Hall, Sailor receive Hackler award, Cameron’s highest faculty honor

Cameron University’s Dr. Ramona Hall, associate professor of education, and Dr. Joanni Sailor, assistant professor of psychology, have been selected as the 2012 recipients of the Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Teaching Excellence Award. The Hackler Lectureship in Teaching Excellence was established in 1996 by Cameron alumni Harold and Elizabeth Hackler to recognize outstanding contributions by faculty in the lives of Cameron students. Hall and Sailor received their awards this evening during a reception featuring Mr. and Mrs. Hackler at Cameron University-Duncan. Cameron graduate students Matt Keenan and Jennifer Baker introduced Hall and Sailor. Each spoke of the impact their respective faculty member has had on their education. Keenan, Medicine Park, is pursuing a Master of Education degree with a concentration in special education. Baker, Lawton, is pursuing a Master of Science degree in behavioral sciences with a concentration in psychology.

“At Cameron, we are deeply appreciative of the Hacklers for helping us recognize outstanding faculty members,” says Dr. John McArthur, Provost. “It is a pleasure to recognize Dr. Hall and Dr. Sailor with Cameron’s highest faculty honor.”

Through the endowment, Hall and Sailor will each receive a stipend and a grant for professional development. Their names will be added to the Hackler Award honor roll plaque that is on display at the CU-Duncan campus.

photo of Dr. Ramona HallHall was nominated by Dr. Jennifer Dennis, Chair of the Department of Education, who noted that Hall’s students hold her in high regard. She also wrote, “Dr. Hall maintains high expectations for her students and her own teaching. While she is considered by some students to be a ‘difficult’ teacher, I have often heard them speak highly of what they learned and how she challenged them to grow in their field…I know she is preparing our students for the classroom and she models professionalism, a high ethical standard and fairness. I would venture to say that she is the most respected member of our department, excelling in teaching, scholarship and service; she is a model faculty member.”

Keenan and another Cameron student, Christie Mullenix, also provided letters of recommendation in Hall’s behalf. “Dr. Hall embodies the core values that Cameron University requires all future teachers to embrace and is a shining example of a caring, competent and committed professional educator,” Keenan wrote.

Mullenix called Hall “an outstanding professor in all respects” and also wrote, “When pursuing a teaching degree, it is easy to get discouraged and off track. Dr. Hall is one of the professors who will do everything within her power to keep that from happening. She is willing and available to answer questions and explain concepts and assignments that are not fully understood. She will give you a pep talk when one is needed and encourage your successes along the way. She models effective teaching practices every day and makes you strive to match the example she sets.”

Hall credits one of her own professors with providing the basis of her teaching philosophy. “A statement that one of my own professors shared with his class years ago still resonates with me all these years later and serves as the foundation of my teaching philosophy. He said that in every college course, students come out at the end of the semester under one of three conditions. They come out enlightened, they come out confused, or they simply come out. Everything I set out to do in my role as an educator revolves around my sincere desire that each and every minute spent in the classroom be a minute devoted to ensuring that students exit my class under the first of these three conditions.”

Hall holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Louisville and a master of education degree in professional secondary studies from Northwestern State University. She earned an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction (secondary education) from Tennessee State University.  A member of the Cameron faculty since 2003, Hall has served as Director of Assessment in addition to her teaching responsibilities.

Sailor was nominated by Dr. Mary Dzindolet, Chair of the Department of Psychology, who referred to her as “a superb teacher.” Dzindolet wrote, “Her passion for developing Cameron University’s Master of Science in Behavioral Sciences students into competent, proficient, empathetic, outstanding therapists seems to give her boundless energy to achieve her goals. First and foremost, Dr. Sailor is a content expert…she is in a unique position in that she is outstanding in both her knowledge of the theories, methods and findings in marriage and family therapy and in her ability to apply this knowledge in the ‘real world’ therapy setting.”

The nomination continued with, “Although all great teachers are content experts, not all content experts are great teachers. Dr. Sailor not only knows her area, but she is skilled in communicating the concepts to her students in innovative and effective ways.”

Dzindolet also cited Sailor’s innovative instruction of systems theory and skill set courses, which provide students “with an even more realistic therapy experience in which their skills could be enhanced through application.”

photo of Dr. Joanni SailorSailor, a licensed marriage and family therapist who practiced for more than 23 years, was drawn to teaching “in order to make a greater difference in the lives of others. Being able to train students to become mental health professionals is even more rewarding than I had hoped. I have found that my graduate students share the same passion for healing others as I do. They too want to make a difference in the lives of others.”

She says that teaching graduate students to become licensed mental health professionals requires a multi-faceted approach, and that in order to provide the students with the theoretical knowledge required to pass licensing examinations, she must be intimately familiar with the 16 primary theories of marriage and family, understand how to apply ethics in a therapeutic setting, and keep up-to-date with research in the field of mental health.

Sailor also notes, “There is a training aspect to creative high quality therapists…the student needs to trust that I will provide honest feedback with a healthy balance of encouragement, correction and praise. Each student needs to be nurtured to bring out the best aspect of self and his or her new skills.”

Sailor has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She earned a Ph.D. in psychology with a specialization in family, from Capella University in Minneapolis. She has been a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist (LMFT) since 1991 and is also an approved LMFT supervisor. Sailor holds certification as a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Advanced Clinical Hypnotherapist, Release Therapist, and in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Levels I and II. She joined the Cameron faculty in 2009.

Recipients of the Harold and Elizabeth Hackler Teaching Excellence Award are selected based on nominations from faculty and students. All faculty who have been regular full-time members of the CU faculty for at least three years and hold an appointment as an assistant professor or higher are eligible. The candidate’s principle assignment must be teaching.


November 13, 2012