Friday, September 26, 2014

An Unexpected Honor

I like to think that I am fairly well attuned to my work environment and able to provide proactive response through preparedness and situational awareness. However, this week I was caught completely off guard. While attending the 2014 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Conference, I was bestowed with the 2013-2014 Faculty Member of the Year award. Considering that I joined the ranks of academia just two short years ago (temporal disassociation, i.e. ability to sense passage of time, does actually occur when one is engaged in enjoyable activity; Agarwal and Karahanna, 2000), this was not an event I had registered as even a remote possibility. 

As this occasion was such an inconceivable surprise, I could not effectively articulate what this truly means to me. I was caught up in the exciting, terrifying, and emotional moment. So now that I have had time to reflect, I would like to put down in words what was swirling through my mind, but was unable to express.

In 2012, my first week as an Assistant Professor was spent at this very same conference meeting all of my new colleagues, while looking ahead down the challenging road before me. During this initiation into ERAU-Worldwide faculty, the gentleman who would later become my Dean gave me invaluable advice and mentorship. Dr. Ken Witcher introduced me to the ever expanding world in which I now find myself. He challenged me to set and strive to meet high goals, while focusing on those critical components of higher education; teaching, research, service, collaboration, communication, and quality. At this first conference, he won this very same award, setting a high standard and expectation.

These last two years, I have taken his and other colleagues advice to heart. We do not do what we do for accolades, acclaim, and awards. We do this for our students. We do this for our comrades. We do this out of love of the work, for the pursuit of ideals, the quest for greater knowledge, and the opportunity to share what we have learned and experienced. This distinction does not belong to me, it belongs to all those I have had the pleasure to work, argue, debate, endeavor, and collaborate with. It belongs to our students, staff, and leadership who all play such an important part of our University. It belongs to my family, my wife, daughter, and son who support me as I explore this amazing and surprising world and try to leave it better than I found it. I thank you all for the support, guidance, and fellowship these last two years and promise to continue to strive together to meet ever greater expectations on this exciting and promising road before us.

Most sincerely,

Brent Andrew Terwilliger, Ph.D.

Agarwal, R., & Karahanna, E. (2000). Time flies when you're having fun: Cognitive absorption and beliefs about information technology usage. MIS Quarterly, 24(4), 665-694. Retrieved from

UPDATE (7 Oct 2014)- The video from this event is available at (look for me around the 0:29:30 mark):