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ASU Profs Win President’s Faculty Excellence Awards

April 27, 2011

Dr. Robert C. Dowler of the Biology Department, Dr. Kimberly K. Livengood of the Curriculum and Instruction Department and Dr. John C. “Trey” Smith of the Mathematics Department have been named the winners of the 2011 Angelo State University President’s Awards for Faculty Excellence.

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

They, along with 23 other nominees from ASU’s five academic colleges, were honored at the second annual Faculty Recognition Dinner sponsored Tuesday, April 26, by the ASU Faculty Senate. Winners in the three categories were also announced for each college. The college-level winners each received a $500 award.

Winners from the College of Business earning $500 awards were Sudhir K. Chawla, professor of marketing, Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor; and S. Murat Kara, associate professor of economics, Excellence in Teaching.

Category winners from the College of Education were Alaric A. Williams, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, Excellence in Leadership/Service; and Livengood for Excellence in Teaching.

College of Liberal and Fine Arts winners were Mark L. Hama, associate professor of English, Excellence in Teaching; Won-Jae Lee, associate professor of criminal justice, Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor; and Jeffrey B. Schonberg, associate professor of English, Excellence in Leadership/Service.

Winners from the College of Nursing and Allied Health were Harriet K. Lewis, assistant clinical professor of physical therapy, Excellence in Leadership/Service; and R. Kelly Michael, assistant clinical professor of nursing, Excellence in Teaching.

From the College of Sciences, Dowler and Smith were the winners for Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor and Excellence in Leadership/Service, respectively, while Karl J. Havlak, associate professor of mathematics, won for Excellence in Teaching.

Dowler was honored in the Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor category for his sustained efforts not only to secure grant funding to conduct and publish his own research, but also to encourage and mentor both undergraduate and graduate students in their own research projects. He has published 54 scientific articles in a variety of journals, has advised 21 students to completion of their master’s theses and has mentored numerous students on award-winning research entries at various scientific meetings. He is a world-renowned expert on the rodents of the Galapagos Islands, where he discovered a species of rodent thought extinct for over a century. He has also done research trips to the East Indies, Guyana, South America and Australia, and has led student study abroad trips to Costa Rica. He even has a bat parasite (Eimeria dowleri) named after him in honor of his research efforts. In the last five years alone, he has won 12 research grants totaling $216,820. He is currently president-elect of the Southwestern Association of Naturalists and curator of the Mammals Collection in the Angelo State Natural History Collections.

Livengood was honored in the Excellence in Teaching category for her commitment to her students and to developing and improving the curriculum in her department. She has realigned and updated existing courses to meet state and national standards, developed online courses and a new master’s degree program, and designed and implemented a research project on fostering cultural awareness in teacher candidates. She has presented materials at state, regional, national and international conferences on multicultural teaching methods and teaching strategies for online courses. Her students consistently achieve passing scores on their state mandated exams, and report that they can always contact her for timely instruction outside the classroom. She has trained students in the use of various classroom and online course delivery computer software imperative for today’s teachers, and continuously researches and implements ways to make online courses more meaningful and useful to her students. She serves on her department’s comprehensive program review committee for not only her own students, but those from teacher education, guidance and counseling, administration and student development.

Smith was honored in the Excellence in Leadership/Service category for his continuous and ongoing service to his department, the university and the community. He has served his department by developing new courses, leading research classes, mentoring award-winning student research presentations and coordinating efforts to recognize and reward worthy students. He also organized colloquia series and the Mathematics Department’s annual Mobius Festival. For the university, he has served on several high-profile committees, sponsors student organizations and served on the Faculty Senate. He has also directed various UIL competitions and worked with area secondary school students on mathematical ideals. In keeping with the Texas Tech University System’s commitment to community involvement, he is also a standout figure in the local community through work with his church and various non-profit organizations. He has also written and produced several plays performed by the ASU student theatre program.

Other faculty excellence nominees, who received certificates, were Erin Ashworth-King, assistant professor of English; Michael T. Dixon, assistant professor of biology; Jamal G. Husein, associate professor of economics; Leah B. Mangrum, assistant professor of communication; John J. Osterhout, head of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department; Veronica S. Ostertag, assistant professor of German; Robin M. Runia, assistant professor of English; Joseph I. Satterfield, associate professor of geology; Toni D. Sauncy, associate professor of physics; Cody B. Scott, professor of animal science; June H. Smith, professor of communication; Mark S. Sonntag, professor of physics; and Shawn T. Wahl, head of the Communication, Mass Media and Theatre Department.