Education Professor, Program Director Honored for Student Support

Andy Cheng, Tracy Case Koslowski named as recipients of 2024 Frist Award

Headshots of a man and a woman

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi employees are being honored for caring service to students that goes well beyond their campus responsibilities.

Qiang "Andy" Cheng, associate professor of elementary education, and Tracy Case Koslowski, associate director of the Intensive English Program, are the 2024 Frist Student Service Award honorees.

A committee appointed by the chancellor reviewed dozens of nominations submitted by students, faculty and staff. Both Cheng and Koslowski received glowing reviews from students, parents and their peers that stood out among this year's award nominations.

"Dr. Cheng and Ms. Koslowski have gone above and beyond in their support of our students, responding to their unique needs and ensuring they have every opportunity to flourish," Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. "I'm deeply grateful for their outstanding commitment to our community.

"Their efforts make a tangible difference in students' lives, and I'm so glad to see them honored with the Frist Award."


Tracy Case Koslowski, associate director of the Intensive English Program, is the 2024 staff winner of the Frist Student Service Award. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

In one nomination letter, a doctoral student from El Salvador shared how Koslowski saved her and a group of fellow international students from the brink of a housing crisis.

After arriving to Oxford last fall, the students' search for a rental property was unsuccessful and their hotel checkout date was quickly approaching. Sensing their panic, Koslowski offered the students her mother's apartment until they found a new home.

"During the time we lived at her mother's place, (Koslowski) would drive us to campus, and take us shopping and to family dinners," the student wrote. "She not only showed us the hospitality spirit Mississippians are proud of, but also went above and beyond to help us see that choosing Ole Miss was a good decision."

Koslowski's encouragement helps international students navigate new norms and challenges.

"As international students, we lack the support structure traditional students have," the student wrote. "Her caring and supportive qualities make the difference for those who have no one else to run to."

Koslowski, an Ole Miss alumna, first joined the Department of Modern Languages in 2003 as a graduate teaching assistant and in 2008 as a member of the faculty. A believer in the university's mission and vision of serving the people of Mississippi and the world, she said she was struck with shock and amazement after learning she was a Frist Award recipient.

"I never expected to receive such an honor," she said.

"I have seen shining examples of people helping each other throughout this entire world, and perhaps that drives me to be as caring as the others I have witnessed throughout my journey."


Qiang 'Andy' Cheng, associate professor of elementary education, is the 2024 faculty winner of the Frist Award. Submitted photo

Cheng's steadfast commitment to creating nurturing and inclusive learning environments are part of the reason one student referred to him as "the epitome of an outstanding professor."

Multiple nomination letters described the School of Education professor as an approachable professional who has never found a student accomplishment too small to celebrate.

"His unwavering commitment to his students' success, coupled with his remarkable empathy, respect and kindness, truly sets him apart," one student wrote. "He takes the time to understand each student's unique needs and challenges, providing personalized attention and encouragement to help them thrive academically and personally."

Cheng's coordinating role in several community service projects, including packing meals for low-income students in DeSoto County Schools, is an inspiration for his students.

"Dr. Cheng deserves this award more than any other faculty members at Ole Miss," another student wrote. "I have never had a professor like him in my 5 years of college and I am very thankful to be one of his students."

Cheng, who also serves as the Teachers of Tomorrow adviser on the university's DeSoto Center campus in Southaven, will celebrate 12 years at the university in August.

He said his goal is to make sure that future teachers are prepared for their roles. For him, that means stressing the importance of professionalism.

"This is critical," Cheng said. "I overly emphasize the significance of professional standards and work ethics for the students I work with."

"You need to be a good person. Based upon that, you can then become a good teacher."

Any full-time faculty or staff member, except previous winners, is eligible for the award, which includes a $1,000 prize and a plaque. This year's award recipients will receive special recognition on May 11 during the university's main Commencement ceremony.

The Frist Student Service Awards were established with a $50,000 gift from the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist, of Nashville, a 1930 Ole Miss graduate.


Marvis Herring


Office, Department or Center


April 30, 2024