Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Centennial Honors College
Dr. Richard "Rick" Hardy
Richard J. (Rick) Hardy is Professor of Political Science and Interim Director of the Centennial Honors College at Western Illinois University. He received his undergraduate degree with honors in political science at Western Illinois University and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He has served on the faculties of Northern State University, Duke University and the University of Missouri-Columbia, and has taught a wide range of courses in American Politics, Constitutional Law, and Civic Leadership.
Rick believes that “free government requires active citizens.” To that end, he has been actively engaged in civic affairs. He helped lead several political reform drives, served on numerous government commissions and boards of directors, volunteered in civic organizations, consulted on dozens of political races at all levels of government, and served as a presidential elector in the Electoral College.
His administrative positions at the University of Missouri included: Assistant Director of the Honors College, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of the Masters’ Program in Public Policy, Director of the National Institute for Advanced Civic Studies, Director of Internships, and Founder and Director of the Institute for Leadership in Civic Education. Most recently, he completed a four-year term as Chair of the Political Science Department at Western Illinois University.
Rick has also served as a political analyst for numerous media outlets (e.g., CNN, NBC News, FOX News, Associated Press), and has been quoted extensively in various outlets (e.g., Newsweek, USA Today, New York Times, US News & World Report, Kansas City Star, Parade Magazine, St. Louis Post-Dispatch). To date, has garnered over 60 significant teaching and civic leadership awards, including the University of Missouri’s four-campus Burlington Northern Faculty Achievement Award, the prestigious William Kemper Award, the Missouri Bar Association’s Civic Education Award, and two campus nominations for the Case National Professor of the Year Award. At Western Illinois University, he won several campus awards and was selected to deliver the John Hallwas Lecture in the Liberal Arts.
Finally, Rick has published or edited seven books and his articles have appeared in a number of professional journals. Rick is a native of Burlington, Iowa. He and his wife, Linda, have two grown children, four grandchildren, four dogs and two cats. His lifelong passion includes playing the plectrum banjo, 5-string banjo, and guitar. And for the past five years Rick has been a member of the WIU’s Endnotes musical group.
Dr. Jennifer McNabb
Dr. Jen McNabb is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and the Associate Director of
the Centennial Honors College at Western Illinois University. She graduated from the Honors Program at Adrian College with a B.A. in History and earned graduate degrees from Bowling Green State University (M.A.) and the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she completed her Ph.D. in the History of Early Modern England, 1350-1714. She joined the faculty of Western Illinois University in 2005. In 2009 she
won both the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award and the Provost's Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching, and in 2012 she won the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Service Award. She has served as advisor for several student organization and will serve as the faculty advisor for the Golden Key International Honour Society.
Dr. McNabb's passion for Honors education has been evidence since her arrival at Western. She won election as a member of the University Honors Council, where she served on numerous subcommittees charged with selecting student scholarship recipients, writing prize winners, and the College Scholar. She has taught First-Year Experience Honors courses and sections of GH 299 and has supervised In-Course Honors and Honors theses in History. Her students also regularly participate in Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day each spring.
Dr. McNabb is also actively involved in research and professional activities. Her publications on courtship and marriage in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England have appeared in The Sixteenth Century Journal and Quidditas. She serves on the Executive Board of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association and acts as Assistant Editor of the Association's journal, and she is also a member of the Program Committee of the Midwest Conference on British Studies. She regularly presents her work at regional, national, and international conferences as well as regional teacher in-service programs and through local programs in Macomb.
Originally from Flint, Michigan, Dr. McNabb is an avid hockey fan and enjoys devoting her spare time to reading (mysteries in particular), fitness, cooking, and travel (especially when the destination is the United Kingdom, Michigan, or Maryland, home to her two nephews).
Dr. Marcia Carter
Quad Cities Honors Coordinator
Dr. Carter is a Professor in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration where she regularly teaches courses on topics related to therapeutic recreation, including Clinical Aspects of Therapeutic Recreation, Management in Therapeutic Recreation, Fund Raising and Volunteerism and Programming Leisure Services. She is currently serving as Assistant Dean for the College of Education and Human Services on the Quad Cities Campus. Dr. Carter received her doctorate in recreation from Indiana University after earning a bachelor’s degree at Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana and master’s degree from Indiana State University. Subsequently, she held positions as undergraduate and graduate program coordinator in recreation and therapeutic recreation at a number of higher education institutions. As Honors Program Coordinator for the Quad Cities campus, Dr. Carter’s duties include teaching GH299 for students beginning their honors portfolios, recruiting new students, advising honors students, and convening the QC Honors Committee.Dr. Carter's scholarship and service have resulted in her selection to several academic and professional honoraries including the Academy of Leisure Sciences, the National Academy of Recreation Therapists, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and the American Leisure Academy. Dr. Carter is a Certified Park and Recreation Professional and a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.
When she’s not at school you can find Dr. Carter outdoors enjoying tennis, cycling, swimming, hiking, and running.
Dr. Molly Homer
Academic Honors Advisor
Dr. Homer grew up in Ames, Iowa. She received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematical and Computational Sciences from Stanford University and then worked for three years as a database designer for a computer graphics company in Salt Lake City that built flight and submarine simulators for the military. She then moved to Champaign to pursue graduate work in Linguistics at the
University of Illinois, where she received a master’s degree and Ph.D. Before coming to WIU she taught linguistics, phonetics, and phonology at several universities including the University of Alberta, UC San Diego, Brown University, and the University of Pittsburgh. In 2003 she became the Honors Advisor at WIU, and she advises honors students on how to meet their honors requirements.
Michele J. Aurand
Interdisciplinary Studies Coordinator
Michele Aurand is the Coordinator and Academic Advisor for the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. She is responsible for advising students on putting together a unique and specialized degree program and selecting classes each semester as well as coordinating the various concentrations within the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. This year, Michele will also be taking over as the faculty/staff advisor for the Student Honors Association. After receiving her B.A. in Speech Communication from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, Michele completed her M.S.Ed. degree in Counseling from the WIU—Quad Cities Campus. She is currently working on a second Master's Degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Administration here at WIU.
Michele has worked as an Admission Representative at Marycrest International University and then as an Admissions Counselor at the University of Illinois—Springfield. She came to WIU in 2001 as an Admissions Counselor in the Undergraduate Admissions Office where she worked for 8 years before moving over to the Honors College in 2009. Michele finds working with college students to be especially rewarding. She reflects, "I get to help students figure out how to make their dreams become a reality. When a student and I work really hard and are able to fit all the pieces together, that is such a great sense of accomplishment!"
Originally from Dixon, Illinois, Michele enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, skiing, canoeing and kayaking. She loves to attend live music and comedy shows and is an avid Chicago Bears fan. Additionally, Michele is currently teaching a Youth and Leisure Services course for the RPTA department, and is also in her 6th year of coaching varsity cheerleading at Rushville-Industry High School in Rushville, Illinois.
Special Events Facilitator
Ms. Battles began working in Honors (formerly the University Honors Program) in 1987. In addition to performing a variety of office duties, she coordinates a number of Honors College sponsored events and is a member of the University's Commencement Committee serving as the primary coordinator of the Academic Honors Convocation ceremonies. Ms. Battles grew up in Tremont, Illinois and has an associate's degree from Illinois Central College. She states that the best part of her job is "Working with students and being able to form relationships with them that extend beyond their graduation."
Ms. Battles has been married to her husband, Rick, for 35 years and has three daughters, Kimberly, Nikki, and Lindsay; three sons-in-law, Dustin, Tim, and Adam. She has two grandsons, Dreyton and Jaxon, who she says "live way too far away" and three granddaughters, Ada Grace, Emery, and Rylynn, who live in Macomb. In addition to playing with her grandchildren, she enjoys boating, reading, baking, and spending time at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Janell McGruder joined the Centennial Honors College staff on August 2, 2010 as an Office Support Specialist. While becoming familiar with the primary functions of the department, she is responsible for scheduling appointments and maintaining the database for the In-Course Honors program. She states “My knowledge about the functions of various departments and organizations on campus can be helpful to students as they begin or continue their academic career.” Since October 2006 Janell has worked in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access and the Economics Department.
Janell is pursuing a Masters of Science in Education and Counseling starting in January. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and traveling.
Caitlin is a Graduate Student in Instructional Design and Technology, and graduated from WIU with a Bachelors of Science in Graphic Communication with a Photography/Communication minor in May of 2011.
She is originally from Champaign, Illinois and has been working at the Honors College for the last three years. In her position, Caitlin is responsible for updating and maintaining the Honors College website as well as compiling and publishing our monthly newsletter. She is excited about all the opportunities she has had as an honors student during her undergrad years. After completing her Masters, Caitlin looks forward to a career in graphic design and plans to continue photography on the side.
Caitlin’s summer activities included working in the Library in Government Publications and ending with a family vacation to Texas. She has a sister, Sara, who is a senior at the University of Illinois. Caitlin and her boyfriend adopted a puppy last spring and are enjoying watching her shenanigans as she gets bigger and bigger! She also enjoys belly dancing with a troupe in Macomb, cooking, and creating designs with Photoshop.
D'Angelo is a Graduate Student in Political Science, and graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science in May of 2011.
He is a native of Richmond, Virginia and has been working in the Centennial Honors College since the summer of 2012. D'Angelo is responsible for aiding in the recruitment of Centennial Honors College Scholars. He is excited about meeting all of the prospective students, as well as building relationships with the current scholars. Upon completing his Masters, D'Angelo will be pursuing his dream of being a lawyer.
While he is typically busy with many things on campus, D'Angelo loves to watch sports, cook soul
food, and follow politics in his spare time.