Faculty members recognized for outstanding teaching, service and more

Topic: Administrative

August 29, 2008

Ball State bestowed its most prestigious honors to 12 faculty members during the annual fall faculty meeting on Aug. 22.

The outstanding educators received cash awards from the Ball State University Foundation and plaques from the Alumni Association during the ceremony, the pre-eminent annual awards presentation for faculty.

Each was honored for outstanding contributions to students and to the university. Honorees include:

Excellence in Teaching Awards
Winners of this award are given the opportunity to teach a "dream course" they have always wanted to lead.

  • Dale Hahn, professor, Department of Physiology and Health Science: Hahn's course will allow students to better understand the way in which fine arts influence a person's health.
  • Patricia Lang, professor, Department of Chemistry: Lang's course aims to bridge the arts and sciences by helping students better understand light, color, the features of pigments and the preparation and properties of an artist's colors.
  • Christopher S. Thompson, associate professor, Department of History: Thompson's course is designed to foster global citizenship by examining history and how past events can prepare us to find appropriate actions for today's challenges.


Lawhead Teaching Award in the University Core Curriculum

Robin Ruffatto, instructor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Ruffatto is a facilitator in the Office of Teaching and Learning Advancement and has helped address curricular innovations in both the department and in the university core. She has been actively involved with Freshman Connections since 1999 and has been described as a great role model for her students.

Outstanding Administrative Service Award

Donald Whitaker, professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Whitaker is head of the Office of Academic Assessment and Institutional Research (OAAIR) and is responsible for many of the faculty and peer evaluations still in use today. Through his work with OAAIR, Whitaker has helped create the institutional research certificate and has been a leader in every institutional self-study effort for more than a decade.

Outstanding Creative Endeavor Award

Timothy Gray, associate professor, Department of Architecture
Gray is known globally as a hands-on designer and builder of architectural installations. He led his students in rebuilding a Sri Lankan village after the 2004 tsunami and, more recently, completed the first load-bearing straw-bale structure in the region with the Straw Bale Eco Center on Cooper Field (located off Ind. 332).

Outstanding Faculty Award

Nancy Carlson, associate professor, Department of Telecommunications

Known as a professor who "makes special things happen," Carlson has worked on numerous award-winning documentaries and TV episodes and leads groups including the Indiana Media Network, WCRD, and University Senate. She has received more than $3 million in grants and two Emmys and is a previous winner of Ball State's Creative Endeavor Award.

Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award

Sadatoshi Tomizawa, professor, Department of Modern Language and Classics
Colleagues credit Tomizawa as the leader in devising Ball State's Japanese program. He has established three exchanges and logged hundreds of hours annually communicating with Japanese universities. His affiliations include the Association of Indiana Teachers of Japanese and the Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association.

Outstanding Faculty Service Award

Beth Messner, associate professor, Department of Communication Studies
In the past year, Messner has served as departmental advisor for 300-plus communication studies students and chaired curriculum, scholarship and program development committees, among other commitments. She and her students have been of service to the Muncie Human Rights Commission, TEAMWork for Quality Living and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Outstanding Junior Faculty Award

Eva Zygmunt-Fillwalk, assistant professor, Department of Elementary Education
Zygmunt-Fillwalk routinely teaches eight different courses, recently completed an immersive-learning seminar at the Virginia B. Ball Center and has more than 10 national presentations and 15 refereed manuscripts to her name. She also is a representative for the Association of Early Childhood Education International at the United Nations.

Outstanding Research Award

Lawrence Gerstein, professor, Department of Counseling and Guidance Services
Gerstein has written extensively on employee assistance programs and on factors affecting loneliness. His most recent work focuses on social justice and the internationalization of counseling psychology. He has published over 70 articles and 14 book chapters in 20 years and is renowned as being in the top 10% of scholars in his field.

Outstanding Teaching Award

David Concepcion, associate professor, Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
Concepcion adds this award to a growing list of accolades, including an Excellence in Teaching Award and the Lawhead Award, among others. Along with publishing his research in noted journals and garnering grants in his discipline, Concepcion has implemented 16 new courses in 11 semesters. Colleagues say that his pedagogical range is staggering.

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