Cameron University announces winners of “University Choice Awards”

Four members of the Cameron University faculty and staff have been selected as this year’s recipients of Cameron’s University Choice Awards. Dr. Thom Balmer, Debbie Clark, Dr. Carla Guthridge and Dr. E. Ann Nalley received their awards during a ceremony tonight on the Cameron campus. Each received a plaque recognizing his/her achievement as well as a $1,000 stipend.

photo of award recipients

“The Cameron University Choice Awards were created in 2009 to recognize members of the campus community who exemplify the vision of the university,” says President Cindy Ross.

Nominations were made by CU students, faculty and staff. In order to be eligible, nominees must have been employed full-time at Cameron for at least one year.

“As with previous years, this year we received nominations for a number of deserving individuals, which is evidence of the high regard in which our faculty and staff is held,” says President Ross.  “Nominators were thoughtful and effective in articulating why the individual nominated was deserving of the award. Cameron is proud of its outstanding faculty and staff, and we are happy to recognize those selected to receive a University Choice Award.”

The University of Choice Award

The “University of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward making Cameron the “University of Choice” by providing students a top quality education. Dr. Carla Guthridge, Professor and Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, is the 2012-2013 recipient. One nominator wrote of Guthridge’s work on several projects that, once implemented, will directly benefit Cameron students. These include the development of a new Associate in Applied Science degree in laboratory technology, which is currently undergoing the approval process and which includes a cooperative agreement with Great Plains Technology Center, and a proposal to develop another degree. Guthridge also participated in the development of the design concerts for the construction of teaching laboratories at the CU-Duncan campus, which will greatly expand Cameron’s educational programming. Yet another nominator – one of Guthridge’s students – noted that Guthridge played a significant role in the student’s ability to transition back into college to obtain prerequisites required for application to a physician assistant graduate program. “She willingly gave me knowledgeable advice to succeed in my pathway, which led to an interview at the program of my choice,” the nominator wrote. “I am thankful for Dr. Guthridge’s continual faith in her student’s success and her ability to recognize and develop her students’ strengths that will lead to success. She is an amazing inspiration and gift to those she surrounds.” 

The College Experience of Choice Award

The “College Experience of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward providing students the “College Experience of Choice” by fostering a traditional collegiate atmosphere. This year’s recipient is Dr. Thom Balmer. In addition to his teaching responsibilities as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Balmer is Cameron’s current Faculty in Residence, a program designed to help improve student academic performance. In this role, Balmer holds at least two educational programs per semester and maintains office hours to provide career and academic advice to students. According to the nominator, Balmer also takes advantage of numerous opportunities on campus to interact with students in non-curricular settings. “He really tries to connect with the on-campus students by dining in the cafeteria with us and playing pool,” the nominator wrote. “He also provides workshops for us during the academic year and asked for our input on topics and food for the next event he would be hosting. He shows an interest in the events that the Student Housing Association puts on and typically stops by to mingle with everyone.”

The Location of Choice Award

The “Location of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward making Cameron University the “Location of Choice” for community and regional events. Debbie Clark, General Services Foreman of Custodial Services, is the selected recipient. “Debbie’s professionalism and consistent dedication in making certain everything is in place for events and functions is a ‘behind-the-scenes’ operation that is meant to be never noticed, and that is why Debbie deserves to be recognized,” wrote one nominator. Another said, “She is friendly, outgoing and enjoyable to work with when she has to come in after hours to help with set up for an event. You never hear her complain. She is a team player, and she manages one of the largest departments on campus and handles the various employee personalities very well.” Still another said of her, “Our campus is a cleaner, more enjoyable place to work, study and visit due to Debbie’s continuous hard work and commitment to Cameron University. Debbie is instrumental in making Cameron the ‘Location of Choice’ for academic, regional and statewide events.”

The Partner of Choice Award

The “Partner of Choice” Award recognizes a current staff or faculty member who is making outstanding contributions toward making Cameron University the “Partner of Choice” by expanding existing and developing new community and area partnerships that contribute to the growth and prosperity of Southwest Oklahoma. The recipient is Dr. E. Ann Nalley, Professor of Chemistry and Clarence E. Page Endowed Chair in Math and Science Education. The nominator enumerated several examples of Nalley’s efforts to create partnerships, writing, “Dr. Nalley has maintained her contacts with Cameron alumni and is continually creating opportunities to engage them,” a reference to the symposium she created that brings alumni back to campus to address current students. The nominator also cited Nalley’s participation in grant writing workshops sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE), which includes her mentorship to junior faculty at other Oklahoma universities, as well as her service on the Regents Research Advisory Board and the summer science academies and workshops for teachers she has coordinated through OSRHE. Also receiving mention was Nalley’s work to secure internships for Cameron students. “For more than 30 years, Dr. Nalley has worked as a consultant for local industries in the community. She arranges for her students to work as interns, formalizing the process through a grant from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST).”


April 16, 2013