Angelo State University faculty members Dr. William A. Taylor and Dr. Anthony N. Celso have been presented the Texas Tech University System’s 2022 Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching and Research Awards for ASU during an April 12 ceremony in the ASU LeGrand Alumni and Visitors Center.
Recognizing academic excellence, the honors are the most prestigious awards granted to faculty throughout the TTU System. Taylor received the Distinguished Teaching Award for ASU, while Celso received the Distinguished Research Award for ASU. TTU System Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell, M.D., presented each of them with a $5,000 stipend and an engraved medallion.
“Faculty members are an integral part of all we do at the Texas Tech University System,” Mitchell said. “Through their research, outreach and mentorship, they impact our students, our communities and the world. I am proud of the excellence and leadership our award winners exemplify as they conduct innovative, meaningful research and guide our students and institutions to even greater success.”
The awards are funded by gifts to the Chancellor’s Council, a giving society that supports the chancellor’s priorities across the TTU System. Since the honors were established in 2001, 219 faculty have received awards totaling more than $1.3 million.
Taylor and Celso are both professors in ASU’s nationally recognized global security studies graduate program that is one of the fastest-growing degree programs on campus, increasing enrollment by 41% over the last academic year alone. It is offered through the Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice.
“I am delighted to recognize the outstanding scholarship and academic leadership of two exemplary members of our department,” said Dr. Joseph Rallo, department chair. “While these are individual awards, jointly they reflect the depth, quality and importance of the global security studies program to our students, our college and Angelo State University. This recognition also solidifies the reputations of Dr. Celso and Dr. Taylor as scholars with enormous impact on the national stage and beyond.”
Taylor, a professor of security studies, is an 11-year ASU faculty member and holder of ASU’s Lee Drain Endowed University Professorship. He has a proven track record of teaching excellence, receiving top student ratings for 11 different graduate courses and 10 different undergraduate courses. He has also mentored numerous students as a member of 83 graduate comprehensive exam advisory committees and nine graduate thesis advisory committees.
In addition to teaching, Taylor is solely responsible for developing three segments of ASU’s global security studies curriculum: Civil-Military Relations, Security Issues in Africa and World Cultures, including four new courses. His World Cultures course is so popular that it now enrolls about 375 students each semester, and he has expanded that course into a complete Minor in World Cultures available to all ASU students. He has also made meaningful connections between participation in his discipline and teaching. He spearheaded ASU’s hosting of the 2019 All-Volunteer Force Forum, engaging his students throughout the process, and now uses videos from that forum to benefit his current and future students.
Taylor’s teaching also reaches outside of ASU. He has given numerous keynote addresses on lifelong learning to various student organizations, and the second of his four books, “Military Service and American Democracy,” is required reading for every first-year cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He also won ASU’s 2019 President’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor.
Celso, a professor of security studies, joined the ASU faculty in 2011 and has since established himself nationally and internationally as an expert in his field. His extensive research activities have led to the publication of two books, “The Islamic State: A Comparative Study of Jihadist Warfare” and “The Crisis of the African State in the 21st Century: Globalization, Tribalism and Jihadism Unbound.”
Additionally, Celso has published three other book chapters, along with 14 research articles in peer-reviewed journals, in the last five years alone. Journals he has contributed to include Terrorism & Political Violence, Journal of Intelligence, Conflict and Warfare, Journal of International Political Science, and Journal of Political Science and Public Affairs. He has also contributed chapters to such books as “Handbook of Political Islam” and “Online Terrorist Propaganda, Recruitment and Radicalization.” He was recently awarded a significant grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation to finance research for a new book titled “Rogue Allies: The Strategic Partnership Between Iran and North Korea” – a joint project with fellow ASU faculty member, Dr. Bruce Bechtol.
Through his many publications, Celso’s expertise and scholarship reaches national and international audiences and shapes the discourse among both academics and practitioners. Due to his knowledge of world terrorism issues, he has also been widely sought as an expert source by local, national and international news media. He has been a semi-finalist for the ASU President’s Award for Faculty Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor on several other occasions.