May 01, 2012

Seven to receive Faculty-Staff Excellence Awards

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Seven faculty and staff from Southern Illinois University Carbondale have won recognition for superior scholarship, teaching and service.

Chancellor Rita Cheng will recognize the recipients at a “Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards” presentation at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 2, in the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors in Morris Library.  A reception will follow in the library’s first-floor rotunda.

“These individuals have earned the respect of students and colleagues for their passion for scholarship, for student success, and for service to the campus and our communities,” Cheng said.  “They are committed to transforming lives.”

The 2012 Faculty and Staff Excellence Award recipients are Theodore R. Weeks (Scholar Excellence Award), Meera Komarraju (Teaching Excellence Award), Silvia Secchi (Early Career Faculty Excellence Award), Patricia Caporale and Jack R. Musgrave  (Staff Excellence Awards), and Caporale, Karen L. Jones and Jan E. Waggoner (Women of Distinction Excellence Award).

Here are profiles of the honorees.

Scholar Excellence Award

The award “recognizes and promotes outstanding research and creative endeavors,” and is given only to faculty and staff “who have made outstanding contributions to their discipline” and who are “widely recognized by other scholars in the field.”

Theodore R. Weeks, a professor in the history department in the College of Liberal Arts, is a “remarkably productive scholar whose work has international implications as well as international impact,” writes former Dean Alan Vaux and David DiLalla, an associate professor in clinical psychology and associate dean. Weeks’ research interests include anti-Semitism, ethic relations and assimilation, and national movements in East Central Europe and Russia.  Among his many honors is a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Warsaw in Poland from September 2008 to July 2009, and the 2009 Outstanding Scholar award from the College of Liberal Arts.

Weeks’ scholarly work includes two books, two textbooks, 20 essays, 40 journal articles, four encyclopedia articles, and more than 160 book reviews. In addition to his research record and scholarly efforts, Weeks has taught 15 classes in the history department -- ranging from advanced graduate seminars to an undergraduate course in world civilizations.  He regularly meets informally with students and serves as a resource and mentor.

Weeks will receive the permanent title of Distinguished Scholar, a certificate, $2,500 award, and $1,000 other-than-salaries award.

Weeks earned his bachelor’s degree in German and a master’s degree in German literature in 1980 and 1984 respectively, both from the University of Colorado, and his doctorate in history in 1992 from the University of California, Berkeley.

Teaching Excellence Award

The award recognizes faculty who demonstrate outstanding teaching, high quality classroom performance, innovation, and “commitment to student learning outcomes and inclusive excellence in education.”

Meera Komarraju, an associate professor and director of the undergraduate program in the psychology department in the College of Liberal Arts, is a “stellar teacher who is dedicated to her students’ success,” writes Benjamin Rodriguez, associate professor and department chair.

Komarraju began as a lecturer in the psychology department in 1986, and held positions in both the psychology and management departments before becoming an assistant professor in psychology in 2005, and associate professor in 2009. She became director of the psychology department’s undergraduate program in 2003.

Komarraju received the University’s outstanding Core Curriculum faculty member award in 2007.  She is a two-time recipient of her college’s “Outstanding Term Teacher.”

Komarraju will receive the permanent title of Distinguished Teacher, a certificate, $2,500 award, and $1,000 other-than-salaries award.

Komarraju earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology, philosophy and English literature in 1976 from Nizam College, India; Master of Arts degrees in psychology in 1978 and a master of philosophy degree in 1980, all from Osmania University, India, and a doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology in 1983, also from Osmania University.  Komarraju also has a doctorate degree in applied social psychology in 1987 from the University of Cincinnati.

Early Career Faculty Excellence Award

The award recognizes faculty within their first five years at SIU Carbondale for “significant contributions throughout the year” to their discipline or the University community.  The award recognizes excellence in scholarship, teaching, and other professional activities.

Silvia Secchi, an assistant professor in agribusiness economics in the College of Agricultural Sciences, earns praise from colleagues for a “strong record of excellence” in teaching, research and service since coming to SIU Carbondale in 2008.  She has secured as principal investigator or co-principal investigator seven externally funded projects totaling more than $5 million.

Steven P. Esling, associate professor and chair in the Department of Geology, writes that even at this early stage of Secchi’s career, she has a book, 14 journal articles and nine book chapters, and while offering “challenging courses … I detect a genuine empathy for students.”

“I have seen her mentor young scientists, guiding their research and encouraging their grantsmanship,” Esling writes.

Secchi is co-director since 2009 of the University’s environmental resources and policy doctorate program.  Her interest is agriculture economics, activities and policies and how they relate to the environment, particularly water quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

Secchi will receive a certificate, $2,500 award, and $1,000 other-than-salaries award.

Secchi earned her undergraduate degree in economics from Università Bocconi in 1993, a master’s degree in agricultural economics in 1995 from the University of Reading, Reading, England, and a doctorate in economics from Iowa State University in 2000.

Women of Distinction Awards

The Women of Distinction Award is given to a faculty, administrative/professional or civil service staff member, and recognizes employees who demonstrate “a sustained commitment to women and/or issues of diversity through demonstrated leadership, vision, or actions” in their profession, expertise, or service to the University community.

Patricia Caporale, administrative assistant to the admissions director at the SIU School of Law, has been the “backbone of the law school’s recruitment and retention mission” since her start there in 1988, writes Alice M. Noble-Allgire, law school professor.

From her willingness to make an extra effort in helping students achieve their goals, a gentle manner and kind words that came at important times, and tireless work ethic, Caporale is an excellent role model for all students, but particularly for women.

“When I was in law school there were only four women on the tenure-track faculty,” she writes.  “Accordingly, the visibility and support of administrative staff like Ms. Caporale was critical to me and my fellow female law students in our development as professionals.  Indeed, her unique mix of the personal and professional is something I have tried to emulate with clients, colleagues and students.”

Caporale began in 1987 as a secretary with the SIU Broadcasting Service before moving to the law school, where she was an assistant to the registrar before moving to the admissions office.

Karen L. Jones, acting associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and a professor in animal science, food and nutrition, is a “student-centered, self-sacrificing and service oriented professor,” writes professor Sheryl S. King, director of the University’s Equine Studies program.

Jones came to SIU Carbondale in 1999 as an assistant professor in the animal science, food and nutrition program, advancing to associate professor in 2005 and professor in 2010.  She was interim department chair from 2009 to 2011.  Among her many duties, Jones is doctoral program director for the college, director of the University’s Soybean Center, and college liaison for the University’s Honors program.

Among her honors, Jones earned the 2009 award from the College of Agricultural Sciences for superior teaching.

Jones is a three-degree graduate of Texas A&M University, earning her bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1989, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in veterinary physiology in 1996 and 1999, respectively.

Jan E. Waggoner, associate professor and director of the teacher education program in the College of Education and Human Services, is the type of “go-to person that accomplishes or achieves goals without the fanfare and rhetoric of acclamation,” writes Frances K. Shafer, a senior lecturer in the curriculum and instruction department.

Waggoner has been with the University since arriving as an assistant professor in the curriculum and instruction department in 1990, and became an associate professor in 1996.  Her service includes coordinator of middle level education within the College of Education and Human Services since 1995, and clinical field experience supervisor for more than 50 student and pre-student teachers each semester from 1990 to 1995.

Lynn C Smith, department chair and a 2011 “Women of Distinction” recipient, writes that Waggoner is “as creative as any educational professional I have seen.  She analyzes situations and problems and then creates solutions that benefit our students and the larger community in ways that seem so obvious but had not been tried previously.”

Waggoner “has been instrumental” connecting the University with the Illinois State Board of Education and many public school districts in the state, Smith writes.

Waggoner earned the Outstanding Teacher Award from her college and her department in 1997.

Waggoner earned her bachelor’s degree in social science education in 1973 from Illinois State University, her master’s degree in guidance and counseling in 1977 from SIU Edwardsville, and her doctorate in curriculum and instruction in 1990 from the University of Memphis.

Caporale, Jones and Waggoner each receive a certificate, $1,250 and a $1,000 professional development award.

Staff Excellence Award

The award recognizes an administrative professional and/or civil service staff member who has made “significant contributions” to further the University’s mission.  That includes demonstrating “excellence in overall work performance, performing duties at a level above and beyond normal job requirements,” and contributing in ways that improve the student experience at the University, and “exemplifies professionalism and serves as a positive role model for faculty, staff, and students.”

Caporale, who is a 2012 “Women of Distinction” recipient, is “the face of the law school to hundreds of prospective students every year,” writes Noble-Allgire.  With a gentle manner, kind words, and positive attitude, or words of empathy and endearment, when necessary, Caporale is “an incredible asset” to the law school, according to Noble-Allgire.

“I know from personal discussions with students that a substantial portion of our student body has come to the institution solely because of their enthusiastic interactions with Ms. Caporale,” Noble-Allgire writes.

Jack R. Musgrave, interim director of the Evaluation and Developmental Center, is “a consummate professional, and as a role model for students, sets an excellent example through his extensive vocational rehabilitation knowledge and hard work,” writes Carl R. Flowers, professor and acting director of the Rehabilitation Institute in the College of Education and Human Services.

Musgrave has been with the comprehensive rehabilitation facility since 1984, when he began as rehabilitation counselor before quickly moving to chief rehabilitation counselor within a year.  He became interim director in 2009. The center provided services to more than 300 clients during fiscal year 2011.

John J. Benshoff, professor and interim dean of the College of Education and Human Services, writes that Musgrave’s experience “reads more like the vita of an assistant or associate professor.”  Musgrave has published more than 25 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and over the last several years acquired grants in excess of $4 million.

Musgrave is a certified rehabilitation counselor, certified vocational counselor and licensed clinical professional counselor.

Musgrave earned his bachelor’s degree in social welfare in 1979 and a master’s degree in rehabilitation administration and services in 1984, both from SIU Carbondale.

Caporale and Musgrave each receive a certificate, $1,250, and a $1,000 professional development award.