2014 DISTINGUISHED FACULTY
The ETSU Distinguished Faculty Award in Service was presented to Dr. Martha M. Michieka, associate professor in the Department of Literature and Language. A native of Kenya, Michieka holds a Ph.D. in English Language and Linguistics, with an emphasis on English as a Second Language, from Purdue University. Michieka joined the ETSU faculty in 2006.
Nominators pointed out that she is always “on call” for students and constantly advises them. “Whether it is working with our international students, working on diversity issues, helping students prepare for a medical missions trip, or giving her time in local schools, she embodies the ETSU value that ‘people come first,’” wrote one nominator.
Michieka serves as instructor and counselor for the Pathfinder Club at the Johnson City Seventh-Day Adventist Church. In that capacity, she has helped cook for and feed the homeless at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church. And she has organized church youth to do yard-cleaning and visitations for the elderly, as well as canned food collections for area food pantries.
Working with the Office of International Programs at ETSU, Michieka helped establish an exchange agreement with Kenya’s Kisii University in 2012. Through the exchange, retired books from ETSU’s Sherrod Library are regularly donated to the newly constructed library at Kisii. That exchange grew out of a visit by a Kenyan delegation to ETSU, coordinated by Michieka.
Michieka speaks often about Kenyan culture in area schools, sharing lessons about her native language, Kiswahili, and tastes of her native cuisine. She has led several workshops at national and international professional conferences.
In addition to her teaching and research, Michieka’s advising responsibilities at ETSU are demanding. “As Assistant Chair for Undergraduate Studies, she is required to chair the Undergraduate Committee, advise a large amount of undergraduates, meet with students who wish to change their major to English, lead a yearly Composition Workshop, and compile and analyze data for the university’s Academic Quality Initiative,” according to one nominator.
Faculty members in her department note with appreciation that Michieka has served on eight departmental search committees. “She has been on virtually every other department committee as well,” wrote a colleague. Michieka was instrumental in the creation of a new minor in linguistics at ETSU.
In 2011 Michieka served as a member of the steering committee for a major conference on diversity hosted by ETSU, and in 2013, she helped organize the university’s Black Faculty and Staff Association Heritage Dinner.