2017 Faculty Award Winners

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, established during the 1959–60 academic year, honors faculty members for superior teaching. Recipients are nominated by current or former students or faculty colleagues and are chosen by a committee of alumni, students and faculty. They receive a cash award, made possible by contributions from the Alumni Association, friends of Ohio State and the Office of Academic Affairs. They also receive an increase in their base salaries from the Office of Academic Affairs. Recipients will be inducted into the university’s Academy of Teaching, which provides leadership for the improvement of teaching at Ohio State.

Photo of Frederick  Aldama

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Frederick Luis Aldama

Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor
Department of English

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Frederick Luis Aldama is known as the kind of professor who empowers students to succeed. He is a sought-after teacher among students in the humanities, psychology and neuroscience for his ability to help them understand the emotive and cognitive process involved in making and engaging with narrative media.

Aldama’s graduate students have won prestigious dissertation awards and postdoctoral fellowships, making him a coveted advisor, but his attentiveness and selflessness are what they value most about him. One PhD student says Aldama “lives his life with infectious optimism, and he fully believes in the potential success of each student he meets.” His undergraduates are equally enthusiastic, as he consistently earns top evaluation scores for his engaging teaching style and accessibility.

One of Aldama’s most notable contributions to students beyond the classroom is his founding of Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER), an outreach program that prepares Latinx high schoolers in Columbus for college acceptance. In 2015, Aldama was recognized for his outstanding teaching and student advocacy with the White House Bright Spots in Hispanic Education award for founding and direction and the Outstanding Latino/a Faculty in Higher Education: Research/Teaching in Higher Education (Research Institutions) Award by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. In 2016, he received the Ohio Education Summit Award.  

Aldama holds a PhD from Stanford University. His specialties include 20th century British and American literature, critical theory, film studies, narrative theory, comic books, video games and Latino studies.

Photo of Jennifer  Cheavens

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Jennifer S. Cheavens

Associate Professor
Department of Psychology

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When graduate and undergraduate students talk about Jennifer S. Cheavens, the words “best” and “favorite” come up often in reference to her teaching style and courses and to Cheavens as a human being. One non-traditional student noted that she is an outstanding role model for women, while another deeply regrets waiting until senior year to take a class with her.

Students appreciate how Cheavens presents research material in class and encourages them to engage in critical discussions of the work, rather than accepting the research conclusions at face value. A course she developed, Positive Psychology, has already earned a reputation for being highly relevant to students’ lives, and enrollment has more than doubled since the course’s first semester. Her effective teaching techniques and innovative course development earned her the Department of Psychology’s teaching award in her third year at Ohio State, making her the first assistant professor to earn this honor in the department.

Cheavens’ commitment to students extends beyond the classroom to the many student groups she advises, including Mindfulness and Meditation, Project HOPE and the Positive Psychology Club. In addition, she advised six doctoral students, two undergraduate honors students, one Eminence Fellow and 10 undergraduate research assistants—and that was just a single year. As director of clinical training for clinical psychology, she also oversees one of Ohio State’s strongest graduate programs. Cheavens adeptly juggles her teaching, research, advising and mentoring roles while remaining readily available to help students who are struggling. According to Department Chair John P. Bruno, PhD, “Students and the Ohio State and Columbus communities benefit from Dr. Cheavens’ commitment to training the next generation of clinical scientists.”

Cheavens holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas. She is interested in the treatment of mood and personality disorders, both in younger and older adults.

Photo of John  Clay

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

John D. Clay

Associate Professor
William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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“The best teachers do not merely pass information to a student, but give a student the tools to succeed in the real world,” says a colleague and nominator of John D. Clay. This is what makes Clay an asset to his students, the department and the field of engineering. He believes in preparing students as you would Olympic athletes—through rigorous training. Clay is simultaneously acknowledged among students as an outstanding teacher and the one who assigns a significant amount of challenging homework.

One student nominator writes that Clay got wind of a class-wide late-night study session and drove through snow and sleet to review with the students for three hours—and bring them pizza. It is this commitment to teaching that inspires his graduate and undergraduate students alike, which is evidenced by student evaluations that place him among the ranks of the department’s most esteemed professors.

Curriculum development is one of Clay’s strengths, and he played a major role in re-envisioning the department’s centerpiece courses for the quarter-to-semester transition and the department’s move to the new building. He uses technology to increase student engagement and to measure and improve comprehension, and has introduced students to tools they will use in their careers. He creates an active learning environment that combines short lectures with hands-on problem solving and brings with him a wealth of “real-world” engineering expertise to better prepare students to work in the field.

Clay holds a PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering from The Ohio State University. In addition to his duties an assistant clinical professor, he also runs the CBE Unit Ops laboratory and holds a partial appointment at Battelle.

Photo of Susan  Cole

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Susan E. Cole

Associate Professor
Department of Molecular Genetics

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Susan E. Cole is as comfortable teaching a roomful of molecular genetics majors as she is helping non-science students understand the scientific process. Science and non-science majors alike who take her courses say that she makes a subject they expected to struggle with fun and understandable. Her innovative freshman seminar, Exploring Biology Through Fiction, explores the differences and similarities between real-world science and that which you see on television or in films. She earns consistently high ratings and comments from students who recommend the class to others. One student describes her as a “rock star” professor, and many praise her well-organized class sessions.

As an instructor for the first course of the molecular genetics major, Cole is tasked with training students to be scientific thinkers in preparation for the major. The course material is challenging, yet Cole’s ability to engage her students and foster in them a scientist’s mindset results in students who both understand the material well and enjoy the learning process. She has developed a new elective course, Developmental Genetics, that is expected to be popular thanks to the course’s relevance and Cole’s reputation as a teacher.

Outside the classroom, Cole has an active and well-funded research program in which she invites her undergraduate students to participate. She is giving of her time and expertise in supervising the research of graduate and undergraduate students, many of whom have gone on to earn fellowships, publish papers or continue on to post-secondary education. Cole is also committed to improving representation in the sciences, serving as principal investigator of a National Science Foundation grant that aims to provide research experiences for underrepresented minorities and students at small colleges who have limited research opportunities. Department Chair Mark A. Seeger, PhD, calls her work in this arena “instrumental,” and commends her as “a leader in the classroom and laboratory setting.”

Cole earned a BS in biological sciences, molecular genetics track, from the University of Rochester, and a PhD in human genetics and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University. Her area of specialty is the role of fringe genes and Notch signaling during development.

Photo of Rachel  Dwyer

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Rachel Dwyer

Associate Professor
Department of Sociology

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Rachel Dwyer’s commitment to teaching and mentoring is best represented with one impressive statistic: She mentors about one-third of the graduate students in the department. In the 2015-16 academic year, she served on 22 thesis, candidacy exam and PhD dissertation committees, nine of which she chaired. For two years she created and chaired the department’s Graduate Placement Committee, which helps PhD students hone their professional skills in preparation for the job market, because helping students on the path to an academic career is a priority for Dwyer. Many of her graduate students go on to publish prolifically and secure jobs at Research I universities.

In the classroom, Dwyer receives consistently high student evaluation rankings and has received graduate and undergraduate teaching awards. She was a finalist for the Committee of the Arts and Sciences Student Council Outstanding Teaching Award, she twice received the Most Support Faculty Award from the Sociology Graduate Student Association and she was awarded the Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award.

One of Dwyer’s advisees, who received a Presidential Fellowship under her guidance, says, “From the first day of class, she promoted a safe space for new ideas, which allowed intellectual debates to flourish.” Another says, “She not only increased my knowledge on existing race, class and gender inequalities, but also deepened my thinking in more complex ways.”

Dwyer encourages students to participate in her research, which earns significant attention from scholarly publications as well as the media. Over the last three years, she has included graduate student co-authors on the majority of her papers.

Dwyer holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on causes and consequences of rising economic inequality in contemporary American society.

Photo of Allison  Ellawadi

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Allison Bean Ellawadi

Assistant Professor
Department of Speech and Hearing Science

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Allison Bean Ellawadi is a respected figure in the field of speech and hearing science, and yet what her students like most about her is that she never claims to have all the answers. In Ellawadi’s classroom, asking a great question is valued most. In fact, questions are so strongly encouraged that Ellawadi can’t answer them all, and takes the opportunity to model for students how to search for evidence-based solutions. In this way, she shares her expertise while teaching the value of discovery and seeking answers for oneself.

Some of Ellawdi’s classes are large lectures, but her students say her availability to connect one-on-one and her engaging teaching style gives her classes a small feel. In exit interviews of graduate students, Ellawadi comes up in nearly every conversation about the excellence of the department’s faculty.

Ellawadi is committed to providing research opportunities to undergraduate students in her lab, the Autism & Child Language Learning Laboratory. She is an active mentor, and her students have gone on to present their research at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.

Innovative curriculum development is another of Ellawadi’s strength. She has created a graduate course on autism spectrum disorders and an introductory undergraduate course on autism. Research and coursework on autism spectrum disorders are a critical component of the department and the field of speech and hearing science in general.

Ellawadi holds a PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on language development in individuals with autism spectrum disorders and the role of domain-general processes in language development.

Photo of Katherine  Kelly

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Katherine Silver Kelly

Associate Professor
Moritz College of Law

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Katherine Silver Kelly’s commitment to teaching is helping more students pass the bar exam. Her Advanced Legal Skills and Bar Support non-credit classes were designed to support students at risk for bar failure. Her individualized approach to teaching and one-on-one counselling has led to a 90 percent or higher bar pass rate for students who take part in her classes, compared to a 50 percent pass rate among at-risk students who do not.

Kelly is famous among her students for going the extra mile for them. In a single academic year, she held more than 200 individual student meetings for bar exam support and more than 100 meetings for general academic support. Between these 300-plus meetings, she still manages to organize exercise boot camps and running groups to help students manage stress through physical activity.

In the classroom, Kelly earns consistently high marks on her student evaluations, and was awarded the Morgan E. Shipman Outstanding Professor Award, the highest teaching award given in Moritz College of Law. Her students describe her as challenging in a way that inspires their best work. She creates much of her own teaching material, crafting assignments that are realistic and relevant to real-world practice. She also manages a Bar Exam Wizard blog to enable students across the country to benefit from her expertise.

Katherine Silver Kelly holds a JD from the University of Akron School of Law and an MA in education from the University of Kentucky. She teaches Legal Analysis and Writing I and II and directs the Academic Support Program.

Photo of Brian  Lower

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Brian H. Lower

Associate Professor
School of Environment and Natural Resources

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Even students who claim they don’t like science list Brian H. Lower among their favorite professors. He teaches both online and in-classroom courses, and travels to Ohio State Marion to teach there in addition to his Columbus campus course load. Although regional campus teaching is not required of him, he does so because he believes in the value of regional campuses to students.

In addition to his outstanding student evaluations, Lower has received numerous teaching awards, including the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Educator Award and the college’s Rodney F. Plimpton Outstanding Teacher Award, which is the highest honor given to faculty by the college.

Lower doesn’t just teach environmental science with enthusiasm. He’s actively recruiting the next generation of environmental scientists to attend Ohio State. He readily meets with prospective students at events, gives tours of his lab and will grab lunch with a student who is interested in the field. Whether one-on-one or in a large lecture setting, his approachable, engaging style captures students’ attention and builds their excitement.

The first class Lower taught at Ohio State was a longstanding general education requirement and had 76 students. Enrollment in his course doubled within a year as word spread about his teaching excellence. He uses technology, including an iTunes U version of his course and an Apple iBook textbook. He also developed the Environmental Poster Symposium, at which nearly 600 students display their posters for student-based peer review. He worked with developers to create an app for the peer-review process, which has been adapted for other programs at Ohio State and in high schools.

Lower holds a PhD in chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Along with his identical twin brother, Stephen Lower, he studies elementary phenomena at the boundaries between traditional disciplines like biology, chemistry, geology, medicine and physics.

Photo of Luis  Rodriguez-Saona

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Luis E. Rodriguez-Saona

Department of Food Science and Technology

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Luis Enrique Rodriguez-Saona is known for his ability to relate his teaching material to the everyday experiences of his students. His students describe him as approachable, funny and full of energy, and even say they enjoy having his class in the morning to start their days off right. It’s no surprise then that Rodriguez-Saona has received the student-selected Food Science Club award for Professor of the Year four times, as well as the college’s Rodney F. Plimpton Outstanding Teaching Award, which is the highest honor the college awards a faculty member. He also received the Educator of the Year Award from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture in 2016.

Rodriguez-Saona’s mentoring activities extend beyond the Ohio State community to local high schools, which also serves to recruit those students to Ohio State. He encourages undergraduates to participate in research and invites them to do projects in his lab.

Rodriguez-Saona is a sought-after advisor and dissertation committee member and frequently chairs the Laboratory Instruction Committee, where he guides the teaching assistant program. He helps the department’s teaching assistants become better-prepared instructors through additional training he developed. When it comes to helping graduate and undergraduate students get involved with the department through research or extracurricular activities, you can often find Rodriguez-Saona leading the charge. 

Even students who struggle in the sciences acknowledge that Rodriguez-Saona knows how to help them succeed. Students do not describe his classes as easy; however, the challenge does not dampen their enthusiasm but rather encourages them rise to the occasion. 

Rodriguez-Saona holds a PhD in food science from Oregon State University. His research focuses on improving the quality and safety of agricultural products through the application of novel analytical technologies.

Photo of Sue  Sutherland

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Sue Sutherland

Associate Professor
Department of Human Sciences

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Sue Sutherland’s performance as a teacher and researcher has enhanced the stature of Ohio State’s kinesiology program, says department chair and nominator, Carl M. Maresh, PhD. Her students describe her as courses as well organized and highly relevant to the latest research in the field. Multiple students note that her classroom is an emotionally and intellectually safe space to explore and debate ideas respectfully. 

Sutherland’s mentorship of doctoral students reflects her passion for teaching, as she serves as a sounding board for their academic ventures and helps them navigate the right path to achieve their career goals. One of her graduate students says that Sutherland’s ability to teach teachers has changed the way he sees teaching. Another says he regularly uses the information and teaching tips Sutherland offered him as a graduate teaching assistant.

Her undergraduates applaud Sutherland’s ability to teach to individual learning styles, which a colleague says can be attributed to her mastery of multiple instructional pedagogies. One student credits Sutherland with inspiring her to become a better student, while another says takeaways she gains help her academically and in life.

Sutherland works tirelessly in service to the department with innovative curriculum development at the college and departmental level. As a member of both the Undergraduate and Graduate Studies Committee and chair of the Kinesiology Graduate Studies Committee, she takes an active role in advancing the department.

In recognition for her work in Adventure Education, Sutherland received the Program Recognition Award from the Adapted Physical Activity Council of AAHPERD, as well as a federal grant from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services to study adventure based activities for individuals with disabilities.

Sutherland earned a BS in physical education, an MS in physical education from Ohio University, and a PhD in adapted physical education from The Ohio State University. Her area of interest is adventure education and teaching.

Photo of Claudia  Turro

Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

Claudia Turro

Dow Professorship in Chemistry
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

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Claudia Turro is a pioneer in the design of new molecules that can be activated with light for uses ranging from medical therapy and diagnostics to sustainable energy and the environment. She has discovered new compounds that not only kill cancer cells, but also inhibit tumor metastasis and turn on a beacon to signal where the cancer is located. These compounds, activated by low-light energy, can be modified to deliver inhibitors to target uncontrolled growth and cell proliferation, and can be tailored to specific types of cancer. Turro uses state-of-the-art ultrafast spectroscopy to understand the fundamental processes that take place after a metal-containing molecule absorbs light, which has led to the design of new molecules that, when exposed to light, could exhibit two (or more) outputs simultaneously – thereby creating the first "drug cocktail" or "dual-action" metal-containing drugs. And she has discovered new materials that can efficiently generate hydrogen, a clean fuel, from water.

According to one colleague, “Professor Turro’s contributions to the understanding of photoinduced processes of inorganic complexes is crucial to the fields of solar energy conversion, sensors and photochemotherapy. She is a compelling role model for all aspiring scientists.”

Turro is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society. She won the 2014 Inter-American Photochemical Society Award in Photochemistry, the most prestigious national award in the field of photochemistry. She is also a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and the Beckman Young Investigator Award. She has published 144 articles in high impact journals.

She received her BS and PhD from Michigan State University.  She came to Ohio State in 1996.

Many thanks to the 2017 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching selection committee members: James Phelan (chair), Melissa Kemp (coordinator), Juan Alfonzo, Carolyn Chakuroff, Jill Clutter, Ellen Deason, Zena Fadel, Donna Garrison-Bull, Margaret Graham, John Kaczmarek, Valerie Kinloch, Valerie Lee, Linda Mizejewski, Robert Siston, and Brenda Kay Toler.

Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching
by a Lecturer

The Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer annually recognizes a maximum of six lecturers, senior lecturers or other associated faculty members for their teaching excellence. All lecturers, senior lecturers and other associated faculty members on all campuses who, in the past three years, have taught undergraduate and/or graduate/ professional students are eligible for this award.

Students, faculty, alumni and staff may put forward nominees, and a selection committee of students and other award-winning faculty choose recipients. Honorees are inducted into the Academy of Teaching and also are recognized with an honorarium made possible by the Office of Academic Affairs.

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Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer

Amy C. Barnes

Senior Lecturer
Department of Educational Studies

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Amy C. Barnes does not just teach about leadership—she exemplifies it. Her expertise in leadership development serves her students inside the classroom and out. Students have called her a trailblazer and a passionate educator, and they give her consistently positive evaluations. Ohio State applicants to the department’s higher education and student affairs master’s program frequently mention Barnes as a mentor and an instructor who has influenced their chosen career paths. In addition to mentoring students, Barnes has also supervised and mentored 56 adjunct lecturers.

Barnes takes an active role in developing course materials, co-authoring two texts on leadership and developing the materials now used in the Sophomore Transformational Experience Program. Her contributions extend beyond the department and the college as well, as she has built partnerships with the Department of Educational Studies and the Office of Student Life. As a result, students can now take leadership and service-learning courses that are offered in conjunction with Student Life. She has also developed a leadership course in conjunction with Fisher College of Business. Ohio State students can now also declare a minor in leadership, which Barnes played an active role in launching. 

A former student who is now a student affairs professional says Barnes is setting “the standard of modern collegiate leadership development” and is “advancing the socially responsible leadership capacities of both undergraduate and graduate students at Ohio State.”

Barnes holds an EdD in educational policy, planning and leadership from the College of William and Mary. Her areas of expertise include leadership development of college students, strengths-based leadership, positive psychology, service-learning, cultural competency and leadership development.

Photo of Hope  Dawson

Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer

Hope C. Dawson

Senior Lecturer
Department of Linguistics

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Hope C. Dawson is among her department’s most effective teachers, earning exceptionally high evaluation scores even in her large, introductory classes. Class size does not prevent Dawson from connecting with her students, who have described her as genuine, “the real deal” and the very definition of a great teacher.

Dawson takes an active role in the success of the department’s graduate teaching assistants, visiting each GTA’s classroom every semester to observe and provide feedback. Under her coordination, three of the department’s GTAs have won the university-wide Graduate Associate Teaching Award. She regularly participates in professional development to advance her own teaching and is regarded in the department as a pedagogical expert.

Outside the classroom, Dawson has taken over as chief editor of the department’s leading textbook, Language Files. Her breadth and depth of knowledge and her extensive editorial experience have helped the book maintain its status as a preeminent linguistics text, even as more linguistic texts come on the market.

Dawson also plays an important role in curriculum development as a member of the chair’s planning team. Her assessment of which GTAs to assign to which classes is particularly insightful because of her deep understanding of their strengths. During the semester conversion process, Dawson’s pedagogical insight proved invaluable as she led the department in course revision.

Dawson holds a PhD in Linguistics from The Ohio State University. Her research interests include historical linguistics with a focus on Indo-European linguistics and Sanskrit.

Photo of Kim  Lopez

Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer

Kim M. Lopez

Department of Sociology

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Kim M. Lopez is known for her ability to create energy and excitement in her classes. Once students have experienced her engaging style and interesting activities, they come back for more, intentionally seeking out Lopez’s sections. Students even choose her courses when they are on a topic unrelated to their interests, because they know she will create a valuable learning experience. Lopez is often asked to write letters of recommendation; she’s written 87 so far. She frequently receives thank you notes from students who are grateful for her gift for teaching.

Lopez has taken on courses with notoriously low enrollment and transformed them into classes taught every semester thanks to student word-of-mouth. She is adept at linking in-class learning with real-world experiences by leveraging community resources such as the coroner’s office, the Columbus Public Health Department, the Hilltop YMCA and Lifeline of Ohio.

Outside the classroom, Lopez is a relationship-builder, particularly between Ohio State and the Columbus community. In addition to taking her students into the field, she brings local experts into the classroom to speak on relevant topics and to conduct workshops. It’s a time-intensive approach that proves rewarding and enriching for her students.

Lopez is also a champion for the well-being of all Ohio State students. She frequently visits residence halls to give talks on suicide prevention, and she has been recognized by the Office of Disability Services for promoting the academic success of student with disabilities.

Lopez holds an MA in clinical psychology from John F. Kennedy University. Her areas of expertise include social psychology, child and family and thanatology.

Photo of Ryan  McPherson

Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer

Ryan J. McPherson

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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In Ryan J. McPherson’s talented hands, a once-unpopular course has been revolutionized. Students rate the class significantly higher under McPherson’s management for his ability to run the class efficiently, deliver real-world examples that improve comprehension and develop a rapport with students that encourages engagement. Students speak about McPherson in superlative terms, calling him the greatest and the best. They call his lectures fun—a word students did not use to describe this class in the past. 

Faculty within and outside the department describe McPherson as refreshing, and his efforts in the classroom go above and beyond. He draws upon his own school experiences, allowing him to build stronger connections and empathy with his students. To improve engagement outside the classroom, he makes recordings of his lectures available online for students to review at their own pace, and he provides copious resources like old exams and problem sets with answers. 

For his exceptional commitment to teaching excellence, McPherson has been appointed course supervisor for all 2000-level classes in the department. He also served on a committee to reorganize two major-entry courses into three new ones, leading the development of a course on circuits that has proven highly successful. McPherson has also served on the Undergraduate Studies Committee and the Laboratory Safety Committee, where he has made valuable contributions.

Ryan McPherson holds a PhD in electrical engineering from Auburn University. His areas of expertise include cleanroom and fabrication, and analog and digital electronics design.

Photo of Noel  Paul

Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer

Noel M. Paul

Assistant Professor, associated faculty appointment
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

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Even among his largest sections, Noel M. Paul consistently earns high ratings on his student evaluations for his ability to inspire students and build their enthusiasm for chemistry. He engages students in real-world research in second-year organic chemistry labs, and has a forthcoming paper on the results discovered in one of his classes.

Paul is committed to the continuous improvement of his courses and the student lab experience. He has played a key role in transforming the organic chemistry lab into a paperless environment—an advancement that has resulted in faster and more accurate feedback on student calculations and a reduction in grading loads for teaching assistants.

Along with colleagues, Paul has continued to develop the department’s digital lab report system and is incorporating new software programs into courses to ensure consistency and fairness across all sections. He has also instituted the use of tablets in the lab to improve efficiency and feedback to students. Paul also takes an active role in improving the lab materials available to students, and has published two organic chemistry laboratory manuals with a colleague. Students often praise the course materials and Paul’s enthusiasm for chemistry and ability to explain difficult concepts.

Paul’s support for undergraduate student research makes him an asset to the department and its students. He is an effective mentor, evidenced by his students’ productivity; under Paul’s guidance, several have been invited to make presentations on their work.

Paul holds a PhD in organic chemistry from The Ohio State University. His area of specialization is laboratory teaching.

Photo of Alice  Teall

Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer

Alice M. Teall

Instructor of Practice
College of Nursing

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Alice M. Teall’s students say she inspires them to be resilient, to make a big impact on patients, and to find their passion within the profession of nursing.

Teall leads the distance-delivered family nurse practitioner specialty track in the College of Nursing, a program ranked third in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings of online master’s programs in nursing. Her work with this program has expanded nursing education access to registered nurses and nurse practitioners across the state of Ohio in areas with a shortage of health care providers. She leads and mentors faculty and teaches didactic and clinical courses in the program and other online courses. She is also an advisor to roughly 25 students each year.

As a teacher, Teall is always seeking ways to improve instruction and student comprehension. Her curriculum is highly effective, thanks to her innovative use of technology, including the development of new evaluation tools for students in advanced health assessment. With a certification pass rate of nearly 100 percent, there is no doubt that Teall’s approach to online teaching and assessment is benefitting her students. In 2016, Teall was named Graduate Educator of the Year by the College of Nursing.

Teall is respected internationally for her leadership in the delivery of integrated mental health and primary care for adolescents, and she has practiced extensively in an inner-city adolescent center and an inpatient treatment facility for adolescent drug and alcohol addiction. Teall uses her experience in this arena to facilitate students’ learning and expand their proficiency with mental health care.

Teall holds a DNP from The Ohio State University and an MS in nursing from Wright State University.

Many thanks to the Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Lecturer selection committee members: Vondolee Delgado-Nixon (chair), Noor Abushagur, Christopher Callam, Lisa Cravens-Brown, Barbara Heck, John Kaczmarek, Elizabeth Klainot-Hess, Aimée Moore, and Nicole Nieto.

President and Provost's Award
for Distinguished Faculty Service

The President and Provost’s Award for Distinguished Faculty Service (formerly Faculty Award for Distinguished University Service), established in 1996, honors faculty members whose contributions to the development and implementation of university policies and programs through non-administrative roles have been extensive and have made documented impact on the quality of the university. The recipients also have continued to provide effective teaching and have maintained an active program of research, scholarship or creative work. Recipients are nominated by members of the university community and selected by a committee of faculty, administrators and previous recipients. They receive both a cash award and an increase to their base salaries from the Office of Academic Affairs.

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President and Provost's Award for Distinguished Faculty Service

Ann D. Christy

Department of Engineering Education

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Ann D. Christy’s success in teaching, research and service to the university make her a well-rounded faculty member. She consistently takes a leadership role in teaching, administrative and curricular matters, and her contributions have transformed the Engineering Education Innovation Center into a full-fledged academic department, the Department of Engineering Education. Christy is not interested in resting on her laurels, however. She continues to serve the department and the college by developing a proposal to create an engineering education PhD program at Ohio State that would be one of only a few in the United States. 

Her record of faculty service stretches back to the beginning of her career at Ohio State when she, an untenured professor at the time, participated in the ABET accreditation process and served as chair of the Departmental Academic Affairs Committee. With an aptitude for getting things done and a willingness to lend her time and talent for the good of the university, she is an asset to every project and committee in which she is involved.

While an associate professor, Christy was selected to serve as Interim Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Service, a role typically filled by a full professor, but granted to Christy for her exceptional interpersonal skills and collegiality. During the university’s semester conversion, she was recruited to by the Office of Academic Affairs to lead faculty to think big as they re-envisioned their curricula. She continues her legacy of service today on the advisory council for the University Institute for Teaching and Learning

Christy holds a PhD in Environmental Systems Engineering from Clemson University. Among her many research interests, she studies bio-environmental engineering, field and laboratory studies of solid waste management systems, and landfill bioreactors.

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President and Provost's Award for Distinguished Faculty Service

Timothy Gerber

School of Music

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In more than three decades in the School of Music, Timothy Gerber has distinguished himself through his tireless commitment to teaching, research and service to Ohio State.

He has served the University Senate for 12 years, including leading multiple committees and as chair-elect of the Senate Faculty Leadership and chair of the Faculty Council. While a Faculty Senate leader, Gerber took on a significant role ushering the university through the semester conversion process. His success with that led to his nomination and subsequent approval as Secretary of the University Senate—a position he held for two terms under two university presidents. Gerber’s colleagues describe his contributions to the University Senate as constructive and insightful, and describe him as a peacemaker and a leader who is guided by his belief in and commitment to the university community. Gerber is the person others turn to when committees need to be filled, because of his extensive personal network and his ability to identify leadership qualities in other colleagues.

Gerber has led or served on several initiatives for the president, provost and trustees, including the planning committee for the Institute for Teaching and Learning and the executive committee for the Second-year Transformational Experience Program. In addition, he has hosted the Big Ten Academic Alliance Senate group meeting.

For his excellence in teaching, Gerber has been recognized with the Distinguished Teaching Award in School of Music and was named Distinguished Scholar as well. Although his teaching, research and service keep him busy, he also serves the Columbus community as a music teacher in Columbus Public Schools.

Gerber holds a DMA and an MEd from Temple University. His research interests include music teacher education, musical development in adolescents and arts policy in secondary schools.

Photo of Deborah  Merritt

President and Provost's Award for Distinguished Faculty Service

Deborah J. Merritt

The John Deaver Drinko - Hostetler Chair in Law
Moritz College of Law

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One nominator calls Deborah J. Merritt a “difference-maker” when it comes to advancing policies and programs at Ohio State. From diversity enhancement to research and development to education reform, she gives generously of her time and expertise for the betterment of the Moritz College of Law and the university.

On the University Senate, Merritt served on the Evaluation of Central Administrators committee, and an ad-hoc committee that was responsible for creating the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the Americas. She has also served on the advisory committee to the Senior Vice President for Research and the University Committee on Affirmative Action, and recently as associate director for the Center for Higher Education Enterprise.

In the 2013-14 academic year, Merritt was appointed faculty convener of the Advisory Subcommittee to the Board of Trustees Presidential Search Committee. Her role gathering faculty, staff and student input about the presidential search required countless hours meeting with an array of university constituents. Her ability to work effectively with different groups with a range of needs and styles is a testament to her leadership, listening skills and patience. She also led the process of creating the Presidential Profile and University Portrait, during which Merritt effectively facilitated multiple discussions among large, diverse committees.

Merritt managed to execute these leadership responsibilities while continuing to serve Ohio State’s students as an outstanding educator. She has twice received the college’s top teaching recognition, the Morgan E. Shipman Outstanding Professor Award, and in 2009 was honored with the Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.   

Merritt holds a JD from Columbia Law School. Her areas of expertise include civil rights and civil liberties, clinical education, criminal law, evidence, and law and social science.

Many thanks to the President and Provost's Award for Distinguished Teaching selection committee members: Kay Wolf (chair), Catherine Montalto, James Rathman, Randy Smith, and Deborah Steward.

Distinguished Scholar Award

The Distinguished Scholar Award, established in 1978, recognizes exceptional scholarly accomplishments by senior professors who have compiled a substantial body of research, as well as the work of younger faculty members who have demonstrated great scholarly potential. The award is supported by the Office of Research. Recipients are nominated by their departments and chosen by a committee of senior faculty, including several past recipients of the award. Distinguished Scholars receive an honorarium and a research grant to be used over the next three years.

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Distinguished Scholar Award

Leonard J. Brillson

Professor and Center for Materials Research Scholar
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Leonard Brillson is one of the world’s foremost scholars in the field of electronic material surfaces and interfaces. His contributions have led to an understanding of the fundamental importance of atomic scale chemical bonding, metallurgical reactions and crystalline defects at interfaces, and their effects on the electrical contact properties of semiconductors — the building blocks that drive computers, lasers, displays and cellphones. His interdisciplinary research spans physics, materials science, electrical engineering and vacuum technology. His work has created a new framework for designing the contacts inside all electronics, impacting the choices of contact metals, semiconductor growth methods, the “reactive” vs “unreactive” nature of their interfaces and the use of “interlayers” to control interface chemistry and next generation electronic devices.

One of his colleagues stated, “Major areas of the surface research in electronic materials — fundamentals of surface and near-surface defects, semiconductor/metal contacts, interfacial diffusion, surface relaxation and reconstruction — would be much paler without Leonard Brillson’s illustrious and massive input. Starting with his pioneering work on metal-induced surface states, his seminal contributions to the development of surface photovoltage into a standard and ubiquitous experiential probe, through numerous other milestones and all the way to the complex nanoscale devices studied by Len and associates today, Brillson’s scholarly achievements have been truly exceptional.”

Brillson has authored or co-authored over 350 journal articles and four books. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Materials Research Society and the American Institute of Physics.

He received his AB from Princeton University and his MS and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Ohio State in 1996.

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Distinguished Scholar Award

Laura M. Justice

Education and Human Ecology Distinguished Professor
Department of Educational Studies

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Laura Justice is one of the most renowned researchers in the field of early language and literacy development in children with and without disabilities. She is the recipient of a highly-competitive grant from the U.S. Institute of Education Sciences’ Reading for Understanding initiative to improve how reading for understanding is taught and acquired across grades PK-12. Her Language and Reading Research Consortium enrolled more than 3,500 students from 660 classrooms, including parents and teachers, with an additional 500 children and 75 teachers enrolled for the English Language Learner study. Justice also leads the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy at Ohio State, which provides research opportunities for students and collaborative opportunities for faculty.

One colleague stated, “I know of very few scholars who so thoroughly and creatively incorporate the latest findings and methods in developmental science into field-based studies of early learning and classroom process. Her pursuit of knowledge that has both strong contributions to theory and that she so effectively translates into practices that foster children’s learning and development is without peer.”

Justice has received the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology Editor’s Award, the Early Career Publication Award from the Division of Research, Council for Exceptional Children, and the Erskine Fellowship from the University of Canterbury. She has received over $50 million in federal funding to support her research. Her publications appear in prestigious journals including the Journal of Educational Psychology, Psychological Science, the Journal of School Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Exceptional Children, the Journal of Learning Disabilities, the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Child Development, Clinical Pediatrics, Behavior Genetics, the Journal of Applied Measurement, Teaching and Teacher Education.

She received her MS and PhD from Ohio University. She joined Ohio State in 2007.

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Distinguished Scholar Award

Michael V. Knopp

The Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Chair for Clinical Research
Department of Radiology

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Michael Knopp is recognized as a worldwide expert in the field of radiology and biomedical imaging. His work focuses on development of new imaging technologies, with a strong emphasis on oncologic, neuro and cardiovascular applications. His research efforts have included all components of imaging related endeavors, from imaging sequence development, to contrast agents, to image analysis and visualization, to regulatory and statistical issues. Through his work, Knopp has built a strong and impactful multidisciplinary program in biomedical imaging for research, innovation and human and animal patient diagnostic imaging and care. His contributions in biomedical imaging throughout the university, across the state and around the world led to the establishment of the Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging, a world renowned imaging research facility that has helped develop and commercialize new technologies.

A colleague stated, “Michael is internationally renowned for his ability to develop and apply sophisticated and novel imaging techniques that facilitate the decision-making needed for the very best patient care. This is especially the case in his work that seeks to quantify oncologic processes with imaging technology and is best represented in his dynamic contrast imaging work. Here, he has created both acquisition and analytic strategies that are in broad use across the globe.”

Knopp has published more than 275 peer-reviewed manuscripts in high quality journals such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging, American Journal of Neuroradiology and Investigative Radiology, and has received over $100 million in competitive, peer reviewed external funding.

He received both his MD and PhD from the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He joined Ohio State in 2001.

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Distinguished Scholar Award

William Stevens Marras

The Honda Chair for Transportation
Department of Integrated Systems Engineering

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William Marras is a leader in the field of occupational biomechanics. His greatest contributions include a patented system that allows researchers and safety professionals to quantitatively assess the risk of back injury to workers who perform material handling jobs and a sophisticated computational model of the human spine. This model allows spinal surgeons to visualize how specific pathologies are dependent on the dynamic loads that must be tolerated by various tissues. Marras formed the interdisciplinary Spine Research Institute in 2015 to systematically improve the prevention, evaluation and treatment of spine disorders through the identification of disorder causal pathways.

Said one of his colleagues, “I can state without any reservation, there is nobody in the field of ergonomics and human factors today who is more visionary, distinguished, accomplished or better recognized for their innumerable contributions to the science, education and practice of occupational biomechanics than Bill Marras — nobody.”

Marras has secured more than $31 million in research funding while at Ohio State. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He has received the Volvo Award for Low Back Pain Research and the Vienna Award for Outstanding Research in Physical Medicine. He is the executive director of the Center for Occupational Health in Automotive Manufacturing and the Institute for Ergonomics, and president of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. He has published more than 290 peer-reviewed articles in esteemed journals, including The Spine Journal, Clinical Biomechanics and Human Factors.

Marras received his MSIE and PhD from Wayne State University. He joined Ohio State in 1982.

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Distinguished Scholar Award

Marc Howard Pinsonneault

Department of Astronomy

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Marc Pinsonneault is one of the most accomplished stellar astrophysicists in the world.  His research focuses on theoretical models of stellar structure and evolution, with an emphasis on stellar rotation, helio- and asteroseismology and solar neutrinos. His work has shown that rotation of stars drives flows of material and energy within them as they age, affecting their lifetimes and the chemical elements visible at their surfaces. These effects play important roles in understanding observed populations of stars and in testing the physics of the Big Bang. He has forged a collaboration between scientists measuring elemental abundances of stars and scientists measuring stellar vibrations with NASA’s Kepler satellite. The combination of these measurements provides a new way to reach behind the opaque surfaces of stars and reveal the physics of their interiors. It also allows accurate measurements of stellar ages, which are being used to decode the history of the Milky Way Galaxy. The sophisticated computational models of the Sun that he developed have led to the recognition that neutrinos have mass and change identity, discoveries that have had profound impact on physicists’ understanding of fundamental particles and forces.

One colleague stated, “He has made extremely significant, world-leading breakthroughs in stellar astrophysics. And he has also shown vision in realizing how new observing capabilities can be used to tackle important astrophysical problems, and has then provided the leadership to realize those new opportunities.”

Pinsonneault is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has chaired the selection committee for NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowships, the most prestigious national fellowships in astronomy. He currently serves on the selection committee for the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, the most distinguished career achievement award of the AAS. He has over 275 publications in prestigious journals including The Astrophysical Journal, The Astronomical Journal and the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Pinsonneault earned his BS from the University of Texas at Austin and his PhD from Yale University. He joined Ohio State in 1994.

Many thanks to the Distinguished Scholar Award selection committee: Frederick Luis Aldama, Heather Allen, Julia Andrews, Martha Chamallas, Louis DiMauro, Rebecca Jackson, Dan Levin, Samir Mathur, Yasuko Rikihisa, Steven Ringel, Wolfgang Sadee, Lonnie Thompson, DeLiang Wang, and Janet Weisenberger.