ETSU presents Distinguished Faculty Awards

Published 2:03 pm Monday, August 28, 2023

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JOHNSON CITY – Three East Tennessee State University faculty members were presented with the Distinguished Faculty Award in the areas of teaching, research and service. It is the highest honor given to an ETSU professor. Each honoree receives a one-of-a-kind hand-blown glass piece and $7,500 provided by the ETSU Foundation.

Dr. Jessica Burchette, a pharmacist and associate professor at ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, received the university’s Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching.

“Dr. Burchette is a standout faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the GCOP,” wrote Burchette’s nominator. “She is a gifted teacher, who, despite the number of accolades she has already received, is committed to continuing to improve the learning experience for her students.”

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Burchette was a member of the Gatton College of Pharmacy’s inaugural Class of 2010. She completed her pharmacy practice residency at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, and afterward returned to Gatton for her internal medicine residency.

She joined the college as an assistant professor in 2012, specializing in pulmonary disorders and basic critical care concepts.

When it comes to the classroom, Burchette’s teaching philosophy is all about meeting the students where they are.

“Every student comes to us with a different background, and each class has a different personality and really a way that they look for things to go,” Burchette said. “My job is to really get to know them as people and to try to use that interpersonal relationship to be able to bring them along in their pharmacy education.”

The Distinguished Faculty Award in Research was presented to Dr. Dawn Rowe, the James H. Quillen Chair of Excellence in Teaching and Learning and a professor in the Clemmer College of Education and Human Development. 

Since arriving at East Tennessee State University in 2019, Rowe has garnered almost $15 million in grant funding. Over her career, fellow scholars have cited her work more than 2,000 times. Across the world, she is recognized as a first-rate researcher on topics ranging from disability related professional development to evidence-based practices in secondary transition.  

“For me, it’s all about quality of life for individuals with disabilities and those without,” said Rowe. 

In late 2022, Rowe and her team received a $3 million grant aimed at improvements for those with disabilities. She has spent time in the Marshall Islands, developing and evaluating systems to support students with disabilities in progressing through school to graduation and playing an important role in a teacher retention project.  

“Dr. Rowe has heeded the call from the U.S. Department of Education and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) for improving the quality of education for all children through the use of rigorous scientific research,” wrote Rowe’s nominator.

Rowe has also worked to secure funding for Access ETSU, a program that has for several years offered supplemental support to young adults with intellectual disabilities at ETSU.  

The Distinguished Faculty Award in Service was presented to Dr. Dorothy “Dottie” Greene, whose life has been dedicated to serving those battling addiction-related challenges. This associate professor in the ETSU Department of Social Work (part of the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences) led the effort to establish the Johnson City Recovery Center (JCRC), the first recovery community center in Northeast Tennessee.

As the JCRC’s executive director, Greene leads a team of certified peer recovery support specialists who identify as people in recovery. She calls the JCRC a “recovery hub” for individuals in recovery from substance use disorders (SUD) that bridges the gap between professional treatment services and recovery housing.

“Helping people in recovery is no doubt my purpose for being on the planet at this point in time,” Greene said. “It provides me a deep sense of purpose and meaning. The best way to describe recovery is like watching a miracle happen in real time. We see people come in here with nothing but the shirt on their back who develop into happy, healthy, productive, caring members of society.”

Greene, who holds a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Utah, also developed and implemented ETSU’s graduate certificate program in clinical addiction studies and recently completed a three-year term on the board of directors of the National Association of Social Workers.

“Sharing her personal journey of recovery, she is a beacon of hope to many and works tirelessly to uplift and support those suffering from SUD,” Greene’s nomination states.