MU Faculty Excellence recipients build collaborations by sharing scholarship, service and community spirit with students

One builds community through music, another is the epitome of servant leader and a third enthusiastically shares her scholarship with her students and profession. Colleagues have honored three Manchester University undergraduate faculty members for exceptional ability and conviction:

  • 2014 Teacher of the Year: Debra Lynn, professor of music, director of choral music
  • 2014 Excellence in Service: Brad Yoder, professor of sociology, social work and criminal justice
  • 2014 Outstanding Scholar: Ashleigh Maxcey, assistant professor of psychology

Professor Debra Lynn “has extraordinary interpersonal skills and enjoys the respect and affection of arts faculty, adjuncts, students – both majors and non-majors,” says music Professor John Planer. His nomination noted that such outstanding performances as the Mozart Requiem this spring, the musical 1776 a few years ago and The Mikado this May “result from effective, efficient control; sensitive interpersonal rapport; and mutual respect.” Lynn annually directs choral collaborations that blend MU and community talent on stage for MU and community audiences. “Professor Lynn has created a community beyond the North Manchester campus,” adds Planer.

Professor Brad Yoder “always has had at his fingertips the Manchester Mission statement (and now, Statement of Values) to guide his own words and thoughts,” says sociology and social work Professor Robert Pettit. Yoder founded the Habitat for Humanity chapter in North Manchester, is a voluntary assistant coach for Spartan cross-country and track and field, and is active with the Church of the Brethren. Yoder also is an MU steward, stooping to collect litter as he walks across campus and turning off lights left on in classrooms.

In only four years at Manchester, Ashleigh Maxcey already has had five peer-reviewed articles and an opinion piece published and has given eight professional conference presentations. Simultaneously, she has mentored 13 undergraduate students for their research conference presentations while teaching courses in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience and running the campus Visual Cognition Lab, say Professors Marcie Coulter-Kern and Rusty Coulter-Kern in their nomination.

Manchester has a reputation for teacher-mentors who fully engage in students’ success. The University also is home to the 2009 Indiana Professor of the Year (environmental scientist Jerry Sweeten) and the 2002 U.S. Professor of the Year (art Professor Emeritus Jim Adams).

Manchester offers more than 60 areas of undergraduate study to 1,400 students from 24 states and 24 countries. Learn more at

May 2014

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North Manchester, IN 46962