FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2014
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Glenville State College
GLENVILLE, WV—Three Glenville State College professors were recognized recently as emeriti faculty; joining 32 other GSC professors who share the title. The honors were bestowed upon Dr. Kathy Butler, Dr. Sherry Jones, and Dr. Michael Smith at the 140th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 10, 2014.
Emeritus status is an honorary title that may be awarded to a nominated faculty member or administrator for extended meritorious service. In addition to having made lasting and positive contributions to the college, the honoree must also have completed ten years of service at GSC, be distinguished in teaching and service, and have the recommendation of their respective departments’ faculty and the Faculty Senate.
A permanent plaque with the names of all emeriti faculty is displayed in Glenville State College’s Heflin Administration Building.
Dr. Kathy Butler
Dr. Butler began teaching at Glenville State College in 1989, eventually becoming a tenured Professor of Education. She was serving as GSC’s Provost and Senior Vice President when she left in 2010 to fill the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs position at the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission in Charleston.
The announcement that she was being honored as a faculty emerita was a surprise to Butler. “I did not know that I was receiving the recognition until President Barr introduced the platform party members. The award of the prestigious Professor Emeritus designation is an honor that I will always cherish,” she said.
Butler says that serving as an administrator at Glenville State College prepared her well for the work that she encountered as Vice Chancellor. She also believes that her time as a faculty member at GSC also provided an additional perspective that has served her well when advocating for faculty and the faculty perspective on issues. As she put it, “I don’t think there is any replacement for campus-based experience for a statewide administrator.”
Organizing and preparing for a review by the Higher Learning Commission in 2003 tops Butler’s list of memorable experiences at GSC. “It had been a tough time for GSC in the few years prior to that accreditation review but with the help of everyone at the college, we were able to receive a 10 year unconditional accreditation approval…unheard of at that time! I was able to work with many, many wonderful people to accomplish that feat and I was so proud to be a part of the Glenville family, a family that pulled together to accomplish the impossible,” said Butler.
“I taught for 10 years as a GSC teacher education faculty member before stepping into administration. My greatest joys came from teaching students though. While at Glenville, I served in a lot of roles and I thoroughly enjoyed each one of them. There’s nothing I would change,” said Butler. “I never dreamed that I would be the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the state of West Virginia! Not in my wildest dreams! But God has been so good to me and has opened so many doors that I feel privileged and blessed to have been able to serve in this capacity as well. Thank you to Glenville State for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to teach and learn from some great mentors!” she added.
Dr. Sherry Jones
Dr. Jones, a 1975 GSC graduate, has been an instructor at Glenville State College for the past twenty-six years. “It has been an honor to teach at GSC. When I graduated from GSC, it never crossed my mind that I might one day become a professor. In fact, it was one of my GSC business professors, Ernie Smith, who called me when there was a job opening and asked if I would be interested in applying. At the time, I was teaching at Gilmer County High School and had recently finished my Master’s degree. GSC and Gilmer County are home to me, and the people I work with are like family. When you care about a place and its people, the personal investment keeps you interested and motivated to do the best job you can,” said Jones.
She says that she will certainly miss her students and colleagues after retiring this summer. “Thankfully, I will continue teaching part-time under GSC’s post-retirement program, so I hope to continue contributing and giving back to the college,” said Jones
In addition to being a graduate herself, Jones has a long list of family members who have attended, worked, and taught at GSC. Her great grandmother, Esta Shiflet, was a cook in the former Kanawha Hall in the 1920s, her grandmother, Irene Shiflet Langford, helped in the kitchen/dining hall in Kanawha Hall in the late 20s, her grandfather, Claude Woofter, worked in the maintenance department in the 50s and 60s, and her great uncle, Beryl Langford, was the college Registrar from 1962-1973.
Her uncle, Lyndall Jones, graduated from GSC in 1964 and returned to GSC’s 2014 graduation ceremony to participate as a 50 Year Graduate. Her aunt, Judy Woofter Jones, graduated from GSC in 1966.
Her mother, Betty Langford Woofter (’52), brother, Kent Woofter (’84), husband, David L. Jones (’77), and aunt have all taught with their GSC degrees. Her nephew, Adam Jones, and a niece, Melissa Jones, are both recent GSC graduates and are currently teaching in West Virginia schools.
Jones’ two sons also graduated from GSC; Christopher Jones in 2000 and Cason Jones in 2003. Additionally, she and her husband have several cousins who graduated from GSC.
In her time here, Jones says that many of her best memories center on times of laughter with students and colleagues. “When we were just chatting and enjoying life and discussing the funny things that happen to us on life’s journey, those times stand out. And a note or a ‘thank you’ from a student or colleague would have to share a place at the top of the list of good memories. It really makes all the hard work worthwhile when you have a student who takes the time to let you know you have helped him or her in some way,” said Jones.
Jones has served as Business Department Chair, was a Faculty Marshal, and was the recipient of the Curtis Elam Professor of Teaching Excellence Award in 2008 and was presented with the Faculty Award of Excellence in 2010.
She also worked with several on-campus committees and, most recently, had an article published in the California State University Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT). The March 2013 issue of JOLT featured her research paper on the learning equity between online and traditional classroom mathematics courses.
In her retirement, Jones hopes to travel and spend time with her seven grandsons and the rest of her family.
Dr. Michael Smith
Dr. Smith has been a professor at Glenville State College in the Social Science Department for twenty years. He says that, for him, GSC has been both convenient and simply a good place to teach.
“GSC was convenient for me because my primary residence has been in Marietta, Ohio. There are not a lot of teaching positions for political scientists and the job here was close to Marietta, as these things go,” said Smith. He also appreciates GSC’s strong commitment to teaching and its dedication to educating the sorts of students it has traditionally served.
Additionally, he says his department has consisted of dedicated teachers who were good colleagues who he respected and with whom he enjoyed working.
Smith says that he will miss teaching and interacting with students. Particularly, he adds, those he got to know more closely during his independent study courses where he was able to see them learn and grow more than in a standard class.
When thinking back on his years at GSC, he recalls several fond memories. “When I arrived in 1994 there was a lot of joking at the first department meeting I attended. There have been a lot of good times since then. That first impression was positive and welcoming and proved a good predictor of things to come.”
“We had a non-traditional student who participated in the Frasure-Singleton Legislative Internship Program. As a result of the connections she made there she was invited to attend the bill signing for the welfare reform bill in 1996, and ended up in the picture on the cover of Time magazine.”
“Also, I think of the graduation ceremony this year. A lot of students graduated who I particularly enjoyed having in class; some years there were only one or two. This was a bumper crop. For me it was going out on a high note.”
During his time at GSC, Smith served as the Social Science Department Chair, was the Faculty Senate president, and participated in various campus committees focused on curriculum, faculty development, internationalization, and assessment.
As he puts it, “Virtually all of this work involved group effort. What we accomplished, and I think that we accomplished a lot, involved the contributions of many faculty and staff.”
In his retirement Smith plans to travel, visit family and friends, and do some writing.