BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University’s Dr. Amanda C. Howell, along with 11 other educators in the Sun Belt Conference, was recognized Monday as the league announced its inaugural Faculty Member of the Year Awards. Howell is a senior lecturer and chemistry lab coordinator in Appalachian’s A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences, housed in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“These educators continue to go above and beyond to positively impact the lives of students and student-athletes at our Sun Belt universities,” Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill said. “We are honored to recognize their dedication to student success on their respective campuses.”
One award winner is named from each Sun Belt institution. The honors recognize a faculty member who displays valuable classroom skills, such as developing relationships, being a good communicator and showing a passion for teaching, and engaging and inspiring students, while also separating themselves from their peers outside the classroom by regularly attending athletics events and displaying enthusiasm for the athletics department.
According to Pierre Banks, Appalachian’s director of student-athlete development, students who have worked with Howell said her “positive attitude and willingness to help students is unlike any other professor,” and that she “has a unique way of presenting material, making the class inclusive, (and) is approachable and understanding.”
The concept for the award originated at the Sun Belt’s 2018 fall meeting, during conversations between the Sun Belt Ambassadors — a collection of student-athletes from the conference schools — and Faculty Athletic Representatives. The Sun Belt’s 12 honorees were chosen from nearly 10,000 full-time faculty members, and the combined enrollment across the conference is more than 160,000 students, with student-athletes comprising more than 3,100 of these students.
Howell has served as a senior lecturer in Appalachian’s chemistry and fermentation sciences department since 2016 and is a two-time finalist for the College of Arts and Sciences’ Non-Tenure Track Excellence in Teaching Award.
Howell, who holds a B.S. in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry, received her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2006. Most recently, she participated in a Course (Re)Design workshop provided by the Center of Academic Excellence at Appalachian — an experience she said helps “keep her teaching fresh.”
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About the A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences
The A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry with eight different concentrations and an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree in fermentation sciences. The department’s programs prepare students to attend graduate and professional schools, as well as for employment in the pharmaceutical and fermentation industries and other business sectors. Learn more at https://chemistry.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Mountaineer Athletics
More than 450 student-athletes compete in 20 NCAA Division I varsity sports at Appalachian State University, 10 for men and 10 for women. Appalachian was a dominant force in the Southern Conference for more than 40 years before joining the Sun Belt Conference in July 2014 — one of 10 conferences that are members of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Mountaineer football team claimed back-to-back 10-win seasons and bowl victories in 2015 and 2016, providing a catalyst for comprehensive excellence to grow across all Appalachian sports while competing at the highest levels of college athletics. Learn more at https://www.appstate.edu/athletics.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier, public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.