Three GWU Faculty Members Recognized with Inaugural President’s Early Career Award

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Dr. Anna Sieges-Beal, Dr. Yvonne Smith and Dr. Casey Delehanty Honored for Scholarship and Service

A portrait photo of Anna Sieges-Beal
Dr. Anna Sieges-Beal

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Three assistant professors at Gardner-Webb University have been recognized for their productivity in scholarship, creative discovery, instruction, and service. Dr. Anna Sieges-Beal, Dr. Yvonne Smith and Dr. Casey Delehanty are the recipients of the inaugural President’s Early Career Award presented by Dr. William M. Downs.

“Too frequently we wait until late in a colleague’s career to acknowledge their achievements. With this new award, we seek to celebrate the exceptional work being done by our junior faculty,” Downs explained.  “These three faculty members are clearly dedicated to their students, they are providing daily inspiration, and they are producing graduates who will carry lasting lessons with them for a lifetime. In important ways, these award winners are representing the best of Gardner-Webb.”

Here’s a snapshot of each recipient:

  • Sieges-Beal, assistant professor of religious studies, has been a member of the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Gardner-Webb since 2015. She teaches traditional undergraduate, degree competition and graduate classes and regularly ranks near the top on student opinion surveys. In addition to her responsibilities as an advisor, Sieges-Beal has also helped students prepare papers for conferences outside of class and supervised master theses and worked with students in the Undergraduate Scholars Summer program. For two years, she has been one of the faculty sponsors for the Gardner-Webb Ethics Bowl team, working closely with students to help them to think ethically and to make, present and defend arguments. She is also the faculty sponsor for the Religious Studies Association, working closely with students to improve their spiritual and intellectual growth outside of class. She started and manages the department’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. She is a board member of Baptist Women in Ministry of North Carolina and a member of the nominating committee for the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion. In her community, she is an active member of her church, First Baptist in Forest City, where she serves as a deacon, leads seminars and preaches and takes her turn in the nursery. She has also supported Feeding Kids of Cleveland County. Sieges-Beal is an active scholar, with three works in press for publication. She is a frequent speaker for national conferences, including the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, the chief professional organization in her field.
A portrait photo of Yvonne Smith
Dr. Yvonne Smith
  • Smith, assistant professor of nursing, has been with the Hunt School of Nursing since 2016. Her students recognize her as compassionate, enthusiastic, exemplary leader, and excellent communicator. She has demonstrated excellence in scholarship in the areas of school nursing and mental health nursing. She participates in multiple conference presentations and continues to serve as an expert peer reviewer for the American Journal of Psychiatric Nursing. She has been instrumental in the development of two courses in the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. These courses were created from her extensive knowledge of public health nursing using critical appraisal of one’s local community. She has served as chair of many student DNP Projects. While teaching in the online setting, Smith provides recorded lectures and hosts synchronous Zoom meetings with students to ensure course content is delivered appropriately. Due to the rotating schedules of working nurses, she often holds Zoom meetings at unconventional times (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) to ensure that students are able to get the information they need. She was recognized with the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award in 2019. Smith maintains certification in three nursing specialty areas, including psychiatric and mental health nursing, school nursing and nursing education. Maintenance of each of these certifications requires ongoing participation in continuing education opportunities. She volunteers in her community by serving on various committees and as a Guardian ad Litem for children in foster care.
a portrait photo of Casey Delehanty
Dr. Casey Delehanty
  • Delehanty, assistant professor of political science in the Department of Social Sciences, joined the faculty of Gardner-Webb in 2016. His co-authored work on media violence and viewer perceptions of that violence has been accepted by Perspectives in Politics. His other interests are police violence, displacement in civil wars and global threat assessment. A study he co-authored, “Militarization and Police Violence: The Case of the 1033 Program,” was published in Research and Politics. He has also presented and published in the area of creative teaching using simulations. By using these methods, his students have been able to understand difficult concepts. In spite of the difficult time many have had migrating to an online learning environment, Delehanty has created a way for his class to be involved in a diplomacy simulation. When he arrived, Model UN at Gardner-Webb was a few years old, with about 8 to 10 students involved. Under Delehanty’s direction, the group has grown to an average of 18 students a year and has brought home awards. He also serves as a member of the Southern Regional Model United Nations Board of Directors. Additionally, he serves as the faculty advisor for the College Democrats and Sigma Iota Rho, the honor society for International Studies.

The annual President’s Early Career Award carries with it a $1,000 professional development stipend for each recipient. The three inaugural recipients will be recognized at an event once the University returns to normal operations.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at