April 5, 2018

Residential Academic Initiatives recognizes award winners

Outstanding faculty, staff and resident assistants who are involved in Learning Communities and Residential Academic Initiatives were honored for their outstanding work during the 2017-18 academic year.

Learning communities (LCs) and learning community instructors (LCIs) provide a key method of integration into the Purdue community for first-year students. More than 3,700 Boilermakers participated in 61 learning communities in fall 2017. Residential Academic Initiatives partners with faculty to create learning connections, engagement opportunities and academic support groups within residence halls.

“Faculty play a vital role in students’ success in ways that are not just limited to the classroom,” says Jonathan Manz, associate director of RAI. “Within learning communities, faculty and staff are helping students connect their classroom learning to what is happening in the world. These award winners facilitated unique and exciting opportunities to engage with students to enrich their experiences at Purdue.”

The distinguished faculty and staff were honored at two events. Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, presented awards at the Favorite Faculty Reception. LCI award winners were honored at the Learning Communities Appreciation Luncheon. Both receptions including faculty, staff and student attendees.

Favorite Faculty awards recognize distinguished faculty for success in academics, research, service and teaching. A student awards committee selects Favorite Faculty based on nominations received from students. LCIs were recognized for being especially successful in various learning community initiatives. LCIs honored were nominated by students in their respective learning communities.

The Distinguished Faculty for Academics is presented to a faculty member who educates students in an engaging way in and out of the classroom. The recipient is Kenji Matsuki, professor in the Department of Mathematics. Matsuki was nominated for the honor by multiple students.

The Distinguished Faculty for Research is awarded to a faculty members who has influenced a student’s passion within that field of study. The honoree is Bernard Engel, department head and professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

The Most Outstanding Faculty award is given to a faculty member who demonstrates strength on the pillars of service, research and teaching. The recipient is Kevin Solomon, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering.

The Frederick L. Hovde Faculty Fellow of the Year is presented to the faculty follow who best engages faculty, staff and residential students in meaningful and thought-provoking relationships. This year’s recipient is Clark Cory, associate department head and associate professor in the Department of Computer Graphics Technology.

The Exceptional Event Planner Award is presented to LCIs who are successful in planning events that are engaging, exciting and integral to student learning and development during their first semester. The recipients are:

* Discovering Agribusiness LC: Michael Gunderson, associate professor, Department of Agricultural Economics; and Ryan Musselman, academic counselor and advisor, Department of Agricultural Economics.  

* Agriculture Technology and Innovation LC: Dennis Buckmaster, assistant dean and associate director, Office of Academic Programs, College of Agriculture, and professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering; and Amy Jones, plant sciences recruitment and outreach coordinator, College of Agriculture.

Academic Connection Award is awarded to LCIs who successfully plan events that directly connect classroom learning with hands-on experience. The recipients are from the CLAIM LC: Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and director, Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion; Jennifer Freeman Marshall, assistant professor, Department of English; Ronald Stephens, professor, School of Interdisciplinary Studies; and Guadalupe Acosta-Roberts, academic and career advisor, College of Liberal Arts.

Student Impact Awards honor LCIs who demonstrate exceptional success in connecting students to peers, faculty and professional staff, campus resources and the community at large. The recipients are from the EPICS LC: Bill Oakes, co-director, EPICS; Andrew Pierce, academic advisor, EPICS; Christina McCarter, graduate teaching assistant, Department of English; Elizabeth Wilson, continuing lecturer, Brian Lamb School of Communication; Priya Sirohi, graduate teaching assistant, Department of English; and Sweta Baniya, graduate teaching assistant, Department of English.

Momentum Keeper Awards honor LC instructor teams that have worked together for several years and continually create opportunities for student connection and engagement. The honorees are:

* Explorers LC: Scott Vana, senior academic advisor, Exploratory Studies; Ashlyn Ruff, academic advisor, Exploratory Studies; and Corrie Wynkoop, limited term lecturer, Exploratory Studies.

* Global Explorers LC: Mandy Chalk, academic advisor, Exploratory Studies.

* Exploratory Studies Honors LC: Mary Beth Lencke, senior academic advisor, Exploratory Studies.

* Exploratory Scholars LC: Colleen Brown, assistant director, Exploratory Studies.

* Exploratory Studies Purdue Promise LC: Cara Wetzel, assistant director, Exploratory Studies; and Haley Young, student success coach, Student Success Programs.

* Women in Technology LC: Antonia Munguia, director of recruitment, retention and diversity, Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

The Real-World Experience Awards recognize LCIs who plan events offering introductions to various opportunities within their respective academic fields. The honorees are from the Animalia LC: Elizabeth Karcher, assistant professor, Department of Animal Sciences; Mary Grace Erickson, graduate research assistant, Department of Animal Sciences; and Amy Manning, continuing lecturer, Brian Lamb School of Communication.

Residential Partnership awards are new honors that recognize LC instructors who have partnered with Residential Life staff to enhance student learning opportunities where they live. The recipients are:

* Entrepreneurship and Innovation LC: Michael Cassidy, continuing lecturer, Certificate Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

* Statistics LC: Mark Daniel Ward, associate professor, Department of Statistics.

* Aviation LC: Todd Brewer, flight maintenance technician supervisor, School of Aviation and Transportation Technology; and Brian Stirm, air operations technical specialist, School of Aviation and Transportation Technology. 

The Learning Community Instructor Advocate awards are presented to one or more LCIs who were nominated by students for displaying an uncommon commitment to learning, taking exceptional involvement within their learning community and providing outstanding opportunities for connection outside the classroom. The recipients are:

* Welcome to Communication LC: Joshua Boyd, associate professor, Brian Lamb School of Communication.

* Discovering Agribusiness LC: Ryan Musselman, academic counselor and advisor, Department of Agricultural Economics.

* EPICS LC: Elizabeth Wilson, continuing lecturer, Brian Lamb School of Communication.

The Student Staff Advocate awards are presented to one or more resident assistants who were nominated by students for displaying an uncommon commitment to learning, taking exceptional involvement within their learning community and providing outstanding opportunities for connection outside the classroom. The recipients are:

* Margaret Hegwood, College of Engineering.

* Sean Flannery, College of Science.

* Michaela Kapraun, College of Health and Human Sciences.

Residential Academic Initiatives seeks to partner with students, faculty and staff to maximize opportunities for meaningful interactions that connect and enhance academic and residential experiences. Faculty or staff interested in collaborating on learning opportunities for students are encouraged to contact RAI at RESAI@purdue.edu or 765-494-2410. For more information on RAI, visit https://www.housing.purdue.edu/residentiallife/RAI/index.html.


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