Dedicated teachers, dynamic researchers and faculty devoted to the betterment of Montana are among the winners of the top Montana State University 2016 faculty awards announced this week. The annual awards honor achievement in faculty research, teaching, outreach and creative projects. The awards will be presented at the MSU Spring Convocation, set for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, in Reynolds Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Rufus T. Firefly Award for Innovative Service
Kathy Osen, director of administration and finance in the College of Engineering, won the Firefly Award for Innovative Service given to an employee who holds a professional position within the university system and who has demonstrated tangible innovation, positive and broad impact on student experience, and/or leadership distinguished by role modeling in a professional capacity. The award carries a $1,500 honorarium.
Osen, who joined the College of Engineering in 2006, has been an MSU employee for more than 30 years and was an MSU student prior to starting her career. Within the COE, Kathy has led efforts to consolidate and coordinate accounting services, helping to minimize the staff time needed to provide accounting support services within the college. Her efforts have proven beneficial to fellow staff, faculty and the thousands of students enrolled in the college.
Osen also filled key administrative roles in MSU's College of Nursing for more than 17 years, including nearly nine years as assistant to the dean, and she worked as director of the MSU Mail Services Department for three years beginning in 2002.
Osen’s mantra: “Any success I have is fundamentally about collaboration and about the wonderful people around me who are helping me and working hard to make MSU the best experience possible for our students.”
Excellence in Outreach Award
Kevin Amende, assistant professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and head of the department’s Thermal Processes Lab, and Suzi Taylor, assistant director of outreach and communications for MSU Extended University and statewide co-leader of the Montana Girls STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Collaborative Project, won the Excellence in Outreach Award. Each will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Amende joined the College of Engineering faculty in 2004, where he teaches in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program and mentors students interested in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. Amende’s outreach activities include his work as the faculty representative on the building committee for the $50 million, 100,000-square-foot Norm Asbjornson Innovation Center, currently being designed to house multidisciplinary engineering teaching and research activities.
Also, Amende founded the Bozeman section of the Big Sky chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and he has helped support the MSU student chapter of the group. He also works to promote engineering professions to Montana’s K-12 students.
Taylor works to spread the word about MSU’s STEM outreach efforts, including those of EPSCoR, Montana Institute on Ecosystems, the Thermal Biology Institute and others. She spearheads efforts at engagement around projects involving the National Science Foundation, NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy.
According to her colleagues, Taylor brings creativity and an energetic approach to her efforts to muster the maximum outreach impact – whether through public relations channels or hands-on educational experiences for Montana school children – of the STEM programming that helps MSU remain a leading example of the land-grant university system in action.
Betty Coffey Outstanding Achievement Award
Bridget Kevane, professor of Spanish and coordinator of the Latin American and Latino Studies Program in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, will receive the Betty Coffey Award in memory of an engineering professor who was noted for her teaching excellence and championing of women’s equity and minority issues in the curriculum. The award comes with a $1,000 honorarium.
Kevane is recognized for developing new courses for the university in women’s gender and sexuality studies, for incorporating Latina writers and activists into Latino Studies and for her work to support a more equitable parental leave policy across campus. Kevane’s research focuses on Latino/Latina studies, specifically the literature, culture and history of Latino communities in the United States. A prolific writer, she has published four books, including her most recent, “The Dynamics of Jewish Latino Relationships: Hope and Caution.” She has also published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and articles in the popular press. Kevane also was recently named associate dean for faculty affairs in the College of Letters and Science.
Teaching Innovation Award
Terry Profota, adjunct associate teaching professor of management in the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, has won the Teaching Innovation Award, which honors a faculty member who has incorporated outstanding innovative teaching practices into his or her classes. Profota will receive $2,000.
Profota is known for inspiring students to learn through exploring and critiquing their own ideas and then testing those ideas against the marketplace. In addition to creating a course on community entrepreneurship and non-profit management, Profota is the coordinator of a seminar and a course on business and entrepreneurship fundamentals. She recently redesigned both to create a hands-on, active learning environment designed to show students how to think creatively and gain confidence in their skills. Instead of having students simply read and talk about business concepts, Profota’s courses now incorporate innovative online resources, where students in small teams develop a concept for a new product or service, perform research to launch a business, write a basic business plan and present the project to their classmates. The result is a highly engaging course that not only teaches students about fundamental business concepts, but which also emphasizes critical thinking, ethical decision making, communication, innovation and team work.
Anna K. Fridley Distinguished Teaching Award
Sarah Allen, instructor in the MSU Honors College, and Robert Carson, professor of education and director of the Northern Plains Transition to Teaching Program, won the Anna K. Fridley Distinguished Teaching Award given by the Phi Kappa Phi honorary. Each will receive $1,000.
Students say Allen is a dedicated professional who motivates them to strive for excellence and possesses a gift for making complex material understandable. She is highly regarded for emphasizing strong communication skills, particularly writing, as well as for allowing her students to work from their own perspectives while simultaneously teaching them how to engage with differing perspectives.
Carson, who helped develop the Northern Plains Transition to Teaching program at MSU, is known for his commitment to students and for his dedication and passion to education. Former students say Carson generated an atmosphere of respect and concern for his students, both in and out of the classroom. Colleagues say Carson works tirelessly to ensure that all students are treated fairly and that they have the resources and tools they need to be successful.
Spirit of Discovery
Brian Bothner, professor in the chemistry and biochemistry department and director of the Mass Spectometry Proteomics and Metabolomics Facility, has won the Spirit of Discovery Award, which recognizes faculty members who have excelled in teaching and mentoring students in the Honors College. The award was made possible by support from Dr. Lew and Liane Vadheim of Miles City. The Vadheims’ son, Bryan, was MSU’s first Marshall Scholar. The award carries a $1,825 honorarium.
Bothner is known for his mentorship of Honors College students in his lab, where he provides expert guidance to help them excel and flourish as scholar scientists. One such student, Brigit Noon, was featured last year as a co-author of a scientific paper that made the cover of a leading journal in the field of mass spectrometry. Noon, a junior majoring in biochemistry, has been recognized for her outstanding research and was named a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship. Two other Honors College students, Katerine Budeski and Nina Paris, are also members of the Bothner group.
In his 11 years at MSU, Bothner has instructed more than 1,000 students in the classroom. Of the more than 50 students who have trained in his laboratory, half have continued on to Ph.D. programs at top universities, such as Johns Hopkins, Brown, the University of Washington and Duke. Another quarter have chosen to pursue medical degrees.
Excellence in Online Teaching Award
Robert Peterson, a professor of entomology in land resources and environmental sciences, has won the Excellence in Online Teaching Award honoring faculty who have made significant contributions to credit or noncredit programs through inspirational online teaching. Peterson will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Peterson founded the MSU Online Master of Science program in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences. He also teaches two online graduate courses and instructs students on their professional papers for their final course.
Peterson is known to his students as a supportive and effective instructor and a strong and stable mentor whose online courses are clearly defined and provide a robust blend of factual learning, applied science and scholarly discussion. His delivery method for online learning materials is comprehensive and pertinent, while remaining user friendly.
Students say Peterson’s interactive teaching style, ready availability and expert guidance help to create a successful learning experience. He is known for his ability to deftly field questions and issues presented by his diverse group of students and seamlessly integrate them into course materials. His students have praised his online teaching methods and standards that, coupled with his commitment to excellence, make the online learning experience just as effective and rewarding as on-campus programs.
Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award
Tracy Sterling, professor and head of the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, has won the Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award recognizing extraordinary efforts in mentoring junior women faculty in the university and contributing substantially to the career development of one or more women faculty members. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Sterling has a long history of fighting for a more just and equitable academic workplace for women and has become a role model of how to support the careers of women on a university campus. Before arriving at MSU in 2009, she led an NSF ADVANCE program, bringing with her experience in addressing the subtle biases that challenge the advancement of women in STEM disciplines. Her involvement on MSU’s President’s Commission on the Status of University Women has spanned the range from member to now co-chair of the commission.
Since becoming department head in LRES, Sterling has made important changes regarding equitable service contributions for male and female faculty, spousal accommodations, nomination and promotion of female faculty for awards and merit increases and departmental communications. She leads the department with a strong set of ideals, seeks to govern by reaching consensus and is not afraid to question long-held practices that are not always fair and equitable.
As a mentor, Sterling not only encourages professional and personal achievements but goes out of her way to provide an enriching and supportive environment for mentees to thrive. She works to create opportunities for early-career scientists and models valuable behavior that helps all who have the privilege of working with her. She is known for promoting a healthy work-life balance and an environment where women feel comfortable building relationships, setting goals and accessing available resources.
Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching
Patricia Simpson, German professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, is the recipient of the 2016 Cox Family Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching. She will receive a $2,000 honorarium from the Winston and Helen Cox Family Endowment.
Simpson is a world-class scholar of German language, history and contemporary culture as well as an award-winning teacher who is known for aligning her teaching and research so that each benefits from the other. Her scholarly work explores major issues of the human condition: war, violence, the family, work and immigration—even toys and play. She has developed several capstone seminars that integrate this research into her teaching. The author of three books, with two more in the works, and co-editor of four books, Simpson has also published 45 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, award nominations and fellowships, including the 2013 Essay Prize from the Goethe Society of North America.
Outstanding Academic Advising Award
Kari Cargill, microbiology and immunology, and Rachael Ortego, architecture, won Outstanding Academic Advising Awards. Each receives a $2,000 award.
Cargill is an adjunct senior lecturer and academic coordinator for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Cargill teaches some of the largest courses in terms of enrollment in microbiology and immunology, where she meets and comes to know the students in the department. Her advising of these students goes beyond course selection and into helping them understand the field of microbiology and what their career options might be once they have a degree. She also keeps spreadsheets of accomplishments of all MBI graduate students so that their research advisers can keep up with academic progress and career development. An ambassador for the MBI department, she has influenced many students to choose careers in microbiology and immunology.
Ortego is director of student services for the MSU School of Architecture. She has been called the “conceptual structure that roots the School of Architecture together” as she supports MSU architecture students as they navigate “the complexities of academia.” She is known for a cheerful and helpful attitude as well as exceptional personal skills that allow her to seamlessly guide each student individually while also organizing the school’s larger meetings and functions. As one nominator said, Ortego’s “ability to be approachable, successful and informative are shadowed by her aura of kindness and knowledge.” Ortego is proud to be a sixth generation Gallatin Valley resident, a fifth generation Bobcat and a fourth generation MSU employee.
Charles & Nora Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research
Nicholas Ward, professor of industrial engineering and director of the Center for Health and Safety Culture in the Western Transportation Institute, will receive the Charles and Nora Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research. He will receive $2,000. Sponsored by the MSU Alumni Foundation, the prize is given in honor of the Wileys, who were pioneer ranchers in eastern Montana.
Ward has been a pioneer in studying the social and cultural factors that lead to risky driving behaviors. Since joining the WTI research staff as a faculty member of MSU’s Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department in 2007, he has played a key role in developing the human factors research program, allowing WTI to greatly expand its work in the field of studying driver behavior and safety.
Ward also has become a leading authority in considering how to address traffic crashes as a public health issue that is estimated to become the third largest cause of loss of life and disability worldwide by 2020.
He was invited to author a chapter in the American Automobile Association Traffic Safety Foundation’s first compiled book on traffic safety culture and was the lead author for the traffic safety culture framework of the recently adopted National Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety vision. He has published numerous papers and presented national seminars on traffic safety culture.
Vice President for Research Meritorious Technology/Science Award
John Sheppard, College of Engineering Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science, will receive the Vice President for Research Meritorious Technology/Science Award in recognition of his significant technological and scientific contributions to his field. The award includes a $2,500 honorarium.
Sheppard has spent his career working with the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA and private industry as a champion of advanced diagnostic technologies for the military aircraft and other aerospace support systems. In 2007, he was named a fellow in the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest professional association dedicated to the advancement of technology.
Sheppard was hired at MSU in 2008 as the inaugural RightNow Technologies Distinguished Professor. In the ensuing years he has helped the Department of Computer Science significantly increase its research expenditures. Sheppard has also seen three of his doctoral students successfully graduate from the program, and he has two more doctoral students scheduled to finish this year. For four years in a row, his students won awards for best paper or best paper runner up at an IEEE conference.
In addition to publishing numerous papers in leading journals, the Institution of Engineering and Technology in the United Kingdom has invited Sheppard to co-author a three-volume compilation on system design. He has also been working with engineers at Boeing Research and Technology to establish new tools and approaches to diagnostics for aircraft maintenance. Sheppard and his lab have helped Boeing’s Integrated Vehicle Health Management group by developing tools to automatically debug and repair erroneous diagnostic models. The group was also instrumental in analyzing data on the Lithium-Ion battery fires that grounded the Boeing-787 Dreamliner aircraft.
Recently, he was instrumental in winning Small Business Technology Transfer Research contracts with NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Sheppard’s research is aimed at assisting in missions for both the International Space Station and the Orion Spacecraft program.
Women in Science Distinguished Professor Award
Sarah Codd, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, received the Women in Science Distinguished Professor award to support and recognize outstanding women faculty in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and the social and behavioral sciences. Codd will receive an annual award of $4,000 for two years.
Codd, who is co-director of MSU's Magnetic Resonance Laboratory, studies a variety of complex fluid systems, including colonies of bacteria known as biofilms and supercritical carbon dioxide. Through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) microscopy, Codd works to discover answers to vital questions about the function of biofilms, which are the cause of oral plaque and many persistent medical infections, and how biofilms can be used beneficially to remove or contain contaminants in the subsurface. She is also using MRI to understand how carbon dioxide will behave when it is stored at high pressures and temperatures in reservoirs underground to try to prevent climate change.
Codd has had more than 60 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, and she is frequently invited to present at a prominent meeting in her field, the International Conference of Magnetic Resonance Microscopy conference series. She has also won several National Science Foundation awards, including a $400,000 NSF Career Award in 2007. The award is given to support the early career development of teacher-scholars, and it is considered one of NSF's most prestigious distinctions.
In fall 2015, Codd served as a Gledden Fellow at the University of Western Australia, where she worked with a group that uses low-field portable MRI to study engineering in oil fields. She also has been previously recognized at MSU with the Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring and the Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award.
Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring
Douglas Downs, English, won the Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring. He receives a $2,000 honorarium.
Downs has distinguished himself as a scholar, an undergraduate mentor, a classroom teacher and the director of MSU’ S CORE Writing program. It is said that Downs’ commitment to mentoring of undergraduate students and passion for engaging them in learning permeates all of his work – research, teaching and service. Since 2001, he has mentored at least 49 undergraduate conference papers and presentations, all of which have been accepted. He has co-presented with students at 13 major conferences and has co-authored essays with two undergraduate students. A specialist in the curriculum of Writing About Writing since his original publication introduced the topic in 2007, Downs’ commitment to techniques of mentoring students about how to write, and his many presentations about the topic, have impacted and inspired writing curriculum throughout the country.
Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creative Mentoring
Robert Walker, professor in chemistry and biochemistry, has won the Provost's Award for Graduate Research/Creativity Mentoring recognizing a faculty member who engages graduate students in this valuable learning process. The award comes with $2,000.
In his 17 years as a faculty member-- seven at MSU and 10 at the University of Maryland -- Walker has mentored 18 students to their Ph.D. degree, including recent graduates John Kirtley, a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory; Eric Grobrogge, an ORISE postdoctoral fellow at the Army Research Laboratory; and Lauren Woods, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Walker is currently mentoring five Ph.D. graduate students in his research group who are all on track to earn their doctorates and who are all co-authors on highly-regarded scientific papers.
In addition to his mentees, Walker serves as a member on Ph.D. committees for 20 additional graduate students. He also serves on committees for five master’s students.
Walker is an integral part of graduate education at MSU. As chair of the graduate committee in chemistry and biochemistry, MSU's largest Ph.D. granting program, Walker oversees graduate student recruitment and retention. Under his leadership for the past six years, the chemistry and biochemistry graduate program has grown in size and increased the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded.
Walker also serves as the inaugural MUS director of the Materials Science Graduate Program, a cooperative effort that brings together faculty from MSU, Montana Tech and the University of Montana. The program creates a cohesive and timely program of study for students seeking multidisciplinary Ph.D. training in an emerging area of science and engineering. Walker is responsible for coordinating program development, including working with local campus directors to create curricula and facilitate research collaborations. He is also participating in the development of a new master’s degree program in optics.
Walker’s graduate students say that despite his busy schedule he is a readily available adviser not just to them, but also to students who are not part of his lab. His advising style encourages students to develop a strong commitment to excellent scholarship while being aware of the need for work-life balance. He works exhaustively with his students preparing them for their oral exams, teaching them how to write and give presentations in science and discussing with them how they can achieve their long-term professional goals.
James and Mary Ross’ Provost’s Award for Excellence
Daniel Miller, recently a professor in the Civil Engineering Department and now head of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, will receive the James and Mary Ross’ Provost’s Award for Excellence in recognition of excellence in teaching and scholarship. The award comes with a $2,500 honorarium.
Miller is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of snow mechanics and engineering who plays an equally vital role as a primary instructor. Miller has taught the large-section sophomore engineering mechanics courses that are taken by more than 50 percent of the sophomores in the College of Engineering multiple curriculums. Since coming to MSU, Miller has been specifically tasked with improving student engagement in those courses without sacrificing content or lowering performance expectations. Student ratings for those courses have consistently shown improvement under his tenure. The high ratings do not appear to come at the expense of academic rigor, with one recent student evaluation summing him up as an “excellent instructor. Fantastic ability to relate concepts to everyday real life experiences. Very difficult course.” When students learned that Miller’s appointment to department head might keep him out of the classroom, evaluations also requested that his new appointment be rescinded “so he can continue teaching statistics and dynamics.”
Part of Miller’s success in motivating and engaging students comes from his ability to stimulate interest in course materials through what he (and now all of his students) now call “Engineering Fridays,” during which a significant amount of class time is dedicated to the presentation and discussion of how to relate a course concept to a real-world application.
Miller’s own scholarly pursuits into cold regions engineering and snow mechanics have seen him serve as principal investigator or co-PI on projects worth more than $1 million in research expenditures. Since joining the MSU faculty in 2008, he has published 29 papers for journals or conferences and has delivered 12 invited presentations at avalanche seminars and workshops across the Pacific Northwest. He has also been a major adviser for two doctoral and three master’s students, as well as working every year with high school research interns through the Army’s Research and Engineering Apprenticeship Program.
President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award
Anne Camper, Montana University System Regents Professor, professor in the MSU Department of Civil Engineering and associate dean for faculty and administration in the College of Engineering, received the President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award given to a member of the faculty or staff who has established a record of working to improve issues related to gender, equity and diversity on any of MSU's four campuses. The award includes a $2,000 honorarium.
Camper has a proven record of working to improve issues related to gender, equity and diversity. She was the first chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of University Women and helped develop the commission’s vision for a successful future. Camper is also known for achieving excellence in research, teaching and service while simultaneously breaking down gender barriers. An international expert on water and biofilms, in 2013 Camper was selected as a Montana University System Regents Professor, the most prestigious designation to be attained by a professor in the system. Camper is the first woman at MSU and the first faculty member in MSU’s College of Engineering to be selected for the honor. Also in 2013, she was selected as a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, who are selected for their outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society and support and enhancement of innovation. She also served as MSU’s interim Vice President for Research, Creativity and Technology Transfer in 2013.
President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning
Shannon Arnold, associate professor in agricultural education, has won the President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning. The award recognizes a faculty member and community partners who use a service learning activity to meet a community need. For this award, Arnold will receive $800.
To meet the need for increasing interest among youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, Arnold’s students collaborated with county 4-H leaders to design a STEM-based day camp. The goal of the camp was to foster the exploration of knowledge and research in STEM fields.
The camp was successfully held at MSU in 2015, with Arnold’s students teaching workshops to 4-H youth and leaders. Overall results of a post-workshop test showed that youth increased their knowledge, interest and career aspirations in STEM and natural resource concepts as a result of attending the camp. The largest increases were seen in the understanding of STEM concepts, interest in engineering and agriculture, the desire to pursue a career in a STEM-related field and in the awareness that STEM concepts are integrated into agriculture.
In her role as course instructor, Arnold was responsible for the design, collection and analysis of information from 4-H audiences and students. She secured workshop facilities and was responsible for scheduling, student program development assistance, workshop instruction, 4-H participant travel arrangements, development of educational materials and oversight of the student project.
Community partners were Nikki Bailey, Carbon County 4-H; Christina McRae-Holland, Gallatin County 4-H Mentoring Partnership Program Coordinator; Kelton Jensen, Gallatin County 4-H; Lisa Terry, Stillwater County Family and Consumer Science; and other 4-H leaders in Gallatin, Stillwater and Carbon counties.
President’s Excellence in Teaching Award
Bonita Peterson Kramer, accounting professor in the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, received the 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award for her exemplary contributions to instruction and student learning. She will receive a $2,500 honorarium.
Peterson Kramer is an exceptional teacher and accomplished scholar who is also widely respected for her contributions to service endeavors. At MSU she has taught at least nine different courses offered at the sophomore, junior, senior and graduate levels, including a unique course she developed on fraud examination. In all of her classes, she works to create an environment that promotes active learning and participation, with a goal of having students understand the material rather than simply memorizing it. Her student evaluation results are consistently high. During her three-year term as director of MSU’s master’s of professional accountancy program, enrollment was as large as it has ever been. In addition, Peterson Kramer’s graduate students ranked second, first and third in the nation for their first-time pass rate on the auditing section of the CPA exam when she first taught auditing, and they continue to rank above the national average. Peterson Kramer has also established student accounting internships with several organizations, served as the faculty internship adviser for more than 85 students and assisted students in finding local accounting volunteer opportunities.
Contact: Julie Heard, MSU Office of the Provost, (406) 994-4373 or firstname.lastname@example.org