Easterling Receives T.A. Abbott Award for Faculty Excellence

Dennis Landon, president of the Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (HELM) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), visited William Woods University Tuesday to present the 2004 T.A. Abbott Award for Faculty Excellence to Edward H. Easterling, professor of business and economics.

The award is the most prestigious recognition HELM gives to faculty members of Disciples-related colleges and universities. Along with a plaque, Easterling received $1,000 to be used for expanding his library, developing new courses or continuing education and research.

The award honors Easterling as a professor who inspires students toward excellence, continues to grow and learn in his or her academic discipline and practices a personal faith.

Easterling, 47, has been at William Woods for 18 years. A member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Mexico, Mo., he has degrees from Clemson University, Auburn University and the University of Missouri. Prior to coming to William Woods, he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In addition to teaching a wide variety of economics courses, Easterling has developed community economic potential reports and served as a consultant for area agriculture businesses.

A former chair of the division of business administration, Easterling was selected to receive WWU’s Distinguished Professor Award three times. He also received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001. He was nominated for the Abbott Award in 1992 and 1996.

He serves as the faculty advisor to a campus sorority and the Alpha Chi Honorary Society, and he is known on campus for supporting students by regularly attending sporting events, art exhibitions, theatrical performances, and other student activities.

Easterling is active in his church, having served as the chairman of the trustees and elders, president of the congregation, and on education and scholarship committees. He has taught Sunday School for junior-high students and adults and is a Cub Scout leader.

The T.A. Abbott Award, presented now for the 21st consecutive year, was established through a gift to the Division of Higher Education from the descendants of the Rev. T. A. Abbott, a student and later a trustee at Christian University (now Culver-Stockton College).

In the 1880s and early 1890s, Abbott pastored local congregations in Missouri, and from 1886 to 1910, he was the corresponding secretary of the Missouri Christian Missionary Society. He died in 1914.

Nominees for the T.A. Abbott Award must be full-time teaching faculty at Disciples-related institutions of higher education. Criteria for selection include quality of teaching, personal example and commitment to the integration of Christian faith and learning.

Easterling is the first William Woods faculty member to receive the award.

HELM helps students discover how they will change the world in partnership with Disciples congregations, higher education institutions, and campus ministry programs. Including cooperative efforts with local congregations, HELM helped distribute more than $270,000 in scholarships to 141 recipients in 2003.