April 18, 2016

Seven to receive Faculty-Staff Excellence Awards

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale will honor seven members of the faculty and staff for superior scholarship, teaching and service. 

Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell will host a ceremony and reception honoring the recipients of the Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 26, in Morris Library’s Hall of Presidents and Chancellors. 

Recipients are: Sajal Lahiri, (Scholar Excellence Award), Dr. Bradley Schwartz (Teaching Excellence Award, tenure track), Christina Lyons (Teaching Excellence Award, non-tenure track), Sarah Kertz (Early Career Faculty Excellence Award), Mythili Rundblad (Women of Distinction Excellence Award), and Robert Broomfield and Crystal L. Marlow (Staff Excellence Award). 

Here are profiles of the recipients: 

Scholar Excellence Award

This 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 by other scholars in the field.” 

Sajal Lahiri, professor and Vandeveer Chair of Economics in the Department of Economics in the College of Liberal Arts, is “one of the most dedicated and prolific scholars in International Trade and Economic Development,” according to Subhash C. Sharma, professor and department chair. “Through his writings on freer trade across countries and on the abolition of child labor, he has impacted the lives of millions of people around the globe.” 

When Lahiri joined SIU Carbondale in 2002, he was a well-known economist in the United Kingdom and professor of economics at the University of Essex. Sharma wrote that Lahiri’s research has “many policy implications for the welfare of society,” and that his work in economics touches on numerous areas, including illegal immigration, taxes, and the cost of conflict. Lahiri is the author of four research reference books on topics that include trade and industrial policy, economic theory in a changing world, and foreign aid. Three of the books have been written while Lahiri has been at SIU Carbondale. 

Lahiri has published more than 100 papers and chaired 41 doctoral dissertations, including 25 at SIU Carbondale; 60 to 70 master’s theses; and written 24 chapters in professional books, 10 book reviews and eight other articles generally related to trade policies. Sharma noted that the research division of the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis shows that Lahiri ranks among the top five percent of nearly 42,700 economists in research works cited. 

Lahiri has also had visiting research, fellow and consultant positions at various universities and institutions throughout the world, including The World Bank, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a United Nations organization headquartered in Rome, Italy. 

Sugata Marjit, vice chancellor of the University of Calcutta, wrote that Lahiri’s academic credentials are “absolutely top class” and he is an “outstanding scholar.” 

“If one looks at the quality of publications since he joined SIU, it would be difficult to ignore the fact that Professor Lahiri has put the Economics Department of SIU at a respectable global spot,” Marjit wrote. 

Lahiri earned his doctorate from The Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata. He will receive the permanent title of Distinguished Scholar. 

Teaching Excellence Award, tenure track

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

Dr. Bradley F. Schwartz, professor of urology and director of the Center for Laparoscopy and Endourology at the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, “is an extraordinary educator,” according to a letter of nomination written by Dean and Provost Dr. Jerry Kruse. “His dedication to teaching moves beyond the traditional and into the innovative and cross-generational. His creativity, passion, and relationship building are recognized locally, nationally, and internationally.” 

Schwartz was the School of Medicine’s 2015 Educator of the Year. He has earned the Department of Surgery’s Excellence in Teaching Award for 11 years and the department’s Research Mentor of the Year four times. He joined the School of Medicine in 2003 and was promoted to professor in 2009. Board certified in urology, he specializes in minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopy and stone disease. 

In his statement of philosophy on teaching, Schwartz wrote, “Nowhere in the country is medical and surgical education more valued than here at the SIU School of Medicine. It is on this stage that I am fortunate to teach the next generation of doctors. The value and philosophy of teaching cannot be learned or taught – it has to be felt on a visceral level.” He explains if a physician treats 25,000 patients in a practice lifetime, it is admirable; if a physician trains 20 residents and 100 medical students “the impact on the population as a whole is far greater” and influences future generations. 

“One of the benefits of teaching is, ironically, learning,” Schwartz wrote. “Teaching requires listening and interacting with your students. If the teacher listens and interacts appropriately and intently, both people can serve the role of teacher and student. If one assumes they cannot learn anymore, they are most likely ineffective teachers.” 

Kruse wrote that Schwartz is internationally recognized as an “innovator” in surgical simulation and a leader “in teaching techniques associated with robotic surgery.” Schwartz has used innovative thinking to create simulations and skills laboratories that are highly technical but also cost-effective, and he is committed to hands-on, practical learning environments for students and residents. 

Schwartz extends his teaching focus; opening up his simulation labs to others – ranging from grade school students to retired physicians. Schwartz has two patents for devices he has been working on for the past decade with two more pending. 

Schwartz earned his doctor of osteopathy degree from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in 1990 and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hamline University in 1986. 

After graduating from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, Schwartz continued in the U.S. Army, completing his urologic residency training at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash. He holds the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. 

Prior to coming to the SIU School of Medicine, Schwartz was at the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii; the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, and the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. He is also on the faculty of the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences School of Medicine in Bethesda, Md.  

Schwartz will receive the permanent title of Distinguished Teacher. 

Teaching Excellence Award, non-tenure track 

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

Christina L. Lyons, a senior lecturer in English in the College of Liberal Arts, is recognized for the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere in her classes, and her desire and commitment to assist students that extend after class to ensure they easily comprehend and grasp assignments, according to a nomination letter written by Anna Jackson, a senior lecturer in English. “She initiates strategies and other techniques that allow students to navigate through the system with a degree of confidence that only she could give to them,” Jackson wrote. 

Lyons has been a lecturer in the English department since 2009; she began at SIU Carbondale in 2006 as a graduate assistant in diversity and became a lecturer in the English department the next year. She has been involved annually with the Challenge 2 Excellence summer residential camps for academically talented middle school and high school students since 2011. 

Lyons wrote, “Our students’ success is our reward.” She said she seeks to instill a “warm and learner-friendly classroom environment where test-taking anxiety is non-existent due to group work even in some exams, and where peer-support is the norm …” 

Lyons uses a “hands-on, constructivist approach, letting students experiment with mini lessons and media presentations to get a full teaching experience.” She also lets them utilize different types of online educational material to further their technological literacy, and serves as a mentor for English education majors and tutors those who struggle with LiveText. 

Elizabeth Klaver, professor and department chair in English, wrote of Lyons’ commitment. Noting that an online version of an English class was being cancelled and that six or seven students could not take the classroom section of the course because they were involved in teaching practicum, Lyons enrolled the students in independent studies so they could complete the course although she would not be paid for her work. 

“This is teaching above and beyond the call of duty,” Klaver wrote. 

Lyons wants to dedicate the rest of her professional career to her students and their academic and artist growth. 

“I push them to their limits in languages and music, and when they win first prizes, like my McNair Scholar in 2014, and ‘honorable mentions’ for singing and playing my piano/flute compositions, I am totally fulfilled,” Lyons wrote. 

Lyons earned a Master of Arts in teaching in 2007 and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in 2013, both from SIU Carbondale. Lyons earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in translation studies in 1995 and 1998, respectively, and a doctorate in English in 2003, all from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germersheim, Germany. She is working on a bachelor’s degree in music from SIU Carbondale, with several of her composition pieces performed at emerging composer’s recitals on campus. 

Lyons will receive the permanent title of Distinguished Teacher. 

Early Career Faculty Excellence Award 

This 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. 

Sarah Kertz, assistant professor, Department of Psychology in the College of Liberal Arts, has been at SIU Carbondale since 2012. In that time, she has accumulated “an outstanding record of scholarly and teaching accomplishments,” Michael R. Molino, associate dean for budget, personnel and research in the College of Liberal Arts, wrote in his nominating letter. “She has proven to be an exceptional clinical psychologist and clinical researcher who appears positioned at the start of an exceptional career.” 

Kertz focuses her research efforts on the cognitive and neurobiological mechanism involved in the development of anxiety and related affective disorders. She has published 24 pieces, half as lead author, and presented research at more than 75 conferences. Molino notes that Kertz has a large number of undergraduate and graduate students who eagerly seek to work in her research lab to enhance their training and experience. 

Kertz joined the SIU faculty from McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Belmont, Mass., where she was a clinical fellow from 2010 to 2012 in the Department of Psychiatry. Since 2012, Kertz has been a research affiliate with the hospital’s behavioral health partial program, and since 2014, a co-director of research for the Houston Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Program, a facility in Houston, Texas. 

Kertz in 2014 received the Summer Research Institute for Child Intervention, Prevention, and Services (CHIPS) Fellowship, and the Summer Institute in Cognitive Neuroscience Fellowship, both funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. In 2015, she received the college’s Early Career Faculty Excellence Award. She was chosen to participate in the Anxiety and Depression Association of America Career Development Leadership Program, a highly competitive program. 

Kertz also received an SIU grant last year to test the use of a smartphone app “for adolescents with anxiety problems, which would help them manage their symptoms,” wrote Lisabeth DiLalla, professor in the Department of Psychology and the School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. 

“Dr. Kertz has proven to be an exceptional clinical psychologist and clinical researcher with tremendous potential and has excelled in her scholarship, teaching, and professional contributions,” Reza Habib, interim department chair, wrote. “She is a wonderful colleague in every sense of the word – she is dedicated to her research, she is passionate about her teaching, she is caring about her students, and she is an exemplary departmental citizen.” 

Kertz earned her doctorate in clinical psychology in 2011 and her Master of Arts in psychology in 2008, both from the University of Louisville. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Truman State University in 2006. 

Women of Distinction Excellence Award 

This award is given to a faculty, administrative/professional or Civil Service staff member, and recognizes employees who demonstrate “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. 

Mythili Rundblad, coordinator of the Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism, is this year’s recipient. 

Rundblad came to SIU Carbondale in 1999. Among her accomplishments are an extensive outreach effort resulting in a 50 percent increase in students who are participating in community service activities; increasing community partners from 40 to 70 organizations; and establishing a Volunteer Fair to help community organizations interface with students. Her efforts helped initiate in 2013 the Women’s Civic Institute to enhance female leadership in civic and public service. She has also increased the number of Land of Lincoln AmeriCorps sites to include Carbondale, De Soto and Du Quoin elementary schools and the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale. 

Rundblad’s mentorship of students does not end once they leave the university, noted Anthony Cruitt, a 2009 SIU graduate in political science, in a letter supporting her nomination. Cruitt came to SIU after leaving the U.S. Marine Corps, just months removed from deployment in Iraq. He wrote that Rundblad, who was Cruitt’s community service coordinator and AmeriCorps Team Leader, helped him assimilate to the university and make sure he took advantage of veterans resources on campus. In two years, he completed more than 1,100 community service hours. 

“Mythili’s commitment to make sure I felt included as a member of the SIU team substantially contributed to my successful transition from military to civilian life,” wrote Cruitt, who earned a law degree last year from the University of Maryland School of Law. “I am confident that I am merely one of many students so positively influenced by Mythili at SIU.” 

James Allen, associate provost for academic programs, wrote, “Mythili is an indefatigable champion for community engagement on the Carbondale campus. She has long been a driving force in enlisting students, faculty and staff to consider their obligations to be of service to our Carbondale neighbors, especially our many community partners who oversee valuable work on behalf of the needy. Without her, thousands of children, elderly, differently abled, and many other residents in the region would not be as well served.” 

Allen also wrote that Rundblad’s volunteerism efforts extend throughout the region, and he cannot help but think of her as “the moral conscience of the university.” He also credits her efforts in the university’s designation as a Community Engagement Institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 

Rundblad’s work included writing the application that led to SIU receiving the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Award for Outstanding Campus-Community Partnership in Illinois in 2006, and SIU being selected as one of 75 universities nationwide to be part of the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) initiative. 

Rundblad is a two-degree graduate of Eastern Illinois University, earning a Master of Arts in political science in 1991 and a Master of Science in education in guidance and counseling a year later. A native of Bombay, India, she earned undergraduate degrees in economics and political science at Bombay University. Prior to coming to SIU Carbondale, she was an international student adviser at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and coordinator of the International Students and Scholars Office at Cornell University. In 2009, Eastern Illinois University honored Rundblad as an Outstanding Graduate Alumnus. 

Staff Excellence Award 

This 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, helping to improve students’ experiences, and serving as a positive role model for faculty, staff and students. 

Robert A. Broomfield is an academic adviser within the School of Allied Health in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. In his letter of nomination, Scott Collins, director of the school, writes that Broomfield’s efforts on behalf of the college and university go “above and beyond the normal scope for an academic adviser” with the goal of making the university a better place. 

Broomfield began with the university as visiting assistant instructor in 1997 and as a teaching assistant a year later in the college’s Mortuary Science and Funeral Service (MSFS) program. He became an academic adviser in the School of Allied Health in 2000, and advises more than 400 on-campus and online students in three of the college’s degree programs. 

Collins noted that Broomfield has served on various search committees, is the college’s Building Emergency Response Team (BERT) director, and safety liaison. Broomfield helped write and implement the MSFS program’s online degree completion option and took a lead role in recruiting students for the program option, which tripled enrollment in the last year. Among Broomfield’s other work is playing “a key role in establishing articulation agreements” with community colleges that feed into the School of Allied Health’s bachelor degree programs, and leading the college’s annual Christmas toy drive for the Salvation Army, Collins wrote. 

A three-degree alumnus, Broomfield earned an associate degree in MSFS in 1988; a bachelor’s degree in advanced technical studies in 1997; and Master of Science in Education in Workforce Education and Development in 2000. A licensed funeral director and embalmer, Broomfield was a clinical instructor for three MSFS classes in the fall 2014 semester without reducing his advising workload. 

In his letter supporting Broomfield’s nomination, Dean Andy Wang wrote that Broomfield “teaches students to negotiate the degree and curriculum maze, to make effective and thoughtful decisions about their futures, to adapt their life skills to the new academic world, and to cultivate the academic skills and knowledge needed to succeed.” 

Thomas Shaw, associate dean for administration, wrote that Broomfield’s relationship with students is one example of why the School of Allied Health has good retention and graduation rates. 

“His ability to develop one-on-one student relationships that create an atmosphere of understanding and trust provides the foundation for his counseling of students and credibility to his guidance,” Shaw wrote. 

Crystal L. Marlow is the academic contract supervisor for the Graduate School. Colleagues praise her hard work, leadership and concern with student welfare. 

In his letter of nomination, Yueh-Ting Lee, dean of the Graduate School, wrote, “Crystal’s excellent service, dedication, and passion for students has helped thousands of graduate students receive financial support through fellowships and assistantships, by which they have successfully completed their doctoral and master’s degrees.” 

Lee also praised Marlow for her “outstanding support and mentorship” of graduate students; “superb service” to graduate faculty and students; for being “an excellent representative of, and role model for, other Civil Service employees;” and “her excellent service and unwavering commitment to the diversity of our graduate student population.” 

Marlow joined the university in 2002 as a payroll specialist in the payroll office. She transferred in 2007 to Human Resources as an academic contract specialist, and then to the Graduate School in 2009. In 2012, she became the academic contract supervisor for the graduate school. 

David Wilson, emeritus professor of history and retired associate dean and Graduate School director, wrote that Marlow “played a key role” in making the assistantship and fellowship office, along with processing graduate assistant contracts, more efficient upon her arrival. 

Jim Garvey, interim vice chancellor for research and former Graduate School acting dean, wrote that Marlow has represented the Graduate School at many regional and national levels “and has a sound perspective on what makes graduate education tick.” 

“Without smart, talented, hard-working staff to run the university, the institution would grind to a halt,” Garvey wrote. 

Lee also shared that Monrico L. Brown, a doctoral candidate in anthropology, expressed, “One of the qualities I appreciate most about Crystal is her uncompromising loyalty to help the students. By this I mean she does not compromise the duties of her job to help a student, but instead makes sure the student understands the limits of what they ask while helping to find an alternative solution for the student, if necessary.”