LaGrange College faculty members receive excellence awards

Published 7:31 pm Monday, June 20, 2022

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LaGrange College honored three faculty members with awards centered on research and teaching excellence at its Honors Day ceremony on April 28. 

Dr. Christi Hu, associate professor of psychological science and director of undergraduate research, received the John Hines Jr. Undergraduate Research Faculty Award. It recognizes a professor whose work supports the college’s undergraduate research program. 

“Dr. Christi Hu has provided strong leadership for the Undergraduate Research Program at LaGrange College for several years,” said Dr. Greg McClanahan, interim vice president for academic affairs. “Under her guidance, the program has grown in numbers of projects annually and in the attention that those projects receive on campus and beyond.” 

He said LaGrange College ranked fourth in Georgia in the number of undergraduate research projects presented at this year’s NCUR (the National Conference for Undergraduate Research), behind only three large public institutions in the state.

Dr. Hu began her career at LaGrange College in 2011. Before working in LaGrange, Hu was employed as an adjunct professor at Samford University. 

She received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Samford University and a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience/psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

Dr. Richard Soash, assistant professor of history, received the 2022 United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Exemplary Teacher Award. Each year, GBHEM member schools select one faculty member who exemplifies excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students, the institution and the community.

“He regularly demonstrates his support for students through his presence and participation in campus activities,” said Dr. Greg McClanahan, interim vice president of academic affairs. “Dr. Soash shows a significant level of commitment to the college and its mission.”

Soash, whose specialty is Progressive Era policymaking, started teaching at LaGrange in 2019, and uses a flipped-classroom model with pre-recorded lecture content, in-person activities and discussion.

Dr. Kevin Shirley, professor of history and chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences department, said Dr. Soash inspires the souls of his students. 

“He nurtures first-year students in Cornerstone, shepherding them through that all-important transition from high school to college,” Shirley said. “He cheers students on in their athletic endeavors, celebrating their victories and helping them see the value of their efforts even in defeat.”  

Outside of teaching history, Soash has served in a variety of roles for LaGrange College, including Phi Alpha Theta Chapter Advisor, a first-year experience instructor and a presenter for the college’s 3D Journey’s Program.

Before coming to LaGrange, Soash was employed as a visiting assistant professor at Florida State University. 

He received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Florida Southern College, and a master’s degree and doctorate in U.S. history post-1865, both from Florida State University.

Marcia Brown, professor and chair of the college’s Fine and Performing Arts department, received the 2022 Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award. 

Established in 1991, the annual Vulcan Teaching Excellence Awards honor an outstanding professor selected by member campuses of the Georgia Independent College Association.

The award recognizes an exceptional faculty member who demonstrates strong academic skills in the classroom and provides leadership and support in other areas of campus life. The recipient assists the institution in nurturing an academic climate that fosters learning and leadership to enhance the campus community.

“Professor Marcia Brown has served LaGrange College with distinction for many years,” said Dr. Greg McClanahan, interim vice president for academic affairs. “She is extremely student centered, putting students at the forefront of her thoughts and actions, while at the same time pushing them to achieve more than they may have believed possible.”

Brown came to LaGrange College in 1987 as an adjunct assistant professor of art and design. She moved up to assistant professor in 1996, and then professor and chair of the department. Before working in LaGrange, Brown was employed as a curator of education at the Chattahoochee Valley Art Museum and an art professor at Young Harris College.

She received a bachelor’s degree in printmaking from Guilford College and a master’s degree in drawing and painting from the University of Georgia. 


Outside of work, Brown has served as a juror for local art competitions.