WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Dr. Phillip Howerton, associate professor of English at Missouri State University-West Plains, recently was honored by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon with the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education’s Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education.
The 15 recipients of this year’s award were recognized during a luncheon in their honor on Wednesday, April 13, at the Scruggs University Center on the campus of Lincoln University in Jefferson City. The annual award honors outstanding faculty from post-secondary public schools, colleges and universities within the state. The recipients were selected by their respective institutions for effective teaching, innovation in course design and delivery, effective advising, service to the institution’s community, and commitment to high standards of excellence.
“In addition to reading the students’ evaluations of him, I have had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Howerton teach in the classroom. We are extremely fortunate to have such a professional, engaging and caring member of our faculty. He is very deserving of this recognition,” Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett said.
In nominating Howerton for the award, his peers noted his dedication to teaching composition courses to students at all levels and his desire to help students appreciate poetry and fiction through his one-hour short courses on these subjects.
Howerton also has maintained a “steady and sustained” record of conference presentations and publications, they added, pointing out during the past year he has presented at the Missouri Folklore Society conference, Missouri State-West Plains’ annual Ozarks Studies Symposium, and the College English Association conference. His book reviews have appeared in Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies and Lifewriting Annual: Biographical and Autobiographical Studies. In addition, he placed two essays in Missouri State-West Plains’ own Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies, and his poetry has appeared in Elder Mountain, Midwest Quarterly and Plainsongs. A collection of his previously published poems, The History of Tree Roots, recently was published by Golden Antelope Press.
His peers also praised him for being fully engaged in the campus community and in community service. One of his favorite activities, they said, is to dress as George Washington and visit area elementary school children to remind them of our rich heritage.
In addition to teaching, Howerton serves as the faculty advisor for the campus’ Creative Writing Club and Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and students selected him for the Faculty Mentor award in 2015.
Howerton has taught for 17 years, the past four at Missouri State-West Plains. He earned a Bachelor of Science in History and a Master’s of Education from Drury University in Springfield and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
For more information about the degree offerings at Missouri State-West Plains and how you can apply, visit the campus’ website or call the admissions office at 417-255-7955.