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ESU presents distinguished professor awards

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania presented its annual Distinguished Professor Awards to Shala Davis, Ph.D., professor of exercise science, and Nancy VanArsdale, Ph.D., professor of English, at the first All-University meeting of the academic year on Sept. 7.

The Distinguished Professor Award - the highest honor for ESU faculty to receive - is presented based on outstanding contributions to the academic life of the university and its reputation.

Davis, a professor of exercise science at ESU, has been chair of the Department of Exercise Science since 2011, and she has been with the university as a professor of exercise science since 1996.

Davis developed ESU’s doctorate in health sciences, and she serves as the program’s coordinator. She also developed ESU’s Master of Science in exercise science. In addition, she has served as chair of the Institutional Review Board at ESU since 2001, guiding to fruition most of the research studies undertaken by faculty and students at the university. She has also served as interim dean of the College of Health Sciences. Her research interests include weight maintenance strategies and training, and nutrition knowledge. She has over 70 referred publications that she has co-authored with a variety of scholars from ESU as well as other universities.

Davis has secured over $500,000 in grants for her research, including an $84,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, for her study to “Enhance Exercise Self-Efficacy and Improve Fitness Among Black and Hispanic College-age Women.”

Dr. VanArsdale, a professor of English at ESU, joined the university in 1990.

VanArsdale has dedicated her career at ESU to collaborating with faculty, administrators and students to help set the direction of the university. In her capacity as the president of the faculty union APSCUF, a position she has held since 2000, as well as her position as a member of the APSCUF negotiations team, her leadership has been crucial in guiding the university through contract negotiations, scholarship fundraising, recruiting students, communicating with statewide APSCUF, and implementing new instructional modes necessitated by the pandemic.

As the chair of the Department of English from 1999-2014, VanArsdale oversaw implementation of the ESU Writing Studio, as well as the English department’s Professional Writing Master of Arts degree, for which she developed coursework. In addition, she collaborated with the Department of Communication to create a concentration in public relations sharing coursework from both departments.

VanArsdale is an internationally recognized scholar and she is widely admired as a teacher by her students and peers. She has taught 15 courses at both the undergraduate level and the graduate level. She has 19 publications, and she has delivered more than 80 presentations at professional conferences. She is an expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” having co-authored a book called “Approaches to Teaching The Great Gatsby.” She is a Fulbright Scholar Award recipient, which she received to teach English literature in Belgium and Luxembourg.

Kenneth Long, Dr. Shala Davis, Dr. Nancy VanArsdale and Dr. Margaret Ball. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO