August 14, 2018
Brett Johnson, an associate professor of sociology, received the 2018 Gibbs Outstanding Teacher Award at Mars Hill University. Johnson, who joined the Mars Hill faculty in 2012, was recognized for outstanding performance as a classroom teacher, outstanding development of teaching methods and materials, influence on students, and influence on other teachers. The Gibbs Awards was established in memory of Robert S. Gibbs, Sr., who served on the Mars Hill board of trustees from 1903-1943.
Felice Lopez Bell, an instructor of English who has taught as Mars Hill since 2011, received the Snow Caring Award for faculty. While the Snow Award also honors excellent teaching, its focus is the personal concern and mentorship shown by the recipient, both in and out of the classroom.
This year, the Snow Caring Award also was extended to non-teaching staff of the university. Marlene Tomberlin, administrative assistant for Student Support Services, was the inaugural recipient of the staff award.
The Snow Caring Award was established in 1999 by A.C. and Nancy Snow in memory of their daughter Melinda Jean Snow, a 1988 graduate of Mars Hill College. Also known as the “Chicken Soup Award,” the Snow Award is given by the faculty division chairs to a faculty member whose life and teaching style reflect the personal concern for students illustrated by an oft-remembered quote from Melinda. As a junior, Melinda transferred from UNC Chapel Hill to Mars Hill, citing a desire for the smaller college atmosphere. She is known to have said, “At MHC, you miss class and pretty soon somebody, often a faculty member, is knocking on your door, bringing a bowl of hot chicken soup.”