During the celebration of the University of Montevallo’s 120th Founders’ Day, the University honored deserving UM staff, faculty members and fellow alumni for their service.
This year, the University of Montevallo’s National Alumni Association recognized Sally Hardig of Brierfield, Alabama with the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award. Hardig also received the University’s Academic Advising Award for consistently guiding students to success through their undergraduate courses and beyond
Hardig, who grew up in Mayfield, Kentucky, received her bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Kentucky in 1994. She studied for her master’s at the University of Memphis where she served as a teaching assistant and guest lecturer.
She came to Montevallo in 2002 to be an instructor in Communication Studies while studying for her doctorate at the University of Memphis.
In 2006, she received her Ph.D. and was hired on as a full-time Assistant Professor in UM’s Department of Communication.
Hardig is currently an associate professor of communication studies and served as the department chair between 2011 and 2015.
According to her nominees, Hardig earns student respect and admiration by offering a sense of academic empowerment in the classroom.
“She takes students to the next level of learning by daring them to apply their knowledge by becoming advocates for various causes that are dear to them,” said colleague and friend Sherry Ford, professor of communication studies. “I believe that many of our graduates have changed their world for the better because of their experiences in Dr. Hardig’s classes.”
One of Hardig’s former advisees, Josh Barronton ’08, says her influence was instrumental in his decision to become a communication studies major and later complete grad school.
“She pushes her students to look deeper, think harder, and glean more out of the world around them and the artifacts being studied than they would have thought possible,” said Barronton. “She has a way of seeing more in you than you can in yourself, which is surely the hallmark of a great teacher.”