Athletics News |
March 3, 2011
By Shawn Sell
When Dr. Richard Harknett, Chair of the UC Faculty Senate and a member of the Athletic Advisory Committee got the idea for the inaugural Faculty Impact Award, it was touted as an opportunity to recognize outstanding faculty that have helped shape the lives of student-athletes. In at least one case, the honored faculty member would rather keep the focus on the student-athletes.
Volleyball student-athlete Julie Guenther, who will earn a degree in nursing in June, chose to nominate College of Nursing Associate Professor Debbie Schwytzer for the award. Having had Professor Schwytzer as clinical faculty for one quarter during her sophomore year, and now having her as a teacher again this year, Guenther felt Professor Schwytzer had the characteristics the award was looking for.
"I just thought back to the professor that I connected with the most and (had) taught me a lot," Guenther said. "She was just a really down to earth professor. She was easy to talk to and kept everybody interested in the class."
Guenther, along with the other inductees into the most recent Legion of Excellence class, each composed a 250 word statement about why their nominated faculty member was deserving of recognition. Then, each of the 13 faculty members were presented on court during a recent men's basketball game. Professor Schwytzer for one was excited, yet humbled to be honored.
"I was very honored and very surprised to receive the award," she admits. "I think it's great that the Athletic Department has created this award system.
"But I think its probably better that the student-athletes are the ones recognized for all of their hard work and dedication and their ability to prioritize and all the things they have to to maintain that grade point average," she admits. "I think its more students than faculty but it's a great honor."
The Legion of Excellence, now in its 10th year as a staple of the UC Department of Athletics, annually recognizes the student-athlete from each varsity team with the highest grade point average during the previous year. Going forward, the recognition will be extended to also include the outstanding faculty members that encourage the top student-athletes. As Dr. Harknett stated in announcing the program, "This new award recognizes the essential pairing of faculty and student-the team if you will--that generates academic success."