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ASU Faculty Win Excellence Awards

May 02, 2012

Dr. Michael T. Dixon of the Biology Department, Dr. Marilyn Eisenwine of the Teacher Education Department and Dr. Mansoo Ko of the Nursing and Rehabilitation Sciences Department have been named the winners of the 2012 Angelo State University President’s Awards for Faculty Excellence.

Dixon received the award for Faculty Excellence in Teaching.  Eisenwine’s award was for Faculty Excellence in Leadership/Service.  Ko was the award winner for Faculty Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor.  Each received $2,500 and Signature Presidential Recognition Awards.  Dixon and Ko will be ASU’s nominees for the Texas Tech University System Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Research. 

They, along with 25 other nominees from ASU’s four academic colleges, were honored at the third annual Faculty Recognition Dinner sponsored Tuesday, May 1, by the ASU Faculty Senate.  Five semifinalist winners in each of the three categories were also announced, and each received a $500 award. 

Semifinalist winners in the Excellence in Teaching category, by department, were Dixon; Dr. Tom Badgett, Management and Marketing; Dionne T. Bailey, Mathematics and Computer Science; Dr. Carolyn Mason, Nursing and Rehabilitation Sciences; and Dr. Ned E. Strenth, Biology. 

Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor semifinalist winners were Ko; Dr. Detelin Elenkov, Management and Marketing; Dr. Donna Gee, Teacher Education; Dr. Shawn Wahl, Communication, Mass Media and Theatre; and Dr. Amy Williamson, Curriculum and Instruction. 

In the Excellence in Leadership/Service category, semifinalist winners were Eisenwine; Dr. Bonnie Amos, Biology; Lynne Hughes, Nursing and Rehabilitation Sciences; Dr. Mark Sonntag, Physics; and Dr. Andrew B. Wallace, Physics. 

Dixon was honored in the Excellence in Teaching category for using innovative techniques to make biology more interesting to modern students, regardless of their major, for redesigning the Biology Department’s herpetology courses, and for his reputation as a “student-friendly” professor.  He teaches two core laboratory biology courses, which mingle first-semester freshmen with graduating seniors, many of whom are not science majors.  To hold their interest, he uses news stories, podcasts, audio links, YouTube videos and other techniques to actively engage students in the subject matter.  When a departed professor left a hole in the herpetology curriculum, Dixon stepped in with enthusiasm and skill to completely redesign the content, lecture notes and lab handouts.  He shows his care and concern for his students by making himself available outside of regular office hours, and even experimented with offering office hours in the University Center to be more accessible to students.  He also conducts local field trips and uses a discussion board to involve students in the writing of potential exam questions.  One nominator called him the “department’s paradigm for dedicated teaching.”           

Ko was honored in the Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor category for not only conducting and presenting his own research, but also for his willingness to mentor student research and ability to attract research grant funding for the physical therapy program.  Since his arrival in 2008, Ko has conducted extensive research in various areas of rehabilitation and has shared his work via 22 published abstracts, five guest lectures, an invited paper in a medical magazine and six peer-reviewed publications, with three more in progress.  He has built up the Gross Motor Analysis Laboratory to provide a means for collaborative research projects among ASU students and faculty, as well as faculty and scientists at other institutions.  He has mentored eight student research projects, and each of the students presented their work to the academic community at either state or national meetings.  He also initiated a research alliance with Texas Woman’s University-Houston and successfully completed their first stroke research project in 2011.  He earned a $167,918 external grant from the San Angelo Health Foundation, and has secured multiple grants totaling nearly $25,000 through ASU’s Research Enhancement Grant program as a result of his research projects that have a high impact on current rehabilitation techniques. 

Eisenwine was honored in the Excellence in Leadership/Service category for her dedication to lifelong learning through activities that benefit the university, students, faculty and the community.  At ASU, she serves as an unofficial mentor to new faculty in the College of Education, and willingly lends her knowledge and expertise to ensure that their transition to academia is a pleasant one.  She serves on numerous faculty committees and has most recently committed herself to the task of coordinating the College of Education’s NCATE data.  She carries out ASU’s mission of integrating teaching, research and creative endeavor with service by extending her research efforts to the local schools and community to provide meaningful, authentic learning experiences for elementary, undergraduate and graduate students alike.  In keeping with the Department of Teacher Education’s mission, she is committed to not only preparing professional education leaders who focus on student learning and function according to the belief that all students can learn, but also on creative endeavors that enhance the ability of those leaders to meet the needs of this generation of learners. 

Other faculty excellence nominees who received certificates were Timothy Bonenfant, associate professor of music; Sudhir K. Chawla, professor of marketing; Amaris R. Guardiola, assistant professor of biology; Laurence F. Jones, professor of political science and head of the Political Science and Philosophy Department; John E. Klingemann, assistant professor of history; Leah B. Mangrum, assistant professor of communication; George Pacheco Jr., assistant professor of communication; Christine L. Purkiss, assistant professor of teacher education; Robin M. Runia, assistant professor of English; Sangeeta Singg, professor of psychology; James W. Ward, assistant professor of geology; Scott C. Williams, assistant professor of physics; and James J. Womack, assistant professor of music.


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