MSU recognizes faculty and staff with 2022 Distinguished Service Awards


Morehead State Faculty has announced the recipients of the 2022 Distinguished Service Awards, which recognize faculty and staff for their contributions to the campus community and their areas of study.

Eagle Success Program Coordinator Craig Dennis received the Distinguished Staff Service Award. dr Robyn Moore, Associate Professor of Photography, received the Distinguished Creative Productions Award. dr Janet Ratliff (Born 1991, 1992), Elmer and Donna Smith Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Associate Professor of Management/Entrepreneurship, received the Distinguished Faculty Service Award. dr Social work professor Lisa Shannon received the Distinguished Researcher Award.

A native of West Liberty, Dennis is a three-time MSU graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a master’s degree in adult and higher education with a concentration in student services, and an MBA. He is working on his PhD in Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. Craig began his career at MSU in 1989 as a dormitory director and area coordinator in the Office of Student Housing. In 2000, Dennis became the first full-time professional academic advisor, advising what was then known as MSU’s Department of Elementary, Reading, and Special Education at the College of Education. In 2006, he assumed his current role as Eagle Success Program Coordinator. Dennis was elected to the Staff Congress and served 12 years, including two terms each as secretary, vice chairman and chairman. He was also elected and served one term as MSU Staff Regent. A graduate of the President’s Leadership Academy, he also worked with the MSU Foundation as a unit development officer and co-chair of the Campus Giving Campaign. Dennis has worked closely with several student groups on campus, including serving as a recruitment consultant for the MSU Residence Hall Association for five years and a campus consultant for Theta Chi Fraternity for 23 years. He is also an Eagle Ally and mentor of the DREAMS program.

dr Robyn Moore is a Virginia-native photo media artist and filmmaker. She joined MSU’s Faculty of Art and Design in 2015. Her research interests include deep time, biosemiotics, geology, phenomenology, empathic imagination, and how visible material photographic practices can foster new perspectives and perceptions of other beings and landscapes. Moore received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Virginia Tech; an MFA in Photography and Experimental Film from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University; and a Ph.D. in Visual Arts (Photomedia) from Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia. Moore’s artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the South Australian Museum and the National Archives of Australia; the San Francisco International Film Festival; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Harvard University; and the Houston Center for Photography. Last spring a series of photopolymer gravure prints were produced by Dr. Moore was selected as a finalist for the René Carcan International Prize for Printmaking in Brussels, Belgium and was the only US citizen to receive this honor. This fall, Moore’s series of landscape etchings entitled Being in the Land will be featured in a solo show at the Remarque Print Workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

dr Janet Ratliff earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing in 1991 and a Master of Business Administration in 1992; She received her Ed.D. in Education and Administration from the University of Kentucky in 2008. She began her career at MSU in 1992 as a Management Instructor before assuming her current position as the Elmer and Donna Smith Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship and Associate Professor of Management/Entrepreneurship. Since joining MSU, Ratliff has given 111 students international experience in 11 different countries. She was selected to serve on the Kentucky State of Standards Business and Education Advisory Panel for Financial Literacy to determine the baseline content requirements for the mandatory high school financial literacy standards. Ratliff designed and organized an annual on-campus business pitch competition and prepared students for state business pitch competitions. She has hosted entrepreneurship competitions in Southeast Kentucky for more than 5,000 middle and high school students who have created more than 1,753 student-run businesses. Ratliff has written, received and implemented grants totaling $450,000 and published and presented at 20 national conferences. Last year, she received the Appalachian Teaching Project grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, which she used to partner with Hazard High School to develop a Level UP course for MSU.

dr Lisa Shannon graduated in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky (UK) and later enrolled in the UK master’s program in social work. She earned her master’s degree in social work in 2003 before pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Work from the UK in 2007. Shannon gained extensive fellowship writing experience before joining MSU in 2010 as a Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Social Work. She is currently a professor of social work, primarily at MSU Prestonsburg. Her current extramural funded projects focus on evaluating community substance abuse treatment programs. She is a reviewer for several Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) projects that examine outcomes related to community-based services such as drug courts and other specialty courts and Volunteers of America. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) funded Shannon to conduct a statewide assessment of all types of specialty courts in Kentucky and several BJA-funded assessments of specific specialty court locations using evidence-based or best practice. Shannon also serves on the executive committee/board of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, serves on the editorial board of the journals Advancing Justice and Drug Court Review, and is a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health.

For more information, contact the Division of Academic Affairs at 606-783-2002 or visit

Photo, left to right: MSU presented Distinguished Service Awards to faculty and staff at the Fall Convocation 2022 on Wednesday, August 10. Winners were Dr. Robyn Moore (Distinguished Creative Production), Craig Dennis (Distinguished Staff Service Award), Dr. Lisa Shannon (Distinguished Researcher Award) and Dr. Janet Ratliff (Distinguished Faculty Service Award).


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