Sally Fortenberry, Ph.D., department chair and professor in the Department of Fashion Merchandising, has been selected as the TCU nominee for the “Piper Professors of 2023” award.
The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation recognizes ten professors across the Texas university system for their outstanding scholarly achievement and dedication to the teaching profession.
“This recognition is truly an honor and a total surprise, considering I was nominated out of the many outstanding teachers at TCU,” said Fortenberry. “Recognition from our peers and students is meaningful and makes me want to work even harder to be the best I can be.”
Campus Leadership & Involvement
Fortenberry’s 33-year career at the College of Fine Arts is marked by a passion for creativity and leadership. Fortenberry previously served as the chair from 1997 to 2003, when the department included interior design and fashion merchandising. She is also the director of the Center for Merchandising Education and Research.
Fortenberry has served across campus in roles that embrace the importance of faculty governance, including:
- Faculty Senate Chair
- Institutional Review Board Chair
- Honors Committee Chair
- College of Fine Arts Advisory Board Chair
- Chair of the Department of Fashion Merchandising Advisory Board
She is also a collegiate chapter advisor for the TCU Beta Zeta Chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron, a national honor society in Family and Consumer Sciences.
“My involvement with Phi Upsilon Omicron and the members and leaders at the collegiate and national level has been a life-long endeavor, beginning with my initiation into the organization as a graduate student in 1980. It is a privilege to work with these outstanding students,” said Fortenberry.
Teaching Philosophy & Values
“My mission as a college professor and advisor is to assist my students in becoming self-starters, independent thinkers and confident in their abilities and attributes. Their success becomes my success.”
Fortenberry structures her coursework and class discussions to instill a life-long passion for learning. Students are immersed in hands-on activities, guest presentations and experiential field trips to cultivate meaningful, real-life experiences that go beyond their comfort zones. Fortenberry believes this is how students can develop the confidence to take on new challenges and be receptive to diverse ideas.
“I want students to feel that it is okay to disagree with their friends, or even me, and voice their opinions in a safe environment. When students share their unique views, they bring in new ideas and learn about differences, creating a more productive environment to work successfully together.”
One of Fortenberry’s proudest moments in her career was receiving a senior class legacy appreciation certificate from graduates who financially contributed to TCU in her honor.
“I’ve received more than 68 of these appreciation certificates, and I have kept each one to remind me that what I do each day is important and does make a difference in these students’ lives.”
The award recipients will be announced in May 2023.