ETSU colleges present top awards to faculty

July 12, 2001

JOHNSON CITY Members of East Tennessee State University's faculty continuously distinguish themselves in many areas of education, and the university's colleges recognize this achievement each year by presenting major awards for faculty excellence.

These awards are given for outstanding teaching, research and service based on various criteria as determined by each college.

The 2001 recipients of these awards include:


Dr. Amelia Brown received the College of Applied Science and Technology Board of Visitors Teaching Award. Brown is associate dean of the college, a professor and former chair of the department of applied human sciences.

Brown "has great enthusiasm for the subjects she teaches (and) excellent knowledge of content, is current, and really enjoys teaching," her nomination states. "She stays personally involved with the students in the classroom with a lot of hands-on projects and laboratory activities.

"She is a caring professor who shows real concern for the future of her students, and she gives them information and skills that they can use in the 'real world.' She is always willing to offer assistance, and on many occasions, has gone out of her way to help students. Helpfulness, like happiness, is a part of her nature."

Brown graduated from ETSU in 1969 and went on to earn her master's degree at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and her Ph.D. in foods and nutrition at Kansas State University. Her areas of specialty are food science and corporate etiquette. Before coming to ETSU, she was an assistant professor in the department of human nutrition and foods at Virginia Tech.

Jan Kyzar-White received the College of Applied Science and Technology Foundation Teaching Award. She is an assistant professor in the department of technology, teaching classes in technical illustration, engineering drawing, desktop publishing, and 3D design and animation courses in ETSU's new Scott M. Niswonger Digital Media Center, formerly known as the Advanced Visualization Laboratory.

Kyzar-White "impresses students by her knowledge, clever mind and understanding of any subject matter she covers," according to her nomination. "She has brought a youthful zest and enthusiasm to the department; she is extremely positive and has shown almost limitless energy on behalf of her students. She is one of those rare individuals who, through her dedication and untiring commitment to her work, demonstrates outstanding leadership as well as the best qualities of a true teacher.

Kyzar-White earned her bachelor's degree in engineering design graphics at ETSU in 1995 and her master's degree in technology, specializing in animation, illustration and multimedia, at ETSU in 1997. As an undergraduate, she served as co-captain of the ETSU women's volleyball team.


Dr. Martha Copp received the College of Arts and Sciences Award in Teaching. She has "integrated her various activities into the art of teaching and has made teaching, and ultimately students, the central focus of her professional life." One of her students says, "The lessons that she taught me will help me in my teaching career and in life in general."

Copp is an associate professor of sociology and anthropology. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Don Hong and Mike Smith both earned Awards in Research in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Hong, an associate professor of mathematics who holds a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, has established himself as an international scholar in the area of approximation theory. He has published more than 30 papers in some of the leading mathematical journals. His work was supported by five external scholars in the field. Larry Schumaker of Vanderbilt states that Hong produced "breakthrough research in a difficult area."

Photographs by Smith, a professor of art and design, have been purchased by many of the nation's leading museums and collections, published in nationally known journals and gained representation by galleries in five major cities. Museums that have purchased his photographs include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Library of Congress. He recently received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship Award of $35,000 for 2001. This award will support his proposal to photograph townspeople in small communities of Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Smith, who holds the M.F.A. degree from Yale University, came to ETSU in 1981. He resides locally with his wife, Jenny, and stepson, Colin Lokey.


Lana Becker received the College of Business Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching. One student who nominated Becker for this award wrote, "She made sure we understood the material. She made accounting possible for non-accounting majors. I felt lost in the book, but she put it in layman's terms."

Becker says that because her courses are taken by many non-accounting majors, she tries to address the fears, negativism and apathy many students feel when they enter her classes.

"It is critical to show students in their early classroom experience how accounting interfaces with multiple other disciplines and show them how the subject is relevant to their future careers," she says. "Once students appreciate that knowledge of accounting will be of benefit to them, negativism and apathy become less of an obstacle to my teaching and . . . to their learning."

Becker, a full-time temporary faculty member in the department of accountancy since 1997, holds bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration from ETSU, as well as a bachelor's degree in music education from Central Missouri State University. Before coming to ETSU, she taught at Northeast State Technical Community College and was employed as a cost accountant at AFG Industries, Kingsport.

Dr. Ugur Yavas earned the College of Business Faculty Excellence Award in Research. Yavas, a professor of management and marketing, primarily focuses on nonprofit/services marketing, retailing and international business in his research, exploring important applied problems and significant conceptual issues. His research efforts over the past two years have resulted in 24 journal articles and other publications, as well as two research grants. During that same period, he served as editor of the Journal of Asia-Pacific Business, edited a special issue of the International Journal of Bank Marketing, served on the editorial boards of 12 journals and reviewed conference manuscripts. He has been cited in the Journal of Teaching in International Business as one of the noteworthy contributors to the international marketing literature. His many honors and awards include the 1993 ETSU Foundation Research Award.

Yavas holds a Ph.D. from Georgia State University. He is a native of Turkey who served in the Turkish Air Force in Kutahya, and he taught at Mercer University, Atlanta; Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey; Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.; and the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, before coming to ETSU. In 1999-2000, he served as interim chair of the ETSU department of management and marketing.

Dr. F. Steb Hipple was presented the College of Business Faculty Excellence Award in Service. Hipple, a professor of economics, is well-known as an authority on regional economics. Through the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the research and service unit of the College of Business, he publishes quarterly labor market and retail sales reports for the Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia, as well as regional economic impact reports. He is also frequently sought as a consultant to area businesses and as a speaker on the regional business conditions and outlook by the media and governmental, professional and civic organizations throughout the area.

Hipple also provides service to the university through committee work, special studies and other activities. In 1999, he established a scholarship fund for economics majors with an honorarium from Eastman Chemical Co. for a lengthy economic study he performed for the company, and the fund has continued to grow, thanks to contributions by Eastman and other corporations and individuals.

"We have found Steb's comments and analyses to be consistently accurate and informative," his colleagues wrote in his nomination. "By so doing, he demonstrates that ETSU and the College of Business are sources of expertise, and that one needn't go to Washington, New York or Knoxville to find persons qualified to render informative opinions on economic matters."

Hipple holds a Ph.D. from Southern Methodist University and is a former senior policy staff member of the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he worked with Cabinet-level officials and Congressional oversight committees during the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations. He came in 1982 to ETSU, where, in addition to teaching, he served 13 years as director of the BBER before returning to teaching full-time. He and his wife, Linda, reside in Johnson City and have four children who all attended Johnson City public schools and ETSU.

Dr. Michaela Driver received the College of Business Outstanding New Faculty Member Award. She is an assistant professor of management and marketing who joined the faculty in 1998. She has worked to implement Internet-based and other media-based resources into her courses in organizational management, theory and behavior, as well as managing organizational change. Student comments indicate that this "teaching style enables them to better learn the materials, feel motivated to be involved in the course, consider themselves part of a student-teacher learning community and enjoy an interesting as well as stimulating class." Many of Driver's students laud her for the energy and enthusiasm with which she approaches teaching, and they frequently mention the fun and enjoyment they have in her classes.

Driver holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama and is a former principal consultant for Pricewaterhouse LLP and purchaser for Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc.


Dr. J. Graham Disque received the College of Education Outstanding Faculty Award in Teaching. The associate professor of human development and learning holds a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Virginia Tech and joined the ETSU faculty in 1994 after teaching at North Dakota State University and maintaining a private practice in counseling in Fargo, N.D.

"Every once in a while, a program and department have a person who defines the soul of their academic discipline and brings to students and colleagues alike a model for that which is most valued," his nomination states. "Graham Disque is such a person. Although still a very young man, he has the ability to transform the lives and professions of students, to challenge and fascinate colleagues, and to bring such integrity and ethics to his work that we all see what a counselor-educator is supposed to look like.

"Graham is a great teacher, because he is still a great student, still thirsty, still looking at multiple realities in search of a common foundation for truth, still questioning everything, even his own beliefs. . . . Students don't just talk about having had a great class from Graham: they talk about having had life-changing experiences."

Dr. Craig Broeder earned the College of Education Outstanding Faculty Award in Research. Broeder is a professor in the department of physical education, exercise and sport sciences. He also directs the ETSU Wellness Center/Human Performance Lab, which, according to his nomination, "he has developed . . . into one of the top facilities in the area," obtaining extramural funding for a great deal of laboratory equipment and ensuring that the lab has the equipment and supplies students need to do physiological studies.

Broeder's nomination points out that he secured funding for a study of the effectiveness of finger weights in the prevention and treatment of repetitive motion injuries, and he made national news with his recent study on the effects of the hormone androstenedione in middle-aged men. He and his colleagues are also conducting a study to determine if a popular nutritional supplement deer antler velvet, which has been used in Chinese medications for more than 3,000 years and is reported to help improve immune function, prevent anemia and reduce signs of aging could potentially improve strength conditioning performance in men. His work has been published in such top journals as Archives of Internal Medicine, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, American Journal of Cardiology, International Journal of Sports Medicine and many others.

Broeder holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas-Austin in exercise physiology, metabolism and health promotion, and exercise and fitness.

Dr. James J. Fox III was presented the College of Education Outstanding Faculty Award in Service. Fox is a professor of human development and learning and research director of the College of Education's Center for Early Childhood Learning and Development, a Tennessee Center of Excellence.

Fox's nomination for this award lists numerous service activities that he performs for the Center, department, college and university, but points out that "the most significant of this service activities to the local community has been the Make a Difference Project, which (he) has directed for the past six years. This grant-supported project provides technical assistance to students with disabilities, ages 3-21, and enables students with challenging behaviors to succeed in their school environment." Through this project, intensive training of multidisciplinary teams in functional behavior assessment and positive behavioral support is provided to 16 school systems in Northeast Tennessee and an Outreach Program in Minnesota.

"Through this service activity, Dr. Fox has made a difference to hundreds of children with challenging behaviors, and also has eased the frustration of numerous special education and regular education teachers and service providers who are responsible for the education of those children," the nomination states. "(It) has also had a significant impact on the lives of many ETSU graduate and undergraduate students . . . (through the provision of) graduate assistantships, tuition scholarships, and work study experiences. Through their work with the Project, graduate students become experts in functional behavioral assessment and positive behavioral support. Dr. Fox involves the ETSU students in research, publication, and presentations at local, state, and national conferences, giving them opportunities and experiences that they would not receive through their coursework."

Fox, who holds a Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Tennessee, is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders and the Journal of Special Education Technology.


Dr. Sally Blowers won the Nurse of the Year Award for Teaching. She joined the ETSU faculty in 1995 and currently holds the rank of assistant professor in the department of adult nursing. While at ETSU, she has been actively involved in directing the N.U.R.S.E. Center. Blowers received her B.S. degree from Columbia University and her M.S. degree in nursing education from the University of Rochester. In 1996, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Dr. Priscilla Ramsey was this year's recipient of the Nurse of the Year Award for Research. Ramsey, a professor of adult nursing, authored the federal grant that led to the establishment of the N.U.R.S.E. Center at ETSU and has presented information and success stories about the center at a number of national meetings. She has published articles that have appeared in Nurse Educator, Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing, Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing and Journal of Family and Community Health. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Clemson University and her Ph.D. degree from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Susan Reed took home the Nurse of the Year Award for Service. A family nurse practitioner, Reed is director of the Johnson City Downtown Clinic and also teaches in ETSU's department of family and community nursing. She received her A.S.N., B.S.N., and M.S.N. degrees from ETSU.

NOTE: A news release containing information on the recipients of the College of Medicine's top awards for faculty was sent earlier. The text may be found at

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