Dr. Harry Clark Maddux
Director of and professor in the Watauga Residential College
Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
Harvey R. Durham Outstanding Freshman Advocate Award
Appalachian State University’s University College
BOONE, N.C. — Dr. Harry Clark Maddux, professor in and director of Appalachian State University’s Watauga Residential College (WRC), has been recognized as a proven champion for first-year students — he is the 2020 recipient of the Harvey R. Durham Freshman Advocate Award, conferred by Appalachian’s University College. He will receive a medallion and monetary prize as part of the award.
Now in its 16th year, the award — named for Dr. Harvey R. Durham — honors full-time Appalachian employees who demonstrate a sustained contribution to the first-year experience. To qualify for the Durham Award, candidates must have three or more years of service working closely with first-year students. Award recipients exhibit extraordinary personal commitment to first-year students through programs and academic instruction designed to broaden the first-year experience.
"It's appropriate that Harvey's extraordinary dedication to students is celebrated with this honor,” said Chancellor Sheri Everts. "His many years of service to the university and support of first-year students as both the provost and an acting chancellor set an example for future leaders — like this year’s recipient, Dr. Maddux — who continue to make a lasting difference for Appalachian students.”
Durham retired from Appalachian in 2004 after 39 years of service to the university. While at Appalachian, he served as an assistant professor of mathematics, as well as in various administration and leadership roles, including vice chancellor for academic affairs, provost, executive vice chancellor and acting chancellor (2003–04). Over his career, Durham served during the tenure of every Appalachian president and chancellor except for Appalachian co-founder B.B. Dougherty.
Durham and his wife, Susan Durham, along with Everts, typically present the award to its recipient during an awards ceremony held at the Appalachian House; however, this year's event was cancelled due to concerns related to COVID-19.
“I am immensely honored to receive the Durham Award,” Maddux said. “The list of previous Durham Award honorees, many of whom I know personally, is a reminder that this award is something of a down payment on continued work with students rather than a recognition of anything I might have achieved because of them in the past.”
Dr. Joseph Gonzalez, associate professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, in which WRC is housed, discussed Maddux’s impact on WRC. According to Gonzalez, enrollment and retention rates for WRC have increased during Maddux’s tenure.
“I can say that the changes wrought by Clark have been nothing short of revolutionary,” Gonzalez said. “He is, in a word, excellent — as a mentor, as a facilitator and as a participant in programs the students concoct on a regular basis.”
Maddux said the letters of support written by students were especially meaningful. “Reading them, I was reminded of not only the importance of my vocation but the privilege it entails,” he said.
In her nominating letter for Maddux, McKenzie Hemingway, a junior marketing major, Appalachian Student Ambassador and former WRC student from Cary, said Maddux has shaped her college experience. “I constantly go to him for guidance, whether it be professional or personal … (and) many of my peers look up to him as a mentor.”
Additionally, Hemingway described her First Year Seminar course, taught by Maddux, as “life-changing.”
“We would come into class knowing we could be our most vulnerable selves and be greeted with acceptance and love, and it is a credit to Dr. Maddux’s teaching ability and character that each of us felt comfortable enough to do so,” Hemingway said.
About Dr. Harry Clark Maddux
Before joining Appalachian’s WRC in 2013, Maddux, who holds a Ph.D. in American studies and an M.A. in English from Purdue University, served as Appalachian’s director of civic engagement from 2012–14.
He taught as a faculty member at Austin Peay State University and Tennessee State University before coming to Appalachian, where he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from First Year Seminar to early American literature and philosophy.
He is a volume editor of the “Biblia Americana” series — the first full-scale biblical commentary written in America. Specifically, Maddux edited the series’ “Ezra through the Psalms” volume and is co-editing, along with professors Dr. Rick Kennedy of Point Loma Nazarene University and Dr. Paul Peterson of the University of Heidelberg, a volume on the “Gospel of John” and the Acts of the Apostles.
In 2017, Maddux, along with Appalachian’s Dr. Valerie Wieskamp, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, and Dr. Lynn Searfoss, associate professor in the Department of English, was awarded an education program grant through the National Endowment for the Humanities for “Dialogues on the Experience of War.”
The interdisciplinary project, which took place during the 2017–18 academic year, brought together campus veterans and their families to discuss how the humanities affect the understanding of armed conflict.
View past Durham Award recipients.
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About the Watauga Residential College at Appalachian
The Watauga Residential College is a specialized academic program where classes are discussion-based seminars that allow students to pursue topics of interest to them within the context of the class. This program provides an unusual opportunity for students to become engaged in learning at a deep level through class discussions and research projects. Watauga classes are interdisciplinary and this approach to learning requires students to integrate knowledge from a variety of disciplines to gain a complete perspective on a topic. Learn more at https://watauga.appstate.edu.
About the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in four program areas: Appalachian studies; gender, women’s and sexuality studies; global studies; and interdisciplinary studies. The department is also home to Watauga Residential College, an interdisciplinary, alternative general education program. The department promotes creative and imaginative engagement through a cross-disciplinary investigation of complex systems and problems. Learn more at https://interdisciplinary.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is home to 17 academic departments, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS 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. More than 6,400 student majors are enrolled in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’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 University College
Formed in 2007, University College consists of the university’s general education program, faculty and student support, and co-curricular programming and support – all designed to support the work of students both inside and outside the classroom. All students at Appalachian begin their education in University College and benefit from its programs until they graduate. Learn more at https://universitycollege.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, 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 nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.