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Faculty & Staff Focus, General Information, Honors & Awards, Media Advisory

Southeastern Conference Announces 2012 Faculty Achievement Award Recipients, J. Gerald Kennedy Selected from LSU

New SEC Honor Recognizes University Professors for Achievement in Research, Scholarship, Service

04/12/2012 03:42 PM

BATON ROUGE – On Thursday, April 12, the Southeastern Conference, or SEC, announced the winners of its first ever Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Awards. The awards honor professors from SEC universities with outstanding records in teaching and scholarship who serve as role models for other faculty and students. In presenting the awards, the SEC becomes the only Division I conference within the National Collegiate Athletic Association, or NCAA, currently recognizing university faculty for their achievements, unrelated to athletics or student-athletes.


LSU’s J. Gerald Kennedy, Boyd Professor of English and former chair of the English Department, was selected for the honor. A past president of the Poe Studies Association, he is the author of “Poe, Death, and the Life of Writing” and editor of “A Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe,” as well as “The Portable Edgar Allan Poe.” His work on the American expatriate movement includes “Imagining Paris: Exile, Writing, and American Identity” and a co-edited volume, “French Connections: Hemingway and Fitzgerald Abroad.”


To be eligible for the SEC Faculty Achievement Award, a professor must be a teacher or scholar at an SEC university; have achieved the rank of full professor at an SEC university; have a record of extraordinary teaching; and have a record of scholarship that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.


“This diverse group of men and women share a passionate dedication not just for teaching, but for empowering their students with the knowledge and wisdom to make a difference in our world,” said Bernie Machen, president of the University of Florida and president of the SEC. “Some of the finest minds have studied on our campuses, and we have the SEC university professors to thank for helping to position them for success.”


SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners, one from each university, will receive a $5,000 honorarium and become his or her university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award. The SEC Professor of the Year receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized during the annual SEC Spring Banquet in May.


SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said, “These winners are exceptional and have inspired their students and colleagues through a deep commitment to teaching and research in their chosen fields. The SEC is privileged to honor the men and women who motivate and encourage our students to be the best they can be.”


Chosen by a selection committee of SEC provosts, the SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are part of a set of non-athletically related academic initiatives the SEC has undertaken through its SEC Academic Consortium to encourage academic leadership and collaboration within the SEC membership.


In addition to Kennedy, the 2012 SEC Faculty Achievement Award Winners are:

  • University of Alabama: David A. Dixon, Robert Ramsay Chair of the Department of Chemistry
  • University of Arkansas: Elliott West, Alumni Distinguished Professor of History
  • Auburn University: Christopher Roberts, Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and the George E. and Dorothy Stafford Uthlaut Professor of Chemical Engineering
  • University of Florida: Kenneth D. Wald, Distinguished Professor of Political Science
  • University of Georgia: Loch Kingsford Johnson, Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs and Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor
  • University of Kentucky: Steven W. Yates, Professor of Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy
  • University of Mississippi: John O’Haver, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean of Engineering
  • Mississippi State University: Keith H. Coble, Giles Distinguished Professor, Agricultural Economics Department
  • University of South Carolina: Scott Price, Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy, Head of the Piano Area, and Coordinator of Piano Pedagogy
  • University of Tennessee: Carol Tenopir, Chancellor’s Professor at the School of Information Sciences and the Director of the Center for Information and Communication Studies and Director of Research, College of Communication and Information
  • Vanderbilt University: Cecelia Tichi, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English


Biographies on all of the SEC Faculty Achievement Award Winners is available at


About the Southeastern Conference Academic Consortium
Established in 2005, the SEC Academic Consortium, or SECAC, is made up of the research universities that currently comprise the Southeastern Conference. Its mission is to advance academic excellence through collaboration. In so doing, the SECAC has established and operates an academic leadership development program for senior-level faculty and administrators; recognized faculty success through a faculty achievement award; enhanced education abroad opportunities for students; engaged university admissions offices in student recruiting efforts outside of the traditional SEC footprint; instituted an academic conference designed to address a scholarly issue across the range of disciples represented by SEC universities; and built a framework for collaboration among academic deans and senior-level university administrators.


For more information, visit


Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award FAQ



Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award Information Backgrounder


Southeastern Conference Fact Sheet 

LSU Media Relations