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Faculty Receive Top University Honors

Andrew Freear and Cheryl Morgan received two of the highest honors the university gives faculty at the seventh annual Faculty Awards Celebrating Excellence ceremony on October 30. Cheryl Morgan, Director of the Urban Studio, received the 2012 Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach, an award that “honors the engagement of exemplary faculty members and demonstrates the tremendous impact outreach has on our community, state and nation.” Andrew Freear, Director of the Rural Studio, received one of the 2012 Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching that “honors full-time, tenured faculty members who have demonstrated effective and innovative teaching methods and a continuing commitment to student success through advising and mentoring inside and outside the classroom.”

 "We are delighted that two of our outstanding faculty have been honored with these prestigious, signature awards in the University. Andrew Freear and Cheryl Morgan embody the best of transformative change through teaching and research. This is a well-deserved honor, and we are proud of the two of them," say Dean Vini Nathan.

Andrew Freear is the Wiatt Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. He has practiced extensively as an architect in England and the U.S. and taught at the University of Illinois and at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. He has served as a member of the Lions Park development committee in Greensboro, Alabama and the Perry Lakes Board in Marion, and the Newbern Volunteer Fire Department. Freear was also made an Honorary Citizen of Marion, Alabama for his work on the Perry Lakes Park Project. In 2006, he was the first American-based architect to be honored with The Ralph Erskine Nordic Foundation Award, which aspires to promote urban planning and architecture that is functional, economical, and beautiful, and which is to the advantage of underprivileged and deprived groups in any society. Freear’s excellence in teaching also was recognized in Oxford American’s, “The Most Creative Teachers in the South (August 2011, Issue 74). He was one of thirteen educators chosen throughout the region who are “influential educators admired by their students and colleagues, whose classrooms serve as forums for social change, whose homes become their classroom, and in some cases, whose assignments become homes.”

“Every day I have proud moment—giving students an opportunity to do remarkable things and then seeing them taking that opportunity way and beyond anything I would ever have dreamed. It happens every day, and I hope for many more of those moments,” says Freear.

Cheryl Morgan is a founding board member of the citizen leadership program YourTownAlabama and serves on the City of Birmingham’s Design review Board. Under her direction, the Urban Studio’s Small Town Design Initiative Program has worked with more than seventy small towns and neighborhoods in that state, resulting in assets-based illustrative master plans that position communities to leverage their distinctive opportunities. Morgan received the Thomas Jefferson Award from the Jefferson County Historical Commission and the Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association’s Distinguished Leadership Award recognizing her as a “friend of planning.” She has been untiring in her efforts to help Alabama communities re-develop, and in the case of tornado-ravaged towns such as Pratt City and Cordova—rebuild. 

“This award recognizes not what I have done, but what Urban Studio and our amazing array of partners have accomplished together. It recognizes the impact of design and design thinking. It acknowledges the potential we have here in Alabama as seen through our ‘lens’ of assets-based planning in the Small Town Design Initiative Program: showcasing the things that make Alabama special,” says Morgan.

Morgan joins David Hinson, Head of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, as a recipient of the Award for Excellence in Faculty Outreach, proving again that “outreach is in Auburn Architecture’s DNA.”

(from 7th Annual Faculty Awards: Celebrating Excellence, Office of Communications and Marketing)

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