April 20, 2005

SIUC honors 8 faculty members as top teachers

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Eight Southern Illinois University Carbondale faculty members will receive cash grants and professional development accounts through the University's "Excellence Through Commitment Awards Program" as rewards for superior teaching.

This year's top teachers, selected by each college, were: Jonathan J. Bean, College of Liberal Arts; Jeffrey R. Beaulieu, College of Agricultural Sciences; Nancy M. Gonzenbach, College of Applied Sciences and Arts; Sanjeev Kumar; College of Engineering; Marla H. Mallette, College of Education and Human Services; John H. Summey, College of Business and Administration; Janice I. Thompson, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts; and George H. Waring, College of Science.

The "Excellence" initiative, new last year, standardizes individual college efforts and offers more lucrative awards. College-level winners each receive $3,000 outright plus a matching amount through the Office of Research and Development to support professional activities during the next fiscal year.

The "Excellence Through Commitment" program reflects Chancellor Walter V. Wendler's intention to foster creative, scholarly and teaching excellence as outlined in Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019. He will host a dinner for all award winners at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 21.

Here are short profiles of those selected by each college.

• Bean, professor of history, teaches courses on U.S. history, including business history, policy history and the Great Depression. He thrives on tough assignments, large lecture courses in the Core Curriculum (basic classes that all students, regardless of major, must take), writing-intensive courses in the major and yearlong graduate seminars. He also offers a course and supervises internships that help history majors with analytical reading, good writing, critical thinking and research skills discover careers that make use of those skills.

Bean earned his bachelor's in 1984 from St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vt., his master's in 1990 from the University of Vermont and his doctorate in 1994 from The Ohio State University. He joined the SIUC faculty the following year.

• Beaulieu, associate professor of agribusiness economics, teaches undergraduate commodity and agribusiness marketing and undergraduate statistics. In the past, he has also taught introductory agribusiness economics, agricultural policy to both undergraduate and graduate students, and graduate level statistics. Such classes are challenging and technologically advanced, while his students tend to be more traditionally oriented. Yet he consistently receives exemplary teaching evaluations and positive student comments. In addition, he advises and mentors students, many of whom have gone on to postgraduate and leadership positions.

Beaulieu, a faculty member since 1983, earned his bachelor's degree in 1975 from Loyola University in Chicago and his doctorate in 1984 from Iowa State University.

• Gonzenbach, professor of information systems and applied technologies, teaches courses related to information management and management and supervision of information systems. She also supervises all interns majoring in information systems technologies. She spends much time on her courses before they even start, identifying objectives, developing assignments and creating tests, setting the bar high from the first day. She and colleagues also developed and implemented a bachelor's degree course delivered online.

A three-degree graduate of SIUC, Gonzenbach earned her bachelor's in 1974, her master's in 1983 and her doctorate in 1990. She began her teaching career at the University in 1984.

• Kumar, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, integrates professional practice into his courses and creates effective communication tools for students. He revamped his department's Capstone Course (an SIUC option created for community students that streamlines core curriculum requirements and allows them to finish a four-year degree with 60 additional hours) and is now at work on developing an instructional digital video of field operations for geotechnical engineering projects. He welcomes undergraduate students on his research projects and has published several technical papers with them.

Kumar earned his bachelor's degree in 1986 from the Institution of Engineers in India and his master's and doctoral degrees in 1996, both from the University of Missouri, Rolla. He joined the University in 1998.

• Mallette, assistant professor curriculum and instruction, teaches early literacy and technology, pre-service teacher education, and social and critical literacy. In her teaching, she tries to prepare literacy teachers, who must work in a culturally and linguistically diverse context, to ground there teaching in theory and research. She also works to help doctoral students become both consumers and producers of literary research.

Mallette earned her bachelor's in 1988 from SIUC and her master's and doctoral degrees in 1995 and 1999 respectively from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She came to the University in 1999.

• Summey, associate professor of marketing, teaches marketing strategy, product strategy, customer relationship management, ethnography of adventure travel, marketing education and marketing research. His marketing research class, in which student teams conduct studies for university units and outside businesses, is described by students as demanding but worthwhile. He also is active in research and in professional organizations, which helps him keep his courses relevant in a constantly changing organizational environment.

Summey earned his bachelor's degree in 1962 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his master's in business administration and doctoral degrees in 1969 and 1974 respectively from Arizona State University. He began teaching at SIUC in 1977.

• Thompson, assistant professor of radio-television, teaches video production, documentary and sports production, with expertise gained as a longtime documentary filmmaker for such networks as PBS and as a producer-director for live professional sporting events in Chicago. She consistently wins positive evaluations from students, who know her as a demanding teacher. Outside of the classroom, she has mentored and advised students in alt.news, a student production company that has won 13 Emmy awards in the past six years.

Thompson is a three-degree graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago, earning two bachelor's degrees there in 1982 and 1983 and a master's in 1988. She joined the SIUC faculty in 2000.

• Waring, professor of zoology, teaches six classes covering various aspects of animal behavior and vertebrate zoology. He draws on lectures, visual aids, demonstrations and reading materials as well as on laboratory work and field presentations. He's been using multi-media — slides, film clips, overheads, recordings and such — as lecture aids for more than four decades and was an early adopter of online materials. When he doesn't find books or manuals he needs, he writes them himself, making sure that they're constantly updated.

Waring earned his bachelor's in 1962 from Colorado State University, his master's in 1964 from the University of Colorado and his doctorate in 1966 from Colorado State. He came to SIUC in 1966.


Jonathan J. Bean


Jeffrey R. Beaulieu


Nancy M. Gonzenbach


Sanjeev Kumar


Marla H. Mallette


John H. Summey


Janice I. Thompson


George H. Waring