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Provost's Awards of Excellence Winners Announced

November 5, 2020

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MACOMB, IL – Six Western Illinois University faculty members and one academic adviser have been named the 2020 Provost's Award of Excellence winners. The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research (CITR) at WIU organized six-member committees charged with evaluating excellence in each of the determined areas.

"It's an honor to present the Provost's Awards of Excellence to our faculty and staff who give so much, both in the classroom and outside of class, to our students. While they always go above and beyond to provide our students with an incredible academic experience, this year our faculty and staff have really gone beyond the norm to ensure our students have quality educational opportunities in spite of the ongoing pandemic," said Interim Provost Billy Clow.

Provost's Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching: Emily Shupe, Department of Kinesiology.

The selection committee noted: "Dr. Shupe is focused on creating a nurturing, caring and challenging experience for her students. Her course materials clearly demonstrate pedagogically appropriate activities that are designed to help each of her students master challenging material, as well as daiscover their own passion for dietetics and nutrition. A central component of her teaching method is service learning, enabling her students to apply their knowledge in a wide variety of environments with diverse populations. The value that these students place on their experiences, as well as the generally high level of Dr. Shupe's teaching, arises from the passion for her field that she brings to all her classes, from her general education nutrition class to her upper-level electives for nutrition and dietetics majors. Her commitment to her students does not end at the classroom door. She has served as the advisor for three student organizations (the Student Association for Nutrition Education, the Food and Culture Club, and the WIU Food Pantry Student Association), and Dr. Shupe fosters professional development for her students by bringing them to the annual national conference for her field, and by working with them on research projects."

Provost's Award for Academic Excellence in Internationalizing the Campus: Rebekah Buchanan, Department of English.

The selection committee said: The depth and breadth of Dr. Buchanan's international activities during the 2016-2019 review period are highly commendable and makes her a natural choice to receive this prestigious award. Her selection as a 2018-19 Fulbright Roving Scholar afforded her the unique opportunity to educate over 10,000 Norwegian students and teachers about the United States and introduce them to WIU. Dr. Buchanan is a tireless proponent of study abroad, and she regularly leads students to the United Kingdom for her popular "The World of Harry Potter" course. Her ability ability to instill confidence in her students to go outside their comfort zone while on study abroad and spark a desire in them to pursue independent international experiences later in life. Understanding that not all students are able to pursue study abroad, Dr. Buchanan works hard to internationalize her WIU courses and expose students to global themes. Her efforts make our campus a more diverse, globally-focused environment."

Provost's Award for Academic Excellence in University/Community Service: Megan Owens, Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration.

The selection committee remarked: Dr. Owens' philosophy underlying service engagement relates to a will to use her talents, skills, and expertise to serve others, benefit the community, University, and wider world. Her commitment spans from serving WIU and the local community to serving on a national level. On campus she is active with department committees, and as the Summer Camp Job Fair Coordinator, her efforts serve to connect students from across the WIU campus with representatives of summer camps. In the Macomb community, Dr. Owens chairs the McDonough County Quality of Life Youth Task Force, and at the state level, she is a member of the Illinois Park & Recreation Association Leadership Academy Board of Regents. For several years, she has served as a member of the Wisconsin-based WeHaKee Camp for Girls Advisory Board, and she is a member of the American Camp Association Health Camps Committee. Through her service Dr. Owens has created partnerships and connections that have long lasting benefits for students, the university, the industry, and the communities served."

Provost's Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching with Technology: Jason Franken, School of Agriculture.

According to the selection committee: "The Excellence in Teaching with Technology Committee was quite impressed with Dr. Franken's effective utilization of a variety of technology tools throughout his courses. In addition to integration of YouTube videos and Whiteboard technology, he uses specialized software to allow his students to simulate commodity trading. Dr. Franken utilizes his commodities marketing research findings to enhance students' learning about market efficiency, cash and contract transactions, futures markets, and cooperatives. His intersection of teaching and research philosophies expands his students' interest and excitement about commodities marketing and allows for a unique experience in the classroom that bespeaks innovation."

Provost's Award for Academic Excellence in Scholarly/Creative/Performance/Professional Activities: Sherry Lindquist, Department of Art and Design.

The selection committee stated: "Dr. Sherry Lindquist's scholarly and professional accomplishments are impressive, constant and effective. Her curatorial, editorial and art historical authorship demonstrate the breadth of her undertakings, and these numerous endeavors continue to enrich and strengthen the field of Art History. Her scholarly activities have taken many forms, but one of her most impressive is her most recent exhibition, Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders, which drew an attendance of over 160,000 and traveled to three venues, including the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City and was the winner of a $25,000 National Endowment of the Arts - Arts/Art Works grant. Dr. Lindquist's research activities have a direct impact on the curriculum at the institutions with which she has worked resulting in a challenging, adaptable and engaging legacy of new course proposals, and her research and interest in medieval manuscripts have resulted in the creation of a graduate course at the University of Memphis.
She has served two consecutive terms as the Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence at the University of Memphis, and her research focus continues to include planning upcoming books and manuscripts, writing articles for publication and reviewing articles for journals in the field of Art History."

Provost's Award for Academic Excellence in Multicultural Teaching: Edmund Asare, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.

The selection committee acknowledged: "Dr. Asare uses a variety of pedagogical practices, assignment modalities and personal engagement strategies to facilitate student participation and success. He uses a communicative approach to create an atmosphere that presupposes that the uniqueness of every learner is valued. Dr. Asare demonstrates these beliefs through the use of formative evaluations and calibrates his teaching based on the students' achievement. In addition to demonstrating these practices in his classes, he also demonstrates them through his involvement with students in organizations, weekly conversation groups and commitment to mentoring students. In addition to being able to educate French students about Africa, he has taught classes in the field of African American Studies and is a good mentor to Black students, who might have only a few professors who look like them and can appreciate and validate their experiences.. He raises a student's curiosity for multicultural issues, and excels in multicultural teaching by recognizing the uniqueness of his students and integrating materials and assignments to meet students' needs."

Outstanding Academic Advisor: Kelly Morris, University Advising and Academic Support Center.

According to the selection committee: "Ms. Morris' advisees described how she goes to great lengths to help them, and always provides highly personalized, student-centered advising. One nominator wrote, 'I feel like Kelly knows me more as a person rather than just another student,' while another wrote 'She is organized, knowledgeable, responsible and kind.' Several gave examples of how Ms. Morris goes out of her way to get them the help they need, including meeting with them outside of regular working hours, and walking with them across campus to introduce them to a person who could help them. One nominator summed up her feelings by writing, 'If it wasn't for Kelly, I don't think I would have succeeded at Western.'

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