University of North Carolina Wilmington biology and marine biology professor Martin Posey, who has a long history of applying his work in fisheries and aquaculture, is one of two UNC System faculty members recently honored with the 2019 Governor James E. Holshouser Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service.
The UNC Board of Governors announced Thursday the award recipients, which also include UNC Charlotte English Department chair and professor Mark I. West, a pioneer in the field of children’s literature and advocate for early childhood literacy.
The award honors faculty who exemplify the University’s commitment to service and community engagement. Typically, the UNC System names just one recipient of its prestigious annual service award, but this year, for only the third time in the award’s history, the selection committee made an exception.
“Both of these distinguished professors deserve this high honor,” said UNC Board of Governors Chair Randy Ramsey. “The Board of Governors recognizes them for transferring their academic expertise into stewardship and service. The important work that they do on a daily basis, on behalf of their communities and the state, embodies the best of the University.”
Created in 2007 and renamed in 2013 to honor former governor James E. Holshouser Jr., the award is designed to “encourage, identify, recognize and reward public service by employees of the University,” according to the announcement.
“The Holshouser award is a tangible reminder of the incredible impact members of our faculty have on the many lives that they touch, benefitting not just our students, but potentially every North Carolinian,” said UNC System Interim President Bill Roper. “Dr. West and Dr. Posey have consistently demonstrated that education involves always so much more than delivering information. It can and should be driven by a mission to make the lives of those whom they serve richer and fuller.”
Posey, who has served in UNCW’s biology department since 1989, has also served as director of the UNCW Center for Marine Science and was associate vice chancellor and dean of undergraduate studies. His 30-plus years of service have been devoted to university outreach and service, through which he has translated his academic expertise into policy and management.
Much of his engagement work is focused on the variety of challenges facing coastal areas, including resource management and sustainability issues.
He has served on the state Marine Fisheries Commission, the Coastal Resources Commission Scientific Panel on Coastal Hazards, and the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Crustacean Fisheries Advisory Committee, among others. He has collaborated with, or offered his expertise to, community and nonprofit organizations, among them the North Carolina Coastal Federation, the Cape Fear River Organization and the Lower Cape Fear River Program.
Officials said Posey has been devoted to enhancing education connections between UNCW and the community, notably with K-12 schools. He has been active in Project Quest, which provides hands-on learning experiences for middle school students in underserved regions. He has also helped to organize the Planet Oceans seminar series, which brings local and national researchers together to discuss coastal issues.
At UNCW, Posey has served on countless committees and organizations working toward the advancement of the university.
“Dr. Posey is truly the epitome of everything academic institutions treasure in a faculty member,” said UNCW Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli. “He’s a prolific researcher, a generous and supportive colleague to so many, and an integral part of the Wilmington community — personally and professionally. His presence on our campus has inspired students and peers for decades, and his impressive body of work has had regional, statewide, and global impact. It’s incredibly gratifying for all who admire Martin to see him recognized in this way. We are all very proud to know and work with Martin, and grateful for his boundless contributions to our university and community.”
Both recipients receive a $7,500 stipend and a bronze medallion in honor of their work. The board said it would honor both of them in person at a future meeting.