April 08, 2009

Faculty members honored for superior teaching

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Eight faculty members from Southern Illinois University Carbondale have won recognition from their colleges for superior teaching, while three others garnered citations for educational achievement outside a college. They will be honored at the University’s “Excellence Through Commitment” awards dinner April 21 at the Student Center.

SIUC college deans named Y. Paul Chugh (College of Engineering), Terry Clark (College of Business), Harris Deller (College of Liberal Arts), Karen L. Jones (College of Agricultural Sciences), Jyotsna Kapur (College of Mass Communication and Media Arts), Karen Renzaglia (College of Science), Jose R. Ruiz (College of Applied Sciences and Arts) and Heewon Yang (College of Education and Human Services) as their top educators. Patricia “Trish” R. McCubbin, Philip C. Howze and Susan T. Hingle ranked as 2009’s outstanding faculty members in the School of Law, Library Affairs and the School of Medicine respectively.

In addition to a certificate, each will receive a cash award, funds from the Office of the Provost to support professional activities during the next fiscal year and a watch courtesy of the SIU Alumni Association.

• Chugh, a professor of mining and mineral resources engineering, has prepared and taught 12 courses in his nearly 31 years at SIUC, many of which he built from the ground up, as the field has few textbooks. At both undergraduate and graduate levels, his classes mix theory with hands-on research and a real-world, industry-ready approach. He also mentors young faculty and encourages his doctoral students to set their sights on faculty positions of their own.

Chugh’s teaching reaches beyond the confines not just of SIUC but this country as well. During the 1980s, he developed and set up undergraduate programs in Indonesia. More recently, he helped create an environmental science and engineering program in India and has, since 2007, served as an adjunct professor at the Indian School of Mines.

Chugh, who completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees in India, earned his doctorate in 1971 from The Pennsylvania State University.

• Clark, chair of marketing and director of the student-run advertising agency, Barking Dawgs Productions, has taught undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students since joining SIUC in 2000. His courses, which concentrate on marketing principles, marketing strategy and international marketing, tend to cross disciplines and emphasize real-world learning. In demand by students, he consistently receives evaluations above the college average.

Clark’s dean notes that he is passionate about his teaching, providing a stimulating, thought-provoking learning environment that challenges his students. He has twice made his college’s teaching honor roll and in 2003 was named its outstanding teacher of undergraduates.

A two-degree graduate of SIUC (bachelor’s in 1980 and master’s in business administration in 1982), Clark earned his doctorate from Texas A&M University in 1987.

• Deller, described by School of Art and Design Interim Director Peter Chametzky as “the heart, the soul, the mind and the body” behind the University’s highly regarded ceramics program, has taught at SIUC for some 35 years. While he imparts both techniques and skills, he also encourages his students to develop as artists, to understand not just the medium but art as a whole. His students cite his passion, rigor and high expectations, finding him both challenging and supportive as they discover and mold their own creative vision.

Deller expects his graduate students to make significant research contributions, and they generally do. The fact that most have gone on to achieve success as practicing professionals serves as “the best possible measure of the excellence of his teaching,” Chametzky wrote in his nomination letter.

Deller earned his bachelor’s degree in 1971 at California State University, Northridge and his master of fine arts degree in 1973 at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

• Jones, now serving as interim chair of animal science, food and nutrition, has taught everything from animal genetics to reproductive physiology, developing her own lab manuals for several of her courses. Her creative approach to these hard sciences has included having her students build models of animal reproductive tracts from the material of their choice -- one student knitted hers. She involves many of her undergraduate students in research; several have gone on to win research awards at regional and national levels.

For several years, Jones has hosted a weekly “Spaghetti Night” at a local restaurant, sharing not just meals but assistance with assignments and her concern for her students on a personal level.

A faculty member since 1999, Jones is a three-degree graduate of Texas A&M University, earning her bachelor’s in 1989, her master’s in 1996 and her doctorate in 1999.

• Kapur, associate professor of cinema and photography, has a cross-appointment in sociology. Her teaching specialties include documentaries, ethnographic cinema, German and Japanese New Wave films, Hindi cinema and children’s media. She has developed new courses, many of which integrate subject matter from other areas. She also involves her students in projects outside of class that enrich their experience. For example, her students are working by way of the Internet with counterparts at a university in Mumbai, India, in creating a film.

Her student evaluations routinely praise her preparation, enthusiasm, effective teaching and fair grading practices. Her international experience and interests add another dimension to her department’s course schedule, and she actively participates in new curriculum initiatives.

Having earned undergraduate and graduate degrees during the ‘80s and early ‘90s in India, Kapur went on to earn a master’s degree in 1992 from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a doctorate in 1998 from Northwestern University, coming to SIUC upon completion of that degree.

• Renzaglia, associate professor in plant biology, brings her research interests to bear on the classes she teaches. From introducing beginning students to fundamental biological concepts through the use of live plants to developing customized, upper-level lab manuals that draw upon her collection of thousands of unique plant images, she strives to help students explore the material thoroughly in their quest for its deepest meaning.

Renzaglia’s teaching extends beyond her own classroom. She has developed a biology course for public school teachers, and she oversees the efforts of graduate fellows to take research skills and science content to regional high schools. In addition, she has created two university courses to teach professional research skills to upper-division students in all majors and prepare them to apply for graduate school.

A three-degree graduate of SIUC, Renzaglia earned her bachelor’s in 1975, her master’s in 1977 and her doctorate in 1981. She returned to her alma mater as a visiting professor in 1996.

• Ruiz, an associate professor who also has a commercial pilot certificate and 20 years experience in the U.S. Air Force, teaches a variety of courses in aviation management and flight both on campus and off. These include fundamentals of air traffic control, aviation safety management, aviation career development and national airspace system, and they always fill quickly. Students praise his ability to motivate them, make the subject material comprehensible and present lively lectures using such tools as videos and simulation devices. He has been at the top in teaching in his department four times in the last nine years and was his college’s teaching honoree in 2002.

Ruiz mentors both individuals and groups, serving as an adviser to clubs such as the Minority Aviation Council, and seeking out internship opportunities for his students. He also plays an active role in recruitment.

Ruiz earned his bachelor’s in 1983 from Park University in Parkville, Mo., his master’s in 1986 from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., and his doctorate in 2003 from SIUC. He has been a faculty member since 1995.

• Yang, an associate professor who teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in therapeutic recreation, makes a point of learning all his students’ names before the second class session, an early indication of the respect and caring with which he approaches his teaching responsibilities. In his classes and labs, he uses a mix of technology, problem-solving, creative exercises, field trips, guest speakers and group discussion (both in class and online) to make his subject matter come alive. He also encourages students to take part in service projects that afford them learning opportunities of a different kind.

Students report that Yang always has time for them — in class, during office hours and at the times they most need him. The words “inspirational,” “caring,” “passionate” and “dedicated” frequently surface in their accounts of his influence on them. Though a faculty member only since 2004, he already has won his department’s top teaching honor.

Yang earned his bachelor’s degree in his native Korea, then completed his master’s in 1997 at The University of Tennessee and his doctorate in 2002 at Indiana University.

• McCubbin, an associate professor who worked as an attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s environmental defense section before joining the law faculty in 2000, teaches environmental law, advanced environmental litigation, environmental law for business transactions and administrative law. Despite the technical, naturally dry nature of these courses, she routinely garners high praise from the students who take them. Last year, she had the school’s highest student evaluation scores.

In the comments section of those evaluations, words such as “enthusiastic,” “respectful” and “best” continually crop up. McCubbin’s peers on the faculty admire her organization, her rapport with her classes and ability to put into meaningful context the answers students give in class. Her dean describes her quite simply as the school’s best classroom instructor.

A two-degree graduate of the University of Virginia, McCubbin earned her bachelor’s degree in 1985 and her law degree in 1990.

• Howze, a research/reference librarian whose specialties include anthropology, black American studies, economics, psychology, social work and sociology, teaches one course each semester in the Black American Studies Program as well as sections of the library information literacy course. A full professor since 2005, he nevertheless continues to revamp his courses and find new topics to research and write about. He also is a popular mentor for younger faculty throughout the library.

Much in demand as a committee, task force or initiative member, Howze still manages to find time to serve on the Faculty Senate and the Judicial Review Board, man the information desk and work with other departments on campus in addition to his other duties.

Howze came to SIUC in 2000. He is a two-degree graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, earning his undergraduate degree in 1986 and a master’s degree in 1989. He earned his library degree in 1990 from the University of Iowa.

• Hingle, an associate professor of clinical medicine, has made innovations in teaching and assessment that could affect medical education throughout the country. She has created several interactive case studies designed to help students understand how doctors make their diagnoses and has written articles on communicating with older patients, improving care for the chronically ill and teaching teachers how to teach. She also presented workshops on these topics to national audiences.

She recently received a grant from the National Board of Medical Examiners to develop a way of evaluating one of the skill sets residency program administrators find most difficult to measure. Her method involves a set of simulations that test how student interact with patients, their families and other medical personnel. Residency programs across the nation likely will find this a useful tool.

Hingle earned her bachelor’s degree in 1989 from Miami University and her medical degree in 1993 from Rush Medical College in Chicago. She joined the faculty in 1998.

Y. Paul ChughTerry ClarkHarris DellerKaren Jones

Jyotsna KapurKaren RenzagliaJose RuizHeewon Yang

Trish McCubbinPhilip HowzeSusan Hingle