HBU Piper Professors

The Piper Professor Award, given by the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award Foundation, recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching in colleges and universities throughout Texas. Established in 1958, the foundation gives 10 awards annually to teachers who are devoted to their professions and have made a special impact on their students and their community. Each year the five colleges and schools at HBU select their Piper Professor Nominee. These individuals represent the very best in teaching and professional development in each college. A single nominee is selected each fall to represent HBU as our university nominee to the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.

Past recipients from HBU include Dr. Calvin Huckabay, professor in English, 1970; Dr. Joyce Fan, professor in chemistry, 1972; Dr. Marilyn Sibley, professor of history, 1976; Dr. Marion Webb, associate professor in Spanish, 1982; Dr. Doris Warren, professor in chemistry, 1991; and Dr. Linda Brupbacher, professor in education, 2008.

HBU 2017-18 Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Nominees

Dr. Joshua Farris
Assistant Professor of Theology
2017-18 School of Humanities Piper Professor Nominee

Dr. Farris’s teaching exposes students to the great texts and ideas of the western world through the lens of the Christian church. By equipping students with a basic facility with the great texts, thinkers, and ideas of the western world, Dr. Farris ably leads students to see and know the God of the Christian Bible. As the Director of the Academy and an instructor in the Honors College, Dr. Farris organizes and facilitates learning that prepares high school students for college level writing, thinking, and engagement. In addition to his academic contributions to theology, philosophy, and ethics, Dr. Farris organizes public discussions and 5-6 public lectures a year, which promotes classical learning with an emphasis on Christian thinking.

Jesse GrothOlson
Assistant Professor of Cinema and New Media Arts
2017-18 School of Fine Arts Piper Professor Nominee

Professor GrothOlson teaches primarily in the areas of production for film, TV, and theatre, including acting, production, and production design.

With more than a decade of professional work as an actor and producer for the stage and screen, Mr. GrothOlson brings extensive real world experience to the classroom. His career has taken him from improv and Kabuki in Chicago to feature-length musical comedies. Jesse GrothOlson has an MFA in Performance from Roosevelt University in Chicago and has taught acting and directing at multiple universities, as well as private coaching for actors in Hollywood. He is also well-versed in technical production for film and theater, serving as a director, production designer, stage manager, sound designer, construction coordinator, or lighting designer for more than 50 plays, musicals, films, television shows, commercials, and music videos.

Dr. Steven Jones
Associate Professor of Classics
2017-18 School of Christian Thought Piper Professor Nominee
2017-18 University Piper Professor Nominee

Dr. Jones’s teaching focuses on exposing students to the classical world and equipping them with the ability to read languages for themselves so that they can have first-hand access to the foundational texts of Western Civilization. His research focuses on the literature and archaeology of Rome’s Augustan Age. His other areas of interest include the classical context of early Christianity, the philosophical and religious functions of Classical Mythology, and the classical roots of medical language. He has previously taught at Baylor University, The University of Texas at Austin, and Trinity University.

Dr. Elizabeth “Polly” Trevino
Assistant Professor of Education
2017-18 College of Education and Behavioral Science Piper Professor Nominee

In Dr. Trevino’s courses on second language teaching and sheltered (ESL) content instruction, educators learn how to meet the cognitive, linguistic, and affective needs of English language learners and how to infuse language instruction throughout the curriculum.  Dr. Trevino also teaches a course in educational research, which helps teachers and administrators understand and apply educational research in their instructional settings. Dr. Trevino’s research interests include second language acquisition, literacy development, preparing teachers to instruct English language learners, and online teaching and learning.  She has presented research and professional development at state, national, and international conferences.  She is a member of the Texas and National Associations for Bilingual Education, American Educational Research Association, and the International Reading Association.

Dr. Saul Trevino
Associate Professor of Chemistry
2017-18 College of Science and Mathematics Piper Professor Nominee

Dr. Trevino has a passion for helping undergraduates develop independent, life-long learning skills that will prepare them for success in their post-undergraduate endeavors. In his courses, students develop their understanding and appreciation for chemistry and for the great minds of the past who have made important chemical discoveries. His area of specialization is protein chemistry. He teaches courses in Introductory Chemistry, General Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Bioanalytical Methods.

HBU Piper Professor Past Nominees

  • 2016-17 Piper Professor Nominees

    Houston Baptist University has chosen from among its faculty members Dr. Rhonda Furr as the University Piper Professor Nominee. Dr. Furr will represent HBU to the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation for consideration as a Texas Piper Professor award recipient. Three outstanding faculty members were nominated from their schools and colleges: Dr. Taiya Fabre, Dr. Dianne Reed, and Dr. Rhonda Furr.

    Dr. Furr is a professor of Music in the School of Fine Arts. She teaches all of the courses in musicology and organ. She has also taught courses in Church Music and led cultural arts tours in Europe. She was the university consultant for the Smith Organ in Belin Chapel, which made her responsible for the oversight of a $1.5 million gift. She worked closely with Letourneau’s Artist Director, Andrew Forrest, and external consultant John Gearhart to design the Smith Organ for wide-ranging use in performance, worship, and instruction. Dr. Furr recently served as the Convention Coordinator for the 2016 American Guild of Organist’s National Convention attended by more than 1,200 organists, music ministers, and organ enthusiasts from around the globe.

    Dr. Taiya Fabre is a professor of Chemistry in the College of Science and Math. She enjoys introducing undergraduates to the field of chemistry and strives to give them the tools that will help them succeed in the future. Her area of specialization is the field of organic chemistry. Dr. Fabre has mentored undergraduate students by performing research supported by the Robert A. Welch Foundation Departmental Grant.


    Dr. Dianne Reed is a professor of Education in the College of Education and Behavioral Science. She has invested her energies in creating educational leadership programs designed to assist school districts in the development, enhancement, and expansion of innovative programs to recruit, train, and mentor principals and assistant principals. She has helped launch the university’s first doctoral program in educational leadership and currently serves as its director.


    HBU strives to select faculty members who best represent the values and practices of exceptional teaching, mentoring, and scholarship. We celebrate these role models and look to them as we aspire to become a great university. Previous state winners have been Dr. Linda Brupbacher, professor of Education and Dr. Doris Warren, professor of Chemistry and dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

     Dr. Doris Warren

    Dr. Linda Brupbacher

  • HBU Campus Piper Nominees for 2015-2016:

    College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
    Dr. Kaye Busiek, EdD

    • Assistant Professor of Education
    • Program Coordinator, All Levels Education and Secondary Education


    College of Science and Mathematics
    Dr. Evelyn Potter

    • Chair, Department of Mathematics and Physics
    • Program Coordinator, Mathematics, Physics, Pre-Engineering, Mathematical Studies
    • Associate Professor of Mathematics


    School of Fine Arts
    Dr. Matthew Boyleston

    • Program Coordinator, Writing
    • Associate Professor of English and Writing
  • HBU campus Piper Professor Nominees for 2014-15:

    The School of Fine Arts
    Michael R. Collins, MFA

    • Associate Professor of Art
      Chair, Department of Visual Arts;
    • Artist-in-Residence;
    • Director, Master of Fine Arts.

    This is Professor Collins third time to be honored as a Piper Professor Nominee.


    The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
    Cynthia Simpson, PhD

    • Professor of Education
    • Dean, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

    This is Dr. Simpson’s second time to be honored as a Piper Professor Nominee.

    She has been selected as the 2014-15 University Piper Professor Nominee and will be HBU’s candidate to the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation.


    The College of Science and Mathematics
    Hannah Wingate,PhD

    • Assistant Professor of Biology


  • HBU Campus Piper Professor Nominees for 2013-14:

    The College of Science and Mathematics
    Gardo Blado, PhD

    • Professor in Physics


    Center for Law and Liberty
    School of Humanities

    Chris Hammons,PhD

    • Director, Center for Law & Liberty
    • Program Coordinator, Government
    • Professor of Government


    Dr. Richard J. Martinez:

    • Chair of Management, Marketing, and Business Associate,
    • Professor in Management, The School of Business


    The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
    Cynthia Simpson, PhD

    • Professor of Education
    • Dean, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

    Jeffrey Wilkinson, PhD

    • Program Coordinator, JMC
    • Professor in Journalism and Mass Communications,The School of Fine Arts
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