sealPurdue News

April 15, 2002

Faculty, staff recognized at honors convocation

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Outstanding teaching at Purdue University during the 2001-02 academic year was recognized today (Friday, 4/12) at the annual University Honors Convocation.

The award ceremony in the Elliott Hall of Music honors outstanding faculty members universitywide and in each of the undergraduate schools. Also, dean's list and semester honors students from the 2001 spring and fall semesters who remain on campus, were recognized, along with winners of yearend student and staff awards.

Six faculty members received Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards in memory of Charles B. Murphy. Each $5,000 award– the university's highest undergraduate teaching honor – is given for exemplary teaching performance in all phases of undergraduate instruction on the West Lafayette campus.

The winners of the Murphy Awards were:

• Emily L. Allen, assistant professor of English. Allen, on the Purdue faculty since 1997, has received teaching awards from the Department of English for four years in a row. Her specific teaching areas include British literature and women in literature.

• Rosalee A. Clawson, assistant professor of political science. Since joining the Purdue faculty in 1996, Clawson has taught eight different courses in the Department of Political Science. Most recently, she has taught an honors course on politics, social groups and mass media, which she developed with a Lilly Endowment Retention Initiatives grant. She also teaches political science methodology, American politics and government, and African-American women and politics, a course she developed with a School of Liberal Arts fellowship.

• R. Neal Houze, professor of chemical engineering. Houze has been on the Purdue faculty since 1969 and is endorsed each year by graduating seniors as an effective teacher. He teaches a two-course sequence in the school considered among the most difficult required undergraduate course and is known for connecting difficult concepts to practical applications.

• James L. Mohler, associate professor of computer graphics technology. Mohler has been on the faculty since 1996 and has won several departmental teaching awards, as well as the 1999 Junior Faculty Teaching for Tomorrow Award. In 2000, he was chosen as the William J. Fulbright Distinguished Chair and Lecturer in Multimedia. Mohler's teaching interests focus on interactive media use in higher education and its impact on student learning, motivation and interest.

• William C. Oakes, assistant professor of freshman engineering. Oakes began his Purdue career as an instructor in mechanical engineering in 1994 and 1995, was a visiting professor in freshman engineering in 1997-98, and became a permanent faculty member in 1998. He serves as co-director of EPICS, Engineering Projects in Community Service, and is an adviser for several EPICS teams. Since his appointment in 1998, Oakes has taught more than 3,000 engineering students and has participated in all phases of the freshman curriculum, including the honors program, the counseling-tutorial program, the computer tools course and the introduction to engineering seminars.

• Mark A. Russell, professor of animal sciences. On the faculty since 1982, Russell has been involved in the education of more than 5,000 students either as a teacher in the classroom or as an adviser. During his tenure, Russell has revised three courses, developed 10 courses and proposed two more. He has been the instructor of 12 different courses and has played a significant role in two major departmental reviews that have resulted in improvements of the overall curriculum.

Several other special faculty and staff awards also were presented during the annual convocation.

Ruth N. Wukasch, associate professor of nursing, was named winner of the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion Award. The Schleman Award is presented for significant contributions to women students at the university.

Wukasch has been a faculty member at Purdue since 1989 and also has served as a visiting scholar in the Department of Family and Community Health in Nursing at the University of Sydney in Australia. She has been director of employee assistance programs at St. Elizabeth Medical Center and director of professional services at Charter Hospital. Wukasch received a medallion and a $1,500 award.

Jay Akridge, professor of agricultural economics, won the Award for Excellence in Distance Learning, Best Credit-Granting Program. Akridge is project director for the Executive MBA in Food and Agribusiness program.

Jane Kirkpatrick, professor of nursing, won the Award for Excellence in Distance Learning, Best Noncredit Program. Kirkpatrick is project director for a CD-ROM course entitled "Gestational Age Assessment and APGAR Scoring."

The awards for Excellence in Distance Learning recognize professional accomplishment and innovative approaches to "teaching-at-a-distance." They spotlight initiatives in distance learning that are under way throughout the Purdue system. Each recipient received an award worth more than $600.

Roberto Colella and Alexandre Eremenko were chosen as winners of the Herbert Newby McCoy Award. The $3,000 award is given annually to the faculty member in the sciences who has made the greatest contribution of the year to scientific knowledge. The McCoy Award was established in 1964 through a bequest from Ethel Terry McCoy in memory of her late husband, an alumnus of the School of Science. The awards committee this year determined that two awards were merited.

Colella, professor of physics, was honored for adding to the understanding of structural, electronic and vibrational properties of condensed matter exploiting X-ray, electron and neutron diffraction techniques. Colella's nominators say he has the "unerring instinct for recognizing the essence of a physical problem and the impressive ingenuity for devising elegant experiments to bring out that essence in a convincing manner."

Colella has been on the Purdue faculty since 1971.

Eremenko, professor of mathematics, is considered by many in his field to be a leader in complex geometric function theory. He has assisted in acquiring a complete solution to a 70-year-old central problem in classical complex analysis and has made fundamental advances in several areas, including entire functions, value distribution and complex dynamics. Eremenko's nominators highlight the definitive nature, originality and power of his work. Eremenko has been on the faculty at Purdue since 1992.

The Class of 1922 Helping Students Learn Award was presented to Allan Gray. Gray, an assistant professor of agricultural economics, was recognized for his achievements in teaching complex subject matter at a distance. He teaches a quantitative analysis course for executive master of business candidates in the Food and Agribusiness program. The course is taught almost exclusively on the Web. Gray will receive a $3,750 cash award and his department will receive $1,250 for an academic expense account that he can use.

Academic school teaching awards also were presented. Each West Lafayette campus school presented an award, which included various cash amounts, to honor its top teacher.

The awards and honorees include:

• School of Agriculture Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award: Daniel Ess, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering.

• Mary L. Matthews Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in the School of Consumer and Family Sciences: Douglas Nelson, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management.

• School of Education Outstanding Teacher Award: JoAnn Phillion, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction.

• A.A. Potter Best of Engineering Teaching Award: Avinash Kak, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

• School of Liberal Arts Educational Excellence Award: Nancy Gabin, professor of history.

• School of Management Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher Award: Roberto Mejias, assistant professor of management.

• School of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences Professor Henry W. Heine Award for Excellence in Teaching: Stanley Hem, professor of industrial and physical pharmacy.

• School of Health Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching: Robert Landolt, professor of health sciences.

• Excellence in Teaching Award in the School of Nursing: Cynthia Bozich-Keigh, assistant professor of nursing.

• School of Science Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award: Ananth Grama, assistant professor of computer sciences.

• School of Technology James G. Dwyer Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching: Denver Lopp, professor of aviation technology.

• School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award: Kevin Clarke, teaching hospital surgeon.

Writers: Julie Rosa, (765) 494-2036,; Amy Raley, (765) 494-6682.

Source: Jim Vruggink, (765) 494-2086,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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