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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
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UCM History Professor Selected for Highest Faculty Honor

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 5, 2017) –  Dan Crews, an accomplished teacher, student mentor, and scholar who has dedicated 30 years of his life to the University of Central Missouri, will receive the institution’s most prestigious faculty honor, the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award.

Crews, a professor of history, will be publicly honored with other individuals who were nominated for the award during a reception hosted by UCM President Charles Ambrose at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 at the Elliott Student Union Kitterman Room. He also will be honored during the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences’ spring commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 6 in the Multipurpose Building. Both of these events are open to the public.

Dan Crews 2017 Byler Award
Dan Crews

The award is named for William H. Byler, an inventor, author and teacher who graduated from UCM in 1927 with a major in chemistry and physics. He established an endowment fund to provide annual recognition for distinguished faculty performance, evidenced by teaching, scholarly or creative activity and professional-related service.

The award committee considered letters of support for nominees in reaching its decision to recognize Crews. One such letter was from Eric Tenbus, professor and chair of the Department of History, Anthropology, Africana Studies, and Social Studies at UCM. He noted that Crews is a popular professor who is respected by department majors for “his approachable style yet demanding requirements in the classroom.”

He also wrote, “I have known Dan since my arrival at UCM 16 years ago and I have a great deal of respect for his legacy of accomplishments at the university. I think he represents what the Byler Award is designed to celebrate: dedication to his teaching craft and scholarship, academic professionalism, and personal integrity.”

Crews joined the UCM faculty in 1987 after previously working at Oklahoma Baptist University. His responsibilities include teaching undergraduate and graduate courses on Imperial Spain, Modern Latin America, History of Mexico, the Renaissance and Age of Exploration, as well as Historiography and World Civilization surveys.

Professional peers regard him as “one of the foremost experts on the Spanish Renaissance.” He has authored numerous articles for scholarly publications, and his research led to a book, “Twilight of the Renaissance: The Life of Juan de Valdés.” Valdés was one of the most famous authors of the Spanish Renaissance and played an important role in the Catholic reformation across Europe. The work was published in 2008 by the University of Toronto Press, and Crews’ research related to Valdés and his family is continuing today with another book project.

 Crews has contributed to his profession through his contributions to journals and in making presentations before history organizations across the country, Europe and in Latin America. He has served as Co-editor, General Editor, and currently an Executive Editor of the “Bulletin” of the Association for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies. In his current editorial capacity, he is responsible for obtaining peer reviews on early-modern Spanish history articles.  He was also elected General Secretary (President) of the Association, 2010-2012.

Students have benefited from Crews’ innovative and creative approach to lectures, including his modern American survey course, a class he has presented as a history of American technology and progress instead of as a straight political-cultural history. His successful approach to his graduate Historiography course has been praised by former students for making them much better writers and readers of history. His positive influence and mentorship is demonstrated through the success of two graduate student theses which won the best thesis award at UCM.

Outside the classroom, Crews has been involved in committee work at different levels. This includes serving on the Faculty Senate and General Education Committee, as well as University Research Council.

 Asked about what the Byler Award means to him, Crews points to one of the greatest influences in his own professional career at UCM.

 "The Byler Award is a great honor that I owe to the good fortune of being mentored, or in his words de-mentored by the late Arthur F. McClure, my chair for many years. UCM's Department of History and Anthropology was and continues to be a very productive and creative group of scholars though a bit less eccentric now than 30 years ago," Crews said.

Crews’ path to becoming a successful history teacher includes a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Alabama, master’s degree from the University of Memphis, and doctorate from Auburn University.