Theatre Professor Selected as SEC Faculty Achievement Award Winner

Photo of Seth Panitch
Seth Panitch

From the May 2016 Desktop News |Southeastern Conference officials have chosen Seth Panitch, professor of theatre, as the 2016 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner for The University of Alabama.

Panitch, who also serves as director of MFA and Undergraduate Acting Programs at UA, said he is both supremely humbled and honored to receive the award and to represent the University. He is one of only 14 professors across the SEC to be selected for the honor.

“As everything we do in the performing arts is collaborative, I am well aware this award also celebrates the faculty, support staff, and, most of all, the students of our department who have fueled and challenged me in the most rewarding of ways,” he said. “I consider myself beyond fortunate to have such a seemingly endless supply of daily inspiration.”

Since 2012, the SEC has honored faculty at universities within the conference for their academic achievements in research and scholarship.

To be eligible for the award, faculty within the SEC have to have achieved the rank of full professor, have a record of extraordinary teaching, and have a record of scholarship that’s nationally or internationally recognized.

Panitch’s research and work in the field includes being a professor, actor, director, and playwright. He’s directed five international stage productions in Cuba, four off-Broadway shows in New York City, five regional theater productions, a feature film, and numerous university productions. He’s also written international, off-Broadway, and regional productions as well as several feature films.

In 2008, Panitch became the first U.S. director to helm a professional production in Cuba in nearly 50 years when he was invited by the Cuban Ministry of Culture to direct Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice at the Adolfo Llaurado Theatre.

“The SEC Faculty Achievement Awards provide a unique opportunity for our conference to recognize the work of world renowned faculty members from each of our 14 universities,” said Nicholas S. Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University and president of the SEC. “This year’s winners represent some of the brightest and most accomplished individuals in their disciplines, and I offer each of them my sincerest congratulations.”

All 14 SEC Faculty Achievement Award winners will receive a $5,000 honorarium and become their university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award, which is the overall winner and will be announced in April. The SEC Professor of the Year Award winner will receive an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized at the annual SEC awards dinner.