Professor Emeritus of Music James Briscoe, Professor of Education Suneeta Kercood, and Professor of Communication Ann Savage will be honored with Butler University’s 2016 Distinguished Faculty Awards.
The awards will be presented Wednesday, August 17, at the Fall Academic Workshop. Winners receive a recognition plaque and a $3,000 stipend.
The Faculty Development Advisory Committee reviewed nominations across three categories—teaching; research, scholarship, and creative work; and service and leadership. Nominations can come from anyone, but this year’s winners were all nominated by fellow faculty members. More information about the Distinguished Faculty Awards can be found here.
More about each winner follows.
JAMES BRISCOE, Jordan College of the Arts
Briscoe, who is being honored for teaching, spent 36 years on the Butler faculty before retiring at the end of the 2015–2016 academic year. In that time, he taught 30 separate courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level, advised 20 master’s theses and seven undergraduate honors theses, and taught six undergraduate seminars through the Honors Program.
Briscoe established himself as an exemplary and innovative teacher, integrating professional musicological expertise with a passion for the liberal arts. For example, by designing and teaching courses in collaboration with the curator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art even as early as the 1980s, he created an interdisciplinary partnership between Butler and the IMA. He also organized 12 large-scale, weeklong music festivals over a 30-year period that included performances, scholarly lectures, and panel discussions.
Throughout his career, Briscoe demonstrated his commitment to the founding principles of Butler University by promoting the study of music composed by women, both in the classroom and in his scholarship. His widely recognized contributions in this area include usable anthologies and other teaching tools on female composers.
He also demonstrated his dedication to the value of interdisciplinary education by convincing the founder of the Undergraduate Research Conference to include an Arts section in addition to the natural sciences, for which the URC was created. By organizing the first non-science section of the conference, Briscoe initiated the expansion of the scope of the URC, which has continued to grow over the years and now represents all disciplines taught at Butler University.
“There may well be members of our faculty who have received higher teaching evaluations than Briscoe, or who have advised a larger number of theses, or who have organized more pedagogy workshops, and so on,” said the faculty member who nominated him. “But if one asks whether there is a senior Butler faculty member who has achieved pedagogical distinction in more areas simultaneously—whether there is a Butler faculty member who has achieved more comprehensive distinction as a teacher than Jim Briscoe—I honestly believe the answer is no.”
SUNEETA KERCOOD, College of Education
Suneeta Kercood, who is being recognized for research, scholarship, and creative work, has over 20 years of experience working with children, families, and service providers of individuals with disabilities. She is a highly active researcher in the area of interventions and preventive care in education for individuals with special needs.
Since joining the faculty at Butler in 2000, Kercood, who teaches special education, has received 26 grants to support her research and presentations at conferences. She has collaborated with faculty and students from multiple colleges at Butler and from other universities around the world and she has published in journals such as the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology and Contemporary Educational Psychology.
She was selected by NIH-NIMHD to receive training in health disparities research, and recently completed a Fulbright senior research scholarship.
“Dr. Kercood provides a model for rigorous research and scholarship activity in a department whose predominant focus is extensive teaching,” said a faculty member who nominated her.
ANN SAVAGE, College of Communication
Ann Savage, who is being awarded for service and leadership, arrived at Butler University in 1998 to discover several gender issues on campus. To begin to address these issues, she worked with Political Science Professor Margaret Brabant to create the Women’s Caucus, which now has over 100 members and was cited as a contributing factor in Butler’s receiving the Mayor’s Celebration of Diversity Award for Leadership in 2006.
Savage’s dedication to bringing issues of gender and equality into the fore led to the development of the Presidential Commission on Gender Equity, which involves external review and consultant recommendations. In her discipline, she has served as the Director of the Gender Studies program, which grew from one to over 40 minors under her direction. She teaches in Critical Communication & Media Studies.
She also led the development of Butler’s major in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and she played a significant role in the establishment of the Collaborative for Critical Inquiry into Race, Gender, and Sexuality, an interdisciplinary group of faculty interested in the relationship between social justice and pedagogy.
“Dr. Savage has been a role model to a new wave of young feminist scholars joining our faculty over the last 10 years,” said one of the faculty members who nominated her. “She is a tireless community activist and a champion of collaboration and inclusivity. She ensures everyone’s voice is heard, and she works toward building consensus among all involved. She is passionately committed to shared governance and transparency.”