April 27, 2007

Nine faculty members honored for excellence

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. —Southern Illinois University Carbondale honored nine faculty members as outstanding teachers April 26 during the University's "Excellence Through Commitment" awards dinner at the Student Center.

Gary A. Apgar, selected by the College of Agricultural Sciences, Nazeith M. Botros, selected by the College of Engineering, Gregory Budzban, selected by the College of Science, Wallace N. "Dave" Davidson, selected by the College of Business and Administration, Ronda R. DeMattei, selected by the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, Kathryn A. Hytten, selected by the College of Education and Human Services, Alice M. Noble-Allgire, selected by the School of Law, Jan I. Roddy, selected by the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, and S. Jonathan Wiesen, selected by the College of Liberal Arts, each will receive $3,000 outright plus a matching amount through the Office of the Provost to support professional activities during the next fiscal year.

• Apgar, a faculty member in the Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition since 1998, teaches the department's introductory course and last year restructured its lab portion to make it more of a real-world, hands-on learning experience for students. He also teaches swine management, feeds and feeding and is developing a course on animal nutrient management to fill a departmental gap. Apgar's weighted, instructor-evaluation scores make him the department's highest-ranking faculty member in teaching. He has twice won a college award, nominations for which come from students, for teaching and student service. No one else has received the award more than once.

Apgar earned his bachelor's in 1989 from Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture in Pennsylvania, and his master's and doctoral degrees in 1991 and 1994 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

• Botros, a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 1985, played a key part in establishing the computer engineering program, personally developing a number of the courses in it and contributing to the development of a number of others. These include sequential circuit design, structure of digital computers, analog to digital conversion and synthesis with hardware description languages. Botros strives to provide not only the fundamentals but to share the latest developments in his own and related fields, using the latest tools and equipment. His textbook on programming fundamentals, used nationally, always ranks in the field's top five in terms of sales and recently ranked No. 1.

Botros earned a bachelor's in 1966 from Ain Shams University in Egypt, a second bachelor's in 1998 from SIUC, a master's in 1977 from The American University in Egypt and a doctorate in 1985 from the University of Oklahoma.

• Budzban, a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics since 1991, teaches everything from college algebra to stochastic processes. He can make complicated ideas seem simple, and his advanced classes always attract many students, even those not majoring in mathematics. Budzban's nomination dossier contained numerical averages of evaluation form responses from 24 classes taught between 1998 and 2005; he consistently scored above 4.0 on a 5.0 scale. For the last several years, he has had a major part in the Algebra Project, a national effort now funded by the National Science Foundation to boost math skills in African-American and other disadvantaged students.

Budzban is three-degree graduate of the University of South Florida, earning a bachelor's in 1980, a master's in 1985 and a doctorate in 1991.

• DeMattei, a faculty member in dental hygiene in the School of Allied Health, began her teaching career at SIUC as a half-time instructor in 1982. Her teaching responsibilities range from pre-clinical instrumentation skills for beginning students to a research course that she developed for their final year. She has used summer fellowships to produce videos that supplement face-to-face teaching, allowing students to review clinical techniques as needed. In addition, DeMattei works with two SIUC dental clinics that provide services to students, community residents, families and individuals on Medicaid and children with disabilities while providing students with experience treating special-needs clients.

In addition to receiving an associate degree from SIUC, DeMattei earned her bachelor's master's and doctorate from the University in 1981, 1986 and 2006 respectively.

• Davidson, Rehn Professor of Finance since 1989, teaches corporate finance. His classes are always popular and his evaluations always glowing. He has produced many continuing education seminars and online classes for the Professional Development Institute and American Institute of CPAs. He has won 14 previous teaching awards from the college.

Davidson earned bachelor's and master's degrees in 1974 and 1976 from Wright State University in Ohio and a doctorate in 1982 from The Ohio State University.

• Hytten, a faculty member in the Department of Educational Administration and Higher Education since 1996, teaches a range of rigorous undergraduate and graduate courses, constantly revising them to include new ideas and new teaching strategies. Her colleagues describe her course outlines as models of clarity and comprehensiveness and her preparation as meticulous. DeMattei prepares extensively for each class session, developing discussion questions aimed at sparking critical thinking, and provides in-depth feedback on all assignments. Student evaluations consistently rate her highly, reporting that they have not only learned the material but have been challenged to think in new ways.

Hytten earned her bachelor's degree in 1989 from Colgate University in New York and her doctorate in 1996 from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

• Nobel-Allgire, a law school faculty member since 1993, teaches legal writing, ethics, property, and trusts and estates, preparing new lecture notes each year and changing textbooks every couple of years to keep the material fresh and up-to-date. Her lectures are clear, and she encourages questions. Recognizing that students learn in different ways, she uses many different methods to teach material, including having students learn by doing. Nobel-Allgire's exams, consisting of essays, multiple choice questions and performance tests, serve as good preparation for the bar exam, and she will discuss exam performance with students, advising them how to improve. She is available to all students, even those not in her classes, and she quickly responds to e-mail and phone messages.

Nobel-Allgire earned her bachelor's degree in 1980 from SIU Edwardsville and her law degree in 1990 from SIUC.

• Roddy, a faculty member in the Department of Cinema & Photography since 1988, teaches a broad range of courses including entry-level production and graduate history, theory and studio seminars. She has developed new courses on digital imaging and in advanced topics such as art and politics and self as subject. She revamped the undergraduate photographic history sequence and served as an integral part of the team that developed the department's interdisciplinary MFA. In all her classes, Roddy blends theory with practice, technical skills with scrutiny of content. As coordinator of the department's Visiting Artist Series and liaison with the University's Visiting Artists Program, she helps bring practicing artists and their work not just to the students but to the community as well.

Roddy earned her bachelor's in 1985 from the New College of California and her master of fine arts degree in 1987 from the University of Illinois.

• Wiesen, a faculty member in the Department of History since1998, teaches everything from a course for non-majors to senior seminars to graduate colloquia. He is best known for his courses on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. In all, he receives uniformly strong student reviews, and the Center for Educational Policy Research, a national body, has cited his course for non-majors as a model for the teaching of world history. Wiesen knows his students by name and calls on them when he sees by their expressions or body language they have something to say. He can entice shy students to respond and keep confident students from dominating discussions. Passionate about his subject, he nonetheless refrains from imposing his own views on students, treating them with respect even as he poses the "tough questions."

Wiesen earned his bachelor's in 1990 from the University of California, Berkeley and his master's and doctorate in 1992 and 1998 from Brown University in Rhode Island.


Gary Apgar


Gregory Budzban


Jan Roddy


Kathryn Hytten


Nazeih Botros


Ronda DeMattei


S. Jonathon Wiesen


Wallace Davidson III