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University names recipients of highest faculty, staff honors

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Carson-Newman University recognized faculty and staff with its highest recognitions during its annual Honors Convocation. Pictured left to right are: C-N Executive Vice President and Provost Paul Percy; Melissa Hensley, SOAR Award; Dr. Carolyn Carlisle Community Service Award; Dr. Heather Whaley, Distinguished Faculty Award; Ricke Hester, SOAR Award; and University President J. Randall O'Brien.

(April 5, 2018) – Carson-Newman University presented some of its most prestigious faculty and staff recognitions during its annual Honors Convocation on Thursday, April 5. Those honored included Dr. Heather Whaley, Melissa Hensley, Ricke Hester and Dr. Carolyn Carlisle.

Dr. Heather Whaley was named recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award, the University's highest honor given to a faculty member. Although she began her career at Carson-Newman as a student, Whaley received her bachelor’s degree, with honors, in Human Ecology and Family Studies in 1996. She earned her master’s degree in Human Resource Development with a concentration in Family and Consumer Science in 1998 and her PhD in Business Administration with a major concentration in Human Resource Development in 2006 all from the University of Tennessee. She joined Carson-Newman's faculty in 2006 and is now an associate professor in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department. Whaley is a Certified Family and Consumer Scientist from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors. Whaley is described as a mentor by many students, with one student stating, "She works each day to empower students to see their full potential and to work hard for the things that they want to accomplish."

"Dr. Whaley is a true leader both in the classroom and in her community," noted C-N Executive Vice President and Provost Paul Percy. "It’s a joy to recognize someone who is so committed to her profession and to her students.”

Outside the classroom, Whaley recently spent her spring break in Alaska accompanying C-N students on a mission trip. She is also active at Central Baptist Bearden where she serves as a deacon and Sunday school teacher.

Melissa Hensley and Ricke Hester were named this year's SOAR Award recipients, the highest honor given to staff members. Hensley serves as administrative assistant to the executive vice president and provost. Her colleagues describe her as someone who demonstrates professionalism in her ability to plan and organize the efforts of others. Her dedication to Carson-Newman is evident to those who work with her and she has been described as someone whose presence at Carson-Newman contributes positively to the work of others both personally and professionally.

Ricke Hester is director of the Maddox Student Activities Center and Recreational Services. He is slated to retire from C-N this year after 42 continuous years of dedicated service to the University. Hester has created and built successful programs that not only develop student leaders but also offer students, faculty and staff a chance to learn and experience a release from the stress of college life. He is also an avid photographer and has used those skills both for C-N and the community. One of Hester’s co-workers said, "His love for students and making sure they enjoy their time here is unparalleled. He wants each student to reach their full potential by offering services which will help them become well-rounded individuals."

Dr. Carolyn Carlisle is 2018's Community Service honoree. Carlisle is a counselor educator in C-N’s Psychology Department. She teaches in the areas of human development, forensic psychology and counseling techniques. In addition to her work on campus, Carlisle has been an active volunteer at Horse Haven Equine Rescue, a non-profit for rescued horses. She works with this organization not only to help the horses but also to help people by using horses in therapy. Carlisle also has served as a volunteer psychotherapist to the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of East Tennessee and has consulted with Camelot foster agency and the Knoxville Foster Parent Association as a volunteer utilizing her considerable experience with foster families.

"We are proud of the work Dr. Carlisle does in our community and throughout our region. She is a shining example, to our students, of what it means to use your gifts in service to others," said Carson-Newman President J. Randall O'Brien.

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