Baylor Honors Outstanding Faculty for 2016-2017

June 7, 2017
Outstanding Faculty 16-17 graphic

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
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WACO, Texas (June 7, 2017) – Baylor University has recognized 12 faculty members as Outstanding Faculty in the areas of teaching, scholarship and contributions to the academic community for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Nominated by their peers from the University’s 12 academic schools and colleges as well as University Libraries, each of this year’s outstanding faculty received a cash award of $2,500, a citation and recognition at the spring commencement ceremonies. The awards recognize the best all-around professors based upon teaching capabilities, research achievement, effective committee service, time spent with students, and civic and church involvement.

“The awards provide an opportunity to recognize and highlight the excellence in teaching and scholarship of our faculty that impacts not only our students and University but also their respective academic fields, both nationally and internationally,” said selection committee chair Trena L. Wilkerson, Ph.D., professor and graduate program director in curriculum and instruction in the School of Education.

“Our faculty engage students in critical discussions using a variety of effective teaching strategies and, as is noted in Pro Futuris, support ‘academic excellence and life-changing experiences’ for our Baylor students. Baylor faculty also engage in exemplary research that impacts our world and involve many students in that research,” Wilkerson said.

Outstanding Professors for 2016-2017

Outstanding Teaching

  • Robert Darden III, B.S.Ed. ’76, Professor, Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Tamara Hodges, M.S.Ed. ’89, Ed.D. ’94, Senior Lecturer, Educational Psychology, School of Education
  • Jeff Hunt, B.A. ’03, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, Department of Classics, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Benjamin S. Kelley, Ph.D., Professor, Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Jill C. Klentzman, Ph.D., Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Jonathan H. Rylander, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Deborah K. Williamson, B.M. ’85, D.M.A., Associate Professor, Vocal Studies, School of Music

Outstanding Scholarship

  • Michele L. Henry, Ph.D., Professor, Music Education, School of Music
  • David A. Jack, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Richard R. Russell, Ph.D., Professor, Department of English, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Sara J. Perry, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Management, Hankamer School of Business

Outstanding Contributions to the Academic Community

  • Cheryl A. Riley, D.N.P., B.S.N. ’94, M.S.N. ’03, Clinical Associate Professor, Louise Herrington School of Nursing


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.