The Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Society of Foundation Professors inducted professors Dr. Lisa W. Kay and Dr. Matthew P. Winslow on May 2, 2023, during a dinner at the EKU Center of the Arts. Former EKU President, Dr. Michael Benson, was inducted as an honorary Foundation Professor. EKU’s Society of Foundation Professors is the highest honor for professors who demonstrate teaching excellence, recognizing faculty members who are “creative, self-motivated exemplars of the ideal college professor.”
“I am proud of this honored tradition of celebrating our most outstanding faculty through the Society of Foundation Professors,” said EKU President David McFaddin. “These inductees see their careers as more than a job. This is good and noble work. These professors come to campus every day with the clear intentionality of enhancing the lives of our students through education. Their work does not go unnoticed, and I applaud their commitment to our mission.”
All full-time tenured faculty members are eligible for the Foundation Professorship. The award provides a $5,000 salary increase. The selection is made by a committee composed of members of the Society of Foundation Professors, and the process provides for a high degree of peer review. More than 70 professors have been recognized for teaching excellence by the EKU Foundation since the awards were first given in 1988.
Dr. Lisa W. Kay serves as a statistics professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Kay held a visiting position with EKU from 1994 to 1997, then started a tenure-track position in 1999.
“I have long admired this group, and, in fact, some of my favorite teachers when I was an undergraduate at EKU either were at the time or became Foundation Professors,” said Kay. “I am a fourth-generation educator, so being included in such a highly regarded group of instructors means a great deal to me. I was very grateful when President McFaddin called me with the news.”
Since Kay’s arrival at EKU, she has worked with numerous departments across EKU’s campus to extend the reach of data science on campus, helped establish the certificate in applied data science and converted the bachelor’s in statistics to a bachelor’s in data science and statistics. Kay has co-developed and taught multiple honors courses with colleagues before serving as the honors program associate director for seven years. Additionally, she is currently transitioning from the vice chair position to the role of chair in the faculty senate.
“I want students to come away from my classes with an understanding of statistical ideas, but ideally I want to be a small part of the Eastern experience that makes them informed productive citizens,” said Kay. “I use active learning strategies, and I try to focus on concepts over computations. I also make an effort to present the human side of statistics so students will relate to the field and see its value.”
Dr. Matthew P. Winslow serves as a professor for the Department of Psychology and has been at EKU for 25 years.
“What means the most to me is that I was selected by other Foundation Professors,” said Winslow. “Their acceptance of my application means that I have achieved the highest honor that EKU bestows on faculty. It means that my hard work is recognized. And it means that I now have an additional obligation to give back to EKU.”
Winslow has served two terms in the faculty senate, won the Critical and Creative Thinking Teacher of the Year award four times, received the Acorn Award for teaching excellence by the Council on Postsecondary Education, published 15 journal articles and has presented at conferences over 50 times.
“This may sound cliché, but I mean it: I want to help my students improve their lives. Just yesterday, a student told me that they improved their relationship with their mother because of our course. A student told me they performed better on a graduate school interview because of our course. I helped a former student get into graduate school and now they are returning to EKU as an assistant professor,” said Winslow. “My role in these examples, and many others, is to help students improve themselves. Their success is my aspiration.”
Dr. Michael Benson served as EKU’s president from 2013-19.
“A faculty recognition to be inducted into the Society means a great deal to me as I tried to lead by example and stay current in my academic discipline—history—throughout my service at EKU,” said Benson. “On top of administrative duties, I taught in both the Departments of Government and History and completed two books, the latter of which was done in 2020 when I had an office in the Crabbe Library and thoroughly enjoyed being a researcher and writer again. I can’t thank the university enough for providing me this sabbatical opportunity. To be honored by fellow faculty members with this induction is a highlight for me, both personally and professionally.”
Throughout his time as EKU’s president, Benson worked with many campus teams to help bring investments into infrastructure and keep EKU the Campus Beautiful.
“My hope for EKU is that it will continue to be that School of Opportunity, providing access to education for everyone who seeks it. ‘Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom,’ is a statement from George Washington Carver which I continue to quote as it beautifully summarizes the unequaled power of education to change one’s life and trajectory,” said Benson. “EKU does this incredibly well and impacts so many people for good both within the Commonwealth and far beyond.”
As the School of Opportunity and Employer of Choice, EKU provides faculty and staff with opportunities to impact the lives of students, encouraging them to adapt and succeed in a dynamic, global society. EKU recognizes and celebrates excellence among faculty, staff and students and outstanding efforts to serve the community and Commonwealth. For more information on the Society of Foundation Professors, visit foundationprofessors.eku.edu.