefeller Foundation. The prize was originally given for books produced by historians working outside of academe. In 2006, the scope of the award was changed to emphasize significant contributions in the field of public history.

Hernandez was awarded alongside Trinidad Gonzales (South Texas Coll.), John Morán González (Univ. of Texas at Austin), Benjamin Johnson (Loyola Univ. of Chicago), and Monica Muñoz Martinez (Brown Univ.) for the Refusing to Forget project.