Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students have selected 24 outstanding members of the school’s faculty and staff to be honored with 2016 Distinguished Achievement Awards. The university-level Distinguished Achievement Awards were first presented in 1955 and have since been awarded to more than 1,000 professionals who have exhibited the highest standards of excellence at Texas A&M.
The 2017 Distinguished Achievement Awards will be formally presented at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, April 24, during ceremonies in Rudder Theatre on the Texas A&M University campus. In recognition of their achievements, each recipient will receive a cash gift, an engraved watch and a commemorative plaque.

AFS University-Level Distinguished Achievement Awards List

The 2016-2017 recipients along with their departments/affiliations are as follows.


James D. Batteas
Department of Chemistry
James Batteas, professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2005.  He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. An author of nearly 100 publications, Dr. Batteas is an expert in materials chemistry of surfaces and interfaces, with research covering a broad range of fundamental surface and interfacial problems, including designing materials to harness energy and to control energy losses by reducing friction in machined interfaces, through studies of friction at the atomic scale. He teaches courses in physical and analytical chemistry at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has been involved in a number of educational innovations, including the complete revision of the physical chemistry lab curriculum where he developed a new laboratory module on scanning tunneling microscopy, designed to engage students in cutting edge research techniques while introducing and reinforcing topics in physical chemistry, quantum mechanics, solid state chemistry, and the electronic structure of molecules and materials. In his 11 years at Texas A&M, he has trained and graduated 11 Ph.D. students, 3 master’s students, and sponsored 22 undergraduates on research projects in his lab. Most recently, he developed a week-long course on Nanotechnology, offered as part of the Texas A&M University Youth Adventure Program, to engage 7th – 10th grade students in STEM. A former student wrote that “his demonstrated teaching excellence and love for chemistry has been the catalyst for many students  . . . to explore the exciting world of Nanoscience. A current student commented, “This being an 8 A.M. class, I thought it’d be harder to stay awake and absorb information. Thanks to Dr. Batteas and his enthusiasm, I never found myself falling asleep and I was easily able to stay focused in class.”

Ben F. Bigelow ʼ05
Assistant Professor
Department of Construction Science
Ben Bigelow is an assistant professor in the Construction Science Department where he also serves as the Graduate Program Coordinator and a Center for Housing and Urban Development Fellow.  After earning his Ph.D. from Colorado State University, he joined the faculty of the College of Architecture in 2012. Formerly a homebuilder and remodeling contractor, Dr. Bigelow pursues research in all areas of residential construction and has particular interest in affordable and sustainable housing. He also conducts research relating to: underrepresented groups in construction management, the workforce shortage, construction finance, preconstruction, and construction education. He teaches courses in Estimating as well as a Residential Capstone course. Since his arrival in the department, Dr. Bigelow has consistently and effectively been engaged in interdisciplinary initiatives. One course of particular note, “Special Topics: Design Build Community Service” (aka, the tiny house project), provides students with a high-impact learning experience that focuses on 1) a real project from initial planning to completion and delivery to client; 2) learning centered on the design process, the role of the designers and good design in construction; and 3) community service that extends learning beyond the university and academic environment. A current student wrote that Dr. Bigelow demonstrates “special concern for the education of every student by challenging ideas, providing resources for explanation and adapting his activities and teaching style to the benefit of every student.” Another student added, “I am proud to have him as a professor in our program not only because of his work as a professor but also because of the compassion he shows his students and the community around him.”

Christian Brannstrom
Department of Geography
Christian Brannstrom, professor of geography, is associate dean for academic affairs and director of environmental programs in the College of Geosciences. He joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2003 after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and teaching at the University of London and California State University, Long Beach.  He is a broadly trained geographer who specializes in human-environment interaction, that is, the relationships, both positive and negative, that people have with the environments in which they live. His colleagues say that what is special and noteworthy about Dr. Brannstrom is the way he integrates his research with teaching in an exciting way that involves students in cutting-edge discoveries.  His research focus on social and political aspects of renewable energy and unconventional fossil fuels in Texas and environmental governance in Brazil provides the opportunity to involve students in innovative field work both in Texas and abroad. He regularly takes students to Sweetwater to study wind farms and to South Texas to examine the landscapes of fracking.  Since 2005, he has led 11 study abroad courses in Brazil, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. A former student remarked that Dr. Brannstrom “is a walking encyclopedia in all things related to energy and Latin America, and, most importantly, …an astonishing educator.” Another student wrote, “Dr. Brannstrom completely opened my eyes to the world of fieldwork and research.  The [study abroad] program included hands-on data collection and interviewing methods needed to map Latin American city structure and land-use.”  She concluded, “Clearly he desires the success of his students….” and strives “To develop leaders of character dedicated to serving the greater good.”

Audrey K. Cook
Associate Professor
Department of Veterinary Small Animal Clinical Sciences
Audrey Cook, associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Small Animal Clinical Sciences, joined the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 2007.  She graduated from the Royal School of Veterinary Studies at Edinburgh University and earned a Post Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Education from the Royal Veterinary College, London. Dr. Cook is nationally recognized in the field of veterinary internal medicine with a focus on endocrinology and gastroenterology. Further, her colleagues and students recognize her as an outstanding teacher and mentor who excels in the classroom, enthusiastically teaching in all four years of the professional DVM program and mentoring post-DVM interns and residents. She also works directly with fourth-year veterinary students during their small animal internal medicine clinical rotations. Her dean wrote, “Through her clinical rotations, Dr. Cook provides hands-on, high-impact, experiential learning opportunities for our students and resident trainees.”  Her teaching program “blends a clinical service with practical, real world concepts, creating unique educational prospects for our DVM students…and provides them with cutting edge opportunities that foster a deeper learning and understanding of course materials not available to all veterinary schools.” In addition, her students consistently give her stellar reviews. One former student wrote, “Dr. Cook's rounds are absolutely WONDERFUL and I learned so much ‒ she is truly a wealth of knowledge. I probably learned more from our 10-15 hours-worth of rounds than I did in most of our third year medicine courses.” A colleague concludes “Her passion and genuine belief in the power of quality education is what truly drives her to be a spectacular educator. She is a visionary and the CVM is incredibly fortunate to have her as part of our educational programs. 

Alan Dabney
Associate Professor
Department of Statistics
Alan Dabney, associate professor of statistics, earned a Ph.D. in biostatistics from the University of Washington.  Since joining the College of Science faculty in 2006, Dr. Dabney has dedicated himself to undergraduate teaching.  His particular strengths are in transforming complicated material into easily accessible lessons and in developing inventive curriculum that can be used by other faculty. His innovative approach to teaching is exemplified by his creation of an educational video that features him on green screen with special effects as he presents statistics lectures to undergraduates.  The video was so successful that Freeman Publishing secured his services for the production of a series of 35 similar video lectures on introductory statistics. Dr. Dabney has co-authored The Cartoon Introduction to Statistics, which presents introductory statistics material in a graphic novel format, effectively using unique visual techniques creatively to teach key concepts of statistics.  In addition, he has published a computer simulation in the journal Teaching Statistics that can be used in the classroom to teach introductory statistics. He also was instrumental in the development of the new bachelor of science degree in statistics that he co-advises with a faculty colleague all statistics majors. Dr. Dabney is the recipient of The Association of Former Students College-Level Award for Teaching, the Texas A&M Montague‒Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar Award, and the Eppright Professorship in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence. A former undergraduate student wrote this about working on statistics research with Dr. Dabney, “This was a formative experience for me, which revealed to me the excitement and creativity that exists in current statistics research: a perspective that is all too difficult to see when taking a typical introductory statistics class.”
Amy E. Earhart ʼ99
Associate Professor
Department of English
Amy Earhart is an associate professor of English and affiliated with Africana Studies. She has been employed at Texas A&M for 21 years, 2 in her current position.  She earned her Ph.D. in English with a certificate in Women’s Studies from Texas A&M. Dr. Earhart’s nominator describes her as not only one of the outstanding teachers in the Department of English, but also as a leading innovator in the evolving world of digital humanities and online pedagogy. For example, she pioneered a robust, fully online Survey of American Literature course that 175-250 students take each semester and went on to lead a successful effort to develop additional online courses in the Department. She also incorporates high-impact digital humanities projects in her classes, notably the Alex Haley Papers, which led to a publication for involved students, The Millican “Riot,” 1868, a digital archive of primary sources about this crucial local event. Her nominator adds that her pedagogical innovations transmit both solid content and lifelong critical skills to her students as well as teaching students the importance of previously ignored writers in the American literary tradition. Dr. Earhart, a recipient of the Montague-CTE Scholars Teaching Award, teaches undergraduate core curriculum and specialty courses as well as graduate seminars, and receives consistently outstanding student evaluations. A deeply honest and poignant letter from a former student, who now works at YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, describes how Dr. Earhart transformed her own view of “Blackness”: “I was appreciative to Dr. Earhart for teaching me about our history so I could teach others. From that moment, I decided to take any opportunity I could to educate others about our history.” Dr. Earhart’s is humanities teaching at its finest. It directly impacts the lives and work of students and helps create a more discerning, just, and informed society.

Larry Johnson
Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
Larry Johnson, professor of veterinary integrative biosciences, earned his Ph.D. in reproductive physiology from Colorado State University. He joined the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 1987. His scholarly interests are in toxicology, histology and reproductive physiology.  He teaches a graduate course in scientific ethics and undergraduate, graduate and professional level courses in histology. He also teaches a new elective for veterinary students on the development of communication, organization and mentoring skills through outreach to K-12 students. His nominators say that he is passionate about teaching and helping students to learn.  His philosophy is that teaching represents a unique opportunity for instructors to facilitate students’ inherent desire to learn by stimulating their curiosity and imagination. As an example of his desire to reach students where they are, all of his supporters lauded his YouTube channel (VIBS Histology), which features 140 videos that he produced to help his students learn about histology and to make sense of slides that look like “a bunch of pink and purple with little lines and flakes and swirls.”  Amplifying that praise, one former student noted that of the almost 6,000 subscribers to the channel “only 31% of the views are within the United States, which means that an overwhelming majority of his outreach is educating students globally.” His nominators say that it is “his intent is to educate the world.” In that regard, he teaches his students to also be passionate about teaching and particularly about working with K-12 youth to peak their interest in agricultural, environmental, and veterinary/medical sciences. In short, as a current student wrote, “Dr. Johnson has a joy for teaching and education.” 

Mary P. McDougall ʼ97
Associate Professor
Biomedical Engineering
Mary McDougall, associate professor of biomedical engineering with a joint appointment in electrical and computer engineering, earned her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University. She joined the faculty of the College of Engineering in 2006. Her research is focused on developing novel hardware and methodologies for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Her nominator wrote that Dr. McDougall is a dedicated and gifted educator, who beyond the classroom has mentored students in research, promoted broader participation in engineering, and established programs that promote undergraduate research training and preparation for graduate school.  Dr. McDougall’s teaching philosophy is based on three fundamental approaches: 1) making sure the students can understand the “big picture” by applying the class theory to the real world; 2) maintaining enthusiasm about the material; and 3) being personally accessible to the students. Comments from her teaching reviews demonstrate her success in implementing these approaches. A student wrote that she provides “great explanations,” clearly translating electromagnetic theory using real world examples. Another described her class as “Hands down, the most interesting and rewarding course I’ve taken at TAMU.”  In addition to consistently receiving consistently high teaching reviews, Dr. McDougall has also developed two new courses. The first, a course in magnetic resonance engineering, provided experiential learning for students by building an NMR spectrometer in the classroom and constructing a desktop MRI system from the ground up.  One student commented, “The fact that you build your own MRI. Seriously…that’s cool!” About the second course, which examines non-ionizing electromagnetic theory in the context of biomedical applications, a student wrote, “EM theory was presented intuitively, and you could see the excitement on students’ faces.”
Mary Margaret “Meg” Penrose
Texas A&M University School of Law
Meg Penrose, professor of law, joined the faculty of Texas Wesleyan School of Law, now known as Texas A&M School of Law in 2009.  She earned her Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine Law School and her Mater of Laws in international human rights from the University of Notre Dame Law School. Her nominators wrote, “Professor Penrose personifies excellence in teaching.”  Her students constantly praise her as being the best teacher they’ve ever had! Students love her enthusiasm, creativity and passion for the law. Her dean noted that she is an “exceptional and respected teacher, as reflected in [her] strong teaching evaluations and multiple teaching awards.”  Professor Penrose teaches large classes covering subjects that are covered on bar examinations around the country.  In two of the last three semesters, she has had more students in her classes than any other Texas A&M Law faculty member. The terms students use most commonly to describe Professor Penrose’s teaching include “amazing,” “brilliant,” “enthusiastic,” and “inspiring.”  Her student evaluations are full of comments praising her availability outside of class and her passion for the law.  Several students complimented her energy and noted that her enthusiasm for the subjects she teaches is contagious.  As one student remarked, “I fell in love with Constitutional Law because of her.” Another indicated that she “teaches for both class and life in general.”  The commendations she has received are remarkable considering her demanding standards and teaching rigor. One student noted, “I would have felt like I let her down if I wasn’t prepared” for class. Another remarked, “I looked forward to her class and often felt disappointed when it ended.”  Another student sums it up with, “Penrose skyrocketed past all my hopes and expectations for this class….I can’t wait to take another class with her!” 

Connie D. Weaver
Department of Accounting
Connie Weaver, KPMG Professor of Accounting, joined the faculty of the Mays Business School in 2006. She earned her Ph.D. from Arizona State University.  Her research investigates the effects of income taxes on financing, investing and financial reporting decisions. Dr. Weaver initially taught the basic tax course required for all Professional Program (PPA) and BBA accounting majors. While the technical curse content is very challenging, she also focused on developing her student’s critical thinking and communication skills. Next, she developed and taught a master’s level tax course for PPA students that provides a comprehensive study of financial accounting for income taxes. For both, she consistently receives very high ratings on student evaluations, especially in the area of being an effective teacher. Moreover, she receives very positive feedback from students who say she consistently demonstrates that she cares about student learning.  This is noteworthy because many of her students do not plan to focus on tax in their careers. Her students clearly appreciate the impact of her teaching on their knowledge of the challenging subject matter and their comments reflect her enthusiasm and obvious interest in ensuring that they learn.  One student wrote, “Your love of teaching & of the material truly shines—even at 8 a.m.! You make corporate tax fun even for a non-tax person!”  Another student wrote, “Honestly, at the beginning I thought this was going to be my least liked class, but it ended up my favorite.” Still another student wrote, “For someone who doesn’t like tax, I actually enjoyed this class! Arguably the best/most caring teacher I’ve had in my college experience.”  To conclude, another student wrote, “You rock!! Definitely challenging to keep the class awake/motivated at 8 a.m. yet you did it every week.”



Wendy R. Boswell
Department of Management
Wendy Boswell, professor and holder of the Jerry and Kay Cox Endowed Chair in Business, joined the faculty of the Mays Business School in 2000. She earned her Ph.D. in Human Resource Studies from Cornell University. Dr. Boswell’s research focuses on employee turnover and retention, job search behavior, and the interface between work and non-work. Her research has produced more than fifty journal publications. Her work has been cited more than 5,800 times. She co-authored a scholarly book titled Management in the Workplace: Prevention and Resolution (Blackwell Publishing) and has published ten book chapters. Dr. Boswell is a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and the American Psychological Association and a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Academy of Management, where she served as chair of the Human Resources Division.  She has received the Dr. Ricky W. Griffin Research Award from the Mays Business School as well as the Outstanding Reviewer Award from the Academy of Management Review.  She serves on editorial boards of several leading academic journals and is currently an associate editor for Personnel Psychology. Previously, she was an associate editor for the Journal of Management and for Human Resource Management. At Mays Business School, she has served as director of the Center for Human Resource Management, the management Ph.D. program, and the Master of Science in Human Resource Management Program. “I consider Dr. Boswell to be one of the foremost authorities on the topic of employee job search behavior,” a colleague at Michigan State University wrote. A peer at Ohio State University wrote, “She has established an international reputation in her field based on her exceptional scholarly achievements that are impressive in both quantity and quality.”

Timothy R. Elliott
Department of Educational Psychology
Timothy Elliott, professor of educational psychology, earned his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri. Before joining the faculty of the College of Education and Human Development in 2006, he served on the faculties of Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, which awarded him the Distinguished Service Award and the Roger G. Barker Distinguished Research Contribution Award. He has also received the Dorothy Booz Black Award for outstanding Achievement in Counseling Health Psychology from the Society of Counseling Psychology and the Essie Morgan Lifetime Research Award from the American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers. Throughout his career, Dr. Elliott has systematically studied the adjustment of individuals living with chronic and debilitating health conditions. This work has resulted in more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, 50 book chapters, and external funding from several federal agencies. Dr. Elliott conducted the first randomized clinical trials of a psychological intervention for family caregivers of persons with spinal cord injuries as well of those with traumatic brain injuries. Colleagues in Germany adapted his intervention protocol for use with family caregivers of stroke survivors. Dr. Elliott developed the Telehealth Council Clinic at Texas A&M, where he serves as executive director, to provide telepsychology services to remote sites in five Brazos Valley counties, each designated as a health-provider shortage area. “In my view, Dr. Elliot’s record of scholarship is unquestionably outstanding and renowned, and his recognition and leadership among his peers is extraordinary” a colleague from Oklahoma State University writes. 

Paul E. Hardin
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Biology
Paul Hardin, University Distinguished Professor and holder of the John W. Lyons Jr. ʼ59 Chair, earned his Ph.D. in genetics from Indiana University. Following postdoctoral training at Brandeis University, he was a faculty member of the biology faculty at Texas A&M University as an assistant professor from 1991 to 1995. He then moved to the University of Houston as an associate professor with tenure and was later promoted to professor. He returned the faculty of the Texas A&M College of Science in 2006. Dr. Hardin’s research helped to establish the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a premier model organism for studying the circadian clock. He discovered the first circadian feedback loop in gene expression in the brain of the fruit fly, which established the mechanistic framework for circadian timekeeping in circadian transcription, interlocking feedback loops within the timekeeping mechanism, and the presence of circadian clocks in peripheral tissues. Each discovery has profoundly affected science’s understanding of the role of the human clock in health and disease. In recognition of his contributions to the field of rhythms research, Dr. Hardin received the Aschoff-Honma Prize from the Honma Life Science Foundation in Japan. He served as president of the world’s premier society for the research of circadian biology, the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms. He also belongs to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Genetics Society of American, and the Society for Neuroscience. He has authored more than 96 publications and been cited more than 6,500 times. “In many ways the history of Paul’s work is the history of where the field has gone,” a colleague from Dartmouth University wrote.  “The successful prosecution of this effort has propelled Hardin into the top ranks of chronobiologists in the world today.”

Casey J. Papovich
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Casey Papovich, professor and holder of the Marcia and Ralph Schilling Chair in Physics and Astronomy, received his bachelor’s in physics from the College of William and Mary and his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. Before joining the faculty of the College of Science in 2008, he was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Arizona’s Steward Observatory, led scientific results from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, and was awarded NASA’s Spitzer Prize Postdoctoral Fellowship. He is a recognized expert in extragalactic astrophysics with a focus on galaxy formation and cosmology. Dr. Papovich was one of the pioneers using deep imaging from the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the growth of stars in galaxies over the history of the Universe.  He is a frequent user of the world’s largest ground-based telescopes, and he has led large programs with NASA’s space-based observatories. Dr. Papovich’s recent work has important implications for many aspects of subsequent evolution of galaxies — one of the major science objectives of the next generation of space telescopes. His work is helping to define the observing plans for these $5 billion-level projects — an indicator of his global impact. As of January 2016, he has authored or co-authored more than 190 highly cited peer-reviewed publications. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, he was selected one of Thomas Reuter’s Highly Cited Researchers — awarded to the top one percent of cited researchers. 

Ping Yang
Department of Atmospheric Sciences
Ping Yang, professor and holder of the David Bullock Harris Chair in Geosciences in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, received his doctorate from the University of Utah. Before joining College of Geosciences in 2001, he held research scientist positions at the University of California, Los Angeles; the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; and the University of Maryland. An internationally renowned expert in the propagation of light throughout atmosphere, Dr. Yang specifically focuses on the scattering of light by particles — ice and water clouds and other atmospheric particles, generally referred to as aerosols. The outcomes of his research have made an enormous impact on remote sensing of ice clouds and dust aerosol by satellites and the broadband radiation parameterizations for application to climate models. In 2013, he received the Ascent Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Atmospheric Sciences Section for “fundamental research in radiative transfer and remote sensing.” Dr. Yang has published 284 peer-reviewed journal articles, 11 invited book chapters, and 3 textbooks on atmospheric radiation. He was elected a fellow of the Optical Society of America, the American Meteorological Society, and the AGU. A 2005 paper by Yang et al., which documents an ice crystal scattering database in infrared spectrum, is the eighth most highly cited paper in applied optics over the past ten years. As one supporter states, “Some amazing scientists go the extra mile beyond being highly productive. They leave a legacy. This is the stature that I think Ping Yang has now achieved; he has taken the atmospheric radiation field in new directions and become a leader in shaping the future of the field. It has been immeasurably enriched by his contributions.”

Hong-Cai “Joe” Zhou ʼ00
Department of Chemistry
Hong-Cai “Joe” Zhou, professor of chemistry, materials science and engineering, and holder of the Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry, earned his doctorate from Texas A&M University under the direction of F.A. Cotton. After completing a postdoctoral position at Harvard University, he served on the faculty of Miami University. In 2008, Dr. Zhou moved to Texas A&M University and in that short time has developed a truly exceptional, internationally recognized research program. He ranks among the top three U.S. and top five worldwide researchers in the field of metal-organic frameworks (MOF). Known as a pioneer in ligand design and synthesis, he also is an expert in kinetic control of MOF preparation. Dr. Zhou has received a Research Innovation Award from Research Corporation, an NSF CAREER Award, a Cottrell Scholar Award from Research Corporation, the Miami University Distinguished Scholar-Young Investigator Award, the Faculty Excellence Award from Air Products, and the DOE Hydrogen Program Special Recognition Award. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry. Dr. Zhou has published 216 peer-reviewed papers and was recognized as a “highly cited researcher” by Thomson Reuters in 2014, 2015, and 2016 — the only chemist in The Texas A&M University System who has achieved this distinction. As one supporter states, “Professor Zhou has demonstrated an outstanding ability to execute world class research and attract major research funding. There is no question but that his contributions have had a major impact on the field of materials chemistry.”

Individual Student Relationships

Elizabeth Crouch ʼ91
Assistant Dean
College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Elizabeth Crouch, assistant dean for undergraduate education and lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, earned her Ph.D. in genetics from Texas A&M University.  She joined the Biomedical Sciences Program (BIMS) as an academic advisor in 2001 and rose to the position of director in 2008 and assistant dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in 2014.  Among her many duties are to counsel students, supervise the BIMS advising staff, and help set the policies of the program. She has taught 14 semesters at Texas A&M, including 6 semesters of a course she designed: An Introduction to Phenotypic Expression in the Context of Human Medicine.  Her current areas of interest are student development/retention, promotion of student research and study abroad, and effective mentoring. Her nominator wrote that Dr. Crouch helps and inspires students, cares deeply about their welfare and development, and meets their individual needs while requiring them to accept their responsibilities and rise to their fullest potentials.  Her supporters describe her as a highly engaged administrator who interacts continually with the more than 2,300 high-achieving and diverse undergraduate students in the College. They speak of the sustained, individualized, compassionate help she consistently gives to students. Recurrent themes include her commitment to individuals’ wellbeing, her personalization of guidance to meet individual students’ circumstances and goals, her problem-solving abilities, her attentiveness to detail, her empathy and her interpersonal skills. In the words of a former student who is now in medical school, “Dr. Crouch is one of the most compassionate and caring people that I have ever met….I can honestly say that knowing Dr. Crouch has made me a better man, a better student and a better mentor to others.”

Henry Musoma ʼ00
Assistant Director
Center for International Business Studies
A native of Zambia, Henry Musoma is assistant director of the Center for International Business Studies (CIBS).  After earning his doctorate in educational leadership at Texas Christian University, he joined the faculty of the Mays Business School in 2012. His nominator wrote, “His students are inspired by him to make a positive difference, and Dr. Musoma, himself, personifies his oft-repeated exhortation: ‘You can count the number of seeds in an orange, but you can never count the number of oranges in a seed.’ If the seeds in the orange represent the number of students Henry has served and influenced, that number may be nearly uncountable; but the good work those students are inspired to accomplish (the oranges in the seed) is so vast as to be beyond measure.” In addition to his duties with CIBS, his supporters say that Dr. Musoma helps students internalize a vision of who and what they can be by helping them raise their vision beyond the immediate. He inspires students to be better people. As one former student put it, “Dr. Musoma cares…about helping students discover themselves and to become extraordinary people in life.” He models what he envisions for his students. By being generous with his time, story and resources; he helps students see what is possible. He creates opportunities. A good example is the annual trip to Africa. Each year, Dr. Musoma creates a life-changing opportunity for Regents Scholars and convinced leaders at Philip’s 66 to fund the trip.  The result is a two-week international experience for students who would not otherwise be able to travel ‒ including many who have never left Texas. And, he listenswitness the continual flow of students to his office.  These are not just students in his classes, they are also students who hear him speak in other venues and believe he is someone with whom they can connect.




Mark A. Hussey ʼ79
Vice Chancellor and Dean
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Dr. Mark Hussey’s 34-year career at Texas A&M University began as a graduate student and has brought him to the top of the organization. After earning his master’s then Ph.D. in plant breeding, he was a faculty member and later head of the department of soil and crop sciences. He was later named director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research. In 2008, he was appointed vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences, and in 2014, he went to Texas A&M University as interim president. In May 2015, Dr. Hussey returned to be vice chancellor and dean, where he leads the college’s 300+ faculty and nearly 8,000 students. He also oversees The Texas A&M University System’s four agricultural agencies: Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M Forest Service, and Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, as well as the University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. A visionary and dedicated servant leader, Dr. Hussey has managed the creation of an unprecedented construction campaign that makes the west campus home to 13 of 14 academic departments. It includes the multi-million dollar agriculture and life sciences complex on the Texas A&M University campus, providing the first-of-its-kind headquarters for Texas A&M AgriLife. Additionally, he created the vision and raised more than $6 million dollars to build the first phase of The Gardens at Texas A&M University, a unique and beautiful outdoor classroom for Aggies and the community. He also initiated the AgriLife Advanced Leadership Program, which provides leadership training for AgriLife faculty leaders in the making. He is an advocate for the land-grant university system of research, teaching and extension, holding national leadership positions in the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

Extension, Outreach, Continuing Education and Professional Development

John T. Cooper Jr. ʼ92
Associate Professor of Practice
Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning
John Cooper, associate professor of practice and planner-in-residence, also serves as director of the Texas Target Communities Program (TTCP), interim director of the Center for Housing & Urban Development, associate director of outreach for the Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center, and director of engagement for the Institute for the Environment. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and earned his Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hell. Soon thereafter, he launched his community development career at MDC, a nationally respected community development nonprofit, where he helped lead a four-year project developing solutions to help 22 communities across the Carolinas increase local employment, income and wealth, and build the leadership assets and structures necessary for long-term economic renewal.  He also managed a project focused on increasing disaster awareness and preparedness in disadvantaged rural communities and another aimed at teaching policy framing and advocacy skills to non-profits working to build public support for policies that benefit rural children and families.  With these experiences, Dr. Cooper returned to Texas A&M in 2012 to lead the TTCP, a high-impact service learning and community outreach program within the College of Architecture and supported in part by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.  The goal of the TTCP is to provide tailored support, grounded in local context and informed by interdisciplinary teams skilled at solving complex problems.  Under Dr. Cooper’s leadership, TTCP has assisted more than 20 underserved communities across Texas, invested up to 12,000 hours of student and faculty expertise for each community, and connected communities to resources across the Texas A&M System for assessing and leveraging community assets. 



Kevin Gustavus ʼ08
Business Administrator II
College of Architecture Business Office
Kevin Gustavus is responsible for the day-to-day supervision, training and performance of the seven-member team of the College of Architecture’s business office, as well as implementing the College budget, and managing contracts and grants, the College’s revenue, payroll, continuing education, and project accounts. Prior to attending Texas A&M University he served six years as a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army. Upon completion of his service, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Texas A&M University and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Houston‒Victoria. Mr. Gustavus joined the staff of the College of Architecture in 2006, after serving in the Division of Finance and Administration  While at Texas A&M, Mr. Gustavus has twice been the recipient of the College of Architecture Star Performer Award, as well as a recipient of the President’s Meritorious Service Award, the Committee of Senior Business Administrators (CSBA) “Best in Business” Team Award, and the Linda J. Todd Outstanding Support Staff Award.  He is a member of the College of Architecture’s Staff Council, serves as the College’s representative on the CSBA, and was elected to the University Staff Council, serving in fall 2009 and spring 2010.  His nominators credit him with a number of significant contributions to the College of Architecture and to the university, including the facilitating the creation of and establishing funding for  the Staff Scholarship Program, establishing the College’s Safety Team, and creating a Conversation Partners Program for International Students, Faculty and Staff within the College. A supporter commented, “I honestly can’t say enough about how impressed I am with Kevin and how he operates. His contributions to the College of Architecture are significant and his personal commitment to excellence is unmatched.”

Veronica (Sprayberry) Stilley ʼ90
Director of Student Services
Department of Information and Operations Management
Veronica Stilley is the primary conduit of information and procedures for students in Department of Information and Operations Management (INFO). Her duties include managing the Student Services Office, supervising the academic advisors, advising undergraduate and master’s students, supervising master’s admissions processing, assisting with Ph.D. admissions processing, maintaining student and applicant records, scheduling departmental courses, coordinating course catalog updates, and hiring, placing and supervising graduate teaching assistants. She has been at Texas A&M University for eight years. She earned a bachelor’s in Educational Curriculum and Instruction and a master’s in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University and joined the staff of the Mays Business School in 2009. She previously served as an academic coordinator at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, and as a teacher in Longview and in New Braunfels. She is a three-time recipient of the INFO Department Staff Service Excellence Award, and a recipient of both the Mays Business School Star Performer Award and the Mays Business School Outstanding Staff Achievement Award.  Ms. Stilley continually goes beyond her assigned job duties. She also volunteers her time to programs for the wider university and the City of College Station. Her nominators wrote that “…she continually goes beyond her assigned job duties.  Not merely performing them with excellence, but creating new and interesting opportunities, and anticipating and solving problems before the rest of us are aware of potential issues.”

Graduate Mentoring

Robert S. Chapkin
University Distinguished Professor
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Robert Chapkin is also a Regents Professor and University Faculty Fellow in the Program in Integrative Nutrition and Complex Diseases of the Department of Nutrition & Food Science. He joined the faculty of the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in 1988. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, where he also completed postdoctoral work. Dr. Chapkin is an expert in dietary chemoprevention of colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases. He has made highly significant contributions to cancer chemoprevention and membrane biology with specific emphasis in intestinal stem cells and their modulation by environmental/botanical agents, and the development of novel noninvasive Systems Biology-based methodologies to assess crosstalk between the gut microbiome and host and its application to translational research. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles in nutrition, immunology, membrane biology, cancer biology, and predictive biomarkers. His numerous awards include the R35 Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute, the Osborne and Mendel Award from the American Society for Nutrition, and The Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award—Research. His nominators say that excellence for teaching and research faculty can be measured in a variety of ways, including peer-reviewed publications and scholarly contributions. But for Dr. Chapkin, excellence extends beyond those standard metrics to include the large number of students, post-docs and young faculty protégés he has mentored. They wrote, “He not only trained these individuals in the knowledge necessary, but also served as an excellent example of the type of motivation, acumen, and enthusiasm necessary to be successful and reach their professional goals.”

Yalchin Efendiev
Department of Mathematics
Yalchin Efendiev, professor of mathematics and holder of the Mobil Chair in Computational Science, joined the faculty of the College of Science in 2001. He earned his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from California Institute of Technology and previously served as a research associate for Chevron Petroleum Technology Company and as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Minnesota. He is the director of the Institute of Computational Science at A&M. Dr. Efendiev played a leading role in the development and analysis of the "multiscale finite-element method.” Multiscale problems are those which involve physical processes acting on different time and length scales. As such, they encompass many important applications but pose extremely difficult computational challenges. Along with the development of the multiscale finite element method, he has made pioneering contributions to the application of this technique to porous-media fluid flow, including groundwater remediation and oil-recovery modeling. Dr. Efendiev's work has been recognized nationally and internationally through awards and honors, including being named a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and receiving the Fraunhofer Bessel Award from the Alexander von Humblodt Foundation. As a graduate advisor, Dr. Efendiev has had 22 Ph.D. students who have graduated under his supervision since 2004 and he is currently a chair for 6 more Ph.D. students. His nominators wrote, “…he is a great mentor to many junior people: Ph.D. students, postdoctoral associates, and young researchers within his sphere of influence.  He has always encouraged them to strive for more accomplishments and never hesitated to give assistance, suggestions, and encouragement.”