Cheers to the start of a new academic year

Maggie Cox

Staff Writer

Lilly Casolaro

News Editor

“Do you remember that (television) series ‘Cheers’?” Chancellor Jack Hawkins said at his 28th annual Faculty and Staff Convocation on Friday, Aug. 12. “The slogan was ‘Where everyone knows your name, and we’re always glad you came.’ That’s the spirit of how we need to embrace our students. Where we know your name and we’re glad you’re here.”

Hawkins said he wants the university to increase enrollment and become more affordable over the next year.

Hawkins continued with a Troy tradition of pay raises and announced a 2 percent increase for faculty and staff members making under $50,000 a year starting Jan. 1; for those making $50,000 or above a year, fall enrollment will determine whether a 1 percent salary increase will be in effect. Employees will be notified Oct. 1 if the increase will be implemented.

Olivia Melton, a senior math and economics major from Orange Beach and SGA president, was present on behalf of the student body.

In her speech, Melton discussed the essence of Troy’s mission statement: “To educate the mind to think, the heart to feel and the body to act.”

Melton said Troy’s faculty and staff follow the mission statement by preparing students to think critically, by challenging students to better themselves, and by giving students the necessary tools to create their own success.

“Universities are the breeding place for ideas,” Melton said. “Even if students, other faculty and even the public may not agree with your stance, continue to be vocal because if we dismiss unpopular views, then we are doing an injustice to our students.”

Margaret Gnoinska, associate professor of history and Faculty Senate president, discussed several key goals for the 2016-2017 years she would like to see accomplished, including: further internationalization of Troy University, strengthening the library and creating a closer sense of community among the Troy alumni.

One way that Gnoinska plans to expand Troy’s sphere of influence is by creating a partnership between students and faculty for study abroad trips and education of foreign languages.

“As the president of the Faculty Senate, I will work with the faculty and the administration to seek ways to boost the learning of foreign languages at Troy University that benefits not only our American students, but also our international students,” Gnoinska said.

Furthermore, Gnoinska would like to create a more conducive instructional environment in the library, which promotes collaboration between faculty and students.

The Faculty Senate aims to work closely with the library to provide ample and applicable resources to support curriculum and research while also becoming more technologically advanced.

“Let us never forget that libraries are not simply facilities that store dusty books and databases, but that they serve as intellectual sanctuaries in which ideas are born, developed, and cultivated,” Gnoiska said.

One way that the Faculty Senate would like to continue communication with Troy alumni after graduation is not only through social media but also through an informative publication highlighting the successes of Trojans worldwide.

“The Faculty Senate will seek ways to encourage the faculty at all levels — individual, departmental, college, and university-wide — to use innovative methods to remain in touch with their students,” Gnoiska said.

Each year, the Wallace D. Malone Jr.  Award is given to an outstanding faculty member with achievements in teaching, service, publications and research, and it was awarded at the convocation.

The award consists of a $1,000 cash prize and a medallion to be worn with academic regalia. The award is made possible through a $100,000 endowment by the SouthTrust Corp. Wallace Malone, former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of SouthTrust, served as a Troy trustee from 1975 to 1995.

This year’s recipient was Ben Robertson, an English professor who has been with Troy University since 2003.

“It is such a great honor, and it was a surprise to receive this award; I knew that I had been nominated, but they are really secretive about it,” Robertson said.

“The award makes you want to do even better than you did before and continue to strive to do better,” he said.

Robertson has published multiple works including scholarly texts and articles. He is involved in a variety of professional organizations and has been director of several writing centers.

There was a pre-breakfast reception hosted in Hawkins Hall for faculty and staff to mingle and meet before the convocation.

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