Awards sought by GC faculty

Awards sought by Georgia College Faculty and Staff, 2021-22

Georgia College strives to create a faculty-focused culture in which faculty are encouraged, supported, rewarded, and recognized in their efforts to seek out, apply for, and receive prestigious, faculty teaching awards and other opportunities. Faculty can search for awards on the GC Awards Database, and seek advice and assistance from those associated with this campus-wide initiative.

About the GC Awards Database...

This GC Awards Database is a resource for Georgia College faculty and staff. While comprehensive, it focuses on awards related to the disciplines practiced at Georgia College. The emphasis on SoTL and teaching awards reflects our core mission. Dissertation grants, travel awards, subventions, awards attached to academic conference presentations, awards with closed nomination processes, and institutional grants are not included. If there are awards within the scope of this database that are not yet included, you can make a recommendation to us here.

Access the database: GC Awards Database

Interested in learning more about award opportunities? Please feel free to reach out to us:

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, Faculty Success Coordinator,

Awards Spotlight

Prof. Sumowski

Rob Sumowski, Associate Professor of Education

What was the full name of the award?

The Charles Dunn Award, Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC), 2021

Award Description

This COPLAC Award recognizes a faculty member whose commitment to student success goes "above and beyond" the classroom and office, the traditional roles of teacher, academic advisor, and mentor. She/he will have demonstrated, over the course of many years, extraordinary attention to students as individuals who sometimes face unique challenges, both on and off campus, that may compromise their academic performance.

Where were you researching/teaching?

My research areas include ethics, behavior disorders, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Special Education law, HR law and investigations, and the recovery of low-performing schools.

I teach in the B.S., M.Ed., and Ed.S. programs and serve as a dissertation committee member in the Ed.D. program. I am the mentor leader of a cohort of undergraduate Special Education majors and mentor leader and research supervisor of a cohort of M.Ed. majors.

What were your research/teaching projects?

Recent projects have included work with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission in developing the State Standards and Guidance documents for the Georgia Teaching Certificate Endorsement in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), the first of its kind in the nation. In addition, Dr. Peters and I published a peer-reviewed article on Professional Development Schools (PDS) partnerships while Dr. Roddran Grimes and I published a piece on our Field-Based Cohort Model in Special Education.

Finally, I have been Co-Principal Investigator with colleague Dr. Nicole DeClouette on two Federal TPSID grants, through which Dr. DeClouette, Dr. Steve Wills, Ms. Kim Quintal, and I are developing the new GC THRIVE program, an Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE) program designed to afford adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to attend Georgia College to advance their post-secondary learning opportunities. This program is going to be very, very cool.

Why did you decide to pursue this professional award/opportunity?

I didn’t. I guess it kind of found me. I was not aware that such an award existed until I was nominated by Dr. DeClouette and Dean Joe Peters. I am humbled that the award recognizes serving students “above and beyond” the traditional roles of the professor because I don’t think I do anything extraordinary. I view our purpose here as serving, supporting, and nurturing students, whatever that requires. I am on-call for students 24/7 while they are here and then post-graduation for the rest of their careers. Learning never stops, so why should our teaching? Graduates sometimes find themselves in ethical, career, or life dilemmas five or 10 years down the road. Life happens. Divorce happens. Careers are challenging. Everybody needs a sounding board sometimes. That’s one of the best parts of the job. There is no greater gift to a teacher than for a beloved student to come back to the well for a little more guidance. It confirms why we do what we do, and it is more personally fulfilling than words can describe.

What did you find surprising and/or challenging about the application process?

In all candor, I am not a fan of applying for awards but did so out of respect for the colleagues who were kind enough to nominate me. Thankfully, I had just completed the tenure and promotion process and had most of my supporting documentation already assembled. I also had been nominated for the Excellence in Teaching Award the previous year. The result was that I had all of the documentation complete and simply forwarded it to Dr. Steve Elliott-Gower, who penned the University’s letter of nomination. The surprise was that I won. I didn’t see that one coming. The role of Dr. Elliott-Gower and the CTL support staff in the success of my application cannot be overstated. 

In what ways did the award/experience enhance your professional/academic development? Were there some unexpected benefits?

The greatest gift has been hearing from former students. Perhaps the award has given me a bit more credence across campus? I don’t know. It’s hard to say. In the 10 years I have been at Georgia College, this university has afforded me more support, more opportunities to leave my comfort zone, and more professional growth than I could ever have expected.

What should other Georgia College faculty know about the application process for this award?

Always keep your IFR, Digital Measures, and CV current because one never knows when someone official is going to need an up-to-date record of your teaching, research, and service. And don’t concentrate on awards. Ignore them. I flew under the radar here for 10 years, quietly working my tail off with lots of support from administrators and colleagues but little to no public recognition. My dean, chairs, and students noticed, but nobody else did. Then out of the blue I received the national Dunn Award, an invitation to deliver the Convocation keynote address, and a request by 2015 graduate Claire Hachat Mann to officiate her wedding, which was the greatest honor of my career. Go figure. It has been a little overwhelming, and I’m kind of ready to put my head down and get back to work under the radar.

Previous Award Winners

Dr. Mary Magoulick receives honorable mention for the Elli Köngäs-Maranda Prize

Dr. Brooke Conaway earns Felton Jenkins Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award

English professor receives grant to ‘transform’ Shakespeare for high school

Nicholson selected to conduct research in London, UK

Education faculty member receives national COPLAC award 

Dr. Chiang recognized by Southeastern Psychological Association as the winner of the 2020 Mentor Award

Georgia College receives national award for focus on undergraduate research

Georgia College awarded $650,000 national science grant for low income students

GC Journeys wins Regents’ Momentum Year Award for excellence