November 22, 2023

Great Teachers, Great Scholars

Great Teachers, Great Scholars

Great Teachers, Great Scholars

By Tucker Mitchell  |  November 2023  |  FMU Focus Magazine Fall 2023

book the library room learning Book stack Education back to school concept

As FMU’s Trustees’ Research Scholar Program Turns 20, it is Expanding to Reflect the University’s Increasingly Complex Academics

Francis Marion University has long been noted for the excellence of its teaching. The university’s best and most-tenured have always taught a wide range of courses, right down to introductory level sections, and students have come to expect a high level of commitment from the men and women who stood at the various lecterns around campus.

Great teaching is not a bad thing for which to be known, but there was always more at FMU. From its inception, the university’s faculty contained dozens of top-notch researchers across a variety of disciplines. They understood how scholarship supports pedagogy. They embraced their dual role as scholars who knew that enhancing their knowledge and supporting excellence in their chosen field could not help but rub off on their students in the classroom.

When Dr. Fred Carter was installed as FMU’s president in 1999, he was pleasantly surprised to discover the high level of scholarly activity at the university. Conversations began, and within a year or so, he approached FMU’s Board of Trustees with the idea of creating a special status for these colleagues. From this, FMU’s Trustees’ Research Scholars were created.

“We really wanted two things to come from that,” says Carter. “One, we wanted to recognize the achievements that they (the scholars) were so successful in creating, and, two, we wanted to give them some tangible recognition — release time from class so they’d have more time to write to produce more research, and a stipend.”

The Trustees agreed to the creation of twelve scholars, with the positions filled over a period of four years. More scholars were recognized and added to the program as the original scholars retired or left the university.

In the past few years, Carter noted the increasing complexity of the university, with new programs in the health sciences and engineering, and recently asked the board to approve three more Trustees’ Research Scholars. With the addition of English professor Dr. Landon Houle, and Dr. Jeanne Gunther of the School of Education, FMU now has fifteen Trustees’ Research Scholars.

“Given the changes in the university, expanding this program just made sense,” says Carter.

As scholars expand, and, coincidentally, as the program marks its 20th anniversary, FMU Focus asked several scholars — some new and some old — to reflect on the program and its meaning, both to them and the university.

 

Featured Trustees’ Research Scholars

Dr. Brandon Goff   |   Dr. Scott Kaufman   |   Dr. Ben Kyer

Dr. Lorraine De Montluzin   |   Dr. Leroy Peterson

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