April 24, 2014

Seven to receive Faculty-Staff Excellence Awards

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will honor faculty and staff for superior scholarship, teaching and service during a reception on Monday, April 28. 

Chancellor Rita Cheng will recognize the recipients at a “Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards” at the 3 p.m. reception in Morris Library, rooms 752 and 754.  Refreshments will follow the program. 

“These seven individuals are being recognized for the contributions and passion they bring to student success, teaching, research and service to the university and our communities,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said.  “Each of our honorees inspire us.” 

The 2014 Faculty and Staff Excellence Award recipients are: Kathleen C.M. Campbell (Scholar Excellence Award), Roudy W. Hildreth (Teaching Excellence Award), Kyle N. Plunkett (Early Career Faculty Excellence Award), Zenetta McDaniel Coleman, Ronald A. Dunkel and Harvey Henson, Jr. (Staff Excellence Award), and Stacia Robertson (Women of Distinction Award). 

Here are the profiles of the honorees: 

Scholar Excellence Award 

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

Kathleen C.M. Campbell, professor and director of audiology research in the Division of Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery at the SIU School of Medicine, is “undoubtedly one of the most meticulous, dedicated and prolific scholars in her field,” writes Dr. Michael W. Neumeister, professor and chair of the surgery department. 

Campbell, who earned the SIU’s 2012 Inventor of the Year Award, is the first person in SIU history to move a drug she has patented at SIU into FDA-approved Phase 3 clinical trials, Neumeister writes. 

She is principal investigator for a five-year project involving the final stages of research for an SIU School of Medicine patented drug aimed at preventing noise-induced hearing loss.  In September 2013, the medical school announced a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense will support a Phase 3 clinical trial to determine if D-methionine can prevent noise-induced hearing loss in soldiers.  Campbell is the inventor of the D-met drug. 

Campbell has five U.S. patents covering four areas of invention and $4.2 million in active research funding.  Her research has generated more than $8.2 million in national, international and patent income for the School of Medicine, according to Neumeister.  

“Her work will have a significant impact on the quality of life for many patients around the world who have been exposed to high noise levels, such as troops in the military, and may improve the quality of life for patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer or receiving intravenous antibiotics for moderate to severe infections,” he writes. 

More than 40 students have also been involved with Campbell and her research activities, with several winning research awards for their work in her laboratory, Neumeister writes.  In 2011, Alexander Claussen, a then-third year medical student, was the first student in medical school history to earn a one-year fully paid fellowship for translational and clinical research training program at the National Institutes of Health. 

Martin D. Slade and Carrie A. Redlich of the Yale School of Medicine write that Campbell, an internationally renowned scholar,  “has been, and continues to be, a pioneer in the quest to prevent hearing loss, a condition that affects almost 30 million Americans alone.” 

Campbell joined the School of Medicine faculty in 1989. She has served as principal investigator for more than 60 state and federal research grants focused primarily on ototoxicity and otoprotective agents. She is the author of “Essential Audiology for Physicians” and the author-editor of “Pharmacology and Ototoxicity for Audiologists,” a required text in most audiology doctoral programs. 

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

Campbell earned her bachelor’s degree in communication/education from South Dakota State University in 1973; a master’s degree in clinical audiology from the University of South Dakota in 1977, and a doctorate in audiology/hearing science from the University of Iowa in 1989. 

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.” 

Roudy W. Hildreth, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science utilizes innovative and highly effective teaching methods that are reflected by the success of his students and the high demand for his courses, writes Scott A. Comparato, associate professor and interim department chair. 

“He is able to develop an effective rapport with students while still maintaining a certain professional distance, and it is evident he holds the students’ respect in that role,” Comparato writes.  “He effectively conveys complex concepts and theories to students in a way that they can comprehend without being pedantic or condescending.  He fosters an environment in which students feel comfortable participating, and pushes them to take responsibility for their own education.” 

Hildreth teaches courses in political theory at the undergraduate and graduate level and a graduate-level course on qualitative methodology.  He has also taught a wide-range of classes including introductory-level courses on American politics and political theory and upper-level classes on classical political theory, democratic theory and American political thought.  His research interests include democratic theory, the political philosophy of John Dewey and youth-civic engagement. 

Robert L. Clinton, professor emeritus in political science, was department chair when Hildreth started at SIU in 2005.  Clinton writes Hildreth has “established a solid reputation through his research, publications and professional contributions and is now widely regarded as an important player among his generation of young scholars in the field of American political thought and democratic theory.” 

Hildreth writes the diversity of students from diverging academic backgrounds and abilities “has been the true challenge and the great reward of teaching at SIU.”  In seeking to simultaneously challenge and support the intellectual growth of all students, Hildreth has developed four strategies “to inspire students’ best thinking, challenge their preconceptions and -- most importantly -- demand excellence from everyone in class, regardless of their academic background.” 

He views teaching as a “collaborative process of engaging content and building knowledge with students.”  Hildreth writes that he aims to give students “a sense of lived reality of the material they are studying,” with service-learning a central strategy.  In making his courses academically rigorous, Hildreth writes he has high standards for class discussions, knowledge of content and written work.  He also has assignments in each class “that challenge students to think for themselves and take an independent stand on the material in question.” 

“I don’t want students to merely digest information, but to critically analyze and develop their own informed judgments,” he writes. 

Hildreth became an associate professor in 2012.  He was co-director of the Center for Service-Learning and Volunteerism and is an associate professor by courtesy in the philosophy department.  Prior to coming to SIU Carbondale, Hildreth was a visiting instructor at St. Olaf College in Minnesota and a research assistant with the Center for Democracy and Citizenship with the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. 

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

Hildreth earned his bachelor’s degree in political and social thought from the University of Virginia in 1991, a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia in 1993, and his doctorate in political science from the University of Minnesota in 2005. 

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. 

Kyle N. Plunkett, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, earns praise from his colleagues for his outstanding research and exceptional teaching, in addition to a sincere interest in student success.  Plunkett came to SIU Carbondale in 2010.  Plunkett teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in organic chemistry. Organic chemistry at the undergraduate level provides students the basis for how atoms bond together to form organic, carbon-containing, compounds and how they can be manipulated to make new chemical species. Organic chemistry drives innovation in fields including energy, space, medicine and engineering. 

Boyd M. Goodson, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, praises Plunkett’s “innovation and excellence” both in and out of the classroom.  That includes meeting with students once per week at Neely and Felts residence halls, initiating a second-year chemistry “Honors” section that meets outside of class once a week and engaging students in cutting-edge research. 

In March, Plunkett received a $650,000 five-year research grant from the National Science Foundation.  The grant will support Plunkett and a team of graduate students in their efforts to develop new organic-based materials utilized to make organic solar cells that can convert sunlight into electricity, which could also lead to new solar cell efficiencies.  Goodson writes that the competitive award requires “is a substantial recognition of a young scholar.” 

During his time at SIU, Plunkett has generated 11 peer-reviewed publications, several with graduate students and two with undergraduate co-authors.  He currently also has three master’s-level and three doctoral-level students working in his lab, and has mentored 11 undergraduate researchers, including two research rookies. 

A former student, Jordan Wood, now in his second year of medical school at the University of Illinois, writes that Plunkett’s classroom efforts, including PowerPoint slides and online homework, a “willingness to meet” both after class and outside the classroom helped him keep a “very high” interest in organic chemistry.  Wood performed research under Plunkett’s guidance from January 2011 to June 2012, resulting in two articles in well-respected journals. 

“Because of Dr. Plunkett and the problem solving skills he helped me develop during our work together, I look back on my organic chemistry experiences fondly and am better equipped to apply the scientific method during my career as a medical doctor,” Wood writes.  “Dr. Plunkett stands out in my memory as one of the most dedicated and effective professors I have had the pleasure of studying under.” 

Plunkett earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Texas A&M University in 2000; and his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2005. His research experience includes work at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, from 2005-2006, and as a postdoctoral associate at Columbia University from 2006-2010. 

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

Women of Distinction Excellence Award 

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

Stacia L. Robertson, an associate professor in the rehabilitation counseling and administration program at the Rehabilitation Institute, is praised by her colleagues and former students for her work as a teacher and mentor. 

Carl R. Flowers, professor and institute director, writes that Robertson’s impact is not only within the institute and the College of Education and Human Services, but also with multicultural rehabilitation issues both campus-wide and nationally.  

Flowers also notes that Robertson is a high achiever in research, collaborating with colleagues for two long-term traineeship grants that have provided funding for more than 30 masters- and doctoral-level students. 

Robertson joined SIU as an instructor in the Rehabilitation Institute in 2002, and was promoted to associate professor in 2009.  Her honors include Rehabilitation Educator of the Year in 2011-12 by the National Council in Rehabilitation Education, the College of Education and Human Services Outstanding Teacher of the Year for 2008-09, and Rehabilitation Institute Teacher of the Year for 2007-08. On a national level, Robertson is the immediate past president of the National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns, serving as president from 2009 to 2011.  She served as coordinator of SIU’s rehabilitation services program from 2012 to 2013.  Her work also includes serving as board president of the Southern Illinois Center for Independent Living and as a member of the Carbondale branch of the NAACP education committee. 

Brenda Cartwright, a professor at Winston-Salem State University, writes of Robertson’s “visionary leadership, unselfish service and professional commitment to promoting equity and excellence in the field of rehabilitation counseling.” Several students praise Robertson’s teaching philosophy and her desire to challenge themselves in their efforts to become the best counselors they can. 

“Dr. Robertson is an exceptional teacher who kindles a desire to learn,” writes Ann Melvin, a 2011 rehabilitation institute doctoral graduate who is now an assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield.  “She challenges us to think outside the box and to challenge traditional norms that can inhibit change.  She required us to become involved in the community to learn about different cultures, and she models this approach by being actively involved in the community and with the university.” 

Robertson earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Illinois State University in 1988; her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1995, and her doctorate in counseling psychology from The Pennsylvania State University in 2003. 

Robertson will receive a certificate, a $1,250 award and a $1,000 professional award. 

Staff Excellence Award 

The award recognizes an administrative professional or civil service staff member for “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,” contributing in ways that improve students’ experiences at the university, and is someone who “exemplifies professionalism and serves as a positive role model for faculty, staff, and students.” 

Zenetta McDaniel Coleman, associate director of the University Honors Program, is actively engaged with faculty, staff and students, and her commitment to SIU students goes “far beyond expectations outlined in any job description,” writes nominator Carolin Harvey. 

A two-degree SIU graduate and Carbondale native, Coleman, affectionately known as “Mama Z,” mentors students, has advised several registered student organizations, and established two private scholarships in memory of her grandparents, three of whom retired from the university.  Harvey, an accountant in the registrar’s office, writes that she first met Coleman when she hired her as a graduate student for her office nearly 20 years ago. 

Coleman’s “natural affinity” for students developed while working as a Chicago-based admissions counselor and recruiter for SIU from 1997 to 1999, Harvey writes. 

Coleman has a desire to increase the diversity of student and faculty membership in the University Honors program to reflect the diversity on campus, and through active and intentional recruitment, diversity in the program has risen from 10 to 35 percent in just over three years, Harvey writes.  Coleman is a university associate for the honors program’s Living Learning Community (LLC), taught a University College 101 class and served on numerous search committees.  She is vice president of the black staff and faculty council and the administrative/professional council’s judicial review committee. 

Cornelius Fair, a doctoral candidate in speech communication and undergraduate admissions coordinator, first met Coleman while an undergraduate student at Jackson State University.  Fair is also an alumni of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and writes that Coleman has “completely altered” how fraternity members “approach opportunities on campus and in the community.  The fraternity’s success with various community service projects comes from Coleman’s “support, listening ear, direction and yes, even ‘scolding’ at times. Many of us see her as our campus mom,” Fair writes. 

Coleman is president of the African American Museum of Southern Illinois and also serves as a family action network committee member for Special Olympics Illinois. 

Prior to her current post, Coleman was a placement specialist with the university’s Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois.  Prior to that, Coleman worked as director of multicultural student affairs at Eastern Kentucky University; assistant director in the office of multicultural development at Wheaton College, and coordinator of graduate programs, film and video at Columbia College in Chicago.  She also worked as assistant director of student activities and coordinator of clubs and organizations at Jackson State University. 

A two-degree graduate of SIU Carbondale, Coleman earned her bachelor’s degree in speech communication in 1993 and her master’s degree in workforce education and development in 1995. 

Ronald A. Dunkel, is coordinator of the Student Center Craft Shop and is often found, according to Tena Bennett, Student Center director, “in the middle of all the classes, workshops and fun that goes on at the Craft Shop every day.” 

Dunkel has been craft shop coordinator since September 1994; he began at the university in 1985 as the assistant craft shop coordinator, wood shop manager and instructor. Through more than 50 annual workshops and private lessons, Dunkel and his team “have created an opportunity for everyone to find their inner artist,” Bennett writes.  

Dunkel is heavily involved in everything from a hand-carved casting of an SIU Saluki gnome to teaching a class on how to make sushi, build a kayak or help students fix their bikes through “Saluki Spokes.” He also works with various community groups including the Girl Scouts, Rainbow’s End, Carbondale Boys and Girls Club and numerous campus-related organizations, Bennett writes. 

Dunkel is dedicated to sustainability, and among his efforts is using craft shop waste to make birdhouses and other sculptures. Another project is “Random Tokens of Kindness,” which creates small tokens to be given out to people who do kind acts, and “Make a Greeting Card,” where cards are made for military personnel and soldiers. 

Don Castle, Student Center associate director, writes that Dunkel is focused on students’ learning, success and wellbeing and “continues to motivate and educate students about the benefits of being productive and becoming involved in their chosen profession.” 

Kay Pick Zivkovich, professor and associate director in the School of Art and Design, writes that Dunkel inspires people on a daily basis to “become more aware of themselves through the creative process.” 

“He wears many hats, sometimes as an artist, designer, administrator, teacher, mentor and coordinator,” she writes.  “Ron’s ability to engage and artistically inspire individuals to create things opens up opportunities.  This creativity infuses everyday decision-making, something we need more of in higher education.” 

Dunkel earned his bachelor’s degree in drawing and sculpture from SIU Carbondale in 1981.  His graduate studies include higher education, and math and science courses. 

Harvey Henson, Jr., the assistant dean for recruitment, retention and outreach in the College of Science, impacts SIU students through outreach with Living Learning Communities, the popular Saluki Science Ambassadors and science educators throughout the region, writes Laurie A. Achenbach, interim dean of the College of Science.  He has mentored more than 350 student leaders and undergraduate researchers with Saluki Science Ambassadors since 2009 and 300 science students in science learning communities since 2008. 

Henson has more than 27 years with the university, beginning as a research project specialist in 1986 to help establish the seismology research program in the Department of Geology.  In 2001, Henson became an instructor in geosciences and in 2007, co-director and instructor in the science and math teacher (SMART) graduate program in the College of Science and College of Education and Human Services.  Henson became an assistant dean in 2008.  Since becoming an assistant dean, Henson is the principal investigator or co-principal investigator in outreach grants totaling more than $8 million. 

“All of these activities lie outside his specific job responsibilities,” Achenbach writes.  “Harvey does all of the grant-funded outreach not because he has to, but because he wants to.” 

Achenbach writes she believes Henson is in “large part responsible” for recent enrollment successes in the college, which include a 56 percent increase in African American students and 72 percent increase in Hispanic students from 2010 to 2012. 

“I see someone who has a genuine concern for the students’ success and well being, a sincerity that is felt by all who interact with him,” she writes. 

Stephen Esling, geology department chair, writes that Henson’s educational outreach programs result in many students entering SIU as science majors and notes that everyone who works in science education in the region “knows Harvey and what he does.” 

“It is a true joy to watch Harvey interact with students and all educational levels. You can see the passion he has for learning and how he reaches out to that reluctant student to show him or her just how exciting science can be,” Esling writes. 

Christopher Midden, a fifth- and sixth grade science teacher at Unity Point Grade School in Carbondale, writes of Henson’s meaningful and well-prepared programs. “Through his willingness to go above and beyond his expected duties, he is leading the way so that the Southern Illinois scientific research as well as science education is developing into a strong community of scientists and teacher leaders” Midden writes. 

Henson earned his bachelor’s degree in geology from Ball State University in 1985 and his master’s degree in geology/geophysics from SIU Carbondale in August 1989.  Henson will earn his doctorate in science education from SIU Carbondale in May. 

Coleman, Dunkel and Henson will each receive a certificate, a $1,250 award and a $1,000 professional development award.