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Provost's Award of Excellence Winners

September 30, 2009

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MACOMB, IL -- Six Western Illinois University faculty members and an academic adviser have been named 2009 Provost's Award of Excellence Winners. They will be recognized for their achievements at a reception from 3:30-5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 in the University Union Lamoine Room.

The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Research (CITR) organized colleagues who comprised the six-member committees charged with determining excellence in the following areas: teaching; internationalizing the campus; multicultural teaching; scholarly/creative/performative/professional activities; teaching with technology; and University/community service. A committee of faculty, students and academic advisers worked with the outstanding academic adviser recognition.

"I'm pleased to present this year's Provost's Awards of Excellence to the WIU faculty and staff who have distinguished themselves in the various areas," said Provost Jack Thomas. "I commend them for their commitment to students and to Western. Each of this year's recipients is truly indicative of the quality educators and staff we have at this University."

The Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching was awarded to Jennifer McNabb, an associate professor of history.

"Dr. McNabb has a passion for teaching that motivates her students to reach for excellence. Through innovative methods and hands-on class activities, such as debates and role playing games, she inspires students to succeed by teaching them critical thinking skills, how to weigh historical evidence and develop and defend their conclusions," stated the nominating committee. "She also enables students to develop their writing skills by requiring formal essays in all of her courses as part of their class assignments, projects, quizzes and tests, giving feedback on essays and allowing students to revise and resubmit for additional points. Her students regularly give her high marks in her teaching evaluations and praise her ability to make history come alive, fun and enjoyable, yet still be challenging." McNabb was also recognized for mentoring students, teaching First Year Experience classes, supervising Honors theses and research projects and for presenting papers at conferences, writing articles for journals and editing a column for a journal.

Shazia Rahman, an associate professor in the English and journalism department, received the Provost's Award for Excellence in Internationalizing the Campus.

Rahman's nominators said they recommended her "based on the breadth of the activities Dr. Rahman participated in all three areas, including teaching, service and research. She developed and taught a new internationalized course, 'Pakistani Fiction,' and she internationalized the existing 'Introduction to World Literature' course by including readings and poetries from different continents. Several of her service activities are related to global issues. She organized a hunger banquet to raise our students' awareness of the problem of hunger in some parts of the world. She served as a member of the African Literature Association Conference and read hundreds of abstracts submitted to the conference, which was hosted by Western Illinois and which attracted many scholars from all over the world to Macomb. Finally, her research topics are related to international issues, such as nationalism, cosmopolitanism and exoticism. Dr. Rahman has also presented her research at a number of international conferences and published in international journals."

The Provost's Award for Excellence in Multicultural Teaching goes to J.Q. Adams, a professor in the educational and interdisciplinary studies department.

"J.Q. Adams was selected for the breadth and variety of ways he promotes multiculturalism in his classes and in the University campus," his nominators wrote. "The intellectual and personal passion for his topic is evident in his teaching and in the resulting effects on his students. In simply overhearing students' conversations in the halls at Horrabin, you quickly realize that students learn a significant amount from J.Q. and admire him not only as a teacher but as an individual whose life experiences has spurred him on a mission to improve the academic experiences of the younger generations."

Robert Quesal, a professor in the communication sciences and disorders department, received the Provost's Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative/Performative/Professional Activities.

Quesal, who was elected a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) this summer, was cited by his nominators for his work which "includes a commercially published assessment instrument, two book chapters, five refereed journal articles, many refereed or invited presentations and various other professional activities. As evident in his scholarship, he integrates research, teaching and service into his activities. In addition to his research, he is an editorial consultant to six journals and served as reviewer for two textbooks. These activities and publications such as the assessment instrument have a direct influence on practitioners in the field and on the future of his discipline."

Leaunda Hemphill, associate professor in the instructional design and technology department, received the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching with Technology.

"Professor Hemphill was selected for the way she goes beyond the basic tools and uses of technology in a number of areas. She has a strong commitment to incorporating a wide range of emerging tools into the curriculum and has demonstrated ways that technology can be used by both instructors (live chat, blogs, RSS feeds, Second Life) and students (collaborative wiki writing, audio and video podcast assignments) to promote academic and workplace success," her nominators wrote. "She models her courses using the tools and practice she expects from her students . . . affording students the opportunity to gain knowledge of the field through the modeling of best practice. This includes motivating students not only by allowing them to choose technologies that interest them for their assignments, but also through collaboration with classes and students in other countries, such as China. She has shown excellence in her ability to deploy technology to engage student learning in face-to-face, online, and blended environments. Hemphill's excellence in practice is shared with the academic community through a broad and extensive record of scholarship that highlights not only technical aspects, but the pedagogy of teaching and the role of multiculturalism in the learning process as well."

The Provost's Award for Excellence in University/Community Service was presented to John Miller, an associate professor in the communication department.

"Dr. Miller's dedication to service at this institution is truly exceptional, particularly in the areas of University governance and policy-making," wrote his nominators. "At the departmental level, Dr. Miller has chaired four committees over the period of evaluation, including two search committees, the General Education Assessment Committee and the Thompson Committee. At the University level, he served as the chair of CAGAS and provided the leadership to implement a number of University initiatives, including a new student withdrawal policy, administrative admissions policy, student responsibility statement, a change in CAGAS by-laws and an evaluation of the pre-requisite enforcement policy. He also served as the chair of the Foreign Language/Global Issues faculty senate subcommittee. Miller also served on the General Education Review Committee (GERC), the UPI Executive Board, the UPI House of Delegates and is the Faculty Adviser for the College Democrats. He has also become deeply involved in local, state and federal politics. During the past few years, Dr. Miller has served as the county coordinator for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, U.S. Senator Barack Obama and Congressman Lane Evans. He also has a long tenure as a precinct committeeman and as an executive board member for the McDonough County Democratic Coalition. He continues to serve as a political adviser to State Senator John Sullivan."

Dianne Fullenwilder-Bracey, an adviser in the Office of Academic Services within the University Advising and Academic Support Center, was named the 2009 Outstanding Academic Adviser.

Her nominators wrote, "Her application stood apart from the others because of her proven commitment to her students and her absolute willingness to go above and beyond the requirements of her position in order to help students in need." A nominating student said, "she goes far beyond the call of duty with her persistence at instilling inspiration in a cohort of students that come to Western Illinois University predisposed with the mindset that they are unlikely to succeed. She helped me see that my goals were not too big for someone on academic probation, but rather, they were something that anyone could reach with enough hard work and dedication. She was my biggest cheerleader throughout my career at Western."

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