January 18, 2005

Faculty members win summer fellowships

by Kathryn Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Nine Southern Illinois University Carbondale faculty members are recipients of summer fellowships aimed at helping them enhance undergraduate programs.

This year's winners of the Excellence Through Commitment Undergraduate Teaching Enhancement Awards are: Andrew K. Balkansky, assistant professor, anthropology; Rolando Bravo, associate professor, civil and environmental engineering; Shirshak K. Dhali, professor, electrical and computer engineering; Lori Merrill-Fink, associate professor, theater; George E. Schedler, philosophy; Jinseup Shin, assistant professor, art and design; Stephen C. Shulman, associate professor, political science; Anthony J. Steinbock, professor, philosophy; and Belle S. Woodward, assistant professor, information management systems.

Each will receive two months salary under this program, which exemplifies SIUC's twin aspirations as outlined in its Southern@150 initiative of supporting and fostering faculty excellence and shaping high-quality undergraduate programs. The associate provost for personnel and student policy administers the fellowships.

Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment is the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.

Here's a closer look at the 2005 fellows and their projects.

• Balkansky will prepare an online syllabus, calendar, grade book, test bank, glossary, project and essay instructions, create a list-serve and bulletin boards and post digital slides and compressed videos for a core curriculum class on the human experience that annually enrolls 500 students. In addition, he will develop more systematic means of presenting materials and running discussion sessions to ensure greater continuity from year to year.

Balkansky is a three-degree graduate of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, earning his bachelor's in 1990, his master's in 1992 and his doctorate in 1997.

• Bravo will develop computerized teaching modules for a senior-level hydraulic engineering design course that will allow students to simulate a variety of real-world problems as they apply theories they have learned in lectures to design workable solutions. Each module will contain examples, projects, handouts and notes. Use of the computer will allow students to work with more complex systems while providing training in a skill much in demand in the job market.

Bravo earned a professional degree in 1974 from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, a master's in 1978 from the International Institute for Infrastructural, Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering in Delft, The Netherlands, and master's and doctoral degrees in 1988 and 1990 respectively from the University of Houston.

• Dhali will create a Web-based tool that will help students in required electronics and electronic circuit design classes design, build and test various types of amplifiers. Modules will teach students the steps involved in design and the various trade-offs involved in that process and will allow them to vary the different design parameters to come up with workable circuits.

Dhali earned his bachelor's degree in 1978 from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur and his master's and doctoral degrees in 1981 and 1984 respectively from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

• Merrill-Fink will enroll in and complete a graduate certificate program at Columbia College in Chicago that focuses on the systematic analysis of human movement, one of four national programs approved by the American Dance/Movement Therapy Association. Such training will help her in teaching movement skills to theater, radio-television and speech communication students.

Merrill-Fink is a two-degree graduate of the University of Arizona in Tucson, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1984 and a master of fine arts degree in 1988.

• Schedler will write a script, recruit student actors and produce a video aimed at teaching students enrolled in a core curriculum elementary logic course how to formulate, test and confirm a hypothesis. He has found that students learn abstract concepts better when those concepts are dramatized.

Schedler earned his bachelor's in 1967 from Saint Mary's College of California in Moraga, his master's and doctoral degrees in 1970 and 1973 respectively from the University of California, San Diego, and his law degree in 1987 from SIUC.

• Shin will devise a digital course guide, text and instructional image set for teaching rendering and graphics on the Web and on a CD. Content will include new material not now in any textbook and will be useful for current students (especially those who must miss a class), both on campus and in distance-learning programs, as well as for alumni who want to learn more advanced techniques.

Shin earned his bachelor of fine arts degree in 1993 from Yeungnam University in South Korea and his master of fine arts degree in 2001 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

• Shulman will revise a core curriculum course on the politics of ethnicity, nationalism and culture to include greater analysis and discussion of moral and ethical issues. It also will focus more on materials produced by those actually involved in ethnic conflicts and culture wars. In addition, he will develop Web-based learning modules that will include news articles, lecture outlines, maps, links to relevant resources and an online discussion forum.

Shulman earned his bachelor's degree in 1986 from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., his master's degree in 1989 from the University of Chicago and his doctorate in 1996 from the University of Michigan.

• Steinbock will construct an upper-level philosophy seminar focusing on the nature of university education in this country. It will include readings from classical and current works and an interactive video component that will let students learn from and talk with philosopher scholars from Japan and perhaps other countries as well. Teams of students also will design their own university complete with mission statement and core curriculum.

Steinbock earned concurrent bachelor's degrees in 1981 from the University of Portland in Oregon, a master's degree in 1983 from DePaul University in Chicago and his doctorate in 1993 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

• Woodward will revamp existing information management courses to include ethical and legal issues that apply to information technology professionals, the design and implementation of security systems and hands-on lab work that simulates situations faced by professionals working in the industry.

Woodward earned a bachelor's degree in 1989 from the University of Bamberg in Germany and a second bachelor's in 1995 from Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas. She completed a master's degree in 1997 at Webster University in St. Louis, Mo.