The University of Mary Washington bestowed honors on two professors at the general faculty meeting on Wednesday, April 20.
Chemistry Professor and Honors Program Director Kelli Slunt received the second annual Board of Visitors (BOV) Faculty Leadership Award, and Professor of English Chris Foss received the 2022 Waple Faculty Professional Achievement Award.
Established a decade ago as a gift from the estate of Shirley Van Epps Waple ’52, the Waple Award recognizes a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to their scholarly or creative area of expertise. The recipient must have been a full-time faculty member for at least seven years.
Foss, who has been at Mary Washington for 23 years, is the author of numerous scholarly publications and academic conference papers. His particular emphases within his specialty area are British Romantic and Victorian literature. Award presenter Kyle Schultz, associate professor in the College of Education, noted that for the past 16 years, Foss has also become internationally known as an expert in the field of disability studies.
A member of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies’ editorial board, Foss has been instrumental in establishing UMW’s disability-friendly environment and has served as a key advocate for the establishment of a disability studies minor.
Established in 2020 by the UMW Board of Visitors, the BOV Leadership Award is designated for a faculty member who advances the mission of UMW by spearheading a major institutional initiative or program. On the 10th anniversary of UMW’s Honors Program, it was fitting that Slunt receive the award, said presenters BOV Vice Rector Devon Cushman ’93 and Marty Abbott ’72, chair of the BOV’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee.
A 1991 graduate of Mary Washington, Slunt has become the face of the Honors Program, molding it into a significant recruitment and retention tool. According to her nominators, she always puts students first. Cushman said of the program’s inaugural director, “Kelli Slunt makes sure the Honors Program matters.”