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2011 News Releases

Two Longwood faculty members honored for mentoring students in scholarly activities

August 23, 2011

Dr. Melissa Rhoten (left) and Dr. Kristen Welch Dr. Melissa Rhoten (left) received the Waverly Cole Award and Dr. Kristen Welch received the John Cook Award.

Two Longwood University faculty members have been recognized by the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences for excellence in mentoring students in undergraduate scholarly endeavors.

Dr. Kristen Welch, assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Center, received the John Cook Award. Dr. Melissa Rhoten, associate professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics, received the Waverly Cole Award. Both are new awards that include a check for $1,000 each and are named for longtime Longwood benefactors.

The John Cook Award is given to a tenure track faculty member who has exhibited achievement and promise in mentoring undergraduate scholarly activities and whose students have disseminated their work at professional conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.

The Waverly Cole Award is given to a tenured faculty member who has shown a sustained outstanding record of mentoring undergraduate scholarly activities and whose students have disseminated their work at professional conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.

"The type of collaboration engaged in by Dr. Welch and Dr. Rhoten represents one of the college's signature programs," said Dr. Charles Ross, dean of the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences, who presented the awards Aug. 16.

Welch trains and mentors tutors and a graduate assistant as director of the Writing Center, has twice co-presented with students in the annual Mountain Lake Leadership Conference, has supervised numerous internships, has mentored several students on various projects, and was creator and co-adviser of the new Rhetoric and Professional Writing Club. She and two freshmen from her English Composition course in fall 2008 published an article, "Teaching Visual Rhetoric in the Composition Classroom," in the peer-reviewed journal Teaching English in the Two Year College (Special Issue): 21st Century Literacies in March 2010.

Rhoten also has worked closely with students in a number of ways. She has served as research adviser to three Cormier Citizen Scholars in multidisciplinary research projects, has had several students conduct one-on-one research with her for multiple semesters, and has actively encouraged students to seek out research opportunities outside of Longwood. Several chemistry majors/minors have participated in Research Experiences for Undergraduates programs (funded by the National Science Foundation) at other institutions. Many of her research students have traveled to local, regional, and national meetings to disseminate their results.

Rhoten has also been involved in significant curriculum revision, which has allowed for the creation of a new laboratory-intensive, capstone sequence for chemistry majors. This sequence provides a research-type experience for all chemistry majors prior to graduation.

Longwood's College of Arts and Sciences was named for two of Longwood's most generous benefactors in 2006. Dr. Cook, who is among Longwood's first male graduates (B.S. '52, M.S. '60), is a nationally recognized leader in guidance and counseling who served as supervisor of guidance for the Virginia Department of Education. Dr. Cole, who died Aug. 28, 2009, was a prominent anesthesiologist. His mother, Sallie Sterling Manson Cole (1904-2002), was a Longwood alumna.