MSU Texas professor named one of 10 Piper Professors

Stiles honored with prestigious Texas professor award

MSU Texas professor named one of 10 Piper Professors

Former Midwestern State University sociology professor Robert Clark wrote in his freshman student’s journal that he could “see her teaching someday … with a Ph.D.” Sure enough, that student, Beverly Stiles, became a teacher. She received her Ph.D.

To top that off, Stiles has just received one of the highest honors that a professor in Texas can receive. Stiles was named one of 10 Piper Professors statewide, an honor awarded annually to Texas professors for superior teaching at the college level. Stiles becomes the eighth MSU Texas professor in its 102-year history to receive this honor.

“It’s really very difficult to express just how much the Piper Award means to me,” Stiles said. “I was just thrilled to be nominated and didn’t expect that I would actually win.”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Marcy Brown Marsden said that MSU Texas prides itself on being a teaching-focused, student-centered institution, with student success as the top priority. “I believe Dr. Stiles is an outstanding representative of our philosophy. She balances scholarly expectations with a dedication to her students. We are thrilled that the Piper Foundation has recognized Dr. Stiles for her commitment to her students and teaching excellence.”

When Stiles began as a student at MSU Texas, she was majoring in social work and minoring in sociology, with many of the sociology courses being electives for the social work program. “The first semester at MSU I took two courses in sociology. One of those courses was with Dr. Robert Clark,” Stiles said. “He was my adviser and a role model. He prepared me well for graduate school. He was pretty hard on me! He bled all over my papers to make me an excellent writer. He goaded me to be the best student I could be and to not only major in sociology but to go on for a Ph.D. It was after that first semester that I changed to a double major in Sociology and Social Work.”

Clark, now professor emeritus of sociology said, “Bev Stiles was one of the best students I've ever had. She was a focused, hard worker. To me, the Piper Award was written for people like Bev. Choosing her was probably an easy sell as she is a perfect candidate.”

Stiles graduated from MSU Texas summa cum laude in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and social work and received the President’s Medal for Excellence. She earned her master’s from Baylor University and her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. Stiles returned to MSU Texas to teach in 1999 and is now professor and chair of the Department of Sociology.

Beverly Stiles with four MSU faculty members


Dr. Beverly Stiles

“I owe so much to MSU, but never in my wildest dreams thought that I would one day end up here as faculty,” Stiles said. “I appreciate being here to give back to students what I got when I was a student. I had professors who were approachable, who supported and encouraged me to do my best, who knew me by name, who cared that I really learned the material, who involved me in research, and who made certain that I was prepared for graduate school. I do my best to live up to their example so that I can be this kind of professor to the students I teach.” Stiles was named Faculty Member of the Year in 2009, and in 2010 was named Hardin Professor, the highest honor for a professor at MSU Texas.

“She’s never forgotten what she experienced as an undergraduate,” Clark said.

Along with Clark, Emily LaBeff was also Stiles’ professor, adviser, and friend. “I am also very grateful to Dr. LaBeff,” Stiles said. “She was a very loved and respected professor. I learned so much about teaching and interacting with students from her. I further developed my love of sociology in her classes.” LaBeff was named a Piper Professor in 1992.

Other influential professors for Stiles include Professor Emeritus of English Jeff Campbell and Professor Emeritus of Biology Fred Stangl.

As for the journal where Clark made his prophecy, Stiles says she still has it. “I am forever grateful to Dr. Bob Clark. Those early courses with him changed my life.”

In addition to LaBeff, other MSU Texas Piper Professors are Associate Professor of Management Charles Bultena, 2021; Mike Collins, 2008; Arthur Beyer, 1987; Harry Brown, 1981; Joseph Satin, 1967; and Jean Autret, 1961.

To be considered for Piper Professor honors, each of the six colleges nominate one professor for the award. The Faculty Senate reviews the nominations and votes on the MSU Texas nominee, which is submitted to the Piper Foundation.

“It meant something special that my peers would vote for me to be the MSU nominee for this prestigious award,” Stiles said. “I always do my best to represent MSU Texas in such a way that I can feel I am giving back for all that the university has done for me. I am very proud to be the eighth Piper Professor, but I also know that there are so many deserving, excellent faculty at MSU Texas who just have not yet received this award.”

About the Piper Professor Award and the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation

The Piper Award is the premier teaching award in Texas Higher Education, honoring 10 Texas professors each year. Begun in 1958, with eight awards, the roster of Piper Professors includes outstanding professors from two and four-year colleges and universities, public and private. The Piper Professor Award recognizes professors for outstanding academic and scholarly achievement and dedication to the teaching profession. The award includes a certificate of merit, a gold pin, and a $5,000 honorarium. The Piper Foundation also funds student loans and scholarships to high school seniors.

Related Posts

Caroline Gomez eyes career in D.C. after successful internship with congressional office

2024 Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching & Research Awards

2024 Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching & Research Awards

MSU Texas celebrates occasion with ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony

Contact Us