back to news April 30, 2019

Spring Recognition Ceremony honors distinguished teaching, mentorship

On Tuesday, April 16, the College of Arts and Sciences hosted its fourth annual Spring Recognition Ceremony, honoring the recipients of endowed college awards and college-wide awards for teaching and mentoring in the Arts and Sciences.

"This ceremony honors and celebrates our colleagues as teachers, mentors, scholars, leaders and advocates of inclusive excellence," said Janet Box-Steffensmeier, interim executive dean and vice provost of the College of Arts and Sciences. "It's their commitment to inspiring our students, building an inclusive and connected academic community and using their diverse experiences and knowledge to solve problems on campus and to ignite a lifetime of learning for our students."

The following were recognized at the ceremony.

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.

Frederick AldamaFrederick Aldama, Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor in the Department of English, with a joint appointment in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Aldama teaches courses on Latino and Latin American cultural phenomena and is the award-winning author, co-author, and editor of 36 books, including Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics, which won the International Latino Book Award and the Eisner Award for Best Scholarly Work in 2018. As a group of his own students wrote, “In his classrooms and beyond, Professor Aldama creates fertile ecosystems for the exploration and growing of knowledge in the sciences and the humanities. He creates global citizens ready to face the problems of today and tomorrow.”

The Virginia Hill Research Award

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.

VillalobosJoan Flores-Villalobos, assistant professor of history
Flores-Villalobos’s current book project, The Silver Women: Intimacy and Migration in the Panama Canal, explores the labor migration of West Indian women during the Panama Canal construction and the diasporic affective and economic linkages they created during this period. This is her first academic year with the Department of History, and with funds from this award, she will be traveling to Panama in the summer to continue her research and visit the Panamanian National Archives.

The Joan N. Huber Faculty Fellow Awards

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. 

Kendra McSweeneyKendra McSweeney, professor of geography
McSweeney’s current projects include tracing the socioecological impacts of drug trafficking through Central America and studying the nature and implications of demographic change among Latin America's indigenous populations. As one nominator said, “Professor McSweeney has delved into an issue of great societal importance, reached far beyond the academy to communicate its implications, and raised up many of her collaborators along the way with her efforts … exemplifying the spirit of outstanding research in social and behavioral sciences."

Douglas DowneyDouglas Downey, professor of sociology
Downey’s scholarship has produced a cluster of highly influential articles that continue to shape the discussion regarding the relationship between schools and inequality. A nominator wrote, “By every measure his research has had a substantial impact on the field. He has been a dedicated and successful teacher and mentor who has also conscientiously provided service to the university and to the discipline of sociology.”

Luc LecavalierLuc Lecavalier, professor of psychology and psychiatry
Lecavalier focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of behavior/psychiatric problems in individuals with intellectual disability and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). His research has provided important insights on the very nature of ASD and how it is now defined in the field.



The Susan M. Hartmann Mentoring and Leadership Award

The Hartmann award is given annually to a faculty member, staff member or student who has demonstrated outstanding mentoring to and/or leadership on behalf of women or other historically underrepresented groups at the university. This year, there are two awardees.

Frederick Aldama was selected due to the tremendous impact his guidance, mentorship, and teaching has had on underrepresented communities. One student wrote, “Professor Aldama has demonstrated unrelenting effort when it comes to helping his students, often minority students, obtain opportunities for publication or presenting at major conferences … It is rare to find a professor and mentor that cares so greatly for his students that, when you do, you can’t help but be moved by his determination to change the academic community into a more diverse space.”

FoulisElena Foulis, lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Foulis’ research and teaching interests include U.S. Latina/o literature as well as digital oral history and she currently teaches courses in service-learning and Spanish for Heritage Speakers. One student nominator said: “Thanks to her guidance, we will advocate for and better serve Latina/o populations according to our professional aspirations in fields such as medicine and education. We are extremely grateful to Dr. Foulis for teaching us about the power of our own voices.”

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.

HarrillJ. Albert Harrill, professor of history
Harrill seeks to create intellectual spaces where honors students can thrive, and he has done so through creating new honors courses, adding embedded honors, and piggybacking 5000-level courses to help honors students. Thanks to his service, students have benefited immeasurably from his high standards, careful mentorship, and unwavering dedication. 


Outstanding Teaching Award

This award recognizes faculty excellence in teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences. The award is administered and presented by the Arts and Sciences Student Council.

JeffriesHasan Kwame Jeffries (recipient), associate professor of history
Jeffries teaches courses in African American history and about the complicated and contradictory political history of America. His goal is to open students’ minds. At the graduate level, he has been a vociferous advocate for racial and ethnic diversity and equity in the history department’s graduate program. He is also committed to outreach and engagement, having lectured and facilitated discussion locally and across the state about African American history, racial diversity, and equity and inequality, with a particular interest in outreach to K-12 teachers and the problem of teaching difficult history. Through his research, teaching, and service, he promotes and enhances our commitment to diversity in the college, the university, the profession, and the community.

Mark Rudoff (finalist)associate professor of music
Rudoff, a cellist, has demonstrated extraordinary versatility as a performer and teacher. Students in the Ohio State cello studio share in an eclectic pedagogy, with influences ranging from legal discourse to sports, often spiced with passion and humor. Rudoff aims to create a classroom atmosphere that encourages inquiry, collaboration, risk-taking and discovery, and pushes the idea that musical interpretation is a form of discourse that connects to larger issues in the humanities.

Outstanding Graduate 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.

Ziv BellZiv Bell, department of psychology
Bell, a PhD candidate in clinical psychology, has taught Introduction to Psychology and Abnormal Psychology courses in a flipped classroom model and promotes the use of active learning strategies in newly constructed, innovative classroomsdesigned to facilitate student engagement and inclusive teaching.


The Paul W. Brown Excellence in Teaching Award in English and History

This award recognizes a faculty member in the Department of English and a faculty member in the Department of History for teaching excellence.

KellerDaniel Keller, associate professor of English (Newark)
Keller specializes in composition theory, digital literacy and reading pedagogy. As a nominator wrote, “Across the board, students praise Daniel for his deep, generous commitment to creating a dynamic learning environment. As final testament to Daniel’s gift as a teacher, many of his students sequentially enroll in his classes — some taking as many as four of his classes in a row.”


MytheliMytheli Sreenivas, associate professor in history and women's, gender and sexuality studies
Sreenivas teaches courses in history and women’s studies on modern South Asia, comparative women’s history, postcolonial and transnational feminisms, and world history. As a nominator wrote, “She is committed to the principle that students should be not just passive consumers but active producers of historical knowledge and therefore continually strives to give them opportunities to conduct historical research and present it to a wider public.”

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.

ConklinAlice Conklin, professor of history
Conklin, along with the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of International Affairs, helped pilot an education abroad initiative at Ohio State to offer diverse student populations a chance to travel in a way that was affordable, relevant to their life experiences, irresistible in terms of destination, and rigorous in academic content. The history course she created and directed, “Between France and Morocco,” helps Young Scholars, Morrill Scholars and PASS Scholars learn in person how foreign cultures manage diversity and inclusion compared with the United States.

TrevaTreva Lindsey, associate professor of women's, gender and sexuality studies
With a focus on African American women’s history, black feminist theory, and sexual politics, Lindsey’s research advances our understanding of diversity, and in particular, of racial and gendered oppression in American society. As a scholar and activist, Lindsey’s dedication to work against anti-black violence especially as it affects women of color provides a welcome context for rich mentorship for students of color at Ohio State, especially African American women.

Maria MiritiMaria Miriti, associate professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology
Miriti is a passionate advocate for diversity at Ohio State and a champion for under-represented groups in STEM disciplines. Her teaching and mentoring has raised the awareness of colleagues and significantly broadened the diversity of our faculty and graduate student ranks. She battles the “pipeline” problem in STEM fields with community-based outreach to minority and low-income middle school students, impacting young people and educators from Columbus and beyond.

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.

Professor Margaret NewellMargaret Newell, professor of history
Newell’s past and present research has reshaped slavery studies, Native American history, and the history of capitalism in the Americas. Her 2015 book, Brethren by Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery, received two national awards and has been called “a book that virtually defines a field.”


Claudia TurroClaudia Turro, Dow Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Turro has made exceptional advances in research, is a leader at the highest level in professional societies, has engaged in exemplary service within and outside the university, and has proven to be an outstanding teacher and mentor. In research, Turro has combined her expertise in several different areas to build new platforms for the delivery of drugs and diagnostic agents selectively to tumors. She has also discovered new compounds that absorb sunlight more efficiently and can be used in the conversion of solar light to fuels. She is an extraordinary teacher and mentor at all levels, who places a special emphasis on the recruitment, promotion, and retention of women and underrepresented minorities in science.