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2024 President’s Awards for Faculty Excellence Winners

May 14, 2024

Dr. Kenneth Carrell of the Department of Physics and Geosciences, Dr. David Faught of the Natalie Zan Ryan Department of English and Modern Languages, and Dr. Russell Wilke of the Department of Biology are the winners of Angelo State University’s 2024 President’s Awards for Faculty Excellence.

They, along with 37 other faculty nominees, were honored at a recent ceremony in the Houston Harte University Center.

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

Angelo State astronomy professor Dr. Kenneth Carrell Dr. Kenneth Carrell Carrell, an associate professor of physics and director of the ASU Planetarium, joined the ASU faculty in 2016. His astronomy research involves studying variable (pulsating) stars, known as RR Lyrae stars, in the Milky Way galaxy. Understanding RR Lyrae stars is key to modelling the internal dynamics of all stars, including our sun. He has also begun recent studies of planets orbiting other stars, known as exoplanets. Over the past five years, he has received over $200,000 in external grant funding for his own research, as well as that of his students, from the National Science Foundation and Rubin Observatory, among others. His research has resulted in 10 publications in scientific journals and multiple conference presentations in just the last several years. He has also mentored over two dozen undergraduate research students, and 10 of them have been published in various journals. He has also trained more than a dozen students on the telescopes and other advanced instruments at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, which along with undergraduate research, has helped propel many of them on to graduate school and careers in the fields of physics and astronomy. Additionally, Carrell coordinates the popular public astronomy shows in the ASU Planetarium, as well as local star observation parties and the annular eclipse viewing event that brought thousands of participants to campus in the fall.

Angelo State modern languages professor Dr. David Faught Dr. David Faught Faught, an ASU alum (1997) and professor of Spanish, joined the ASU faculty in 2009. He consistently exceeds the criteria rating for teaching on his annual evaluations for all levels of courses, both in person and online. He has taught a Freshman Signature Course every fall semester, spearheaded selection of a new textbook to give his students better online tools, and mentored multiple students through their acceptance to graduate school. He was also recently appointed coordinator for the all-level teaching certification for the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) program. Always looking for ways to improve his students’ learning experiences, he has completed Quality Matters Training and Culturally Responsive Approaches to Serving Hispanics (CRASH) training, and he was awarded an ASU Faculty Learning Commons Mini-Grant to develop video quizzes for upper-level online Spanish courses. Additionally, he has long organized an Honors Night each spring for students of languages, he is the co-organizer of the annual ASU Foreign Language Competition for high school students, and he is the faculty advisor for the Spanish Club and faculty sponsor for the Alpha Mu Gamma national foreign language honor society. Faught’s students enjoy his classes so much that they have twice collaborated to nominate him for ASU’s Gary and Pat Rodgers Distinguished Faculty Award.

Angelo State biology professor Dr. Russell Wilke Dr. Russell Wilke Wilke, a two-time ASU alum (1992 & 1995) and professor of biology, joined the ASU faculty fulltime in 2000. For the Biology Department’s Pre-Health Professions program, he leads the Health Professions Advisory Committee that coaches and guides ASU “pre-med” students, and he individually advises all students seeking careers in the health professions. For 2023-24, 11 students who participated in the program were accepted to Texas medical schools, and overall, ASU annually maintains one of the state’s highest medical school acceptance rates. Wilke also coordinates the Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP), which provides opportunities for deserving but economically disadvantaged students to attend Texas medical schools. Up to 15 students are enrolled in JAMP annually. He also coordinates ASU’s Shannon Medical Internship program that provides students opportunities to gain first-hand knowledge and experience working with medical professionals in a hospital setting. Each year, up to 15 students enter this program, which includes a two-semester commitment and requires nearly constant oversight. In conjunction with the Honors Program director, Wilke co-coordinates ASU’s participation in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s Early Acceptance Program. For the university, he serves on the Academic Excellence Committee, Teacher Education Council and Distinguished Lectureship in Science Committee, and he serves on several other committees within the Biology Department.

In addition to the overall winners, four semifinalists in each category received a $500 award.

For Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor, the other semifinalists were: Rebecca Bernard, assistant professor of English; Matthew Gritter, associate professor of political science; Leslie Kelly, assistant professor of psychology; and Nicole Lozano, associate professor of psychology.

For Excellence in Teaching, the other semifinalists were: Benjamin Brojakowski, assistant professor of communication; Carlos Flores Jr., associate professor of teacher education; Allison Huntley, assistant professor of history; and Chelsea Procter-Willman, clinical senior instructor in health science professions.

For Excellence in Leadership/Service, the other semifinalists were: Tony Bartl, professor of political science; Leah Carruth, associate professor of teacher education; Elizabeth Koeman-Shields, assistant professor of geoscience; and Gayle Randall, assistant professor of marketing.

Other nominees in the Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor category were: Bradley Cesario, instructor in history; Dennis Hall II, associate professor of mathematics; Mohammad Shafinul Haque, assistant professor of engineering; Kenneth Heineman, professor of security studies; Kristen Lyons, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction; Satvir Singh, associate professor of management; Sonja Varbelow, associate professor of teacher education; and Song Wang, assistant professor of finance.

Other nominees in the Excellence in Teaching category were: Katherine Bunker, senior instructor in art; Gustavo Campos, senior instructor in political science; Bryan Cutsinger, assistant professor of economics; Cathryn Golden, senior instructor in accounting; Leslie Gould, assistant professor of marketing; Kinsey Hansen, associate professor of curriculum and instruction; Michael Holcomb, assistant professor of physics; Nicole Lozano, associate professor of psychology; and Susan Whitaker, senior instructor in mathematics.

Other nominees in the Excellence in Leadership/Service category were: Randy Hall, professor of art; Mark Hama, professor of English; Eduardo Martinez, senior instructor in security studies; Rebekah McMillan, assistant professor of history; Amy Murphy, associate professor of curriculum and instruction; Landi Ognowski, instructor in accounting; Simon Pfeil, assistant professor of mathematics; and Ben Skipper, associate professor of biology.