SHSU Sociologists Receive ‘Excellent’ Distinctions

Three faculty and staff members from the SHSU sociology department were recently recognized for their performance in teaching, research, and public service.

Professor and chair of sociology Gene Theodori, professor of sociology Douglas Constance, and associate director for the Center for Rural Studies Cheryl Hudec were all honored during the annual meeting of the Southern Rural Sociological Association, held concurrently with the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 2-5.

Theodori was awarded the “Excellence in Instruction” award, given to a SRSA member who has demonstrated an exemplary contribution to teaching, according to SRSA president Keiko Tanaka.

“We all regard ‘our’ Gene as one of the most celebrated rural sociologists. Over the last 16 years, he has taught numerous courses on rural sociology, community development, and sociological theory and methods at Penn State University, Texas A&M University, and Sam Houston State University,” Tanaka said. “The sample syllabi submitted by his nominee demonstrates not only the wealth of his knowledge on the topics covered in the course, but also his commitment to the land-grant mission of training undergraduate and graduate students in skills necessary to succeed in their chosen profession.”

Constance was recognized for “Excellence in Research,” whom Tanaka lauded as one of her “dearest friends and mentors.”

“His empirical-based scholarship, particularly on the study of commodity chains, has helped to build the field of the sociology of global food and agriculture,” Tanaka said. “His extensive record of successful extramural funding and insightful publications, cited by peers across the world, confirms that nobody deserves this award more than Doug.

“There are several of us as students and junior faculty who have been trained by Doug on research skills and processes,” she said.

Finally, Hudec was awarded the “Excellence in Public Service” award for her “significant contribution to building” SHSU’s Center for Rural Studies “by successfully initiating and implementing several research projects and outreach programs for rural community development.

“In merely two years, she successfully generated $126,000 in grants for the center. She has published diverse types of publications on a wide range of issues concerning rural community development in Texas,” Tanaka said. “Based on her portfolio submitted for this award, the Southern Rural Sociological Association agrees with Gene Theodori, her nominee for this award, that ‘[o]f all the community and economic development professionals…[we] are proud to rate Ms. Hudec as one of the very best in terms of her performance and potential capabilities.’”

Constance and Theodori have now received all three awards offered by the SRSA: “Excellence in Instruction,” “Excellence in Research,” and “Excellence in Extension.”

The “excellence” awards are determined by the Southern Rural Sociological awards committee, which comprises the president elect, past president, and secretary.

“This is a competitive process; nomination packets are submitted and the committee determines the winners based on merit,” Constance said.

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