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2014-2015 Foundation Award Winners

Carroll Van West 
Profession, Department of History
Director, Center for Historic Preservation
Career Achievement Award

The story of Carroll Van West is a story of living histories in Tennessee and across the South, and by all accounts, deep into the West--in Montana and the Dakotas. A history buff growing up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, he pursued the stories of our past early and intently in his academic endeavors. His deep passion for living history has not only made for a remarkable life’s work but it has brought the pride of heritage and the power of a community celebrating its heritage---through living histories--into communities far and wide. He has turned the living histories of these communities into living laboratories for the learning and practice of history for thousands of his students.

The director of the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University and a professor of history, Carroll Van West is the State Historian of Tennessee, named to the post by Governor Bill Haslam In 2013. He also is the co-chair of the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and is director of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area. He is the resident visiting professor for the annual Summer Institute in Southern Culture and Material Culture, a program administered by the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Old Salem, North Carolina and the University of Virginia.

Carroll Van West holds a B.A. from MTSU, a master's degree in history from the University of Tennessee, and a PhD in history from the College of William & Mary. A professor in MTSU's history department since 1985, Dr. West teaches courses in architectural history, historic preservation, and state and local history. He has directed to completion approximately 100 M.A. theses of MTSU graduate students in history as well as 14 doctoral dissertations.

Dr. West’s research interests lie in 19th and 20th century southern and western history as well as architecture and material culture. He served as the Senior Editor of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly from 1993 to 2010 and was the section editor for “Architecture” in the Encyclopedia of Appalachia (University of Tennessee Press). He continues as the editor-in-chief of the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture website (with the University of Tennessee Press) and most recently compiled the anthology, Tennessee and the Civil War (Tennessee Historical Society, 2011). His earlier books include A History of Tennessee Arts: Creating Traditions and Expanding Horizons (University of Tennessee Press, 2004); an edited anthology, Trial and Triumph: Readings in Tennessee’s African-American Past (University of Tennessee Press, 2002), the first such textbook on Tennessee’s African American history in over 20 years; Tennessee’s New Deal Landscape (University of Tennessee Press, 2001); The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture (Tennessee Historical Society,1998); the edited anthology, Tennessee History: The Land, The People, and The Culture (University of Tennessee Press,1998); Tennessee's Historic Landscapes (University of Tennessee Press,1995);Capitalism on the Frontier: The Transformation of Billings and the Yellowstone Valley in the 19th Century (University of Nebraska Press, 1993); Images of Billings (Western Heritage Center Press, 1990);Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective (Tennessee Department of Agriculture,1987); and A Traveler's Companion to Montana History (Montana Historical Society Press,1986).

A reviewer of publications for major presses, Dr. West also reviews journal submissions for Winterthur Portfolio, Annals of Iowa, the Journal of Southern History, the Journal of American History, Montana: Magazine of Western History, the Western Historical Quarterly, the Pacific Northwest Quarterly, the Industrial Archaeology Society, North Dakota History, The Public Historian, and the Great Plains Quarterly. He has served as a referee for multiple National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) review panels and served on NEH projects in Tennessee and Montana.

Dr. West serves on the board of advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Lewis and Clark Trust, and the Teaching with Primary Sources program of the Library of Congress. He works extensively with the National Register of Historic Places program on documentation projects and his past works range from the Sullivan Jackson house in Selma, Alabama to the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee to the Historic Farms in Tennessee, 1780 to 1955 project (Multiple Property Nomination).

Dr. West has directed and completed hundreds of historic preservation projects across Tennessee, including The Heritage Center located off the town square in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, he has worked with museum/preservation projects in many other states. Most recently he has been working on historic preservation issues in Alabama and Montana. Dr. West has written numerous articles, chapters, and book reviews in southern and western history. His blog,, documents and interprets 30 years of preservation work in the state of Montana.

A sustained commitment to excellence and an incredible body of work in the field of history affirms Dr. West’s passion for his discipline. His outstanding career, devoted to the power of living stories—past and present, also speaks to his commitment to community-building through the celebration of heritage. Perhaps his story is best told in his own words. On the occasion of his acceptance of State Historian, he noted: “There is no greater honor for a historian of Tennessee than to serve the state and its citizens. . . .(to collaborate with) the citizens of Tennessee who for generations have been effective stewards of our documents, objects, landscapes, and especially our stories—the stuff of our history that gives us a sense of shared identity, purpose and community”. Stewardship, shared identity, purpose, and community are not only the hallmarks of his work in Tennessee but also across the South and into the far West. Carroll Van West is the most worthy recipient of the 2015 Middle Tennessee State University Career Achievement Award.

Outstanding Teacher Awards

  • Dr. Mark E. Doyle, History
  • Mr. David W. Gore, Engineering Technology
  • Mr. Adam L. McInturff, English
  • Dr. Ahad S. Nasab, Engineering Technology
  • Dr. Jason L. Pettigrew, Foreign Languages & Literatures
  • Dr. Lisa M. Sheehan-Smith, Human Sciences

Outstanding Teaching in General Education

  • Dr. Mary F. Magada-Ward, Philosophy

Outstanding Achievement in Instructional Technology Awards

  • Ms. Marsha D. Barsky, Theatre and Dance
  • Dr. Lisa B. Green, Mathematical Sciences
  • Dr. Scott N. McDaniel, University Studies

Outstanding Public Service Awards

  • Dr. Aleka Akoyunoglou Blackwell, English
  • Dr. Kim Cleary Sadler, Biology
  • Dr. Maria L. Edlin, Assistant Director - Center for Economic Education

Distinguished Research Awards

  • Dr. Nancy S. Goldberg, Foreign Languages & Literatures
  • Dr. Philip E. Phillips, Associate Dean, Univeristy Honors College

Creative Activity Award

  • None

Career Achievement Award

  • Dr. Carroll Van West, History/Historic Preservation Center

Special Projects Award

  • Dr. Cyrille L. Magne, "Effect of Music Intervention on Literacy Skills in Children with Dyslexia"
  • Dr. Tammy J. Melton, "MTSU Chemistry Scholarship Tournament"

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