Dr. Abigail Shelton, David McBeth and Dr. Rachna Tewari were awarded the Coffey and Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Awards during the virtual commencement May 2.

UT Martin faculty honored for service, achievement

The University of Tennessee System and the University of Tennessee at Martin recognized six faculty members as award recipients during the May 2 UT Martin virtual commencement.

Dr. Abigail Shelton, associate professor of chemistry, received the Coffey Outstanding Teaching Award for demonstrating strength in teaching and contributing to the teaching profession through extracurricular achievements, leadership qualities and scholarly activities. The Coffey Outstanding Teaching Award was established in 1998 by Mai and Charlie Coffey. Shelton has taught chemistry at UT Martin since 2012. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University and doctoral degree from the University of Florida.

Dr. Rachna Tewari, associate professor of agricultural economics, and David McBeth, professor of art, were the recipients of the Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award. The Cunningham Outstanding Teacher/Scholar Award was established in 1993 by James R. Cunningham, an attendee of the UT Junior College in the 1930s.

Tewari began working at UT Martin in 2013 after earning her doctoral degree in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University the same year. Tewari also holds a Master of Science degree in agricultural business and economics from West Texas A&M University, a Master of Business Administration in agribusiness from Symbiosis International University in India, and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from A.N.G R. Agricultural University in India.

McBeth began teaching 3D studio art at UT Martin in 1992 as an assistant professor before earning tenure in 1998 and the designation of a full professor in 2002. McBeth was also the 2019 recipient of the Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award. He holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and art from Friends University and a Master of Arts in ceramics and photography, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics and drawing from Fort Hays State University.

Mark Hewitt, lecturer of educational studies, received the Outstanding Academic Advisor Award for his academic-advising work with students. Hewitt has worked at UT Martin since 2008 and has both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from Indiana University.

Dr. Jack Grubaugh, professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Richard Robinson, professor of communications, were the recipients of the University of Tennessee Alumni Association Outstanding Teacher Awards. Recipients of this award on each UT campus are nominated by students, faculty and alumni based on classroom performance, scholarship and service.

Grubaugh began teaching at UT Martin in 2010 and served as chair of the Department of Biological Sciences for five years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Central College, a master’s degree in biology from Western Illinois University and his doctoral degree in ecology from the University of Georgia.

Robinson has taught communications and served as the faculty adviser for WUTM FM 90.3 “The Hawk” since 2001. Robinson holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Central Arkansas, master’s degree in journalism with a focus in radio, TV and film from the University of Arkansas, and a doctoral degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615.


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