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2022-23 Rodgers Distinguished Awards Winners

August 24, 2023

Angelo State University employees Dr. Erin Ashworth-King, Dr. William Taylor and Jayna Phinney have been selected to receive the 2022-23 Gary and Pat Rodgers Distinguished Awards honoring outstanding ASU faculty, staff and administrators.

Ashworth-King, chair of the Natalie Zan Ryan Department of English and Modern Languages, received the Distinguished Administrator Award. Taylor, a professor of global security studies, received the Distinguished Faculty Award. Phinney, an instructional technology specialist, received the Distinguished Staff Award. Each also received a $2,500 honorarium.

They, along with 36 other nominees, were honored today (Aug. 24) during the ASU Fall Assembly.

An ASU employee since 2009, Ashworth-King was honored for her commitment to all the faculty, staff and students in her department, as well as her service to the university and the community. In addition to her duties as department chair, she is a professor of English and the faculty mentor for numerous undergraduate and graduate student research projects. She is also the academic advisor for multiple students in her department, and she regularly volunteers to take over when other professors are unable to teach their classes. At the university level, she acted as general editor for ASU’s 10-year SACSCOC Reaffirmation of Accreditation Report, and she is a member of the Curriculum Committee, Strategic Planning Council and Values Appreciation Team. She also enthusiastically represents ASU at many official events, while also looking for opportunities to forge connections in the community. In that capacity, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Adult Literacy Council and the Open Arms Rape Crisis Center and LGBTQ+ Services. From one of her nomination letters, “She shoulders a lot of the work herself, but also seeks to bring out the best in each faculty member so that we feel that our voices are heard and our contributions are valuable. She is hands down the most organized, efficient and effective administrator with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work.”

A 12-year ASU faculty member, Taylor was honored for his excellence in all three major areas of higher education faculty: teaching, research and service. For his teaching, he annually receives student rating scores in the highest percentile, and he has developed a significant portion of the curriculum in the global security studies program, including Civil-Military Relations, Security Issues in Africa and World Cultures. His World Cultures course alone enrolls 375 students every semester. He is also one of the university’s most prolific researchers, having won 23 national and university grants, totaling over $135,000, to fund his various book projects. He has published seven books and is also the editor for two national book series, “Studies in Civil-Military Relations” with the University Press of Kansas and “Studies in Marine Corps History and Amphibious Warfare” with the Naval Institute Press. He has also published 22 book chapters and nearly 100 book reviews and reference articles. His service includes twice acting as interim chair of his department and serving on the Faculty Senate for seven years. He has also served on 19 graduate student thesis committees, and he was the founding sponsor of ASU’s Student Veterans Organization. From his nomination letter, “Dr. Taylor is dedicated to lifelong learning for his students and seeks to provide them with the best mentorship and learning experience possible by leading them through his own admirable example as a teacher.”

An ASU staff member for over a decade, Phinney was honored for providing exceptional technology support for the faculty and promoting accessible content for the students in the College of Science and Engineering (CSE). She helps provide a top-quality learning environment for students by developing course templates and providing training to faculty, and she serves on the Campus Video Platform Project Team to integrate videos into the Blackboard online course delivery system. She is also the lead author and designer of the CSE’s Instructional Design Blog and The Scene quarterly newsletter, and she maintains the information display screens in the Vincent Building. She was instrumental in organizing the CSE’s “Colleague to Colleague Tech Talk” program, as well as in implementing the “Recognizing ASU’s Values Everyday” (RAVE) program. She has also acquired a significant equipment “library” so faculty have access to the tools they need to provide a better learning experience for their students. Outside of her regular duties, she supports the university’s STEM student groups and the Ram Pantry, and she is the co-leader for Girl Scout Troop 11001. From her nomination letter, “The college’s mission statement begins with ‘In a student-centered environment,’ and Jayna lives this every day. She wears a lot of blue and gold, and she represents the university and college well.”

The Gary and Pat Rodgers Distinguished Awards were created by San Angelo native and former ASU student Gary Rodgers and his wife, Pat. Because of their association with many ASU employees over the years, the couple recognized the roles that staff, faculty and administrators perform to help ASU fulfill its mission to prepare students to be responsible and productive citizens. The Rodgers also provide the $2,500 honorarium for each award recipient and have fully endowed the Rodgers Awards through the ASU Foundation so they will continue in perpetuity.

Other nominees for the Distinguished Administrator Award were Scarlet Clouse, Michael Dixon, Karl Havlak, Brandy Hawkins, John Klingemann, Brittney Miller, Kristi White and Meagan Word.

Other nominees for the Distinguished Faculty Award were Jonathan Alvis, Susana Badiola, Bradley Cesario, Jordan Daniel, Laurie Dickmeyer, Kinsey Hansen, Allison Huntley, Hannah Jones, Nicole Lozano, Kristen Lyons, Eduardo Martinez, Amy Murphy, Brenda Norton, Simon Pfeil, Joseph Satterfield, Warren Simpson and Sonja Varbelow.

Other nominees for the Distinguished Staff Award were Alyssa Allen, Jody Casares, Olivia Castro, Amanda Gibson, Ruben Limon, Luann McCorkle, June Moore, Haley Neufeld, Yulia Priest, Renee Robbins and Jon Wilcox.