Nicholls State Presents 10 Awards at Faculty and Staff at Fall 2023 University Convocation

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Nicholls State University presented 10 awards to its faculty and staff during its fall 2023 University Convocation on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. The event featured opening remarks by Vice Provost Dr. Todd Keller and President Jay Clune, PhD, regarding Nicholls’ 75th anniversary and the slate of events for the year-long celebration.


During his university update, Dr. Clune informed faculty and staff that the university’s strategic plan that many of them gave input on was approved by the ULS Board of Supervisors, and its implementation will begin soon.


“It’s always refreshing to welcome everyone back for the fall semester, refreshed and ready to help change the lives of our students,” said Dr. Clune. “Convocation is always a great opportunity to bring everyone together and recognize some of our top-notch faculty.”


During the ceremony, Dr. Uttam Pokharel, associate professor of chemistry, was awarded the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence, an award that goes to an individual who embodies a personal philosophy and practice of teaching, both inside and outside the classroom, focused on student engagement and learning. Nominations are received from students, alumni, peers, department heads and deans and screened by a University-wide committee, with one name recommended to the President. The recipient is awarded a one-time cash award of $1,000, followed by an annualized $1,000 stipend beginning the next academic year.


Through the continued generosity of Regions Bank, the Office of Academic Affairs can support the Academic Affairs Awards for Teaching Excellence. Recipients receive a one-time stipend of $500. Deans and department heads were asked to nominate faculty from their areas who have met the following criteria: five years of consecutive teaching and service, five consecutive years of outstanding student evaluations and five years of outstanding administrative evaluations. The awardees for the Academic Affairs Award for Teaching Excellence are:

  • Mr. Adrien Maught, Instructor of Marketing, College of Business Administration
  • Dr. Leah Peterson, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • Dr. Melinda Jefferson, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, College of Liberal Arts
  • Mrs. Michelle Patterson, Assistant Professor of Nursing, College of Nursing
  • Dr. Jonathan Willis, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, College of Sciences and Technology


The Student Affairs Apple Awards recognizes teaching faculty for their extraordinary contribution to the student experience. The nomination process is an open call for submissions from students, student organizations, faculty peers and staff. A committee consisting of Student Affairs leaders, student leaders and a representative from the Dean’s Council reviews the nominations and selects recipients based on the criteria of each award. The Student Affairs Apple Awardees included:

  • Dr. Kevin McQueeney, Assistant Professor of History, Outstanding Faculty Advisor of a Student Organization
  • Dr. Angelique Allemand, Professor of Nursing, Outstanding Faculty Mentor
  • Kristie Hartman, Instructor of Nursing, Outstanding Faculty Support for Student Activities
  • Dr. Lori Gardiner, Assistant Professor of Nursing, Outstanding Faculty Merit Award


To learn more about Nicholls’ campus events for fall 2023, visit