Professors recognized for teaching excellence by University System of Georgia



Margaret Baldwin and Vanessa Slinger-Friedman among six recognized at 12th annual gala

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 3, 2016) — Two Kennesaw State University professors were among six University System of Georgia faculty members honored as the 2016 recipients of the Felton Jenkins Jr. Hall of Fame Faculty Award, during the annual Regents’ Scholarship Gala on April 29, at the St. Regis Hotel Atlanta.

Margaret Baldwin, senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, won the 2016 Regents’ Teaching Excellence Award for Regional and State Universities. Vanessa Slinger-Friedman, associate professor of geography in the Department of Geography and Anthropology, won the 2016 Regents’ Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, which refers to the presentation and publication of research findings on the art and science of teaching or pedagogy.

“These awards are a great honor for the professors and Kennesaw State University,” said Ken Harmon, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Kennesaw State faculty have a long history of being recognized by the Board of Regents for excellence in teaching and for the scholarship of teaching and learning.”

Baldwin earned a master’s of fine arts in theatre arts (playwriting) from the University of Iowa. A native of Atlanta, she has produced her plays and ensemble theatre works throughout the U.S., including her most recent play, “Night Blooms,” which received its world premiere at Horizon Theatre Company in Atlanta, in 2010. Other recent works, including “Monkey King” were commissioned and produced by the KSU Department of Theatre, Performance Studies and Dance. Funded in part by the Coca-Cola Foundation, “Monkey King,” ad adaption of Chinese folktales, traveled to China for a festival at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. Several KSU dancers flew to Shanghai for the performance.

“I am honored and thrilled to receive this award and to see this testament to the power of theatre, and the arts in general, as sites for engaged and embodied learning,” she said. “In the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, and across the College of the Arts, we routinely employ teaching practices seen as essential to prepare students for successful work and civic life beyond college: hands-on learning, collaboration, critical thinking, communication, global perspectives and community engagement.”

Baldwin said the award is also meaningful to her personally because its namesake, Felton Jenkins Jr., was a close family friend.

“It’s especially gratifying to be honored as part of his legacy,” she said.

Slinger-Friedman obtained her M.A. in Latin American Studies and Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Florida. Her work has included a World Bank sponsored study in Mexico and El Salvador of Vetiver grass technology for soil erosion control, the use of an agroforestry system for Amazonian urban resettlement in Acre, Brazil, and the use of ecotourism on Dominica, W.I., for economic development and nature preservation. Her other research interests include innovative pedagogy in geography and online teaching.

“I am extremely excited and honored to have received the 2016 Regents’ Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award from The Board of Regent’s,” she said. “It was a proud moment for me to represent my department and Kennesaw State University at the Regents’ Scholarship Gala. This award recognizes a portion of my work at KSU over the past 15 years, and I share the award with my research and publishing co-collaborators.”

The 12th annual Regents’ Scholarship Gala raised more than $1.3 million to promote, support and provide need-based scholarships for students at the University System of Georgia’s 29 institutions.

Previous Kennesaw State professors receiving top teaching honors include psychology professor Pam Marek (2014);Tom Pusateri associate director of Kennesaw State’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and a professor of psychology (2011), Sabine Smith, an associate professor of German (2011); Karen Robinson, theater and performance studies (2010); Matthew Laposata, environmental science (2009); Mary Garner, mathematics and math education (2008); and Randolph Smith, psychology (2007).


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