News Release: People, Teaching

May 10,  2010

Faculty Receive Awards for Outstanding Teaching, Research, Leadership

News Article ImageE. Brooks Holifield, Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Church History, received the University Scholar/Teacher Award.

Ten Emory University faculty members were honored with teaching, research and mentoring awards presented at the university's commencement ceremony May 10.

E. Brooks Holifield, Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Church History, received the University Scholar/Teacher Award. The recipient is chosen by Emory faculty on behalf of the United Methodist Church Board of Higher Education and Ministry.  

Known as a consummate scholar, Holifield is admired by his colleagues at Emory's Candler School of Theology and in the broader academic community for embodying the highest scholarly standards. He earned a bachelor's degree from Hendrix College and Yale Divinity School, and a master's and Ph.D. from Yale University. He has written books on 17th century Puritanism, the antebellum South, religion and psychology in America, health and medicine in the Methodist traditions, and the cultural history of early colonial America. His research focuses on patterns of change in American religious history.

His publications include seven single-author books, most recently "God's Ambassadors: A History of the Christian Clergy in America" (2007) which was selected as the Book of the Year by the American Academy of Parish Clergy, and "Theology in America: Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War" (2003), which received the Albert C. Outler Prize of the American Society of Church History, and was chosen as an Outstanding Book by University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries.

Holifield's scholarship has earned him numerous academic awards and fellowships, including three National Endowment for the Humanities grants and two of the highest grants within theological education, a Louisville Institute Fellowship and a Henry Luce Fellowship. His academic guild recognized his contributions by electing him president of the American Society of Church History in 2002. His service at Emory has included serving as chair of many faculty searches, including two theology deans and chair of the Graduate Division of Religion. He has provided important leadership in curriculum review and revision at Candler. In the wider academy, he has served on the editorial boards of journals and book series and was a member of the Pulpit and Pew Project of Lilly Endowment Inc. from 2001 to 2005.

When students describe his teaching, they regularly use the words "brilliant" and "passionate." His colleagues also recognize him as a master teacher who is generous in mentoring doctoral students and junior faculty. Holifield embodies the best of the values of a theological and university educator.

Rudolph Byrd Receives Thomas Jefferson Award

Rudolph P. Byrd, Goodrich C. White Professor of American Studies in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts and the Department of African American Studies, received the Thomas Jefferson Award, which is presented to a faculty member or administrative officer in recognition of significant service to the university through personal activities, influence and leadership.

Byrd earned a bachelor's degree at Lewis & Clark College, and two master's degrees and his Ph.D. from Yale University. He joined the Emory faculty in 1991 as director of the program (now department) of African American Studies. Byrd is the founding director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies at Emory, which fosters new scholarship, teaching and public dialogue focused on the origins, evolution and legacy of the modern civil rights movement from 1905 to the present. With his vision, energy, dedication to teaching and scholarship, and commitment to excellence, he has built on the strong foundation in the African American studies program. During his tenure Byrd has helped bring to Emory outstanding faculty, obtained grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, organized stimulating symposia, and established academic collaborations with other institutions in Atlanta and beyond. Byrd has been instrumental in building Emory's research library collections, including the acquisition of the Alice Walker Archive.

Byrd is the author and editor of eight books, including most recently as editor of "The World Has Changed: Conversations with Alice Walker" (2010), "The Essential Writings of James Weldon Johnson" (2008) with Charles Johnson, and as coeditor of "I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde" (2009). His work-in-progress includes serving as an editor of the forthcoming Norton Anthology of African American Poetry, and as coeditor of the forthcoming Norton Edition of Cane, both with Henry Louis Gates Jr. Byrd also is writing a biography of Ernest J. Gaines and a study of the early fiction of Alice Walker. Byrd's several awards and fellowships include the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at Harvard University, the Dorothy Danforth Compton Fellowship at Yale University, and Visiting Scholar at Boston University.

An engaged scholar committed to service and scholarship, Byrd is a consultant to the United Negro College Fund/Andrew W. Mellon Programs. He also is a member of the National Advisory Board for the Morehouse College Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, and is the founding co-chair of the Alice Walker Literary Society. Through his writing, teaching, mentoring, speaking, community engagement and generosity of spirit, Byrd embodies the essence of the Thomas Jefferson Award and the highest values of university citizenship.

Darrell Stokes Receives Excellence in Mentoring Award

Darrell R. Stokes, professor of biology, received the George P. Cuttino Award for Excellence in Mentoring, established in 1997 by trustee John T. Glover.  

Seven Emory professors received the Emory Williams Award for Distinguished Teaching. The university's most prestigious awards for teaching were established in 1972 by alumnus Emory Williams. The three awards in the arts and sciences are selected by a committee of Emory College of Arts and Sciences faculty. Goizueta Business School, Oxford College and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing each present an award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, and one other award rotates among the professional schools. The 2010 recipients of the Emory Williams Award are:

  • Luther Smith Jr., professor of church and community, Candler School of Theology;
  • Richard Doner, professor of political science, Emory College;
  • James Nagy, professor of math and computer science, Emory College;
  • Deborah Elise White, associate professor of English and comparative literature, Emory College;
  • Consuelo L. Kertz, professor of accounting, Goizueta Business School;
  • Charles A. Shanor, professor of law, Emory Law School;
  • Penelope England, professor of physical education, Oxford College;
  • Stanley Foster, M.D., professor of global health, Rollins School of Public Health;
  • J. William Eley, M.D.,executive associate dean for medical education and student affairs, and the Ada Lee and Pete Correll Teaching Professor of Hematology and Oncology, School of Medicine;
  • Marcia McDonnell Holstad, assistant professor of nursing, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.


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