Grace College professors Dr. Lauren Rich, Christi Walters and Kim Burkett were honored recently for their outstanding contributions to the institution’s culture of service and academic excellence.
Dr. Lauren Rich, chair of the Department of Humanities, received the Homer A. Kent Award for Scholarship. This award is given biennially to a faculty member who exhibits outstanding performance in the area of scholarship.
Grace College Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Mark Norris said, “Dr. Lauren Rich is an ideal role model for our Grace students as well as an excellent Christian scholar and educator. Though she has a heavy load in service and teaching, she still finds time for her research. She is becoming nationally known as an expert in Irish literature.”
Rich has been published by various top academic presses in recent years. In 2019, Rich published an essay entitled “A Woolf at the Table: Virginia Woolf and the Domestic Dinner Party” in a Clemson University Press collection. She also has a chapter entitled “’Stolen fruit is best of all’: The Pleasures of Subversive Consumption in the Late Novels of Molly Keane,” in “The Edinburgh Companion to Irish Modernism.”
Christi Walters, exercise science director, received the Alva J. McClain Award for Excellence in Teaching.
In 2015, Walters segued into the role of professor after serving as an athletic trainer at Grace. She has since expanded the exercise science program through the addition of a state-of-the-art COSMED VO2 max machine and several new program offerings, including a fitness and nutrition concentration. Exercise science is now one of the fastest-growing majors at Grace, and Walters has no plans of slowing down.
“For those who work closely with Christi, it would come as no surprise to know that she is interested in investing in the community in such a selfless manner,” said Grace College Chair of Science and Mathematics Dr. Joseph Frentzel. “Her collegial interdepartmental interactions with peers and students alike have endeared her to the campus community. Through a commitment to excellence, she continually promotes the growth and development of both her program and its students,” he added.
The Excellence in Part-Time Teaching Award was presented to Kim Burkett, a part-time instructor for both the Department of Humanities and the School of Education. This award honors part-time faculty who go above and beyond in the classroom and facilitate excellent rapport with students.
Prior to coming to Grace, Burkett taught English in Warsaw Community Schools, where she regularly supervised Grace education majors’ student teaching. Her continued commitment to education is evidenced by her strong course evaluations. Students appreciate the way she combines thorough, in-depth learning with encouragement, empowering them with both the skills and confidence they need to be successful.
“Kim is a true teacher’s teacher who is dedicated to supporting students’ writing development at every level,” Rich said. “I am consistently impressed by how she not only fosters her students’ growth as writers but also helps them become more attuned to their strengths and to the pleasures of writing,” she said.