Faculty Honored for Service, AccomplishmentsApril 27, 2015

From scholarly research to impact in the classroom over decades of service, faculty at Rockhurst University were honored for the variety of contributions they make to campus at the recent annual faculty awards dinner.

Three of the University’s longtime professors were honored ahead of their retirement: Professor of English Patricia Cleary-Miller, Ph.D.; Professor of Economics Michael Tansey, Ph.D., of the Helzberg School of Management; and Professor of Sociology Shirley Scritchfield, Ph.D. The three combine for a 76 years of service at Rockhurst alone.

Miller, who was also given the Harry B. Kies Award for Distinguished Service, was praised by colleagues in a video for her acumen not only as a poet, writer and leader in efforts like the establishment of the Writer’s Place in Kansas City, but also an instructor who cares deeply for her students.

“I have been happy every day here,” Miller said. “I may wake up in the morning with some aches and pains but the minute I walk into the classroom, I’m so happy.”

Scritchfield, who began teaching at Rockhurst 11 years ago, has spent a total of 40 years in higher education. She said she has tried to be an outspoken advocate for change throughout her career.

“It has been my great pleasure to be a part of the academy for the last 40 years, even if I have been a trouble-maker and a radical,” Scritchfield said. “And I won’t take it back — there is so much to be shared with the world above and out and around. We are needed more than ever.”

Tansey, regarded by colleagues as an intellectual powerhouse versed in a number of subjects, said he looked back on his time in the classroom and was appreciative for the opportunities he had to teach and to learn from those around him.

“We are really lucky to be here to see what real leadership is,” he said, praising the mission-driven Jesuit leadership of Rockhurst during his tenure.

Also honored was Brian Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., professor of finance, for his 25 years of service. Fitzpatrick said he’s served different presidents and deans throughout his tenure, but that “the one constant that keeps me coming back is the students.”

Craig Prentiss, Ph.D., professor of theology and religious studies, was awarded the Daniel L. Brenner Scholarly Achievement Award for his 2013 book Staging Faith: Religion and African American Theater from the Harlem Renaissance to World War II. 

Doug Dunham, Ph.D., Rockhurst vice president of academic affairs, announced the award by reading from Prentiss’ nomination letter.

“Dr. Prentiss’ book is evidence that top rate scholarship can emerge out of teaching and return to the classroom to enrich students,” he read.

Faith Childress, Ph.D., professor of history, received the Rockhurst University Teaching Excellence Award. Childress was praised for her attention and commitment to student achievement and her interest in fostering writing skills.

“Faith expects a lot, gives a lot and gets a lot to her students,” Dunham read from the nomination letter.

Marcie Swift, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy, was awarded the Rockhurst University Excellence in Outcomes Assessment Award.

Filed Under: Academics, HSOM, Community Facebook Twitter