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EIU, OVC announce recipients of Outstanding Faculty—Commitment to Student Success Awards


Ashley Gard represents EIU in OVC Award pool

(Charleston, IL) – The winners of the Ohio Valley Conference’s Outstanding Faculty Commitment to Student Success Awards have been announced, and Eastern Illinois University Kinesiology, Sport & Recreation instructor Dr. Ashley Gard has been recognized as this year’s EIU award recipient by the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC).

“We’re extremely proud of Dr. Gard and the passion she has for her students and for EIU,” said EIU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ryan Hendrickson. “Being recognized as an educational leader by the OVC and listed amongst other great academic leaders from peer institutions across the conference is a remarkable achievement.”

The awards were created in 2023 by the Provosts from each OVC member institution to recognize outstanding faculty at each university. The recipients were recently announced at the 2024 OVC Basketball Championship in Evansville, Indiana, and awards will be sent to each school so the winners can be honored and recognized at their respective campuses.

Each OVC member institution had the opportunity to nominate a faculty member who has been employed at their respective institution for at least five years. The criteria included impacts of students, contributions made to the department, university and curriculum development, consistent professional development as well as community involvement and institutional service.

This year’s other OVC recipients are:

  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock: Dr. Joe Felan, Associate Professor of Management, Marketing, and Technology
  • Lindenwood University: Dr. Ricardo Delgado, Professor, Chemistry
  • Morehead State University: Dr. Steve Chen, Professor of Business Administration
  • Southeast Missouri State University: Dr. Adam Criblez, Professor of History
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville: Dr. Lindsay Ross-Stewart, Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Health
  • University of Southern Indiana: Joshua N. Wildeman, Instructor, Kinesiology and Sport Department
  • Tennessee State University: Dr. Jason Smith, Interim Department Chair, Human Performance and Sports Science
  • Tennessee Technological University: Dr. Susan G. Wells, Lecturer, Decision Sciences & Management
  • University of Tennessee at Martin: Dr. Angie MacKewn, Professor of Psychology
  • Western Illinois University: Janice Gates, Senior Instructor in the School of Management and Marketing

The Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) is an 11-member collegiate athletic conference which operates in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. It participates in Division I of the NCAA; the conference's football programs compete in partnership with the Big South Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision.

EIU prepares students to accomplish their life goals through a combination of quality academics, personal relationships, and both on-campus and online learning opportunities. For more information about Eastern Illinois University, including its broad array of academic and career readiness programs, or any of EIU’s other community-based services and opportunities, visit or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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Josh Reinhart,
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