Teaching, service and research awards to LAS faculty, staff

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AMES, Iowa – The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) at Iowa State University is honoring 36 faculty and staff with awards for their accomplishments. The recipients will be formally recognized Sept. 3 during the LAS Faculty-Staff Convocation.

The recipients and their awards include:

Early Achievement in Teaching 
Award – Recognizes tenured or tenure-track faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding teaching performance unusually early in their professional careers.

•     Rachel Haywood-Ferreira, assistant professor of world languages & cultures. A model teacher, Haywood-Ferreira has taken the leadership role in developing Luso-Brazilian Studies at Iowa State. She also had significant contributions in designing a certificate program in Latin American Studies.

Outstanding in Teaching Award – Recognizes faculty members for outstanding teaching performances over an extended period of time in undergraduate education.

•     Gordon Miller, professor of chemistry. In his 18 years at Iowa State, Miller has improved the student academic experience in chemistry at ISU and other campuses in the state. He has worked to improve safety in the lab and environmental responsibility and has increased opportunities for first-year undergraduates to become involved in research.

•     William Simpkins, professor of geological and atmospheric sciences. Simpkins has taught a dozen courses in hydrometeorology while at ISU, using methods to allow students to learn by applying knowledge in real-world settings. He earned a Master Teacher award in 2002-03 from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

•     Gurpur Prabhu, associate professor of computer science. With a reputation for being a top instructor, Prabhu teaches introductory courses all the way to advanced graduate courses. His in-class exercises are frequent and allow him to receive immediate feedback to ensure students are following his material.

Excellence in Undergraduate Introductory Teaching Award – Recognizes outstanding performance in teaching undergraduate introductory (entry-level) classes.

•     Shu-Hui (Susan) Chang, lecturer, computer science. Chang successfully took the large Computer Science 103 course (1,000 students in 25 sections) from a traditional large-class lecture course to an entirely online class while preserving student satisfaction and success. For her efforts, she won the 2007 Blackboard Greenhouse Exemplary Course Program Best Practice Award.

•     Beth Martin, senior lecturer, world languages & cultures. A German instructor, Martin’s classes are known for their rigor, but student evaluations consistently say they are enjoyable and rewarding. Her teaching appeals effectively to students with all learning styles and motivates students to continue their German studies.

•     Eric Northway, lecturer, philosophy and religious studies. Beginning his ISU teaching career as a visiting lecturer, Northway has become one of the more popular and effective instructors in his department. With academic experience both in the United States and abroad, he brings an interesting perspective to his religious studies courses.

Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award – Recognizes major professors serving as effective mentors who enrich the student-professor relationship and who also excel in graduate classroom instruction.

•     Lisa Larson, professor of psychology. An enthusiastic educator, adviser and mentor, Larson has won three previous awards directly for graduate teaching or mentoring. She is well-known in the development of curriculum related to teaching and mentoring graduate students as researchers.

Early Achievement in Research Award – Recognizes faculty who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in research and/or artistic creativity unusually early in their professional careers.

•     Wallapak Tavanapong, associate professor of computer science. Tavanapong is a pioneer in the areas of multimedia databases and networking. She and her collaborators created the world’s first Video Database Management System for colonscopic and endoscopic procedures.

•     Justin Tobias, associate professor of economics. Tobias has been an active researcher in the areas of economic policy and methodology. He has had 32 publications including a book thus far in his young career, and he is actively recruited as a seminar speaker.

•     David Vogel, associate professor of psychology. Since arriving at ISU in 2000, Vogel has been a prolific researcher on communication patterns in intimate relationships, stereotypes and issues of gender, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation in counseling. He has published 41 articles in his first seven years on campus.

Mid-Career Achievement in Research Award – Recognizes faculty members who have a national or international reputation for outstanding contributions in research and/or artistic creativity at the mid-career stage.

•     Marzia Rosati, associate professor of physics and astronomy. Rosati has made significant contributions to the PHENIX experiment at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island, N.Y. Her research has led to 128 publications and many more citations by other researchers.

•     Nicola Pohl, associate professor of chemistry. Pohl redesigned the undergraduate organic laboratory curriculum at ISU for discovery-based learning and introduced state-of-the-art concepts and techniques. She also incorporated more real-world examples of chemical problem-solving into the undergraduate organic chemistry lecture course.

•     Song Xi Chen, professor of statistics. As a researcher, Chen has made numerous influential and fundamental contributions to both theoretical and applied statistics. His applied research has included extensive work in the areas of fishery surveys and also finance and economics.

•     Reuben Peters, associate professor of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology. Peters has established a strong reputation as a natural products biochemist and has attracted highly competitive federal funds to support his research. His work has contributed significantly to the agricultural and medical scientific communities.

Outstanding Career Achievement in Research Award – Recognizes faculty members who have a national or international reputation for contributions in research and/or artistic creativity, and who have influenced the research activities of students.

•     Vasant Honavar, professor of computer science. Honavar is an authority in the area of machine learning and especially its applications in data mining, bioinformatics and semantic web research. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 papers in scholarly journals and at conferences.

•     Carolyn Cutrona, professor of psychology. Cutrona’s prominent and distinguished research career has focused on interpersonal relationships and the extent to which supportive relationships with others can prevent the onset of serious mental health problems especially during stressful life events. She has written 48 journal articles, 19 book chapters and one book.

•     Volker Brendel, professor of genetics, development and cell biology. Brendel is the Bergdahl Professor of Bioinformatics in the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology. He is an internationally recognized scholar and leading researcher in bioinformatics, computational biology and biological statistics. He has served as principal investigator on extramural research grants totaling more than $10 million.

Ruth W. Swenson Award for Outstanding Advising Award – Recognizes outstanding performance as an undergraduate academic adviser over an extended period of time.

•     Walter Trahanovsky, professor of chemistry. Trahanovsky has been an outstanding adviser and mentor to ISU’s undergraduate chemistry students for more than 44 years. He has been an active member of the American Chemical Society’s Committee on Professional Training, which works to keep undergraduate curricula current.

•     Kerry Whisnant, professor of physics and astronomy. Whisnant has been the Department of Physics and Astronomy’s undergraduate advising coordinator since 2000 and has been an undergraduate adviser since 1997. At the time of his nomination, he personally advised 53 of the 80 undergrads in the department, including all 10 double majors, five teacher education students and half the freshmen.

Outstanding Achievement in Departmental Leadership Award – Recognizes a department chair who has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities in advancing the faculty, staff, students and programs in his or her department.

•     Michael Bugeja, director, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. In 2003 Bugeja became director of ISU’s Greenlee School. He helped secure the school’s re-accreditation and has raised $3.5 million in gifts. He is the author of several books and his research is cited in many well-known publications.

•     Eli Rosenberg, professor and chair, physics and astronomy. Rosenberg joined ISU in 1979 and became department chair in 2002. He has introduced many innovations in departmental policy and activities that have greatly benefited students, faculty and staff. He also has taken leadership roles in a number of campus-wide activities.

International Service Award – Recognizes faculty members for outstanding international service in terms of teaching, research or administration, within the United States or abroad.

•     Eric Abbott, professor, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. Abbott’s involvement in international service, particularly in communication and sustainable agriculture, over four decades has been extensive and far-reaching. The knowledge he has gained from global work is widely integrated into the courses he teaches.

Outstanding New Professional Award – Recognizes and honors a new Professional and Scientific employee who quickly has achieved excellence in his or her respective field.

•     Mark Mathison, teaching laboratory coordinator, geological and atmospheric sciences. Mathison contributes greatly to the success of the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences. He teaches, repairs diverse lab and field equipment, and trouble-shoots computer hardware and software.

P&S Award for Excellence in Information Technology Award – Recognizes and honors Professional and Scientific employees working in the field of information technology who have demonstrated excellence in their position responsibilities.

•     Stephen Heideman, teaching laboratory coordinator, chemistry. In his role of Instructional and Administrative Computer Support, Heideman has been active in developing methods for isolating and securing computers interfaced with scientific instruments. He also built and maintains a web-based chemical inventory database for the chemistry teaching labs.

P&S Excellence Award – Recognizes and honors Professional and Scientific employees who have achieved excellence in their respective fields.

•     Shirley Huck, program coordinator, Institute for Social and Behavioral Research. The director of the ISBR’s Data Acquisition Unit, Huck has gathered data from thousands of research participants. Her contributions to complex field research projects make her a strong contributor to ISU’s research mission.

•     Venita Currie, academic fiscal officer, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Currie provides exemplary financial management for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She acts as the fiscal liaison between the college and its departments and also the college and all other units on campus.

•     David Gieseke, director of communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 1999 Gieseke started the communications program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. His efforts today not only include college communications, special events and marketing but those of many of the college’s departments as well.

•     Kathy Box, office manager, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. As office manager, Box keeps the Greenlee School main office organized and in order for the busy students, faculty and staff. Her work ethic and attention to detail is an asset to the school.

•     Tracey Pepper, assistant scientist, genetics, development and cell biology. Pepper is the manager of the Microscopy and Nanoimaging Facility. Pepper and the facility provide a variety of instrumentation, technical assistance, consultation and training to individuals and groups of life sciences and biotechnology researchers.

Institutional Service Award – Recognizes a member of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty for a history of exemplary institutional service that has benefited the department, college and/or the university.

•     Don Payne, associate professor of English. Payne’s 30-year Iowa State career has been marked by technological advances, curricular reform and innovative pedagogy. In recent years he has directed ISUComm, a communication-across-the-curriculum program that emphasizes written, oral, visual and electronic communication.

•     Keith Woo, professor of chemistry. Woo has demonstrated a high degree of dedication and service to the Department of Chemistry and the university in his 22 years on campus. He has had oversight of the Chemical Instrumentation Facilities, is serving as the department associate chair and is chair of the new chemistry building committee.

Merit Excellence Award – Recognizes and honors Merit employees who have achieved excellence in their respective fields.

•     Cindy Pease, secretary, economics. Pease has spent 18 of her 27 years at Iowa State in the Department of Economics. She contributes greatly by proofreading and editing faculty publications, coordinating textbook orders and by taking on numerous new responsibilities related to undergraduate programs.

•     Joyce Wray, secretary, political science. Wray is known for being adaptable, flexible and innovative in dealing with students, faculty, staff and others in the Department of Political Science. She successfully coordinates several major events and many campus visits annually for the department.

•     Ann Schmidt, secretary, psychology. Schmidt is responsible for a variety of tasks fundamentally important to the Department of Psychology’s teaching and research missions. She processes all of the department’s student applications, manages the duplication of syllabi and exams, and manages the psychology web-based experiment sign-up system.

•     Carolyn Marrujo de O’Hara, secretary, chemistry. This award is presented posthumously to de O’Hara, who died in September 2007. She joined the Department of Chemistry in 1999 and was known for her devotion to her colleagues and her work as well as her joyful personality, excellent skills and work ethic.


NEWS RELEASE College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University

Contact: Dave Gieseke, LAS Public Relations, (515) 294-7740 (dgieseke@iastate.edu)