Celebrating Teaching, Mentoring and Scholarship
On Monday, April 3, the College of Arts and Sciences hosted its second annual Spring Recognition Ceremony, honoring the recipients of all endowed college awards and college-wide awards for teaching and mentoring in the Arts and Sciences.
"What we are celebrating is the commitment to excellence that these recipients represent: a commitment to inspiring our students to learn through innovative and inspiring teaching; to building an inclusive and connected academic community; and to using our diverse expertise to increase knowledge and solve problems on campus and beyond," said David Manderschied, executive dean and vice provost. "These shared commitments are evident not only in the accomplishments of our award recipients but also in the work of our chairs, faculty and students who submitted and presented nominations for these awards and in the generosity of the friends of the college who have donated these awards."
The following award recipients were recognized at the April 3 ceremony.
The Harlan Hatcher Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award
This award recognizes a full professor who has a truly exceptional record in teaching, research and service. The award was established with gifts from Mrs. Anne Hatcher and her family, in honor and memory of Dr. Harlan Hatcher, an alumnus and former dean of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University.
Russell Fazio, professor of psychology, is an internationally prominent scientist recognized for his numerous influential contributions to theory and research on attitudes and social cognition. His work has proven extraordinarily innovative, both at the theoretical and methodological levels, and has changed the ways in which researchers both conceptualize and measure attitudes. Moreover, Fazio's research has had extraordinary impact beyond psychology, in disciplines such as the study of consumer behavior, political science, communication, marketing, decision sciences, behavioral economics and clinical psychology.
He published more than 160 journal articles and book chapters, as well as an edited volume, an introductory psychology textbook, and a collection of readings. Fazio also has received numerous honors. In 2008, Ohio State selected Fazio for the Distinguished Scholar Award. He also has received two lifetime achievement awards, including one from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the world's largest organization of social and personality psychologists.
Fazio's teaching contributions also have been distinguished in nature. Early in his career, he developed a series of what were then extraordinarily innovative microcomputer-based software packages that introduced undergraduates to various principles of research methods. At the graduate level, Fazio has demonstrated an especially strong commitment to the social psychology PhD program, which is generally viewed as the field's single best graduate training program worldwide.
Fazio’s contributions to the department, college, university and the profession are truly outstanding. He served as the area coordinator of the social psychology program for six years, as a member of several key departmental committees, as a member of the Arts and Sciences Faculty Advisory Council and the Graduate School Council. At the university level, Fazio was a member of the Search Committee for the first executive dean and vice provost of Arts and Sciences and served a three-year term on the selection committee for the university's Distinguished Scholar Award.
Fazio's service to the discipline has been all the more extraordinary. He has assumed a number of leadership roles in various professional societies, recently serving as the elected president of the Midwestern Psychological Association. Fazio has served, or is currently serving, on the editorial boards of 11 different journals.
The Diversity Enhancement Faculty Award
This award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of any faculty member or team of faculty members in the college whose research, teaching and/or service/outreach activities promote diversity and support a culture that embraces and exhibits inclusive excellence, community and openness. This year, the college honored three faculty for this award.
Jay Gupta, associate professor of physics and Jonathan Pelz, professor of physics, were jointly nominated for their pioneering work in developing and implementing a MS to PhD Bridge Program in the Department of Physics. Established in 2012 — with unanimous support of department faculty and staff — the goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in STEM PhD programs. The Bridge Program was one of the first two such programs directly supported by the American Physical Society and the NSF.
Since the Bridge Program’s inception, the physics graduate program has increased the diversity of its students from less than 3 percent to 21 percent. As a result, Ohio State has become a national example of a top-tiered physics graduate program at a research public institution with a commitment to serving students from all backgrounds, receiving national recognition for developing novel approaches of student support. The physics graduate program has become an example for other STEM graduate programs on campus and has expanded the participation in the program to astronomy and materials science engineering.
Gupta and Pelz have made significant contributions to the diversity of the STEM pipeline, both locally and nationally, and are trailblazing a path that is demonstrating concrete progress in remedying representational disparities that have proven exceptionally entrenched in their field.
Microbiology Professor and Department Chair Michael Ibba has been an advocate for diversity for a very long time. He has attended and presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students for many years and has actively promoted life sciences programs to underrepresented minority students. As chair of the Department of Microbiology, Ibba ensures that a faculty member attends this conference and works with the interdisciplinary life sciences to support graduate student ambassadors to attend.
Ibba also sponsored the participation of the department in the conference and ongoing work of the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. As a joint principal investigator of a NIH training grant, Ibba has been extremely active in ensuring the recruitment and funding of a diverse pool of graduate students. He also works to ensure diversity among department faculty, volunteering to lead implicit bias workshops for search committees as part of the Discovery Themes diversity effort. More recently, Ibba has become a facilitator in the Ohio State Advocate FORWARD Program for gender equity.
The Paul W. Brown Excellence in Teaching Award
This award recognizes a faculty member in the Department of English and a faculty member in the Department of History for teaching excellence.
Theodora Dragostinova, associate professor of history, employs a teaching philosophy that is simple yet bold: to help students become informed, critical and involved global citizens. She teaches students how to engage in historical analysis through the use of diverse materials and sources of information so that they can continue to exercise independent and critical thinking long after graduation.
Dragostinova encourages students to improve their oral and written communication skills by participating in discussions and completing multi-step writing assignments. She urges students to apply their historical knowledge to current problems by emphasizing parallels between historical situations and contemporary events from a comparative, global perspective. Dragostinova’s innovative use of technology in her teaching — her use of digital humanities research strategies — truly distinguishes her approach to teaching.
The Rodica C. Botoman Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching and Mentoring
This award recognizes a member of the humanities faculty who best exemplifies excellence as a teacher of undergraduates. The nominee's performance as a mentor or advisor and use of innovative teaching strategies for the advancement of learning is also considered.
Randolph Roth, professor of history, has been deeply involved in undergraduate education on all levels, both in courses that serve history majors and in general education courses that serve a wide range of students. He has spearheaded a number of initiatives to improve the quality of undergraduate education at Ohio State: He served on the committee that created the Center for the Teaching and Study of Writing to further the university’s effort to teach writing across the curriculum and he has collaborated with the Department of Statistics to create a working group of faculty to help students gain quantitative literacy. In his enormous dedication to teaching and mentoring undergraduates at Ohio State, Roth very much embodies the ideals of Professor Emeritus Rodica Botoman.
The Virginia Hull Research Award for Scholarship in the Humanities
This award pays particular recognition to, but not limited to, female faculty members in the humanities who are at the rank of assistant or associate professor.
Harmony Bench, assistant professor of dance, will be using her award to support archival research that she will undertake at the Library of Congress this summer. Her project, “Transmissions: Katherine Dunham of the Global Stage,” is part of Dance in Transit, a larger collaborative digital humanities project that analyzes the domestic and international touring of dance companies circa 1900-1950. Bench’s project contributes to recent trends in the emerging field of cultural analytics by advancing historical research at simultaneously macro- and micro-levels, focusing on the dynamic interplay between what occurs on and offstage in cultural transmission.
The Joan N. Huber Huber Faculty Fellow Awards for Excellence in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
These awards recognize first-rate scholarship for individuals not already so recognized by virtue of being an Eminent Scholar, holder of a chair, a Distinguished University Professor or a Distinguished Scholar. No more than three fellowships are awarded each year to full professors.
Becky Mansfield, professor of geography, is recognized as a careful and analytical critic of many aspects of modern social and economic systems, especially in their intersection with the environment. Her main themes are in critical social theory with an emphasis on understanding neo-liberal institutions and practices. Mansfield’s dedication to improving the experience of graduate students is demonstrated by the reading and writing workshop she runs, allowing students the opportunity to share frank and useful commentary on their own formative work.
Samuel Stout, professor of anthropology, is nationally and internationally recognized as a leading skeletal biologist. Indeed, it is his standards that are used in virtually every bone lab where microscopy and methods relating to same are employed in research in the United States and elsewhere. Stout has been an invaluable contributor to the growth of physical anthropology at Ohio State. He built a skeletal biology/bone histology/dental histology lab section of the Bioarchaeology Research Laboratory in the department and introduced new courses in skeletal biology and forensic anthropology, attracting top undergraduates and superb graduate students to the department.
Kristi Williams, professor of sociology, is the nation’s foremost expert on the role of marriage and fertility patterns in contributing to women’s health across the life course. Her work has been published in the top journals in sociology and demography and has been supported by more than $1 million in research grants from the NIH. In addition to her high-impact scholarship, Williams served as director of Undergraduate Studies from 2010-2016 and as program director of the new Bachelor of Public Health, Public Health Sociology specialization. Williams currently serves as chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on the Sociology of Mental Health and as editor in chief of the Journal of Marriage and Family, the most highly-cited journal in family science.
The Susan M. Hartmann Mentoring and Leadership Award
This award recognizes a faculty member, regular staff member or student for outstanding mentoring to and/or leadership on behalf of women or other historically underrepresented groups at the university.
Daniel Rodriguez, a fourth-year student majoring in communication, learned the value of community early on, coming from a family of immigrants. Since his arrival at Ohio State four years ago, Daniel has volunteered, as a mentor, with Ohio State’s Latino Leadership Development Institute, helping new Latino students find community and reach their full potential. Daniel is also the president of SPHINX Senior Honorary and a recently published author.
With the support of a STEP grant, Daniel published his first book of poems and short stories, The Peregrine Muse, which won the Best of the Best Award for Creative and Artistic Endeavors from STEP. Daniel was invited to share his STEP experience and read from his book at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting last November.
The Honors Faculty Service Award
This award recognizes excellence in honors advising, honors instruction, honors committee work and other honors initiatives and responsibilities which have enhanced the quality of education to honors students in the liberal arts.
Jennifer Ottesen, professor and honors advisor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has been instrumental to the honors initiatives in the legacy Department of Biochemistry and, now, in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, serving in multiple roles. Similar to many faculty members, Ottesen is a research mentor for honors students and has served as a judge at numerous research forums. However, she has gone far above and beyond the typical faculty contribution as a department honors advisor, a representative on the Arts and Sciences Honors Committee, as the faculty advisor for the department undergraduate club and in her role developing and supervising two honors courses.
Outstanding Teaching Award
This award recognizes excellence in teaching is recognized in the College of Arts and Sciences to faculty member. The award is administered and presented by the Arts and Sciences Student Council.
David Steigerwald, professor of history, impressed members of the Arts and Sciences Student Council with his dedication to engage students in the material that he teaches and his efforts to be available to meet with students as needed. One student’s nomination noted, “He challenged our class to think critically about the world, on both an analytical and emotional level. He enriched my experience both in and out of the classroom so much that I made room in my schedule to take another class with him.” Steigerwald leads a World War II study-abroad program and the council was similarly impressed with his efforts to maintain a close relationship with participants before, during and after the trip.
Other student nominators commented that Steigerwald was one of the most engaging and interesting professors they had ever had and that he provided the most constructive criticism they had ever received. As one student noted, “I learned as many life lessons as I did history lessons, and sometimes they were one and the same.”
Outstanding Graduate Associate Teaching Award
This award recognizes a College of Arts and Sciences graduate associate for excellence in teaching. The award is administered and presented by the Arts and Sciences Student Council.
Duncan Clark, graduate teaching assistant in mathematics, is described as personable, hardworking and knowledgeable. He is inspirational and welcoming. His students consider him to be a role model who works to make the material enjoyable by incorporating historical connections as well as the occasional joke. He works to ensure the material is understandable for all students including those who may not have a strong background in math. His philosophy of active class participation and a student-centered approach help to remove any stigma about math, and he encourage students to think in intuitive ways that go beyond memorization of formulas.
Eric Garn, graduate teaching assistant in Spanish and Portuguese, was selected as a finalist for this award. His students find his classes to be interactive and inspirational. He makes sure students understand the material and relies on facial expressions to identify students who are too embarrassed to ask questions. He tries to make class relatable by using cultural examples and is always willing to help students work on oral practice and prepare for major tests. As one student reported, “His teaching style ignited a passion for Spanish in me." His mentorship has helped students to reach their maximum potential and to understand the value of cultural diversity in the 21st century.