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GSW history professor is featured scholar

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(Source:  GSW State) (Source: GSW State)

News release from Georgia Southwestern State 

AMERICUS, Nov. 10, 2009--  "A devotion to research is fundamental to teaching history. Without constant interpretation and analysis, the study of the past becomes stale for both the teacher and the student," said GSW History Professor Richard C. Hall, Ph.D. 

It is this devotion to research that is behind his being named recipient of the Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) 2009-2010 Featured Scholar Award.  The announcement was made today by President Kendall Blanchard.

"Dr. Hall and his commitment to scholarship illustrate the depth and breadth of the university professor role," said Blanchard.

"There is much more to being a college teacher than simply preparing and showing up for class. College professors are expected to be actively engaged in the creation of new knowledge and the advancement of their respective disciplines as well as being effective in the classroom.  This takes not only special talent and advanced education, but also great amounts of time and energy.  This award is in part an effort to make sure that our students and the greater community that we serve is aware of this. "

"It's very gratifying that my work is achieving some kind of recognition, especially from members of the faculty," said Hall.

 Hall's research focuses on the origins of the First World War which began in southeastern Europe, principally Bulgaria. On this subject he has written four books and numerous articles and papers.

One of his latest two books, "Consumed by War, European Conflict in the 20th Century" was published this month and "Balkan Breakthrough, The Battle of Dobro Pole 1918," is set to be published in March 2010.

"I've always been interested in what a cataclysm the First World War was," Hall said. "It began a century of conflict in Europe.

This conflict began in southeastern Europe, the Balkans."

Hall is widely recognized as having presented some of the clearest accounts of the Balkan Wars written in English. Nonetheless, his first book, "Bulgaria's Road to the First World War," was translated into Bulgarian, and his second book, "The Balkan Wars 1912-1913, Prelude to the First World War," was translated into Turkish.  Some of his other research has been published in Britain, Greece and Bulgaria.

Serving on the faculty at GSW has benefited Hall in his research in ways he "never dreamed." Three members of Southwestern's faculty are native Bulgarians: husband and wife associate professors of chemistry, Tzvetelin Iordanov and Nedialka Iordanova, and associate professor of physics, Svilen D. Kostov. They have supported Hall with his work and helped with translation issues.

In May 2009, Hall traveled to southeastern Europe with his Bulgarian colleagues and other GSW faculty members in connection with the University's study abroad program. Hall taught history at the American University in Bulgaria located in the city of Blagoevgrad.

Hall stresses that active research is essential in the teaching profession despite exploring exceptionally specific areas of study.

 "Though my subject area is narrow, the process of research and analysis is vital to maintaining interaction with my class material," said Hall. "I can't use World War I Bulgaria in all of my classes, but the process by which I go through to understand the material keeps it alive and new for me in all of them."

Prior to his tenure at Minnesota Mankato (1990-2002), Hall served as a member of the faculty at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln (1989-1990) and Ohio State University (1985-1987). He earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in history from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in History from Ohio State University.

In addition, Hall served as a member of the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1974 to 1978. He completed his term of active duty with the rank of captain.

Blanchard initiated the award in 2008 to recognize, once a year, a GSW faculty member who has made significant contributions to his or her discipline in the form of artistic accomplishment, basic research, writing, publishing, editing, presenting and grant awards.

The award recipient is chosen by a committee of faculty members representing each school selected by the Faculty Senate chaired by the past recipient of the award. It carries a stipend of $500.

 The public is invited to join the GSW community at a reception honoring Hall Thursday, Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. in the Rotunda of the Wheatley Administration Building.