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A non-profit publication of the Office of the University Relations of Virginia Tech,
including The Conductor , a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year


Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 26 - April 3, 1997

John Moore

By Sandy Broughton

In the early 1970s, John Moore was behind a videocamera capturing the sounds, facial expressions, and learning that took place as four-year-old Gina shared her pre-reading skills at the Virginia Tech Child Development Laboratory School. One of Virginia Tech's first color video productions, Moore's work was of such high quality that it continues to be used as a resource for students studying early-childhood development.

Twenty-five years later, Virginia Tech has become known as a pioneer in using new technologies to improve teaching and learning and, as director of Educational Technologies, Moore has played a vital role. This year, he is honored with the President's Award for Excellence for his extraordinary contributions to the university.

As one of the original staff members when the Learning Resources Center was founded in 1971, Moore has shaped Virginia Tech's progress in implementing educational technologies with his unique combination of instructional design expertise, technical production skills, and cooperative spirit. "It is through Dr. Moore's work that Virginia Tech is building the infrastructure to realize the vision in the Update to the University Plan 1996-2001," said Joanne Eustis, Information Systems' director of planning and program review.

Through the Faculty Development Initiative, which Moore developed and manages, more than 1,000 faculty members have broadened their vision of the potential of technology and acquired the knowledge and resources to reinvent their teaching methods. "He has helped transform the climate at Virginia Tech as it pertains to the new teaching/learning environment," said Lucinda Roy, who, with Moore, developed the university's Cyberschool project on asynchronous network-based instruction.

Moore is also credited with insight into the values of higher education, recognizing both the potential of technology and the needs of the learner. "John recommended against letting the technology drive the course," said Cosby Rogers, a faculty member in Family and Child Development who worked with Moore to develop one of Tech's first Internet-based courses. "He said the focus should be on content, sound educational practices, and the context of extended campus learners." Sybil Phoenix

By Stewart MacInnis

An explosion in the number of students in recent years resulting from a new environmental-science program and an intensive recruiting effort have created tremendous administrative challenges for the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences.

But, said department Chairman Jack Hall, the challenges have been transformed into sterling successes by Sybil Phoenix, the department's enrollment-support technician. Those successes have earned Phoenix the President's Award for Excellence, which will be presented on Founders Day.

Phoenix and her faculty supervisor, Dave Parrish, are credited with having the vision for creating the department's novel Student Administrative Center, a place where more than 550 students get answers to most of their questions about administrative matters.

"Sybil has helped us avoid administrative chaos," Hall said. "We simply would not have been able to do it without her. Her administrative efforts have significantly reduced the workloads of our over-extended advisors; students go to Sybil to resolve many administrative matters that advisors would otherwise be asked to address."

More than 600 visitors and inquiries poured into the Student Administrative Center during the first three weeks of the fall semester alone. They were handled there, allowing instructors and advisors to deal with other tasks during the hectic days when classes begin. Students like the one-stop service they get at the center.

"Sybil brings a personal touch and caring attitude to her tasks," Hall said. "She will delay or even forego lunch to serve a line of students. She sees beyond the merely logistical part of her position to the people she serves, and she serves them very well."

James R. McKenna, associate professor and departmental undergraduate recruiter, gives Phoenix high marks for her ability to manage recruiting correspondence to as many as 700 potential students at a time.

"She has organized our recruiting correspondence to the point that she can tell me essentially instantly what has gone out to whom and when," McKenna says. "This has been no small task, and the benefits have been great."

Charles Shorter

By Stewart MacInnis

People should be able to look at Virginia Tech's College Farm and see a model agricultural operation. That is a goal that drives Charles P. "Chuck" Shorter as he manages the crop-production operations at the college's Montgomery County farm.

His success in pursuing that goal earned him the 1997 President's Award for Excellence to be presented during Founders Day activities.

"Chuck is a very progressive thinker and believes the College Farm should be a model for Virginia producers," said Dwight Paulette, farm coordinator. "He constantly gleans information from our [agriculture] Extension specialists and researchers and incorporates those recommendations into our operations."

Shorter supervises employees in the production of more than 1,600 acres of corn, rye, alfalfa, barley, and hay. Paulette said Shorter's management ability allows him to make maximum use of resources while his leadership ability has earned him the respect of subordinates.

J.P. Fontenot, professor of animal science, praised Shorter's commitment to the university. "During illnesses of persons working under him or during inclement weather, he makes sure that the animals are cared for," Fontenot said. "For example, during heavy snows during the past two winters when the roads were closed, he personally went to Kentland and fed and took care of the animals."

He also praised Shorter for his support to researchers, who depend on the farm crew carrying out detailed protocols concerning crop or animal management. "His expertise and devotion contribute to the success of the research; hence, he makes the projects leaders `look good,'" Fontenot said.

Scott Hagood, professor of weed science, also rated Shorter's support of researchers as outstanding. "Chuck has an unusual sense of dedication to his job, and devotes whatever time is required to completion of his work," Hagood says. "This work ethic is appreciated by those who he supervises, and results in excellent productivity by the entire crew."

Shorter has worked for the College Farm for 21 years, and he has been agricultural manager for six years.