TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama National Alumni Association has announced the 2018 recipients of the University’s highest honor for excellence in teaching – the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Awards.
This year’s honorees are Stacy Latham Alley, director of musical theatre and an associate professor of musical theatre and dance; Dr. Rich Houston, director of the Culverhouse School of Accountancy and the Hilton Dean Professor of Accounting; Dr. Mary Meares, associate professor in the communication studies department; and Nathan James Parker, instructor in UA’s creative writing department.
The National Alumni Association, along with UA President Stuart R. Bell, recognized the 2018 award recipients at the Wednesday, Oct. 3, Fall Campus Assembly in the Ferguson Center Ballroom. An awards presentation also occurs at the NorthRiver Yacht Club. Linda Thomas, president of the National Alumni Association, presented the awards.
Stacy Alley, who came to UA in 2010, is a professional director and choreographer whose recent teachings and artistic credits include work in Denmark, Tanzania, Norway, Scotland and Chile as well as New York. She was named Theatre Educator of 2017 in conjunction with the Druid City Arts Awards presented by the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa and was the recipient of a grant from The College Academy of Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity through UA’s College of Arts & Sciences. Alley is the vice president of the Musical Theatre Educators’ Alliance and an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She was co-founder and former chair of the Musical Theatre Committee for the Southeastern Theatre Conference.
Dr. Rich Houston previously served as director of the Master of Accountancy program; he has been a professor in the Culverhouse School of Accountancy at UA since 1995. In his career, Houston has taught at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels. He teaches undergraduate and graduate students in classes related to financial reporting and auditing, and he has served as a formal adviser for several doctoral students and an informal adviser for countless graduate and undergraduate students. Houston serves as director of the School of Accountancy and was director of the Master of Accountancy Program in 2003–14. Nationally, he served as president of the American Accounting Association’s Accounting, Behavior and Organizations section.
Dr. Mary Meares joined the faculty at UA in 2008. Including current students, she has advised 30 graduate students and served on another 40 graduate students’ committees. Meares has been an adviser to the Serbia Fellowship Experience since its inception in 2013, working with students involved in a leadership study-abroad program. At UA, Meares was the recipient of the 2015 Buford Peace Award, given annually to a faculty member at UA who, in his or her teaching, research, professional practice and personal life, has demonstrated exceptional levels of involvement in mediating human disputes, helping overcome prejudice, promoting justice and establishing peace.
Nathan James Parker, a full-time instructor, received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in 2004. Parker mentors students to look beyond what they see and know when writing. His classes explore the fantasy-inspired works of J.R.R. Tolkien and others. He continues to teach and explore the world, writing whatever comes to mind. Noemi Press published Parker’s first book of poems, “The Locust Diagrams,” in 2015. Other works have been published in numerous periodicals throughout the country, including American Letters & Commentary, American Poets Magazine, Colorado Review, The National Poetry Review and The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day Series.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.