Friday, May 06, 2016

UIS faculty members receive awards for excellence; promotions and sabbaticals announced

The University of Illinois Springfield held its annual Faculty Honors Reception on Thursday, May 5, 2016. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Lynn Pardie presided over the ceremony honoring faculty members who have received tenure and/or promotion, been awarded sabbaticals, or granted emerita/emeritus status. Three major awards – the Pearson Faculty Award, the Spencer Faculty Service Award, and the Faculty Excellence Award -- were also presented.

The Pearson Faculty Award for outstanding teaching was presented to Adriana Crocker, associate professor of Political Science. The award recognizes a faculty member whose performance exemplifies UIS’ commitment to excellence in teaching and who stands among the very best teachers on campus. Such a teacher both informs and inspires students, giving them the knowledge and values with which they may become productive and enlightened citizens. The award was established by a gift from Dr. Emmet and Mary Pearson, longtime benefactors of the campus.

“Crocker’s cumulative record of teaching excellence is evidenced by student perceptions of her teaching, extent of student engagement, demonstration of pedagogical innovations, as well as academic rigor and standards,” said Jim Ermatinger, interim dean of the College of Public Affairs and Administration.

Crocker’s teaching focuses on Latin American studies, international law, and women’s studies. She teaches a wide range of courses, from the 100 to 500 level, in support of the political science curriculum as well as general education and CAP Honors curriculum. She has been a leader in in the Political Science Department’s expansion into online education.

Student perceptions of Crocker’s teaching exceed the numbers of the department, college, and university levels. Hallmarks of her courses include active/participatory learning assignments, such as class debates and simulations, using PEW and Harvard School of Government case studies as sources.

“Students have described Crocker as an outstanding advocate with the ability to enhance learning outcomes, and as a challenging instructor who gets the best from her students,” said Ermatinger.

Crocker’s leadership as advisor to the UIS Model Nations Program is an example of her teaching and mentoring students outside the classroom setting. In 2009, the UIS delegation was the recipient of the Distinguished Delegation Award.

The Spencer Faculty Service Award was given to Harshavardhan Bapat, associate professor of Chemistry. Honoring Robert Spencer, founding president of Sangamon State University, this award recognizes faculty who best exemplify the ideal of the “professor-citizen” through public service and service to the academic community.

Bapat’s record of service exhibits a clear dedication to his students and his colleagues. Bapat came to UIS in 2002 and has been a faculty member in the Chemistry Department for 14 years. “He has documented significant contributions in service to his department, the university, the community, and his profession. Bapat is a servant leader who is clearly dedicated to the ideals of servant leadership,” said Jim Ermatinger, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Bapat is the longest serving member of the UIS Undergraduate Council and has served as its chair since August of 2009. He has served as director of the Natural Science Division; chair of the Chemistry Department; department supervisor for AST placements; faculty representative at preview days his entire career; author of the Chemistry Student Handbook; Chemistry Department webmaster; and Chemistry Club faculty advisor.

Bapat has served on over 18 university search and hiring committees, chairing nine of them. In addition to his service to the department, college, and university, Professor Bapat has an extensive record of service to the community. Throughout his career, he has worked to encourage K-12 student to consider careers as chemists, and most recently, he initiated a new community service effort by hosting Camp Invention on the UIS campus – a non-profit elementary summer enrichment program that seeks to engage and encourage children to consider careers in science and engineering.

The Faculty Excellence Award was given to Rassule Hadidi, professor of Management Information Systems (MIS). The award recognizes mid- and late-career colleagues who best exemplify the ideal of the teacher-scholar and whom the faculty recognizes as role models, based on sustained accomplishments in teaching and scholarship at UIS. The award is funded through the generosity of Wilbur and Margaret Wepner.

Hadidi came to Sangamon State University/UIS in 1981. He has had a productive career and was instrumental in the establishment of the MIS program, the building of the MIS curriculum at the M.S. and B.S. levels, the creation of three graduate certificate programs, and the development of the first online degree program at UIS – the MIS online master’s degree program.

“Hadidi’s students perceive him as an excellent teacher, and he has supported those students by supervising numerous theses and projects,” said Ron McNeil, dean of the College of Business and Management.

Hadidi exemplifies the teacher-scholar model with an impressive record of scholarly publications with 19 articles, 7 book reviews, and 27 refereed presentations.

He was the first Hanson Professional Services Faculty Scholar, demonstrating his ties with and recognition by the local business community. In addition, Hadidi founded and is managing editor of the Journal of the Midwest Association for Information Systems, and serves on the editorial board of four other journals.

Recommended for tenure and promotion to associate professor were Kristi Barnwell, History; Robert Blankenberger, Public Administration; and Junfeng Wang, Public Administration. Recommended for promotion to full professor were Feng-Shun (Leo) Bin, Business Administration and Jason Pierceson, Political Science. Howard Stephen McMinn, Library Instructional Services, was promoted to clinical associate professor.

Receiving the designation of emerita/emeritus faculty were Karen Kirkendall, Liberal & Integrative Studies and Daniel Matthews, Educational Leadership.

Sabbatical leaves were granted to Beverly Bunch, Public Administration; Keenan Dungey, Chemistry; Gwen Jordan, Legal Studies; Michael Lemke, Biology; John Martin, Chemistry; Calvin Mouw, Political Science; Hinda Seif, Sociology/Anthropology; Karen Swan, Educational Leadership; John Transue, Political Science; and Cynthia Wilson, Teacher Education Preparation.

All promotion, tenure, sabbatical leave, and emerita/emeritus status recommendations are subject to approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

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