2015 Faculty Awards

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May 7, 2015

From left: CSB Pres. Mary Hinton, Benjamin Faber, David Mitchell, SJU Pres. Michael Hemesath

Leigh Dillard

Manju Parikh

(Left to right)
Front row: Manju Parikh, Elizabeth Wurdak, Lisa, Ohm, Jim Smith, Richard Albares
Middle row: Rita Knuesel, James Poff, Leigh Dillard, Lynn Ziegler, Paul Pladson
Back row: Richard Bohr, Michael Ross

The movie industry has the Oscars. Television has the Grammys.

Faculty and staff members at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University have ... the Academic Affairs Awards and Recognition Ceremony.

The ceremony, held May 4 at the Great Hall and the Founders Room at SJU, recognizes faculty for years of service, promotions and contributions as department chairs and leaders.

In addition, the following awards were presented. And, in our best Hollywood voice, the winner is ...

S. Mary Grell Teacher of Distinction Award
David Mitchell, biology

S. Mary, a noted biologist who was a 1933 graduate of CSB, served students at CSB and SJU for more than 35 years with intelligence, dedication and affection. The difference S. Mary made in her lifetime of teaching at CSB is celebrated through the recognition of a faculty member who represents the best teaching and learning at CSB and SJU. S. Mary served as president of CSB from 1963-68. This award has been presented yearly since 1995.

Mitchell, who began teaching at CSB and SJU in 1997, always knew his passion was to teach at a liberal arts college. While his primary teaching method in the classroom is lecture, he breaks up his class periods with activities, many of which involve using students to demonstrate things in memorable ways. His techniques and humor create a relaxed atmosphere which students describe as fun to learn in. Mitchell has also mentored more students than any other member of the Biology Department over the last 10 years in the summer undergraduate research program. Those efforts have led to the publication of two papers by his students in peer-reviewed journals, and his students have made a number of presentations at professional meetings.     

Robert L. Spaeth Teacher of Distinction Award
Benjamin Faber, psychology

This award is named in honor of Spaeth, who served as dean at SJU for nine years in addition to service as a professor of liberal studies from 1979 until his death in 1994. Each year, Spaeth's commitment to excellent teaching is remembered by honoring a faculty member who brings a special passion and mastery to the classroom and the learning community. This award has been presented yearly since 1995.

Faber, who has taught at CSB and SJU since 2008, has a fundamental principle - that teaching is not limited to the classroom. He has actively sought out additional opportunities to act as teacher, collaborator, colleague, adviser and mentor beyond the classroom. Faber believes that all students, regardless of how much training they have in psychology, should have the opportunity to conduct psychological research. He has supervised four Honors Theses and one senior project, three summer research fellows and 48 different students in Empirical Research Projects. His curriculum vitae lists 18 peer-reviewed publications and presentations, 15 of which include student collaborators. Faber's classes are innovative and creative, and challenge the way in which they learned to learn.

Linda Mealey Faculty/Student Collaborative Research and Creativity Award
Leigh Dillard, theater

The Linda Mealey Faculty/Student Collaborative Research and Creativity Award is given annually to a faculty member who exemplifies demonstrated excellence in scholarship as well as teaching, conducts student/faculty collaborative research or creative work and excels in the mentoring of students. The award, which was established as the Teacher-Scholar Award in 2000, was renamed for Mealey in 2004. Mealey, who had received the award in the spring of 2002, passed away in November 2002. 

Dillard, who began teaching at CSB and SJU in 2000, has been a professional dancer for over 40 years, working with many extraordinary artists. She has frequently collaborated with other choreographers, musicians and visual artists. During her years at CSB and SJU, Dillard has also collaborated with her colleagues in the Theater Department, other faculty and students. She is the only faculty member teaching and coaching dance and movement. Her students come from all disciplines, and her work with them has had a profound effect on awakening and expanding their creative process. Dillard has met over 1,500 students in her classes, and introduced them to a new world of learning, being and expressing.

S. Linda Kulzer Gender Educator Award
Manju Parikh, political science

This award recognizes a member of the CSB and SJU faculty member who has contributed to students' gender education through curricular leadership, courses taught, scholarship and mentoring of students independent of normal classroom teaching. This person demonstrates leadership and fosters an atmosphere that encourages exploring gender issues from many angles. S. Linda, CSB's vice president for academic affairs from 1977-85 and a professor emerita of education, was a pioneer in the colleges' earliest efforts to integrate gender into the curriculum. Parikh has taught at CSB and SJU since 1986.  

Additional recognition and Years of Service awards

Academic advising awards: Shawn Colberg, theology; Kingshuk Mukherjee, global business leadership.

Alcuin and Clemens Library Information Literacy Award: Jennifer Kramer, communication.

Tenure and promotion to associate professor: Tania Gomez, Hispanic studies; Troy Knight, environmental studies; Michelle Li-Kuehne, accounting and finance; Anna Mercedes, theology.

Promotion to professor: Jennifer Beste, theology; Louis Johnston, economics; Aric Putnam, communication; Erin Szabo, communication; Linda Tennison, psychology.

Special appointments

Professor emeritus: Bill Muldoon, chemistry.

Professor emeriti and retirement: Richard Albares, sociology; Richard Bohr, history; S. Mary Forman, OSB, theology; Lisa Ohm, languages and cultures; Manju Parikh, political science; Paul Pladson, accounting and finance; James Poff, biology; Michael Ross, chemistry; Jim Smith, SJU athletics; Kathy Twohy, nursing; Elizabeth Wurdak, biology; Lynn Ziegler, computer science.

Professor alumna and retirement: Leigh Dillard, theater.

Special thanks

Outgoing department chair and program directors: Eleonora Bertranou, Latino/Latin American Studies; Carie Braun, nursing; Leigh Dillard, theater; Ken Jones, Common Curriculum; Dean Langley, physics; Greg Schroeder, history.

Acting department chair: Jeff Anderson, peace studies; Phil Chu, biology; Lisa Ohm, languages and cultures; Scott Richardson, languages and cultures.

Outgoing Joint Faculty Senate Chair: Terence Check, communication.


10 years of service: Mary (Mickey) Cunningham, first-year seminar; Gary Gillitzer, nursing; Samuel Johnson, art; Roy Ketchum, Hispanic studies; Matthew Lindstrom, political science; Sanford Moskowitz, global business leadership; Cindy Peterson, first-year seminar; Imad Rahal, computer science; Sarah Schaaf, Hispanic studies; Stephen Schwarz, global business leadership; Laura Sinville, psychology; Parker Wheatley, economics; Adam Whitten, physics; David Zoeller, accounting and finance.

15 years of service: Kathleen Cahalan, theology; Karyl Daughters, communication; Leigh Dillard, theater; S. Mary Forman, OSB, theology; Nicholas Hayes, history; Ronald Hemmesch, nursing; Pamela Immelman, first-year seminar; S. Patricia Kennedy, OSB, theology; Brian Larkin, history; Rodger Narloch, psychology; Susan Riley, first-year seminar; Christina Tourino, English; Elisabeth Wengler, history.

20 years of service: Br. Dennis Beach, OSB, philosophy; Cynthia Curran, history; Fr. Michael Patella, OSB, theology; James Schnepf, computer science; Andrea Shaker, art; Bruce Thornton, music.

25 years of service: Joseph DesJardins, philosophy; David Hartz, mathematics; Ellen Jensen, biology; S. Jeanne Lust, OSB, biology; Cynthia Malone, English; Marina Martin, Hispanic studies; Lynn Ziegler, computer science.

30 years of service: Philip Byrne, mathematics; Kaarin Johnston, theater; Michael Livingston, psychology; John Olson, economics; Diane Veale-Jones, environmental studies.

35 years of service: Fr. Robert Koopmann, OSB, music; Michael Ross, chemistry.

40 years of service: Richard Albares, sociology; Paul Pladson, accounting and finance.