Donna Boyd is just the fourth faculty member from an institution in Virginia to receive a national “Professor of the Year” award in the 26 years of the only national program designed to recognize college and university professors for their teaching skills.

beehive logo Kathie Dickenson

In November anthropology professor Donna Boyd was named U.S. Professor of the Year for master’s level universities and colleges by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching.

Boyd is just the fourth faculty member from an institution in Virginia to receive a national “Professor of the Year” award in the 26 years of the program, which is the only national program designed to recognize college and university professors for their teaching skills. She was selected from a pool of hundreds of outstanding nominees submitted by institutions across the country. Nomination portfolios were judged by panels of experts including senior academic officials, faculty, education reporters, students, and government, corporate, foundation and association representatives. The primary characteristic the judges consider is an “extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching.”

“There is absolutely no doubt that Dr. Boyd is an exceptional instructor,” said RU President Penelope W. Kyle. “During her distinguished 17-year career at RU, she has gained a reputation as a dedicated, caring, and engaging instructor whose students learn anthropology through hands-on analysis of human remains. Her students’ experiences working with her have been instrumental in their obtaining important professional positions using their forensic skills. Radford University is extraordinarily and justifiably proud of Dr. Boyd.”

Boyd said, “I’m very, very proud and happy that Radford gets the national recognition it deserves. I take this as a symbol of all the excellent teaching that goes on here every day by people who haven’t received awards. This can only bring good things for Radford, so I welcome the recognition and the accolades for the university.”

In February 2006 Boyd received a Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the highest honor given to college and university professors in the Commonwealth.

A physical anthropologist who has taught at RU since 1989, Boyd is known among her students for high standards, innovative teaching and a high degree of concern for their personal and career development. Her concern for her students’ career preparation led her to develop the Capstone Senior Seminar, which has been used as a model by other anthropologists across the nation.

Boyd and her husband, fellow anthropology professor Cliff Boyd, founded and developed the university’s Physical Anthropology and Archaeology Laboratory, which houses extensive skeletal and archaeological research materials and samples. In the laboratory, Boyd’s students develop expertise in analyzing skeletal remains, and her advanced students often assist her in criminal investigations.

With Boyd’s assistance, one of her former students, Audrey Meehan, obtained an internship with the top forensic anthropology laboratory in the world, the U.S. Army’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command/Central Identification Laboratory at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, where Meehan now holds a position rarely offered to anyone with only an undergraduate degree.

Meehan spoke at the U.S. Professor of the Year award ceremony. In her acceptance speech Boyd said, “I want to thank Audrey as well as my other students (a few able to be present today, but the more than 5,000 others not) for allowing me to give a part of myself to them. Many of these students are the true award winners, however, by taking the initiative to use the knowledge, training, and hopefully compassion we, as professors, have imparted to them to make the world a better place, even if just in a very small way.”

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