Teaching, service and research honored with 2011 LAS awards to 32 faculty and staff

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized

AMES, Iowa – The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University is honoring 32 faculty and staff with awards for their accomplishments. The recipients will be recognized at the Fall Liberal Arts & Sciences Faculty/Staff Convocation on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011, at 4 p.m. in the Sun Room, Memorial Union.

The event will also include a "State of the College" address by Interim Dean David Oliver; introductions of new faculty, chairs and directors; and recognition of promoted faculty and university award recipients.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences award recipients and nomination information:

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

Ulrike Genschel, assistant professor, Department of Statistics. Genschel has taught over two thousand students a subject assumed by many of the same students to be painful and boring. Her impeccable organization, boundless enthusiasm, and tireless concern for students has earned their respect and appreciation. Faculty and graduate students who have worked with her find her a hardworking example an inspiration for their own careers and teaching. There is no doubt the Department of Statistics and Iowa State University benefit enormously from a teacher who can instruct large classes with such heart, but so too the students who still remember her 8 a.m. smiles and the two-sample t-test.

Zlatan Krizan, assistant professor, Department of Psychology. Krizan has brought personality psychology to life for hundreds of undergraduate students at Iowa State University. Every semester, he regales students with both the theories and findings of personality psychologists and also with information about their lives and times, and he shows these factors influenced their theories. Krizan has also played an important role in graduate training of social psychology students. In all his classes, Krizan receives extremely strong ratings and rave reviews from his students. Krizan's teaching reveals exceptional ability and commitment to undergraduate and graduate teaching.

Brian Monahan, assistant professor, Department of Sociology. Monahan is an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice studies. He has an extraordinary track record as a classroom teacher and a mentor to undergraduate and graduate students in both disciplines. He routinely receives high evaluation scores and rave reviews for an engaging teaching style and his ability to challenge students to reach their full potential. He goes to great lengths to maximize student engagement and make sure students are able to relate what they learn in his class to their other courses, their lives, and the broader world in which they live.

Dometa Wiegand, assistant professor, Department of English. Wiegand's students praise her both for her rigorous, no-nonsense approach to class duties and assignments and her extraordinary generosity of time and enthusiasm in helping students live up to her expectations while realizing the reach and possibilities of their own imaginations. As one student put it, in Wiegand's classes, "Expectations were high, which was great and allowed me to demonstrate my full potential and challenge myself to improve." In so doing, she models what the teaching of literature can accomplish. In the words of another student, "Professor Wiegand has provided me with an example of the type of teacher I want to be for my high school students."

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

Dean Adams, associate professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology. Adams energizes students to learn in the classroom, in his laboratory, in personal mentoring activities, and in workshops that he organizes in far-flung locations. In the classroom his animated lectures, organized group discussions, and emphasis on treating each student as a respected individual, in classes large and small, earn him the gratitude of students and remarkably high evaluation scores in a department with many fine teachers. His interests in pedagogy have led to development of multiple new opportunities for learning in a variety of venues; his enthusiasm for scientific scholarship and sharing of knowledge make him a valued colleague.

Michael Bailey, associate professor, Department of History. Bailey is an internationally-known specialist in the history of Medieval Europe (300-1500 CE), who has published three books and numerous articles, including one in the American Historical Review, the historian's equivalent of Science. Bailey brings this research excellence to life in the classroom, teaching brilliantly in a wide range of contexts, from large introductory surveys to advanced independent study courses. Students and colleagues alike praise the remarkable clarity of his lectures, his talent as a leader of student discussion, his sense of humor, and his creative use of innovative pedagogical strategies such as role-playing and group-based learning.

Don Sakaguchi, professor, Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology. Sakaguchi's teaching philosophy is simple: "provide students with a more personalized learning environment; present subject matter in an interesting and understandable fashion; foster and encourage critical and creative thinking; and create a learning environment where opinions of all participants can be openly expressed and respected." This philosophy is evident in his superb teaching record of formal courses, training K-12 teachers, and leading workshops and courses on and off-campus. His zeal for bringing out the best in those he touches through teaching is reflected in the excellent evaluations he receives, his popularity and the enthusiastic support from those who know him.

Excellence in Undergraduate Introductory Teaching Award – recognizes outstanding performance in teaching undergraduate introductory classes (defined as entry-level courses in the discipline).

Alvin Clarke, senior lecturer, Department of English. Clarke contributed to the recent ISUComm redesign of English 150/250 with a commitment to enhancing critical thinking and teaching pilot sections using innovating pedagogy. One student wrote, "I know that I would never have learned so much about my writing and critical thinking abilities if it weren't for Mr. Clarke." He has also inspired students in learning communities linked with animal science and kinesiology. His teaching excellence led to his appointment as a teaching assistant mentor and co-instructor of the teaching assistant training course. Clarke epitomizes not just effective introductory teaching, but leadership in teaching the introductory ISUComm courses.

Jay Newell, associate professor, Greenlee School of Journalism & Communication. Newell teaches the Greenlee School's Advertising Principles course, drawing between 215 and 240 students per semester. Newell goes beyond the baseline expectation of a survey of advertising practice, in effect, making the class interdisciplinary in that he associates principles with a range of theories and methods in the social sciences and humanities. Moreover, he views the course as preparing Iowa State students to become ethical leaders of communications processes, regardless of the students' eventual career choice. The techniques that he developed as a teacher have been promoted by the American Academy of Advertising and are being adopted throughout the advertising education community.

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

Arka Ghosh, assistant professor, Department of Statistics. Ghosh has made influential and fundamental contributions to applied probability in the area of queuing networks and processes. His 2005, 2006, and 2010 papers (joint with A. Budhiraja) provide a complete solution to a longstanding problem and establish rigorous theoretical foundation to justify the widely used Brownian approximations for heavy traffic control of stochastic networks. His work reflects the extraordinary depth and diversity that are unusual for researchers of his age. He represents the interdisciplinary collaboration in his area across the Departments of Statistics, Mathematics, and Computer Science at ISU.

Aaron Sadow, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry. Sadow is rapidly becoming a world leader in developing organometallic catalysts for stereoselective bond activation chemistry. He and his research group investigate the details of reaction mechanisms of stereoselective reactions to design and prepare new stereoselective catalysts. Over the past five years, his group has developed several systems toward this goal, as well as expanding research activities into important new areas of energy-related projects, e.g., biomass utilization and nitrogen fixation, medicinal chemistry, i.e., preparation of contrast agents and physiologically-important heterocyclic compounds, and single-site heterogeneous catalysis.

Jigang Wang, assistant professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy. Wang received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Rice University in 2006 and joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at ISU as an assistant professor in 2008. His research emphasizes experimental studies of solid materials using ultrafast optical measurements. He has published 25 articles and has given 20 invited talks on his work at conferences and institutions. His papers have already accumulated 215 citations. He received a prestigious five-year CAREER award from the National Science Foundation to pursue his work. He has skillfully mentored the research of four undergraduates, three graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow.

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.

Michael Shogren-Knaak, assistant professor, Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology. Shogren-Knaak is one of the world's most creative and influential researchers in the rapidly growing areas of chromatin biology. Chromatin is the form in which DNA, the master instructions of human cells, is packaged in the nucleus. His work has advanced our understanding of chromatin structure, and the mechanisms by which chromatin becomes chemically modified. Because chromatin is a key regulator of how DNA is read and maintained, his work provides new insights into how DNA functions during normal cell development, as well as during aberrant cell development, such as cancer. This work has brought tremendous recognition to ISU and has enhanced our presence in biomedical research through strong research support by the National Institutes of Health.

Brian Wilsey, associate professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology. Wilsey has achieved national and international recognition for his work on identifying the importance of species abundances, and how evenly they are distributed, in studies of species diversity effects on plant communities and ecosystems. He has done this through clear thinking, careful experimentation, and publication in top-notch journals, with external funding support from diverse agencies, and while successfully mentoring graduate students and post-docs in the procedures and practices of good science. His work has altered how other ecologists view community diversity, and how they study it, simply because of the quality of the work that he does.

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.

Xiaoyuan Liu, professor, Department of History. Liu is the world's leading scholar of the history of China's relationship with its frontiers and borderlands. Fellow historians of China characterize his work as "thought provoking," "pathbreaking," and "fascinating." His work has been recognized by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard, and the Woodrow Wilson Center. Liu is a treasure. He is a superb, highly productive scholar, a caring teacher, and a proponent of Chinese-American understanding, both inside and outside the classroom. Iowa State University is a richer place because of his contributions.

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

Chad Gasta, associate professor, Department of World Languages and Cultures. Gasta's contributions to internationalization have had a significant impact on curricula and programs across ISU – creating new collaborations among disciplines, departments, and colleges. His leadership of ISU's most successful and innovative study abroad program in Spain has included faculty from multiple disciplines and provided over 500 ISU students with a unique learning experience – one which will prepare them for living and working in a global community. His ability to work collaboratively with faculty and engage students in the challenges and rewards of international discovery, learning, and research is remarkable.

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

Kevin Schilling, associate professor, Department of Music and Theatre. Schilling has been an adviser for more than 30 years, and has served as advising coordinator for the Music Department for the last 10 years. During that time he has advised in excess of 1,000 students, and has trained the entire current departmental advising staff. He is permanent head of the Music Department Curriculum Committee, and has developed and implemented a series of seminars designed to help students create and successfully navigate their degree programs. He is also active in several university-wide recruiting and retention initiatives, including Experience Iowa State and the annual Iowa State Major Fair.

Early Achievement in Academic Advising – recognizes ISU faculty or staff who have demonstrated outstanding performance in advising undergraduate students early in their professional careers.

Jason Chrystal, academic advisor, Department of Political Science. Chrystal has been the academic advisor for the Department of Political Science for a little over a year and in this time he has made a significant contribution to the lives of the over 300 majors. He teaches the Orientation to Political Science course, engages with the faculty to better help the student understand what courses will fit their needs and interests, and works tirelessly with the students to help them negotiate the university bureaucracy and to advise them on their career choices. His openness, flexibility, and caring demeanor make him an excellent advisor to the students and an outstanding ambassador for Iowa State University.

Professional & Scientific Research Award – recognizes professional and scientific staff members for excellence in research.

Raji Joseph, associate scientist, Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology. Joseph joined the P&S ranks at Iowa State University in 2007 and has published 13 papers in prestigious journals since that time. Her work is internationally recognized in the field of molecular immunology and is characterized by elegant studies spanning structural biology, biochemistry and cell biological approaches. Joseph is well known in the Molecular Biology Building as an extremely valuable source of knowledge and is regularly sought after by her peers. Even while conducting her own research, she is never too busy to help others and thereby fosters a strong sense of community among students, postdoctoral and P&S scientists.

Professional & Scientific Excellence Award – recognizes and honors professional and scientific employees who have achieved excellence in their respective fields.

Bruce Allen, academic advisor, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In his 10 years as an LAS academic adviser, Allen has exhibited constant and contagious dedication to Iowa State and goodwill on behalf of Iowa State. He has met with hundreds of prospective student-athletes and their parents on weekends and evenings. His is the first hand to go up when asking for volunteers for other prospective student programs, for assistance with multicultural student programs, and for representing the College at Destination Iowa State, Parents Weekend, and orientation. As a result of his initiative, hard work, and willingness to go above and beyond his job description, students can feel good about their decision to attend Iowa State to prepare for law school. His high energy, enthusiasm, outgoing personality, and loyalty to Iowa State make him a perfect representative of the P&S Excellence Award.

Professional & Scientific Outstanding New Professional Award – recognizes and honors new professional and scientific employees who quickly have achieved excellence in their respective fields.

Andy Messersmith, integrated media technology specialist, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. Messersmith runs one of the most complex technological systems on campus. The Greenlee School has seven labs, two studios in two buildings a mile apart, and technology that ranges from laptops and desktops to multimedia centers, integrated suites, videography, photography, online advertising and journalism, and broadcasting from any number of devices with software to capture, edit, print and post all of that. Messersmith created an electronic system for checking out the School's television cameras and other mobile equipment. He built a new lab for students using spare parts. On his own time Messersmith has helped students get assignments from ESPN and Fox Sports.

Laurel Tweed, program coordinator, departments of Computer Science and Statistics. Tweed joined the Department of Computer Science as the Program Coordinator in May 2008. In less than three years, Tweed has proved herself to be a valuable asset to the department. She effectively plays a central role in several key department activities such as publication of the departmental newsletter, maintenance of the web site, recruiting and retention efforts, and coordinating distinguished lecture series. She provides service to the department with great enthusiasm, devotion, and reliability.

Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Lecturer – recognizes lecturers or senior lecturers for outstanding teaching performance over an extended period of time in undergraduate education.

Beatriz Spalding, lecturer, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology. Spalding is noted for a teaching style that makes learning fun. She applies this across the broad array of courses she teaches in biology (in the EEOB and GDCB departments) and food science (in the Food Science and Human Nutrition departments). She creates and uses models, games, costumes and even a puppet to help illustrate the subject at hand. She prompts student interaction with questions and classroom discussions. Students and colleagues praise her teaching style and her working toward the success of each student.

Sheryl McGough, senior lecturer, Department of English. McGough is an exemplary lecturer whose success in introductory English courses led to her assignment to teach advanced communication courses and ultimately as the first lecturer appointed the director of those upper-level courses. She is an enthusiastic, caring, and student-oriented teacher, admired by both students and faculty alike for her commitment to quality education. Students describe her as "awesome," "excellent," "great," "dedicated," "above excellent," and "fantastic." She displays outstanding teaching and generously shares her knowledge and skills to enhance other lecturers' teaching.

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.

Tom Jurik, associate professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology. Jurik has quietly but effectively devoted extraordinary time and effort to institutional service through participation in over 80 department-level committees, many as chair; as a Faculty Senator; as Chair of the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; as a member of the Athletics Advisory Council and an advisor to the Women's Volleyball Club and the Nordic Ski Club; as the go-to IT expert for the department; as current Program Chair for the Ecological Society of America; and as an esteemed mentor of faculty and students. This award recognizes his incredible dedication to assisting others however he can.

Amy Slagell, associate professor, Department of English. In Jewish legend, there are in every generation 36 upright folk whose quiet work sustains the world. Slagell, director of ISU's public speaking program and its Speech Communication major, is one of Iowa State's "secret saints;" her everyday leadership has supported the personal growth of her colleagues, staff and students, and has fostered needed institutional change. As her chair put it: "It's probably impossible to count all of the things that wouldn't have been done, the initiatives that wouldn't have been taken, and the opportunities that would have been lost if not for her ability to get us to get things done."

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

Jason Chen, systems analyst, Department of Computer Science. Chen has provided invaluable service to the Department of Computer Science, through his outstanding performance in administering highly complex and ever expanding computing systems in support of disparate instructional, administrative and research activities. More than just being a reliable IT staff member, Chen is instrumental to the establishment of a highly reliable and scalable multilayer data system on which Computer Science now operates. It is under his leadership that the department was able to successfully advance into the cloud computing era with state-of-the-art Storage Area Network (SAN) and virtualization technology, which is an indispensible component for any modern server farm.

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

Jennifer Rivera, secretary, Department of History. Like all good secretaries, Rivera not only handles problems effectively; she is even more efficient in knowing how to anticipate issues and address matters before troubles arise. Rivera's helpfulness on practical matters of keeping our academic business running smoothly is of top value to everyone. But equally important, we all appreciate her position as the literal center and collegial center of our department, particularly in her relationship with graduate students. She cheers up students when they're depressed, encourages them before they enter exams, and listens to them when they are discouraged. She is the heart and center of the department.

Diversity Award – recognizes faculty and staff who have advanced the College’s vision for diversity through their teaching, scholarship, service, or campus-community outreach.

Joel Geske, associate professor, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. Geske has been committed to diversity as an indicator of campus climate throughout his 22 years at Iowa State University. He has enhanced diversity as a professor and administrator. He is largely responsible for the Greenlee School's diversity plan, one of the first in the College, as well as course creation in diversity issues with the School and College. He won the LGBT Student Services "Community Development Award" for organizing programming, served on the Advisory Council on Diversity, and chairs the College's Diversity Committee.

Malika Jeffries-EL, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry. Jeffries-EL has been actively involved in recruiting and retaining under-represented minority students. She is the co-founder of the Chemistry Ambassadors program, which is designed to foster interest in science among 9-12th grade minority students at local high schools. She has served as a recruiter and mentor for the ISU Alliance for Graduate Education in the Professoriate (AGEP) program and also serves as the co-advisor for the ISU chapter of NOBCChE (the National Organization for Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers). Her enthusiasm, dedication, and achievement towards increasing diversity make her an outstanding and well-deserving recipient of this award.

Learning Community Leadership Award – recognizes faculty and staff members for outstanding coordination and leadership of a learning community in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Jenny Aune, senior lecturer, Department of English. Since Aune was appointed English Learning Community Coordinator, the number of learning communities linked with English has doubled, the coordination among these links is much closer, and the academic content of the composition sections is more discipline-specific. Through tireless effort and expert management, Aune has initiated "contextualized courses" that include students from multiple, related disciplines. She has also advanced the linkage of upper-division learning communities with English 302 and 309. One department chair said that Aune has become "one of our own." Through her leadership, the English Learning Communities are becoming an integral part of departments across campus.

Achievement in Intellectual Property Award – recognizes faculty and staff members for outstanding ISU-based achievements in producing intellectual property.

Jacob Petrich, professor, Department of Chemistry. Petrich has created technology directly relevant to addressing food safety. His research exemplifies Iowa State's motto: "Science with Practice." He has developed a real-time detector for fecal and ingesta contamination on the carcasses of food animals. This technology provides the unprecedented ability to scan every carcass entering and leaving a packing plant for contamination. Petrich's work has since spread to the detection of central nervous system tissue in food products and to the exploration of techniques for determining whether animals are infected with transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.
  • 30 –

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

Contacts: David Oliver, Liberal Arts & Sciences Interim Dean, (515) 294-3220 (doliver@iastate.edu) Steve Jones, Liberal Arts & Sciences Communications, (515) 294-0461 (jones@iastate.edu)