Thomas Award for Outstanding Community Education/Service


Award Description

The Cleo and Carla Thomas Award for Outstanding Community Education/Service, established in 1999, is a faculty-administered award designed to honor an outstanding faculty member in their achievements in the area of education or service to the civic community of Jacksonville, Alabama and the surrounding area.

The award is named after and funded by Drs. Cleo and Carla Thomas. The Thomases are longtime supporters of Jacksonville State University, giving both their time and generous charitable contributions to the students and faculty of the JSU community. Dr. Cleo Thomas is a past president of the International House Board, and both he and his wife, Dr. Carla Thomas, established the Thomas Outstanding Community Service Award to “support the teaching enterprise and honor faculty service and activities.” According to Dr. Cleo Thomas, “Much of...what makes our region wonderful can be traced to JSU.” This award honors the impact that JSU, its faculty, and its students have on our local community.

Jacksonville State University views community education and service as an active collaboration that builds on the resources, skills, and knowledge of a regional area to improve its quality of life in a manner consistent with the campus mission.

The person selected for this honor will receive an honorarium of $500, a budget of $500 for expenses, and a framed certificate that recognizes this accomplishment.

Criteria and Eligibility

  • Full-time faculty holding the rank of Instructor or higher
  • Notable experience devising programs or workshops for the community, volunteering in the community, developing outreach programs, involving students in service activities, utilizing university resources for the benefit of the community, and/or promoting multi-cultural awareness
  • Evidence of a high standard of civic engagement and service learning documented with peer reviews, student evaluations, assessments from community organization representatives, and other evidence of community and civic engagement

Nomination Procedures

A selection committee composed of faculty will review nomination packets. Nominations by students, colleagues, department heads and deans are encouraged. Only accomplishments during the previous academic year including Fall 2022, Spring 2023, and Summer 2023 will be considered for this award.  Nominators should inform nominees that they are being nominated and may solicit their assistance in preparing nomination materials. 

Required Nomination Documents

The nomination packet for this award will consist of the following, compiled into one single PDF file in the order indicated. Please contact Faculty Commons if you need assistance compiling documentation into a PDF file.  Letters of support from faculty, students, and colleagues are encouraged, along with documentation of the service being considered.

  1. One official Letter of Nomination by the nominator(s) advocating the basis for the nomination (relating the nominee’s community service activity to the criteria for the award)
  2. Up to three additional Letters of Support from internal or external colleagues to complement the Letter of Nomination—No more than three additional Letters of Support will be considered.
  3. Nominee’s curriculum vitae (abbreviated and concise, no more than five pages) *Contact the nominee’s departmental Administrative Assistant to acquire a CV.
  4. Supporting documentation may include statements from community members or organization leaders, presentations to the community, newspaper articles, articles or presentations on community projects, and recognition from community organizations.

Nomination Deadline:

All nominations must be submitted electronically via the Faculty Awards nomination form, linked below, no later than 4:30 PM CST on Friday, February 16, 2024.

2023 Cleo Thomas, Aimee Weathers, and Carla Thomas

Aimee Weathers

Instructor of Curriculum and Instruction

2022 Wendy Freeland

Dr. Wendy Freeland

Professor of Music

2021 Carmine DiBiase

Dr. Carmine Di Biase

Professor of English

2020 Teresa Reed

Dr. Teresa Reed

Professor of English

2019 Mary Springer

Dr. Jeff Ryan

Department Head and Professor of Emergency Management

2018 kim westbrooks

Kim Westbrooks

Professor of Library Services

2017 george cline

Dr. George Cline

Professor of Biology

2016 teje Sult

Teje Sult

Instructor of Applied Engineering

2015 Lynetta owens

Lynetta Owens & Dr. Cynthia Conner

Instructor of Special Education & Assistant Professor of Special Education

2014 mark meade

Dr. Mark Meade

Professor of Biology

2013 nixon

Dr. Nixon Mwebi

Associate Professor of Physical and Earth Sciences

2012 george lauderbaugh

Dr. George Lauderbaugh

Associate Professor of History

2011 paige mckerchar

Dr. Paige McKerchar


2010 patricia corbin

Dr. Patricia Corbin

Associate Professor of Music

2009 lawson veasly

Dr. R. Lawson Veasey

Professor of Political Science and Public Administration