Lubbock Christian University takes pride in honoring exceptional faculty members who have demonstrated remarkable dedication and excellence in teaching. The L.R., Sr. and Ruth Wilson Excellence in Teaching Award stands out for its prestigious recognition of outstanding educators. Established by former LCU trustee Dr. Ray Wilson in tribute to his parents, this award symbolizes a legacy of commitment to Christian education. Today, this legacy is upheld by Dr. Wilson’s son-in-law, Quentin Mimms (’83), who serves on LCU’s board of trustees. Each year, this award is presented at the spring commencement by LCU President Scott McDowell, highlighting the university’s commitment to academic excellence and the celebration of its distinguished faculty.

L.R. Wilson, Sr. was a fervent advocate for Christian education, exemplifying a lifelong mission to transform lives through teaching. The recipients of the 2024 L.R., Sr. and Ruth Wilson Excellence in Teaching Award are Dr. Jeana Culbert and Professor Ronelle Howell, both of whom have made significant contributions to their respective fields and to the LCU community.

This year’s L.R., Sr. and Ruth Wilson Excellence in Teaching Award recipients, Dr. Jeana Culbert and Professor Ronelle Howell, embody the spirit of dedication and excellence that this award represents. Their contributions to LCU and their fields of expertise are truly commendable, and LCU is honored to celebrate their achievements.

Dr. Jeana Culbert

Dr. Jeana (Organ, ‘99) Culbert, a Licensed Master Social Worker, is renowned for her deep commitment to mentoring students and enhancing their professional behaviors. She has created and implemented an innovative rubric that measures these behaviors, assessed by peers, the students themselves, and the professor. This rubric has been instrumental in preparing social work students for professional practice, and Dr. Culbert has shared her approach with faculty at LCU and national education conferences.

Dr. Culbert teaches several critical courses in the Social Work program, including Intro to Social Work, Diversity, Social Research Methods, and Social Work Ethics and Professional Behavior. Her teaching methods are both creative and adaptable, ensuring that her courses remain relevant to the evolving social work landscape. Students commend her for her clear communication, vast knowledge, and respectful handling of sensitive topics.

“Her teaching excellence extends beyond the classroom as she is skilled at connecting with her students and motivating them for success. She recognizes and builds upon her students’ strengths while also being able to challenge student behaviors and performance directly and respectfully, when necessary,” said Dr. Jill (Fuller, ’95) Johnson, Department of Social Work and Criminal Justice Chair. “Students respect her immensely and continually reach out to her when they need assistance and support. She mentors and teaches students to not only be successful students but adults who are competent and passionate in serving those in need.”

Ronelle Howell

Professor Ronelle (Kruger) Howell ('83) is a dynamic force in the art world, known for her high standards and daily demonstration of Christ’s love to her students. Her students produce exceptional artworks, deliver excellent academic presentations, and achieve high acceptance rates into graduate schools or find teaching positions in public and private schools.

Professor Howell holds a B.A. from LCU, an M.F.A. from Texas Tech University, and an M.Ed. from LCU ('03). After many years of teaching at Texas Tech and in public schools, she joined the LCU faculty in 2018. She tirelessly teaches numerous courses each semester, supervises four art galleries, and advises all art majors. Her extensive connections in the Lubbock art community benefit her students' education, and she actively engages with alumni to raise funds for the Art Division.

Outside of her academic responsibilities, Professor Howell is a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. The dedication to her students and her remarkable artistic achievements makes her a shining example of the excellence that defines LCU. She spends her summers with family and creating her own artworks, which are regularly exhibited in local galleries. Dr. Stacy Patty ('79), Dean of the Hancock College of Liberal Arts said, “Because of the nature of art, which functions best when students work from their own joys and longings, she not only teaches art but comes to care very deeply for her students. She works long days in the classroom and studio, and then she spends hours in prayer and planning related to these students. She is a superb artist, creating each summer a remarkable number of large, high quality original paintings. But she is even more so a devoted and caring mentor and certainly a most worthy recipient of this award.”