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Carolyn Haynes and John Skillings receive Miami University's Distinguished Service Award

09/05/2012

Carolyn Haynes and John Skillings
Carolyn Haynes and John Skillings, the two recipients of Miami University’s 2012 Distinguished Service Award, bring to their leadership roles breadth of knowledge, nationally acclaimed experience and heart-felt compassion.

The awards were announced at the Faculty Assembly meeting Sept. 5.

Carolyn Haynes, interim associate provost for undergraduate studies, immerses herself in all she undertakes, say her nominators, whether it’s delving into the scholarly literature of a topic not part of her professional background or reconceptualizing Miami’s Honors Program, which she directed for 10 years (2002-2012). In their letters of recommendation, Haynes’ nominators described how she brought great detail of knowledge to the table in her many roles at the university.

“Her service spans multiple arenas, including leadership, first-year experience, multicultural efforts, sophomore-year experience, admission, advising, information technology, curriculum, liberal education, assessment and service learning,” writes one nominator.

A professor of English, Haynes was previously a professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies from 1993 – when she joined Miami – through 2007, when she joined the department of English.

She also has served as director of the Ida Montimer Windate Writings Center, director of the Western College Memorial Archives and served on Miami’s Engaged University initiative. She also created the Community of Practice on Engaged Learning (COPEL). She served as chair of the First in 2009 Steering Committee and Coordinating Council that facilitated strategic planning in academic affairs from 2003 to 2006.

Outside of Miami, Haynes has served as past president of the National Association for Integrative Studies. She currently serves on the publications board of the National Collegiate Honors Council and as a consultant-evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission. She is also leading the university’s application for reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

She is recognized as a national expert on interdisciplinary studies and integrative learning, consulting and publishing widely on interdisciplinary teaching, integrative learning and interdisciplinary writing.

Her nominators also write, “Most important relative to the Distinguished Service Award is Dr. Haynes’ strong and consistent record of translating scholarship to practice.” As co-principal investigator on the Dragonfly Project, which garnered $2.5 million in funding, she wrote more than 50 articles for the Dragonfly Home Companion and the Dragonfly Teacher’s Companion.

“Haynes has influenced students and educators across the campus through her work on students’ writing, science education, honors reform and college student learning,” wrote a nominator.

John Skillings, professor emeritus of mathematics and statistics, CAS dean 1999-2004 and interim provost 2010-2011, is described by his nominators as a leader who is “wise, objective and thorough," and has served in various capacities at Miami “with a remarkable selflessness and a desire for the best for those he served.”

One reason he had been so effective in his increasingly significant roles at the university, say nearly all of the department chairs who have worked under him, is that he never forgot what it was like to be a faculty member, department chair or dean.

Skillings began his career as a faculty member in the then-department of mathematics and statistics in 1976. He served as chair for six years, and became associate dean of the College of Arts and Science in 1994, where he became dean in 1999 serving until retirement in 2004.

“We knew his straightforward, transparent approach to dealing with complex situations emanated from a foundation of integrity and fairness,” wrote one nominator who served as a chair under Skillings.

A transitional period within the university drew Skillings back from retirement to serve as interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs 2004-2005 and then as vice provost, serving until 2008. Skillings tried again to retire, but in 2009, he served one year as special assistant to the president for enrollment management. When the need arose for an interim provost in 2010, Skillings accepted that position, serving with his “usual purposefulness, efficiency, clear communication and good humor in a difficult time,” said his nominators.

A nominator wrote that Skillings “was willing to work tirelessly behind the scenes to help get a new initiative off the ground, to solve a problem, or make sure that someone else got the credit they deserved for some accomplishment or another.”

Those who have worked with Skillings say that he is exemplary of what a leader should be. “His integrity, fairness, straightforwardness, passion and commitment to Miami University have served as continual inspiration to us all and have motivated us to do our jobs in the best possible way.”

Students, too, have recognized Skillings’ service: In 2011 he was presented with the Associated Student Government’s first Miami University Character and Commitment Award for his “outstanding work and continued passion for Miami.”

Distinguished Service Awards are presented every other year.

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