Rewarding Excellence

Donald Leebern III, Georgia Crown Distributing Co., and Dr. Sabine Smith

Sabine Smith, associate professor of German in KSU’s Department of Foreign Language, was…

Georgia (Apr 7, 2011)

Sabine Smith, associate professor of German in KSU’s Department of Foreign Language, was among 10 University System of Georgia faculty, alumni and supporters honored at the Seventh Annual Regents’ Award for Excellence in Education Celebration on March 26. 

Smith received the award during a gala at Atlanta’s Mariott Marquis Hotel that raises funds for scholarships for students at 35 USG institutions.  She was among three USG faculty members receiving the Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award and two who received the Regents Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award.  Four alumni, including Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former Board of Regents member Donald M. Leebern Jr.,  also were honored.  The USG Foundation hosted the event, which drew some 900 higher education leaders, elected officials and supporters.

Also recognized from KSU was Jessica R. Hicks, a KSU music education major.  She was one of two Regents’ scholarship recipients from among 74 at USG institutions selected to extend greetings to the gala’s distinguished guests, including Gov. Nathan Deal.

 Designating Smith the most outstanding teacher at a regional or state university, the Board of Regents cited her innovative teaching, the co-curricular activities she devises to immerse students in German language and culture, and her leadership in establishing a German studies major at KSU. 

An individual faculty member representing the system’s two-year and state colleges and one representing research universities also received teaching excellence awards. 

“This is an outstanding and richly deserved honor for Dr. Smith and for Kennesaw State,” President Daniel S. Papp said when the awards were announced. “She exhibits an extraordinary level of dedication to her students and the teaching profession, and a commitment to the university’s academic ideals.  We are very proud of her accomplishments.” 

Smith, who holds a Ph.D. in German from the University of California, Davis, joined the KSU faculty in 1999 as the only full-time German professor in the foreign languages department.   Since then, the German studies program she helped design evolved into an undergraduate minor at Kennesaw Statein 2000, and became a major in 2007, and now has seven instructors.  Enrollment in German courses at KSUgrew from 78 in spring 1999 to 231 in spring 2010. 

"What a special day in my life, a momentous experience,” Smith said of the award presentation.   “It was a privilege to have been selected and a reminder to live up to the honor by continuing to put my heart into what I truly love about this profession: teaching, mentoring, and sharing my love for learning with others.”

Smith is the fifth KSU faculty member to receive a Regents’ Award in five consecutive years. Past KSU recipients include Karen Robinson, theater and performance studies (2010); Matthew Laposata, environmental science (2009); Mary Garner, mathematics and mathematics education (2008); and Randolph Smith, psychology (2007). 

-- Sabbaye McGriff

Photo by Carolyn Richardson


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit