During celebration of the 123rd Founders’ Day, the University of Montevallo recognized deserving faculty, staff and alumni.
On Oct. 10 the UM National Alumni Association recognized Dr. Jim Day, professor of history, with the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award for 2019. He has more than 30 years of collegiate teaching experience and 22 years of that he has spent at UM.
Day began his academic career at the United States Military Academy in 1979, where he received a degree in engineering with a minor in history. He then went on to serve 16 years in the US Army before retiring as the executive officer of a 682-man infantry battalion.
Day then began teaching at UM in 1997 as he continued his education and received a doctorate in history from Auburn University in 2002.
His time at UM has seen him move through various administrative and academic roles. These positions ranged from professor of history to vice president of academic affairs and included a short time in which he served as the chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences from 2007 to 2010.
He also previously served as the assistant vice president for academic affairs at UM and is currently the faculty advisor for the University of Montevallo’s Campus Veterans Association.
Day’s colleagues noted that his commitment to improving the academic experience of students extends beyond being a subject matter expert, as he is constantly dedicated to improving the lives of students in and out of his own classroom.
Many programs and facilities that many UM students rely on today are due to his efforts during his time in administrative roles. During his time at UM he has been involved in the purchasing of advanced software and lab equipment as well as assisting with the momentUM program.
As BSS chair, Day worked with his colleagues to help them develop experiences for UM students that focused on utilizing the unique opportunities available to them at the University.
“His dedication to students, commitment to teaching and administrative experience seasoned by his innovative and collaborative approach makes him the ideal candidate.” said Dr. Tammi S. Dahle, dean of students. “It is without hesitation that I support his nomination.”
In 2018 Day was recognized by the Birmingham Business Journal as a Veteran of Influence. The award recognized veterans based on their contributions to their workplace, a track record of innovation as well as their leadership and engagement with their community.
Earlier that year he was also awarded the Michael J. Grainger Endowed Professorship in Modern History and will continue to serve in this position, the first of its kind, until 2021.
“Jim has the unique ability to connect events in our nation’s past, and apply their consequences, current national events,” Grainger said when asked about Day in 2018.
Day is also active in his community and was the president of the Leadership Shelby County Alumni Board from 2013-2015.
“His accomplishments inside the classroom are varied and impressive. His teaching outside the classroom is, as well,” said UM Community Relations Manager Carol Bruser, coordinator of Leadership Shelby Count. “Under his progressive leadership, the Alumni Board saw much success.”