Southeastern Louisiana University opened the 2022-23 academic year on August 12 with its fall convocation, which included the presentation of the President’s Awards for Excellence, the university’s highest honor for faculty and staff.
The event included the announcement of endowed professorships and grants; new faculty and staff; faculty length and promotion; and recognizing service awards for faculty and staff who have served 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45 years at the university.
The President’s Awards for Excellence went to Keith “Skip” Costa, Dance Director and Instructor of Contemporary Dance, Choreography and Performance, Excellence in Artistic Practice; Mathematics Professor Alan Cannon, Excellence in Research; French teacher Aileen Mootoo-Robertson, excellence in teaching; Associate Professor of Health and Human Sciences Laura Fazio-Griffith, Excellence in Faculty Service; and Assistant Director of Intervention and LION UP Collegiate Recovery Annette Baldwin, Excellence in Unclassified Personnel Service.
A faculty member since 2013, Costa has made major strides in artistic innovation regionally, nationally and internationally as part of his InterARTS approach to dance and movement studies. He teaches master classes at the ACDA conference, which represents the Southeastern art of dance, and takes students to perform choreography and participate in master classes with other nationally known teachers and choreographers.
The head of the mathematics department, Timothy Hudson, said Cannon has consistently demonstrated excellence in professional research. “While ensuring that his students receive the best possible classroom experience and continuing an impressive record of university service, Dr. Cannon has demonstrated a clear vision and commitment to its long-term research agenda, which has resulted in a significant body of research activity, including an impressive publication record in peer-reviewed research journals and books, conference presentations, conference organization, and research paper review and review,” said Hudson.
Mootoo-Robertson began her career in 1994 as a French teacher at Southeastern. She says teaching goes beyond just conveying information — it’s also a platform for students to grow personally and explore the endless possibilities for a successful life. Mootoo-Robertson has experience teaching undergraduate courses through university level courses. She has served as the French dual enrollment coordinator and recruited French students to Southeastern.
Fazio-Griffith has been a faculty member since 2010 and is the only registered play therapist in the Graduate Counseling Faculty. She has developed courses and provided training opportunities for the students. The ultimate reward for Fazio-Griffith’s efforts came last year when Southeastern was named an Approved Center of Play Therapy Education and Training Site by the International Association of Play Therapy, making Southeastern one of only three approved sites in Louisiana.
Baldwin has been a consultant at the university for 18 years. Outside of her counseling work, her service to the Southeastern community includes the initiation and development of the Terrell Conference, which provides continuing education for licensed mental health professionals across the region. Her role has changed over the past two years to focus more on substance abuse intervention as well as programming college recovery programs. Baldwin has been recognized nationally by the Association of Recovery in Higher Education for her work with Tangipahoa Reshaping Attitudes for Community Change, as well as for her work on campus with Lion Up Recovery, a college recovery program first of its kind in Louisiana one that she helped build.