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Two COE faculty named University Excellence Award recipients

Professor Wendy Chambers, Ph.D. (left) with University President Jaimie Hebert, Ph.D.

Professor Cordelia Zinskie, Ed.D. (left) with University President Jaimie Hebert, Ph.D.


During Georgia Southern University’s annual convocation held on August 9, two of the six University-wide Awards for Excellence were captured by College of Education faculty members.

Wendy Chambers, Ph.D., was named a recipient of the 2017-2018 Award for Excellence in Contributions to Instruction, and Cordelia Zinskie, Ed.D. received an Award for Excellence in Service.

Both full tenured professors in the Department of Curriculum, Foundations and Reading, Chambers and Zinskie have been with the College for 24 years.

About Wendy Chambers
Chambers serves as a professor of developmental psychology for the College of Education. She teaches courses in areas including cognitive and language development; learning theories and applications; and theories of development. Chambers completed her master’s and doctorate in developmental psychology at the University of Florida.

Chambers has taught over 200 courses and roughly 6,000 students at Georgia Southern, from first-year to doctoral level. Her courses are known for being reading and writing intensive. She wrote and published a textbook for use in her Cognition and Language course, Cognitive and Language Development: The Child’s Journey (2013). One glance at Chambers’ course reviews online, and one will see that her students describe her as being knowledgeable about the content, passionate, engaging and concerned for their success while also holding them to high standards.

“I have found that students appreciate being challenged to engage critically with content while developing their written communication skills,” said Chambers. “Successful educators are enthusiastic about the subject matter and committed to supporting each individual student,” she added.

Chambers has also been involved with course and curriculum development at all levels of the institution. She chaired the COE committee that developed the College’s pre-professional block (PPB) courses and worked with P-12 partners to successfully implement the courses in her role as the first PPB coordinator. She also served on the University FYE Task Force and assisted with development and implementation a university-wide FYE 1220 First-Year Seminar course, in addition to the Conversations with Professors program and the Early Alert system for first-year students who are not making satisfactory progress.

In recent years, Chambers has combined her interests in nature photography and effective instructional practices through her work in local elementary schools, where she has been assisting classroom teachers with nature photography-related activities as a means to support learning in environmental science and technology as well as literacy skills.

About Cordelia Zinskie
Zinskie joined Georgia Southern after serving as a research assistance specialist and instructor at Memphis State University where she earned a Doctor of Education in Foundations of Education with an emphasis in Research Methodology and Statistics. She served as chair of the Department of Curriculum, Foundations and Reading for seven years (2006-2013) before returning to the faculty.

“After returning to a full-time faculty role, I made the evaluation area of service a priority as I felt that this is where I could have the most immediate impact on my students, peers, institution and professional community,” said Zinskie.

Zinskie’s commitment to service can clearly be seen by reviewing the leadership roles she takes in both the College and her professional community. She currently serves as the program coordinator for the new master’s in evaluation, assessment, research and learning degree program and a member of the College’s Curriculum Committee. She previously served as a member of the University’s Institutional Review Board and as chair of the College’s Technology and Instructional Resources Committee. Zinskie is also recognized for service beyond the institution in her roles as editor of the National Youth-At-Risk Journal and president of the Georgia Educational Research Association. She served as one of the 2016-2017 co-chairs for the National Youth-At-Risk Conference Savannah, the largest conference hosted by the University.

During her years in the College, Zinskie has used her expertise in research methods to mentor students at the Ed.S. and Ed.D. levels through service on their graduate research committees. She has chaired five dissertations and served as a committee member for 47 additional completed dissertations. Zinskie has also been a committee member for 100 Ed.S. students who completed field-based research projects.

“Service is my passion,” noted Zinskie. “It is my service commitments that keep me inspired and energized. Service allows me to use my disciplinary-specific expertise to make a difference at the institution and in my profession.”

Georgia Southern University Awards of Excellence
Each fall, Georgia Southern University names six recipients of the Awards for Excellence. The Award for Excellence in Instruction honors contributions to the teaching-learning process at the institutional level. The recipient must demonstrate excellence in the classroom and beyond by making contributions to the discipline and to the overall institutional mission. Recipients of the Excellence in Service Award are recognized for the use of their academic disciplines to provide non-compensated assistance to the region as well as to the academic community. The Excellence in Research/Creative Scholarly Activity Award seeks to recognize faculty who excel in their research efforts in addition to fulfilling regular full-time teaching responsibilities.


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