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Five professors receive 2021-22 President’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching

Five Liberty University professors have received the university’s most prestigious annual academic award for faculty, the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Many of the winners were formally recognized at degree presentation ceremonies during Commencement.

The award recognizes teachers who have promoted significant student learning, evidenced by creative and innovative approaches to teaching, the effective use of instructional technology, and exceptional pedagogical skill.

The recipients’ impact on students’ faith, thought, and character fully realizes the vision of Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell to Train Champions for Christ. The award process involves a formal peer nomination, dean support, faculty input, and student contribution. Winners from each category are recommended by separate confidential Provost Selection Committees, comprised of select faculty, academic leadership, and past winners, and are affirmed by the Offices of the Provosts for residential and online programs.




Emilee B. Harker

Assistant Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing

Emilee Harker serves Liberty University as an Assistant Professor of Nursing and is a Clinical Nurse II in the Immediate Care Unit at Lynchburg General Hospital. She uses creativity to build empathy in students to emphasize patients’ perspectives. Harker was awarded an ILLUMINATE Grant to lead an experiential “Aging Day” that utilized virtual reality to help educate students on dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Harker has been a faculty member since 2008.

Jillian Ross

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, John W. Rawlings School of Divinity

Jillian Ross serves Liberty University as an Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Director of Biblical Languages. Ross incorporates diverse activities, including games involving kinesthetic, oral, and visual features to advance biblical language proficiency. She also diagrams, marks up, and analyzes language on a SMART board. Ross has been a faculty member since 2016.

Linda Venturo

Assistant Professor, Helms School of Government

Linda Venturo serves Liberty University as an Assistant Professor, Instructional Mentor, and Subject Matter Expert. She presents students with varied types of videos, animations, lectures, and publisher content. She has developed a number of quality instructional manuals. Venturo has been a faculty member since 2006.



Lauri Ann Maitland

Associate Professor of Family Medicine, College of Osteopathic Medicine

Lauri Ann Maitland serves Liberty University as Associate Professor of Family Medicine and as Family Medicine Clerkship Director. Maitland developed an innovative third-year clinical clerkship that included active learning experiences in local community health and wellness services. She also co-created and implemented a Social Determinants of Health longitudinal curriculum at Lynchburg Family Medicine Residency. She has been a faculty member since 2017.

Frederick Volk

Professor of Counseling, School of Behavioral Sciences

Frederick Volk serves Liberty University as a Professor and Director of Doctoral Research. Volk constantly adapts his courses and teaching strategies to meet the needs of his students. Volk is a co-principal investigator/evaluator on a $2 million four-year grant to expand capacity of various services in Lynchburg. More than 40 of Volk’s students have obtained their terminal degree, and many are teaching at the university level. Volk has been a faculty member since 2006.

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