Honors and Grants
Honors and Grants
The College of Professional Advancement supports Mercer University’s mission and classification as a national doctoral research university through continuing research, service, and excellence in education. We continue to receive recognition and support in the form of grants and awards from various entities.
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) awarded Mercer University’s College of Professional Advancement a grant in support of the College’s information technology program outcomes. Mercer is one of 24 institutions across the nation and the only university in Georgia to have received this funding. The grant supports the goal of fostering civic responsibility among students pursuing the information technology majors. Two grants from The Endeavor Foundation enabled AAC&U to identify emerging departmental designs that scaffolded civic learning, social responsibility, and questions about the public good throughout a student’s requirements in the major. The grants permitted faculty to decide how to invest in more civic-rich departmental designs.
Funding from Georgia Humanities has supported the College’s Coastal Georgia Research Initiative to preserve African American heritage and heritage sites along the Georgia coast. Dr. Melanie Pavich, Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and History, and Project Director for the Coastal Georgia Research Initiative, received grants that support public presentations related to this service-learning project. The grants were awarded to Mercer by Georgia Humanities in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, through funding from the Georgia General Assembly.
Mercer University’s College of Professional Advancement received two five-year Rehabilitation Services Administration Long-Term Training (RSA LTT) grants from the U.S. Department of Education. The grants support the College’s commitment to educating and developing rehabilitation counselors to address the statewide shortages of counselors faced by vocational rehabilitation agencies. Each grant totaled nearly $1 million and provides scholarships and professional development funding across three semesters of academic work for students in the Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program. Upon graduation, students qualify for employment by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency and other disability-related agencies in the state. Dr. Suneetha Manyam, Professor of Counseling, serves as Project Director.
The Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) awarded Mercer University’s Executive Leadership Program the South Distinguished Program Award for excellence in non-credit program curriculum. The award presented at the 2019 ACHE annual conference recognizes Mercer’s program as the “best of its kind.” The customized curriculum taught by highly-credentialed faculty builds leadership potential within communities and organizations.
Mercer University’s College of Professional Advancement received the 2018 Outstanding Master’s Counselor Education Program Award from the Southern region of the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES). SACES is the largest region of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, composed of more than 1,500 active members consisting of counselor educators, supervisors, and students from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The Outstanding Master’s Counselor Education Program Award is given to programs that educate master’s-level counseling students and demonstrate outstanding pre-service and in-service training in core and specialty counseling areas.
Dr. Colleen P. Stapleton, Professor of Science and Chair of the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Informatics in the College of Professional Advancement, was awarded a $50,000 grant from the InTeGrate STEP Center–a center funded to support the development of Earth literacy. InTeGrate–Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future–supports the teaching of geoscience in the context of societal issues both within geosciences courses and across the undergraduate curriculum.
Dr. Stapleton authored the grant proposal and served as Mercer’s lead Project Director. Dr. Jane Metty, in the Tift College of Education, served as co-director of the project. They were assisted by faculty team member Dr. Sabrina L. Walthall, associate professor of science in the College of Professional Advancement.
Mercer University’s College of Professional Advancement was selected to participate in the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) STIRS initiative. Mercer’s project proposal, titled “Redesigning Pathways to Signature Work for Nontraditional Students,” was one of only five nationwide to receive funding to participate in a two-year planning effort aimed at improving the capacity of students to use evidence to solve problems and make decisions. The project aims to create a pathway in the College’s general education curriculum to lead nontraditional students toward the development of signature work in their program capstone courses prior to graduation. This work revolved around research and included the STIRS Framework with a focus on the informatics and liberal studies majors.
In conjunction with National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Mercer received a grant from the Pittulloch Foundation, a charitable organization focused on improving education in the state of Georgia, to implement the Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training program throughout the University. Dr. Kathy Robinson, Associate Professor of Counseling in Mercer’s College of Professional Advancement, served as program director.
College of Professional Advancement faculty members Dr. Charles Roberts, Professor of Mathematics, and Dr. Zipangani Vokhiwa, Associate Professor of Science, were selected to serve on two Association of Public Land Grant Universities’ (APLU) Network of STEM Education Centers (NSEC) committees. To advance education in STEM (science, technology, education, and mathematics) fields, APLU obtained a National Science Foundation grant to create a national Network of STEM Education Centers. NSEC currently links 201 STEM education centers at 163 institutions. NSEC committees, including the Steering Committee and Conference Planning Committee, provide support to the STEM education centers to promote student success throughout campuses and in local committees.
Mercer University’s Center for the Study of Narrative received grants, including a five-year, $500,000 commitment from the Georgia Compassion Project, to further the work of a multidisciplinary service and research initiative housed within the College of Professional Advancement’s Department of Counseling. Launched in 2014, the Center for the Study of Narrative supports narrative-related research agendas of students and faculty in the College of Professional Advancement. The Center’s work draws from a variety of academic disciplines–including communication, psychology, sociology, human services, literary studies and writing, historical studies, counseling, and mathematics–and uses qualitative and quantitative research methods to study the lives of individuals and cultures, giving students practical education while promoting community outreach and service.
As Project Director for Mercer University’s Fulbright Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) Program Award from the U.S. Department of Education, Dr. Zipa Vokhiwa, Associate Professor of Science, led a team of 10 pre-service and in-service teachers and two administrators from the Atlanta metro area on a four-week field research project to Malawi during 2013 to collect data related to the study “The Interaction of Environment and Culture in Malawi” for their Area Studies curriculum development.”
Innovations in Teaching Award
Dr. Melanie Pavich, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and History
Jean and Joe Hendricks Award for Excellence in Teaching (The University’s highest award for teaching)
Dr. Colin Harris, Professor of Religious Studies – the very first University recipient
Dr. Charles Roberts, Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Margaret Eskew, Professor of English
Dr. Ken Revels, Associate Professor of Information Systems
Dr. Lynn Clemsons, Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership
Dr. Hani Khoury, Professor of Mathematics
Dr. Priscilla Danheiser, Professor of Psychology
Dr. Clinton Terry, Associate Professor of History
Dr. Colleen Stapleton, Professor of Science
Dr. Zipa Vokhiwa, Associate Professor of Science
Dr. Karen Lacey, Associate Professor Emerita of English
Dr. Ian Henderson, Professor Emeritus of Communication