skip to main content columnskip to left navigation

Office of the Provost

East Tennessee State University

Service Award

2020 Distinguished Faculty Award for Service - Dr. Donna Cherry

The Distinguished Faculty Award for Service was presented to Dr. Donna Cherry, associate professor in the DepartmDr. Donna Cherryent of Social Work in the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences.

The award was presented at the annual Faculty Convocation, which was delivered in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cherry, who has taught at ETSU since 2009, has held numerous service roles at the university and throughout the community.

“Overall, Dr. Cherry’s service record is remarkable,” said Dr. Mary Mullins, chair of the Department of Social Work. “The impact of service extends far beyond the department to benefit so many.”

At ETSU, Cherry served as the first Marketing and Recruitment Committee chair in the Department of Social Work and was responsible for liaising with potential students in at least three states. In 2017, Cherry was awarded the ETSU Outstanding Service Organization Advisor Award, recognizing her work as the MSWSA (Master of Social Work Student Association) faculty advisor. In addition, Cherry organizes and attends the annual Social Work Day on the Hill, where she guides students as they identify a social justice issue to address, discuss and advocate for/against at the capitol with legislators.

In 2019, Cherry was the first recipient of the “Social Work Educator of the Year” award, presented by the Tennessee chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

Cherry’s trauma-focused clinical work has also bloomed into service opportunities with the International Storytelling Center. She is on the advisory board for the Stories for Change program, where she helps develop, deliver and evaluate new curricula for at-risk youth. Last year’s focus – SHEroes Journey – aimed at young girls was very successful and won a $5,000 ETSU Elevates Grant.

This year, Cherry began a new project that was inspired by her work on the Northeast Tennessee Foster Care Review Board. Noting that teens who age out of the foster care system are often vulnerable to homelessness, Cherry purchased and is renovating a house she has named Huschka House, which will serve as a transitional living program for young adults who have aged out of the foster care system and meet the program’s definition of “homeless.”

“Dr. Cherry lives and breathes social justice and service,” said Dr. Brittany Wilkins, associate professor in the Department of Social Work. “The profession of social work benefits by Dr. Cherry helping educate professionals and ‘walk the walk’ of social work values in helping vulnerable persons.”

Cherry earned a bachelor of arts degree from Oregon State University in 1984 and an M.S.W. (2003) and Ph.D. (2007) from the University of Tennessee.

[From ETSU News August 21, 2020]

2019 Distinguished Faculty Award for Service - Dr. Andrea Clements

ETSU presented its 2019 Distinguished Faculty Award in Service to Dr. Andrea Clements, a professor and assistant chair of curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychology.

Dr. Andrea ClementsClements, who has served in many capacities at the department, college and university levels, is best noted for her work in the community and region in two areas: promoting trauma-informed practices in court, police, education and mental health systems, and collaboration with faith-based groups to address the problem of opioid use and addiction.

Beginning in 2015, Clements partnered with Becky Haas, then of the Johnson City Police Department (JCPD) and now of Ballad Health, to implement trauma-informed practices in various Johnson City service agencies. Through this effort, more than 4,500 professionals throughout the region have heard Clements’ talks on the effect of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on brain development, behavior and interpersonal relationships. These talks have led many to incorporate trauma-informed care approaches in their agencies.

Working with the JCPD and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Clements played a leading role in hosting a regional forum showcasing advances in trauma-informed care in the fall of 2018. Following the event, SAMHSA officials called the forum “a national model other cities should follow.”

As part of her work with Haas, Clements has worked directly with those in need of care, in addition to educating professionals.

For five years, she served as a mentor through a reentry program for felony offenders with addictions, bringing a home-cooked lunch each Monday and spending time with participants.

“More than the food she provided, her impact is often shared when individuals graduate from this program after 12-15 months of attendance,” the former program director wrote. “Clients will tell how it was Andi’s firm but reassuring mentorship that helped them to stay on the road to gaining sobriety and successfully reentering the community after incarceration. Though a tenured faculty member, published author and sought-after lecturer, Andi redefined for those in the reentry program that there is no ‘us and you.’ Her ability to relate and connect person to person has provided hope to hundreds passing through the program.”

Clements and Haas also helped “transform the culture of a punitive alternative school program to a positive caring and successful learning environment for students who before had little academic success,” according to a program administrator.

Clements’s “dedication to working with teachers monthly … has not only restored value to our students but also to our teachers,” the administrator wrote. “She totally threaded herself in with our school and became one of us. We went from around 52% of the students earning approximately 200 credits per year to earning 1,155 credits last year. But most of all, our students feel loved and cared for – able to make life-long decisions that positively impact their lives. Our teachers and staff have a renewed pulse for our school and it is evident as you walk the halls of our building.”

In addition, Clements has been instrumental in engaging faith-based organizations in the fight against the opioid epidemic in southern Appalachia. She is a founding member and executive director of the Holy Friendship Collaborative, a multi-agency, multidisciplinary, non-profit consortium that mobilizes the faith-based community at the individual church level to integrate their resources to counteract the opioid crisis. She helped plan and coordinate the 2018 Holy Friendship Summit, which drew approximately 450 clergy, clinicians and others together to discuss needs and strategies involved in combating addiction in the region.

Clements joined the ETSU faculty in 1995 as an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Learning in what is now the Clemmer College and moved to the Department of Psychology in 2005. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama, from which she holds a B.S. degree in interdisciplinary counseling, an M.A. in rehabilitation counseling and a Ph.D. in educational psychology.

[From ACCENT Faculty and Staff Newsletter, September 3, 2019]

2018 Distinguished Faculty Award for Service - Dr. Cynthia Chambers
The recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Faculty Award for Service was presented to Dr. Cynthia Chambers, associate dean for the Clemmer College and professor in the Department of Educational Foundations and Special Education.

“Dr. Chambers connects research to practice by involving her students in the development, implementation, and evaluation of inclusive community service programs that have a strong research-based foundation,” a fellow faculty member wrote. “Her students are actively engaged and enthusiastic, and many continue to volunteer in the community-based service activities long after the semester has ended.”Cynthia Chambers 2018

Since joining the ETSU faculty in 2007, Chambers has gained regional and national attention for initiatives she has launched, including “Turning Pages Together,” a series of book clubs for people of all abilities; the “Friends of Lazarus Reading Program,” which provides reading opportunities for homeschool children in partnership with a local animal shelter; the “Friends of Lazarus Job Internship Program” which offers job internships at the animal shelter for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities; and “Learning With Laz,” through which Chambers and her cat, Lazarus, present to groups of young children about ways to identify their own unique qualities and discover how they can contribute. The Lazarus programs were named in honor of Chambers’ cat who was born with cleft palate.  Earlier this year, Chambers and Lazarus were featured on the Animal Planet network.

Another program she helped implement with a former graduate student was Power of Performing (POP) Arts, a performing arts program for children and adults with and without exceptionalities.

“POP Arts was the turning point of my college career,” a recent graduate wrote. “This program allowed me to apply what I was learning during my lectures into real-life experiences.”

In describing Chambers’ work with the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program, a nominator commended Chambers for “providing quality feedback to the interprofessional graduate, medical, and doctoral-level students” and added that she uses her time, resources, and knowledge to “build connections between our program, the Vanderbilt faculty, and our community members to provide prominent interprofessional interactions and learning experiences. She has also provided many resources and time to connect community experiences for our trainees and for the annual conference for professional and community members.”

Chambers holds a B.S. degree in special education from Georgia College and State University; an M.Ed. degree from Vanderbilt University; and a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Kansas.

[From ETSU News Release, 24 August 2018]


2017 - Susan Epps, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, Department of Allied Health Sciences

2016 - Megan Quinn, College of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology

2015 - Teresa Boggs, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

2014 - Martha Michieka, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Literature and Language

2013 - Benjamin Caton, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music

2012 - Rosalind Gann, Clemmer College of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction

2011 - Roberta Herrin, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Appalachian Studies

icon for left menu icon for right menu