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New Academic Year Brings Two Faculty Promotions

August 16, 2013

ATHENS, Ala. – With the convening of Athens State University’s 2013/2014 academic year – the 192nd for the institution - two faculty members will be promoted within their ranks. Fall classes at Athens State will begin on August 19 and the Faculty In-Service is scheduled for August 16.

“Athens State has an excellent faculty and I applaud their commitment to teaching, service and professional development,” states Athens State Provost Dr. Ronald R. Cromwell. “We are always pleased to promote faculty demonstrating quality in teaching, service to students and the university, and professional development and growth over time. These faculty represent the very high level of all the faculty at Athens and their commitment to our students in helping them to develop and reach their personal and professional goals.”

The two faculty members promoted are:

Dr. Mary Harris - Promoted to Associate Professor.

Harris received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from Athens State College, her Master in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and her Ph.D. in Elementary Education at the University of Alabama. Her research interests include first year teaching, encouraging science careers for elementary aged children, and curricular mandates and their impact on teaching. Harris joined the Athens State University faculty in 2005.

Harris documented quality teaching and integration of projected based learning activities. She has served on various committees including accreditation committees and state wide committees related to science education. She has worked with AMSTI Science education program, has worked with Limestone Ground Water Festival which hosts programs for fourth graders, and has been the director of a growing Athens State summer science camp for students in grades 3-5. She received a Dekko Foundation grant to assist with these camps. In 2012, she presented at the International Organization of Social Sciences & Behavior Research meeting on the effect of the science camps on future teachers ability to teach quality science in elementary classroom. In early 2013, Harris developed a program with the Decatur Youth Symphony which integrates leadership and mentoring skills for symphony members and elementary music students.

Dr. Ronald Merritt - Promoted to Associate Professor of Mathematics.

Merritt currently serves as the Chair of the Department of Mathematics and is the Mathematics and Computer Programming Lab Director. He received his undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Greensboro College, his Master in Mathematics and Mathematics Education from North Carolina Central University, and his Ph.D. in Mathematics Education and Mathematics from North Carolina State University. Merritt joined the Athens State University faculty in 2008.

Merritt is the department chair for Mathematics, Computer Science and Science. He documented quality teaching and integration of projects and various technology tools into his upper division mathematic courses. He has supported and developed tutoring systems and support in his classes for students to successfully learn math. Prior to joining Athens State, he received the Excellence in Teaching Award at three of educational institutions where he served on the faculty – Lee University, Durham Technical Community College and North Carolina State Community College. He is a member of the national Mathematical Association of America and is actively involved in the Alabama Association of College Teachers of Mathematics. He has presented at the national meetings and co-chaired and hosted last year’s Alabama meeting at Athens State.


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