Professors honored

Four LC professors were recently honored for their teaching, advising, scholarship, and service: Dr. Sabita Manian, Dr. Virginia Cylke, Dr. Maria Nathan, and Nina Salmon.

Dr. Sabita Manian, professor of politics and international relations, received the Shirley E. Rosser Award for Excellence in Teaching, the College’s top teaching honor presented each year in recognition of personal and inspirational teaching, consistency of course preparation, current study in one’s field, and encouragement given to students to be active and lifelong learners.

One student writes of Dr. Manian, “She pushes students not only to succeed, but to question what they are studying; her classes are enjoyable, challenging and rewarding.” Another student says, “She taught us of the happenings of the world and their implications for our lives and the lives of others; she placed a responsibility on us to continue to expand our understanding of the world while outside of her classroom.”

“Awesome, amazing, exceptional, inspiring, brilliant” are only a few of the recurrent superlatives with which students describe this professor. They praise her enthusiasm, knowledge, clarity, passion, and influence on their lives. She has contributed to the Westover Honors Program, the Gender Studies minor, has taught with distinction in three departments, and has made numerous guest presentations in the classes of other faculty members and in the community. She has received international recognition for her scholarship, which she always pursues with an eye toward its relevance for her classroom.

Dr. Virginia Cylke, associate professor of psychology, is the 2010 Thomas C. Allen Excellence in Academic Advising Award winner.

Her advising characteristics are summarized by a student who described her as being “a role model, a leader, an ally, and a guide.” Another student who described herself as being “somewhat indecisive” due to the fact that she has been a mathematics major, a psychology major, a sociology major, an English literature major, an English literature minor, and a gender studies minor, noted that Dr. Cylke was by her side offering support and guidance as she discovered her passions and finalized her career path. Yet another student said Dr. Cylke was her “go to” person.

Dr. Cylke is also known for her professional research focusing on intergroup relations, prejudice, stereotyping, and social conflict. In her words, “Lynchburg College is my home. I welcome all students with open arms and an open mind. Each of them is unique and deserving of my full attention. I want them to know that there is someone on their side who genuinely cares about the choices they are making in college and is willing to listen when things are not going as well as they planned, or going better than they expected.”

Dr. Marian Nathan, professor of management, was named the recipient of the 2010 James A. Huston Award for Excellence in Scholarship, given annually to the professor who has made noteworthy scholarly contributions to his or her field of endeavor. Dr. Nathan has achieved a national reputation for her research on crisis management, organizational learning, and strategic planning in both profit and nonprofit organizations. A research colleague writes:  “Her research is both academically insightful and highly practical, a relatively rare combination among scholars today.”

Another research colleague explains that her work “brings in perspectives from sociology, psychology, and individual learning behavior to the arena of crisis management.” Her article in Futures is a pivotal piece in the field, connecting the theory of sense-making to crisis management. 

Dr. Nathan’s work has resulted in more than 50 publications in refereed journals. She has delivered more than 30 papers at national and international conferences in the United States, Europe, and Asia.  She has received more than two dozen awards, grants, and other forms of recognition, most during her time here at Lynchburg College. Among these are Best Paper and Best Symposium at the National Academy of Management. She was a Fulbright Fellow in China in 2004; she has received the Mednick Award, and grants from IBM, Indiana University’s Center for Philanthropy, the Lily Foundation, and the Kellogg Foundation. She has been a Sam Walton Fellow and a Fulbright Senior Specialist.

Nina Salmon, assistant professor of English, received the Elsie Ervin Bock Citizenship Award, given annually to honor a faculty colleague whose service exemplifies a high commitment to LC and the community. Salmon has been a member of the LC faculty since 1997.  She holds an A.B. degree in communications and sociology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and an MEd in English education from Lynchburg College.

She is currently working on her doctorate in Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought, an interdisciplinary program that seeks to understand and think about questions related to social justice.  Her strong interest in minority responses to oppression dovetails with her dissertation research on the racial integration of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia and its consequences.

Her commitment to understanding and combating injustice led to her interest in Lynchburg’s Harlem-Renaissance poet, Anne Spencer. Salmon says, “Anne Spencer became my hero for her tireless and artistic response to oppression: she fought oppression of any kind, not just racial oppression, but marginalization of women, injustice in city policies-even pettiness of neighborhood gossip and indignities that she witnessed.  She spoke out.”

In addition to her work on faculty committees at LC, she oversaw the Elsie Bock Freshman Writing Award Committee for several years. In collaboration with two colleagues, she created a service-based learning community that allowed students to participate in service projects at Bass Elementary School, College Hill Neighborhood School, the Summit, the Johnson Health Center, and Rebuilding Together Lynchburg.