Faculty Awards

Each year, the university recognizes and honors faculty whose teaching and research excellence, as well as exemplary service, raise the bar for their peers. These awards are highly-coveted and well-deserved. This year, arts and sciences faculty claimed 14 of the 20 awards, proving their leadership in all three areas:

2011 Distinguished Scholar Award

The Distinguished Scholar Award, established in 1978, recognizes exceptional scholarly accomplishments by senior professors who have compiled a substantial body of significant research. The award is supported by the Office of Research. Recipients are nominated by their departments and chosen by a committee of senior faculty, including past recipients of the award. Distinguished Scholars receive a $3,000 honorarium and a research grant of $20,000 to be used over the next three years.
  • Timothy E. Gregory, professor, Department of History
    Gregory, widely recognized as a founder of Byzantine archaeology in Greece, is among a handful of American scholars who direct active excavation projects there. He led a major, long-term excavation at the sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia in central Greece, site of the Isthmian Games – one of the four great “crown games” of Greek antiquity. He is the director of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the largest archaeological research center in the country. He established the Museum of Classical Archaeology at Ohio State.

    Gregory has authored four major monographs, 53 single-authored papers and articles, and numerous collaborative papers. His work has been supported by fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Packard Humanities Institute.

    Gregory received his AB, AM, and PhD from the University of Michigan. He began his career at Ohio State in 1972. 
  • Junko Shigemitsu, professor, Department of Physics
    One of the most important and challenging problems in theoretical physics is to understand the strong force – one of the three fundamental forces in the standard model of particle physics. Junko Shigemitsu is a world leader in lattice gauge theory or lattice quantum chromodynamics (QCD), a method for calculating the properties of subatomic particles from first principles using supercomputers. She has played a central role in the development of lattice QCD into a practical tool that gives new insights into the fundamental properties of matter. 

    Shigemitsu is the co-founder and co-leader of the HPQCD Collaboration, one of the most successful lattice QCD groups in the world. The HPQCD Collaboration was the first group to show that many known properties of subatomic particles could be calculated to within a few percent errors. Their recent results have been crucial for interpreting new measurements from high-energy physics experiments.

    Shigemitsu received her BS from Sophia University in Japan and her PhD from Cornell University. She began her career at Ohio State in 1982. Shigemitsu was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2000.

2011 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching

The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching honors faculty members for superior teaching. Recipients are nominated by current or former students, or faculty colleagues, and are chosen by a committee of alumni, students, and faculty. Recipients are inducted into the university’s Academy of Teaching, which provides leadership for the improvement of teaching at Ohio State.
  • Nicholas B. Breyfogle, associate professor, Department of History
    Breyfogle brings an uncanny enthusiasm to both the undergraduate and graduate history classes he teaches. “I will never forget the morning that he made the experience of the Russian Revolution come alive,” said a former student. “He led the lecture hall in a mass chant of ‘power to the people.’”

    But more than adding excitement to the history classes Breyfogle teaches, he also has enthusiastic dedication to the undergraduate and graduate students he advises. An advisor to many PhD candidates, Breyfogle has also counseled more than 35 MA students and overseen numerable undergraduate theses.

    “The Russian/Eastern European history graduate program is one of the leaders in North America, and it is in no small part a result of Breyfogle’s efforts,” praised a colleague. “The work of Breyfogle and others have pushed Ohio State out in front of our peer schools in the scope and coherence of our course offerings in this area.”

    Breyfogle received his master’s and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. 
  • Lilia Fernández, assistant professor, Department of History
    Fernández is consistently praised for her devoted approach to historical education, especially in her specific area of interest, Latino studies. As one nominator wrote, “Class discussions focused on the complexities of the history of immigration and citizenship. Professor Fernández creates group projects that span the arts, sports, education, and politics so that students can gain a rich understanding of the influence of Latinos in the U.S.”

    According to her colleagues in the history department, Fernández has played a crucial role in diversifying the history curriculum by adding to the body of courses that focus on ethnic history in the United States. She has been instrumental in developing two new courses, US Latino History and Natives and Newcomers: Immigration and Migration in US History.

    Fernández earned master’s degrees from the University of Illinois and the University of California, San Diego. She joined Ohio State’s faculty in 1986.
  • Jennifer Higginbotham, assistant professor, Department of English
    Higginbotham is the educational embodiment of the word dedication. In fact, she consistently demonstrates her commitment not only to what she teaches, but also to the diverse student population she influences.

    Higginbotham teaches a wide variety of courses in the department, from undergraduate classes on Shakespeare and Women to a graduate seminar on Feminist Poetics. Much of Higginbotham’s work and teaching centers on women’s studies in literature, yet she also excels in her instruction of general courses such as Writing for English Majors. In all of her courses, she is praised as teacher with “enthusiasm and passion” in the classroom, as well as one who “is also serious about making time for students and working closely with them to solve individual problems.”

    Higginbotham earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and has been at Ohio State since 1997. She was granted the 2010 English Undergraduate Professor of the Year award. In 2010 she was awarded the Access Award from the Office of Disability Students. 
  • Joseph R. Holomuzki, professor, Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology (Mansfield)
    A member of the Ohio State University Mansfield community for seven years, Holomuzki’s enthusiastic approach to teaching science has garnered him the praise of both colleagues and, more importantly, a diverse population of students.

    Holomuzki teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, such as Anatomy and Medical Education and Wetland Ecology for Teachers. Thus he comes in contact with a diverse range of students, from undergraduate nursing and health sciences students to aspiring teachers to returning educators seeking to improve their scientific prowess.

    “Joe has repeatedly connected with students in all of these subgroups, winning their admiration and respect,” wrote a colleague in support of his nomination.

    A testament to the admiration of those around him, Holomozki has twice won the student-determined OSU-Mansfield Outstanding Teacher of the Year award.

    He earned his master’s degree from Kent State University and his PhD from Arizona State University in 1986. 
  • Melissa K. Jungers, associate professor, Department of Psychology (Newark)
    As an associate professor of psychology on Ohio State’s Newark campus, Jungers carries a substantial teaching load — garnering the 2010 Teaching Excellence Award in recognition of her efforts — and serves in advising roles with numerous undergraduate students. She also publishes regularly in scholarly journals and contributes as a member of many committees across campus, which earned her the Faculty Service Award in 2008.

    It is in her role as instructor that Jungers, who earned her PhD from Ohio State in 2003, most shines — as evidenced by a comment from a former student. “She loves to teach what she teaches,” the student writes. “She’s one of the best, because she is enthusiastic, friendly, and funny.”

    Many of Jungers’ nominators make special note of how her teaching style and enthusiasm for her subject helped them learn difficult concepts. 
  • Christine Keating, assistant professor, Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
    According to both students and colleagues, Keating’s classrooms are alive with the ideals of democracy and collective learning — two principles that are central tenets of the curriculum she teaches. Over her six years at Ohio State, Keating has become somewhat famous for her contagious zeal and her dedication to student learning. 

    Or, as one student enthused, “I would rank Dr. Keating as one of the best professors I’ve had at the university because of her patience, enthusiasm, knowledge, intelligence, commitment to helping her students grow intellectually, her willingness to consider a variety of student perspectives, her general encouragement of students, and her openness and flexibility.”

    Keating has served as supervisor for the department’s TA training program and has personally mentored a number of master's and doctoral students. She has held positions on committees such as the MA to PhD Program Subcommittee, the Graduate Committee and the Undergraduate Studies Committee. She also has authored a number of scholarly articles and has a book forthcoming from Pennsylvania State University Press.

    Keating earned her PhD from the University of Washington and has been at Ohio State since 2005. 
  • Scott Levi, associate professor, Department of History
    To Scott Levi, the history of Islamic Central Asia is fascinating and timely and he works hard to bring it alive for his students. For the past three years, Levi has taught undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from large-lecture format to small seminar classes, and the reviews on his teaching have been consistently radiant.

    “Dr. Levi is an active and engaging instructor,” wrote one former student. “He flawlessly weaves the endless names, dates, and places of history into a tale that enthralls his students and constantly encourages them to ask questions outside of the box.”

    All of these achievements, coupled with a scholarly zeal that has resulted in many peer-reviewed journal articles and other publications, earn him high marks from Department Chair Peter Hahn. “Scott Levi’s performance these past three years clearly establishes him as a truly exceptional teacher both in and out of the classroom,” Hahn wrote.

    Levi earned his master’s (1994) and PhD (in 2000) from the University of Wisconsin, and has been at Ohio State since 2008. 
  • Edward E. Valentine Jr., associate professor, Department of Art (Lima)
    Students of all artistic abilities — or lack thereof — take his drawing and painting courses, but all say they leave better and more knowledgeable by the end of each course. Valentine has his students put their first work next to their last of the same composition (still life) to compare their progress.

    “I never thought I’d walk away from the course having gained as much as I did,” wrote one student nominator. “Everyone had this same experience, even the students who had previously taken a drawing class. They saw the improvement, and it was quite a shock.”

    Valentine, whose own work has been showcased all over the world, splits his time between the Columbus campus, working with graduate students and their thesis work, and Lima.

    Valentine earned his bachelor’s at the Columbus College of Art and Design and his master’s at Ohio State.
  • Joel D. Wainwright, assistant professor, Department of Geography
    For one student in Wainwright’s Geography 450 class, “Making of the Modern World,” hearing Wainwright lecture was akin to verbally experiencing a best-selling novel.

    “He hooks you with a great introduction and then builds an argument while offering compelling personal stories,” the student wrote. “Everything crescendos to a thrilling climax while a cathartic conclusion allows you to catch your breath and mentally prepare for the next class.”

    Wainwright’s geography lessons come to life because he intertwines what he learned from his field research, such as indigenous people’s rights in Belize, with world current events. He creates an engaging lesson that taps into his personal experiences as well as other perspectives and then allows students to come up with their own conclusions.

    Wainwright earned his PhD from the University of Minnesota and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia. He joined Ohio State in 2006.

2011 Faculty Award for Distinguished University Service

The Faculty Award for Distinguished University Service honors faculty members whose contributions to the development and implementation of university policies and programs through non-administrative roles have been extensive and have made documented impact on the quality of the university. The recipients also have continued to provide effective teaching and have maintained an active program of research, scholarship, or creative work. Recipients are nominated by members of the university community and selected by a committee of faculty, administrators, and previous recipients.
  • Marilyn Johns Blackwell, the Vorman-Anderson Professor of Nordic Languages and Literatures, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
    It would be difficult to imagine a faculty member more dedicated to university service than Marilyn Johns Blackwell. Blackwell has been an elected member or alternate on University Senate for the last 20 years. She has served two terms as chair of Faculty Council and one as chair of the Steering Committee. She has served on the Council on Academic Affairs and for 10 years on the Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility. Blackwell has been a member of the Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate and has chaired the department’s Promotion and Tenure Committee since 2006.

    Blackwell earned her master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Washington and has been at Ohio State since 1984. 
  • Kay Halasek, associate professor, Department of English
    “Professor Halasek has established a truly stellar service profile, one that grows out of her deep commitment to improving the educational experiences of students at Ohio State and indeed across Ohio, and to creating the institutional infrastructure required for student success in all disciplines and at all levels,” a colleague wrote in support of her nomination.

    Halasek’s work for students has come at every level as well. Through the Board of Regents, she’s been instrumental in leading numerous statewide efforts, most notably with the Ohio Writing Institute Network for Success, to ensure high school students are prepared for college.

    She’s also served extensively with University Senate. At the departmental level, she’s often called upon to serve on faculty search committees, award committees, and curriculum-related committees.

    Halasek earned her master’s degree from Northern Arizona University and her doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been at Ohio State since 1989. 
  • William Theodore (Ted) McDaniel Jr., professor, Department of African American and African Studies; professor and director, Jazz Studies, School of Music
    McDaniel has served both as director of Jazz Studies (a position he’s held for 25 years) and as chair of the Department of African American and African Studies for seven years in the 1990s, during which he oversaw the name change from the Department of Black Studies.

    McDaniel also has one service item that few if any other recipients of this award can match: A Distinguished Service Award from the OSU Marching Band; he has provided innovative and significant arrangements for TBDBITL’s halftime shows since he joined the Ohio State faculty in 1981.

    McDaniel earned both his master’s degree (in 1968) and his doctorate (1974) in music education from the University of Iowa.