Powell Named Honors Professor of the Year

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dr. Bobby Powell, professor and chair of physics and director of the West Georgia Observatory, was named Honors Professor of the Year. Powell’s service to the university spans 41 years and has amassed a lifetime of accomplishments and honors.

Honors Council President Miranda Byrd presented the award to Powell.

“Honors students from all over campus voted on this professor with great enthusiasm because of the true devotion he shows to his students,” Byrd told the audience at the Honors Convocation ceremony.

“Frequently you can see this professor coming out of the Boyd Building at all hours of the night – whether he’s going home at that time or headed up to the observatory depends on where Saturn is in the night sky. And despite major surgery this spring and despite doctors’ orders, this professor returned within a month to finish out the semester with his students. Next fall he will teach two different Honors classes, Physics and Astronomy, and give even more Honors students the opportunity to share in what is truly a unique experience. It gives me great pleasure to present the award for Honors Professor of the Year to Dr. Bobby Powell. You totally deserve this honor.”

Powell’s dedication and service to UWG began when he arrived at West Georgia in 1967 as an assistant professor of physics. After a promotion to associate professor and then professor, he served as acting chairman of the department on several occasions and became chair in 2006. In addition, Powell has been director of the university’s observatory, which he designed, since 1979.

He earned his master’s and doctorate in physics at Clemson University after graduating from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a B.S. in 1963. Powell specializes in solid state physics, astronomy and teaching of physics.

Powell secured more than 30 grants for educational activities and research during his career at West Georgia, with the most recent grants totaling $108, 000 for 2007 and 2008. He worked extensively to obtain grants from the Georgia Department of Energy Resources and the Eisenhower Program from 1987-1997, which made courses available to pre-college and in-service teachers.

Powell served on and presided over numerous committees in the four decades at West Georgia. He also held offices and fulfilled committee assignments in the Georgia Academy of Science, served two terms as both president of the Georgia Academy of Science and as president of the Southern Atlantic Coastal Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. He is currently a member of Science Education for the Public Committee of the national American Association of Physics Teachers.

Powell coauthored four books and numerous journal articles. From 1996 - 2006, he was been the West Georgia Coordinator for the Post-Secondary Readiness Enrichment Program as well as a West Georgia summer program, Project STARR. These activities provided assistance for students in at-risk situations who were enrolled in area schools.

Powell was recognized as Advisor of the Year 2002 and 2004 for serving as faculty advisor for the Chi Omega sorority and received a Distinguished Professor Award from the Alumni Association in 1981.

The recipient of the Honors Professor of the Year award has been selected by Honors College students for more than twenty years.