Chancellor Jack Hawkins announced a $250 scholarship increase for Troy students studying abroad on Friday morning during the annual faculty and staff convocation.
People who choose to purchase the Troy University license plate from their local DMV pay an additional $50, $48 of which goes directly into an endowment for study abroad programs.
In the past three years, students who have studied abroad received a $750 scholarship, but will now be eligible for up to $1,000.
“The increase in scholarship support from $750 to $1,000 per student per trip results from increased tag sales and a significant return on investments,” Hawkins said in an email to the Tropolitan.
Victoria Averett, the coordinator of theater education, talked about her experience travelling abroad with twelve students to a multi-cultural arts festival in Pietrasanta, Italy, in June.
“To see our students in that kind of authentic exchange, to see them expanding their world view by way of actual experiences related to their college studies and career paths beyond the classroom and lecture hall, provided that relevance that I had been seeking,” Averett said. “To see it happen was amazing.
“They (students from Troy) were able to learn alongside students from all around the world, many different countries, and even though there were language barriers, they experienced the common languages of art and curiosity for learning with their international peers.”
During the convocation, nine students performed part of a larger dance production they performed for an international audience while in Italy. The piece, featuring eight dancers and one musician, highlighted the struggles of Rosa Parks, a famous civil rights activist, and was titled “Rosa in Sepia.”
“I hope all of us live long enough to eliminate the greatest obstacle to study abroad, and that’s the financial ability to pay for that experience,” said Chancellor Hawkins. “I hope that if you have one car or 10, that you will put a Troy tag on every one of your cars.”
In his 29th address to the faculty and staff, Hawkins discussed several “charges” with those in attendance.
Discussing topics such as academic integrity, stewardship of resources, recruiting and retention of students, Hawkins charges seemed to all link back to respecting one’s self and respecting others, a concept he and many others refer to as The Trojan Way.
Hawkins also announced a 2 percent increase in salary for Troy faculty. In past years, the percentage of increase has been determined by each faculty member’s established annual salary, but this year all faculty will receive the same increase beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
Margaret Gnoinska, associate professor of history and the faculty senate president, pledged to advocate for lowering textbook prices for students in addition to supporting travel opportunities for faculty and students, improving the library and better serving military students.
“The faculty senate wants to ensure that students are provided high quality academic materials from reliable sources that have been properly vetted and peer-reviewed,” Gnoinska said, in regards to a faculty senate resolution emailed to the Tropolitan.
Each year, the crowning event of the faculty convocation is the announcement of the winner of the Wallace D. Malone Jr. Distinguished Faculty Award.
This award, named for a Troy University trustee, is awarded to “exceptional faculty members who, through meritorious and selfless service, transform vision into reality,” according to Troy University’s website.
This year the winner was Joel Frank Hammonds, an associate professor of psychology.
“I’ll say I was really surprised,” Hammonds said in a later interview. “It’s a really big honor to be selected when you consider the people I work with every day and the other faculty throughout the university.
Hammonds attributes his nomination and award to his work with undergraduate student research, a program that has grown under his care. He also, with the help of other faculty members, started the Troy University Psychology Conference.
“After I got over the initial surprise, I really felt like I needed to work that much harder going forward to live up to it,” Hammonds said.
Hammonds gave recognition to both the University for providing supplies and funding to help further his goals and to his students for working hard in their own research, and plans to keep encouraging his students.