Each year, Montana State University honors its dedicated advisers, teachers and researchers with annual awards for faculty and staff at Spring Convocation, recognizing achievements in faculty research, teaching, outreach and creative projects.
Honorees for Spring 2021 will be announced starting Jan. 11.
|11||Excellence in Innovative Service||Katie Bark|
|12||Excellence in Outreach Award (faculty)||Michelle Flenniken|
|13||Excellence in Outreach Award (staff)||Alix Byrd|
|14||Betty Coffey Award||Molly Todd|
|15||Teaching Innovation Award||Hannah DelCurto-Wyffels|
|19||Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Anna K. Fridley Distinguished Teaching Award (tenure and non-tenure)||Ann Ewbank and Donald Demetriades|
|20||Women's Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award||Marilyn Lockhart|
|21||Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching||David Varricchio|
|22||Academic Advising Award (faculty)||David Claudio|
|25||Academic Advising Award (staff)||Sharlyn Gunderson-Izurieta|
|26||Fox Faculty Award||Robert Walker|
|27||Provost's Award for Graduate Research/Creativity Mentoring||Carrie Myers|
|28||Excellence in Open Education Award||Stacey Hancock|
|29||Excellence in Online Teaching Award||Nick Lux|
|1||Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring||Blake Wiedenheft|
|2||Provost's Award for Exemplary Service and Fidelity to the Public Land Grant Mission of Montana State University||Jennifer Luebeck|
|3||James and Mary Ross Provost's Award for Excellence||J. Mitchell Vaterlaus|
|4||Charles and Nora Wiley Award for Meritorious Research Award||David Dickensheets|
|5||Vice President of Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education Award for Meritorious Technology/Science||Stephanie McCalla|
|8||President's Excellence in Service Learning Award||Susanne Cowan|
|9||President's Commission on the Status of University Women Award||Rebecca Belou|
|10||President’s Excellence in Teaching Award||Maria Velazquez|
Excellence in Innovative Service - John Melick
John Melick, director of field placement and licensure in the Department of Education, won the Excellence in Innovative Service Award, given to a professional employee who has demonstrated tangible innovation, positive and broad impact on student experience, and/or leadership through role modeling. The award comes with a $1,500 honorarium.
In his position, Melick creates school partnerships, ensures clinical placements for developing teachers and oversees their recommendations for a state of Montana license to teach. Colleagues say he has distinguished himself as a leader who expands engagement beyond local borders and who works to sustain the preparation of distinguished educators for all schools. Since starting his position in 2017, he has unfurled a host of innovations to better serve MSU education students as well as the Gallatin Valley, the state of Montana and an expanding international group of teachers and their learners. Colleagues say he reaches out directly to students who are struggling and consistently works to provide opportunities for all students to be successful both in and out of the classroom.
Excellence in Outreach Award (Faculty) - Cathy Whitlock
Cathy Whitlock, a paleoecologist and Regents Professor in MSU’s Department of Earth Sciences, won the Excellence in Outreach Award for faculty. She will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
The award honors Whitlock’s tireless efforts as an ambassador of the university and of climate and environmental science. Whitlock’s accomplishments are manifold. She was the founding co-director of the Montana Institute on Ecosystems and is this academic year’s Presidential Faculty Fellow. She serves on the Governor’s Climate Solution Council and is co-authoring a report on climate change and human health in Montana. In 2018, she was the first person from the Montana University System elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
In 2017, Whitlock was the lead author on the Montana Climate Assessment, a project two years in the making. Whitlock and collaborators around the state engaged with communities and stakeholders in water, forests and agriculture, and Whitlock stressed that the success of the project relied on their input. After the assessment was complete, Whitlock then traveled the state again, leading the effort to share the findings of the assessment with those who may be most impacted by climate change.
Excellence in Outreach Award (Staff) - Shantell Frame-Martin
Shantell Frame-Martin, program coordinator of the Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign, won the Excellence in Outreach Award for staff. She will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Frame-Martin was nominated for her work on the campaign, which aims to increase public participation in ecologically based integrated weed management. Last summer, the program conducted a survey gauging public knowledge about noxious weeds, which returned favorable results since the implementation of outreach programming largely led by Frame-Martin.
Two of the most successful outreach projects Frame-Martin has organized are the Adopt-a-Trailhead Montana program and the Montana Real Estate Professionals Online Noxious Weed Training. Adopt-a-Trailhead Montana is a cooperative volunteer program designed to protect Montana’s trails from further spread of noxious weeds, and it has led to the installation of 65 boot brush kiosks at trailheads around the state, along with interactive educational booths to highlight the importance of public participation in slowing the spread of noxious weeds. The Montana Real Estate Professionals Online Noxious Weed Training was implemented to increase the knowledge of real estate agents and developers about the economic and environmental impacts of noxious weeds and the laws that govern noxious weed infestations on private properties.
Betty Coffey Award - Julia Haggerty
Julia Haggerty, associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, won the Betty Coffey Award. The award was created in memory of a computer science professor noted for her contributions to faculty development and women’s equity. It comes with a $1,000 honorarium.
Haggerty is a human geographer with a focus on rural communities and the use of natural resources. She leads the Resources and Communities Research Group on campus and co-directs the Energy Impacts Research Coordination Network in collaboration with eight other universities. At MSU, Haggerty is known as both a scholar and an inspiring leader who cultivates an environment of inclusiveness and intellectual collaboration for her students. Her research group includes four female doctoral candidates. Colleagues say Haggerty has become a role model for them and others wishing to enter STEM fields. Haggerty was also named one of 100 Inspiring Women in STEM by INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine in 2015 and one of the 125 Extraordinary Ordinary Women of MSU in 2018, honoring those who have made an impact as leaders and innovators throughout the history of the university.
Teaching Innovation Award - MacDonald Burgess
MacDonald Burgess, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, won the Teaching Innovation Award. He will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Burgess’s nominating committee calls him “a down-to-Earth instructor who intertwines science with community engagement opportunities for students.” Burgess directs a 12-week summer internship program for students at MSU’s Towne’s Harvest Garden and is involved with the Sustainable Foods and Bioenergy Systems program in the College of Agriculture. In the past five years, more than 100 students have taken advantage of those programs to learn skills in soil and plant management while running a small farm business. Towne’s Harvest Garden hosts numerous collaborative projects, including partnerships with MSU’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs.
During the first five weeks of each fall semester, Burgess hosts weekly sunset and sunrise walks at the MSU Horticulture Farm so students can observe the changing light and the introduction of frost into the farming system and its impacts on crops. He serves as faculty adviser for the Friends of Local Foods student organization.
Burgess is an active member of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture and a recipient of the organization’s teaching award of merit. He has developed an integrated program of teaching and scholarship that conveys excitement for learning in his students, both in the field and in the classroom.
Phi Kappa Phi Anna K. Fridley Award - Rob Maher
Rob Maher, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, won the Anna K. Fridley Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Distinguished Teaching Award. The award recognizes a faculty member whose accomplishments with students reach beyond the classroom and the library, and comes with a $1,000 honorarium.
Maher, an electrical engineer fascinated by acoustics and audio signal processing, teaches courses that are lauded by students as some of the most enjoyable they ever take. Maher helped spark the School of Music’s program in music technology, approved in 2007, for which he continues to teach courses and coordinate interdisciplinary seminars. Maher is admired by colleagues as a role model for motivating students to broaden their cultural horizons, capitalizing on educational opportunities outside the traditional bounds of the electrical engineering field. A noted researcher, he recently authored a book on audio forensic analysis. Maher is also credited with enhancing the quality of faculty academic advising across campus.
Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award - Ann Bertagnolli
Ann Bertagnolli, program coordinator for Montana INBRE, has been named the 2019 Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor, which recognizes 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 an honorarium of $2,000.
Bertagnolli is known as a selfless adviser who invests her time into junior faculty members and their success, as well as a respected leader among colleagues. She demonstrates a commitment to creating a supportive working environment for women by giving INBRE junior faculty the necessary tools to feel empowered and be self-sufficient in their careers.
The consensus among Bertagnolli’s colleagues is that she is a knowledgeable mentor and gives help wherever needed. One colleague noted her unwavering support and advocacy for junior faculty as she coordinated more than 200 faculty research projects over her Montana INBRE career.
Bertagnolli has worked at Montana INBRE for more than 19 years and has shown others that she is bright, conscientious, a problem solver and unmatched in her leadership skills.
Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching - David Ayala
David Ayala, professor of mathematics in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, has won the Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Ayala is a world-class scholar whose work is met with overwhelming enthusiasm and respect from renowned experts in his field. His greatest accomplishment in the last five years has been the conceptualization and proof of the cobordism hypothesis. His older work on singularities and cobordism categories continues to make a significant impact, and colleagues consider his newer ideas to be innovative both in conception and in technique. Ayala has published more than a dozen papers on algebraic topology in prestigious journals. He has also received two consecutive National Science Foundation grants in a very competitive field. Ayala has been an invited speaker at the most prestigious venues and universities in the world. This spring, he will be one of three lead organizers of a semester-long scientific program at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California. In addition to honors as a scholar, Ayala is also a remarkable teacher and mentor. An exceptional listener, he finds tangible ways to convey his interests to his students so that they can experience mathematics in creative and interesting ways.
Academic Advising Award (Faculty) - Steve Swinford
Steve Swinford, associate professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology has won the Outstanding Academic Advising Award for faculty. He will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Swinford has advised students in both the sociology and criminology options in his department since arriving at MSU in 1996. He is said to bring extraordinary skill and genuine vision to an unusually broad range of advising roles, bringing a well-developed understanding of advising theory and practice, deep disciplinary knowledge of his academic field, a secure grasp of the needs and processes of career readiness and a profound understanding of disciplinary mentoring. He also has been involved in several service activities centered on academic advising issues development and implementation of a campus-wide survey of advising units with the stated purpose of identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Academic Advising Award (Staff) - Sara Heller
Sara Heller, academic adviser in the Department of Health and Human Development, has won the Academic Advising Award for staff. She will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
As the lead academic adviser in the Department of Health and Human Development, Heller advises approximately 400 students across seven majors and 13 options. She also provides training for two faculty advisers and two staff advisers. Heller is known for her efforts to create and sustain an office culture that fosters student and departmental support. She is also well-respected for her professional knowledge and for matching that knowledge with a commitment to interacting with and supporting students. Colleagues say they are especially impressed by her dedication to addressing curricular and personal issues students face: If a student has a question about courses, teachers, graduate school applications or school programs, Heller makes time to answer those questions and provide valuable resources.
Fox Faculty Award for Achievement in Teaching, Research, Scholarship, Creativity and Mentoring - Brock LaMeres
Brock LaMeres, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, won the Fox Faculty Award for Achievement in Teaching, Research, Scholarship, Creativity and Mentoring. The Martin Fox family and MSU’s Office of Academic Affairs sponsor the award, which includes a $3,325 honorarium.
Since joining the MSU faculty in 2006, LaMeres has earned a reputation as an enthusiastic teacher, innovator in engineering education and groundbreaking researcher. Students have selected him as the department's outstanding instructor seven times, and in 2018 he won the prestigious Distinguished Educator Award from the American Society for Engineering Education. In 2015, LaMeres spearheaded the creation of MSU's Montana Engineering Education Research Center, and his students comment that he blends technical instruction with insights about how to learn more effectively. His research has focused on developing a new approach to protecting spacecraft computers from radiation in outer space. After multiple tests on the International Space Station in recent years, the computer technology is set to travel to the moon on a NASA mission in 2020-21. The project has received more than $4 million in NASA funding and roughly 150 students, including 130 undergraduates, have contributed to the research.
Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creative Mentoring - Joseph Shaw
Joseph Shaw, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and affiliate faculty of the physics department, won the Provost's Award for Graduate Research/Creative Mentoring. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Shaw, a world-recognized expert in optics and optical systems, is known for an interdisciplinary approach that enables graduate students to become capable and successful professional colleagues. Over the past decade, he has chaired 37 graduate committees and co-authored 93 publications with graduate students, several of whom have received fellowships from NASA and the Department of Defense. As director of MSU's Optical Technology Center (OpTeC), he regularly mentors graduate students in engineering and physics and helps mentor students who conduct research work at MSU’s Spectrum Lab. He was instrumental in conceiving and creating MSU’s Master of Science in Optics and Photonics degree program. Shaw’s former students have founded at least four high-tech companies in the Bozeman area.
Excellence in Open Education Award - Mark Greenwood
Mark Greenwood, statistics professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, won the Excellence in Open Education Award. The new award sponsored by the MSU Library recognizes a faculty member who reduces barriers to education by using open information and resources in the classroom. It comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Greenwood’s work in high-dimensional data analysis and visualization has applications in environmental, education and medical research. He is the director of the university’s Statistical Consulting and Research Services and a model for the future of open educational resources on campus.
Around 400 students each year take the university’s Intermediate Statistical Concepts course, STAT 217. Their textbook is Greenwood’s “Intermediate Statistics with R,” which is available for free on ScholarWorks online. Greenwood, who is the course supervisor, first published the textbook in 2013 and has revised it yearly to provide current information in the rapidly evolving statistical computing field. A second edition was published in 2019. Other universities, such as the South Dakota School of Mines, also assign the textbook in their classes.
Women in Science Distinguished Professorship - Cathy Zabinski
Cathy Zabinski, professor in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, received the Women in Science Distinguished Professorship. She will receive an $8,000 honorarium spread over two years.
Zabinski’s research focuses on the effects of soil disturbances, the belowground ecology of plant invasions and plant growth in extreme sites such as Yellowstone National Park’s thermal soils. She has worked in wildland systems, on damaged recreation sites and in areas contaminated by mining, as well as most recently in agricultural systems to examine crop impacts on soil biology.
Zabinski’s discoveries and style have led to diverse research opportunities for MSU students, generated internationally respected research and improved understanding of how to restore damaged lands. Her contributions in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students as well as MSU colleagues, including forwarding women in science, underscore her contributions to MSU and the state of Montana, said her nominating committee.
With the distinguished professorship, Zabinski will give a public lecture on the value and contribution of diversity to her scholarship and will serve as a voice for others on campus by participating in panel discussions and workshops over the next two years. Zabinski’s latest publication, a book entitled “Amber Waves: The Extraordinary Biography of Wheat, from Wild Grass to World Megacrop,” will be published in 2020.
Excellence in Online Education Award - Robert Carson
Robert Carson, professor in the Department of Education, has won the Excellence in Online Education Award. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Carson, who helped develop an online teaching program at MSU for educators known as Northern Plains Transition to Teaching, is known for his commitment to high-quality online education and teaching. As head of the education department from 2001 to 2009, he encouraged the move to online delivery of courses and programs, including the online library media certification program. In 2002 he designed the Northern Plains Transition to Teaching program with a comprehensive strategy for delivery of individual online courses. Colleagues say that his thoughtful approach to online teaching, coupled with his compassionate and rigorous course design, yields a rich student experience and inspiring learning outcomes. He is regarded as an educator who works tirelessly to ensure that all students have the resources and tools they need to be successful.
Charles and Nora L. Wiley Award for Meritorious Research and Creativity - Blake Wiedenheft
Blake Wiedenheft, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, won the Wiley Award for Meritorious Research and Creativity. He will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Wiedenheft’s research focuses on bacterial responses to viral infections and he has become an authority on the CRISPR/Cas adaptive immune system in bacteria, making some of the seminal discoveries in the field. He has published more than 50 papers in scientific journals, with his publications recording nearly 8,000 citations. Since joining the MSU faculty in 2012, Wiedenheft has received and managed more than $5 million in grant funding. His translational research has resulted in seven patents and patent applications.
“He is clearly a major contributor to the interdisciplinary research efforts at MSU,” wrote Mark Quinn, professor of microbiology and immunology. “These contributions will have a long-lasting impact on the biomedical research capacity of the entire campus.”
In 2017, Wiedenheft was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by President Barack Obama, the first faculty member from MSU to receive that honor. He was nominated by members of the department’s faculty as well as colleague Trevor Douglas of Indiana University.
“He represents the newest generation of young scientists,” wrote Douglas in his nomination letter. “He has a positive energy, infectious curiosity and razor-sharp intelligence that has served him well to meet and surpass every research challenge.”
Vice President for Research Meritorious Technology/Science Award - Garrett Moraski
Garrett Moraski, research scientist in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry won the Vice President of Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education’s Award for Meritorious Technology/Science. The award is given to a person whose significant contribution to science and technology has the potential to transfer to the private sector. It comes with a $2,500 honorarium.
Moraski’s focus is on small-molecule chemistry and drug development. He worked as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry for seven years before returning to his alma mater, University of Notre Dame, to work on the design of new antimicrobials and anti-cancer compounds. He was recruited by MSU in 2013 to continue his research and train students in chemical synthesis and drug design.
Moraski’s research has led to a promising advancement in the fight against tuberculosis, one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Two compounds created by Moraski and collaborators have already demonstrated their ability to diminish tuberculosis in animals by inhibiting respiratory systems necessary for the growth of the bacteria that causes the disease. They were patented by the university and licensed to a pharmaceutical company in 2018.
Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creative Mentoring - Paul Gannon
Paul Gannon, associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, won the Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creative Mentoring. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Gannon, whose work centers on energy and sustainability, has mentored more than 100 undergraduate students during the past decade. His High Temperature Materials Lab is known as a model for integrating students into research activities, and two undergraduates who worked in the lab have won the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship in recent years. Gannon helped establish the interdisciplinary Montana Engineering Education Research Center and is now the center's associate director, and he served as adviser to MSU's Network of Environmentally Conscious Organizations and the student chapter of the Electrochemical Society. He is also mentoring a group of students working directly with the statewide Montana Climate Solutions Council. He has been heavily involved in the campus sustainability advisory council, where he worked with undergraduate students from across campus on hands-on service learning projects.
James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence - Christina Anderson
Christina Z. Anderson, professor of photography in the School of Film and Photography, will receive the James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence in recognition of excellence in teaching and scholarship. The award includes a $2,500 honorarium.
Anderson is one of the world’s foremost experts in alternative photographic processes. She is an example of a scholar who has mastered the integration of teaching and scholarship—using her students’ successes and curiosities to inform her research. As the chief author and editor of Routledge Press’s series about photographic media and histories, Anderson routinely collaborates with students, alumni and other professionals in the field to advance contemporary photographic practices. Since 2012, Anderson has authored five books about photographic processes, co-authored an additional two and edited three. In 2020 her list of publications will grow as a co-authored book and two more books that she has edited will be published. She is a frequent exhibitor of her work and travels internationally serving as a competition juror, lecturer and workshop instructor.
President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning - Lucia Ricciardelli
Lucia Ricciardelli, associate professor of film in the School of Film and Photography, has won the President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning. The award comes with a $1,000 honorarium.
Throughout her career, Ricciardelli has demonstrated a commitment to integrating service learning activities and outreach team projects in her courses. She has facilitated community engagement with local groups in the Bozeman area to achieve long-term and sustainable outcomes and relationships through collaborative efforts. In addition, she has incorporated documentary filmmaking workshops with members from the Chippewa Cree, Blackfeet and Crow tribes into her courses design to help promote cross-cultural engagement in the production of short documentary films.
President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award - Alanna Sherstad
Alanna Sherstad, director of the VOICE Center, has been named the recipient of the 2019 President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award, which honors 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 comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
In a pivotal role in the VOICE Center, Sherstad has spent her time advocating for survivors of interpersonal violence and marginalized communities, as well as helping empower and shape future leaders of diversity. In an office of more than 60 student volunteers, Sherstad has proven herself to be a compassionate leader and mentor and, in one volunteer’s words, helped them “grow into responsible, conscientious adults on campus.”
Sherstad goes above and beyond the requirements of her position and has helped the VOICE Center reach new heights of success by re-establishing its 24-hour support and information line, training and managing record numbers of volunteers, and gaining statewide recognition for the creation of the Not In Our House campaign and Not In Our State summit.
President’s Excellence in Teaching Award - Sweeney Windchief
Sweeney Windchief, associate professor in the Department of Education, has won the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. The award comes with a $2,500 honorarium.
Windchief, who is known for teaching challenging courses in critical race theory, indigenous methodologies, and law and policy in higher education, approaches the creation of course content through an in-depth discussion with students known as course consensus and co-construction. Through that process, students work together to develop a semester-long curriculum to meet learning objectives. This student-centered approach creates student ownership in learning and is said to be both highly motivating and effective.
Students say Windchief is also a respected mentor who cares about his students’ well-being and who challenges them to think more deeply and to explore alternative approaches to problems. At the conclusion of his courses, they say, students leave with a sense of pride about what they have learned and accomplished.
Excellence in Innovative Service by Professional Employees Award - Todd Daniels
Todd Daniels, senior team lead in MSU's MilTech, won the Excellence in Innovative Service by Professional Employees Award, given to a professional employee who has demonstrated tangible innovation, positive and broad impact on student experience, and/or leadership through role modeling. The award carries a $1,500 honorarium. Daniels is recognized for creating the concept and leading a team to develop an innovative online platform that connects manufacturers around the country with the Department of Defense to fulfill the technology needs of the U.S military. The platform, called Virtual Industry Day, significantly improves upon the DoD's old system by expanding its reach and making it more efficient. The platform, which was developed with the help of MSU students, receives no money from MSU but rather generates revenue, playing a key role in MSU's strategic goal of increasing research income. Daniels received his bachelor's and master's degrees from MSU's engineering college and has worked at MSU for more than 18 years.
Excellence in Outreach Award (Staff) - Kayte Kaminski
Kayte Kaminski, assistant dean and director of student success in the MSU College of Education, Health and Human Development, won the Excellence in Outreach Staff Award. She will receive a $2,000 honorarium. Kaminski was nominated for the award for her creation, outreach and directorship of The Compassion Project, a community-based project designed to bring MSU and Bozeman together through education, discussion and expressions of compassion. Kaminski conceived the Compassion Project as a way to join diverse constituencies to reflect on the value of compassion as a necessary social construct. Kaminski, alongside MSU faculty and staff, worked to create a K-12 curriculum and teacher-training workshops on how to identify and practice compassion. Students in MSU’s multicultural education classes have completed the curriculum training, in addition to the MSU Leadership Fellows student group, MSU Residence Hall Association leaders and more than 200 K-12 teachers and their students and 50 community partners. The initiative’s final project will be a community art installation consisting of more than 8,000 wooden blocks depicting images and themes of compassion.
Excellence in Outreach Award (Faculty) - Mark Schure
Mark Schure, assistant professor of community health in the Department of Health and Human Development, won the Excellence in Outreach Award for Faculty. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium. Schure was nominated for his outreach and research in depression and for promoting innovative interventions for improving mental health with the MSU Center for Mental Health Research and Recovery. After securing a National Institutes of Health and Montana IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence grant, Schure worked closely with MSU Extension to develop and deliver an online program so rural Montanans can improve their moods through cognitive behavior therapy. The program, Thrive Montana, allows users in the privacy of their own homes to manage feelings of depression and anxiety. The program has proven to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms among adults. A feasibility study has since been published in the Journal of Rural Mental Health and the program is expanding statewide.
Betty Coffey Award - Kelly Knight
Kelly Knight, associate professor of sociology, 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. Knight has made contributions to the progress of women on the MSU campus and has advanced the sociology and criminology curriculum in critical ways that have a real-word impact. A leading scholar in victimology, Knight has published groundbreaking and highly cited research in the subdiscipline. She has brought this expertise into the classroom, developing and implementing courses in victims and society and sociology of law enforcement, while insuring that those courses include feminist, critical race and trauma-informed perspectives. The training and mentorship that MSU graduates received from Knight make them better in their post-graduate careers. In turn, those graduates make Montana a more peaceful and equitable place.
Teaching Innovation Award - Megan Wickstrom
Megan Wickstrom, assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Mathematical Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, has won the Teaching Innovation Award, which honors a faculty member or faculty members who have incorporated outstanding innovative teaching practices into their classes. Wickstrom will receive a $2,000 honorarium. Wickstrom’s creative and effective teaching method integrates students’ lived experiences into their mathematical experience to break down traditional barriers. An education student who conducts research with Wickstrom said she doubted her own ability to teach mathematics, but Wickstrom’s instruction gave her a “mathematical toolbox” she can use to teach her own elementary students. Wickstrom regularly incorporates hands-on tools like Legos, maps and quilt blocks in her geometry course for elementary teachers. Her innovation led her to develop an interactive robotic geometry lesson using funds from a teaching innovation grant. She regularly uses these tools at MSU’s “Expanding Your Horizons” and demonstrated robotic use at the Science Olympiad. Wickstrom’s creation of student-centered learning modules that other instructors can use significantly expands the reach of the program. Wickstrom mentors other instructors and is a generous academic collaborator. She has co-authored several journal articles with faculty colleagues and classroom teachers based on teaching innovations at MSU.
Anna K. Fridley Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Distinguished Teaching Award - Thomas Donovan
Thomas Donovan, Honors, and Catherine Zabinski, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, are the recipients of the Anna K. Fridley Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Distinguished Teaching Award recognizing a faculty member whose accomplishments with students reach beyond the classroom and the library. Each recipient will receive a $1,000 award. Since May 2015, graduating seniors in the MSU Honors College have selected Thomas Donovan as their faculty speaker during Honors College’s twice-yearly celebration. That is a testament both for Donovan’s skill as a teacher as well as his abilities as a mentor. A professor for both Texts and Critics as well as Honors Seminar, Donovan is a master teacher whose dedication to students goes beyond the classroom. Donovan has the ability to draw out of students ideas that need development but does it in a way that gives students confidence in themselves. He is also said to be “an energizing presence among students and colleagues.” Zabinski, plant ecologist and professor in the MSU College of Agriculture, was Catherine Zabinski nominated for her accomplished mentorship of MSU students, innovative curriculum development in land rehabilitation and professional activity in assessing departmental outcomes. With the support from a USDA Higher Education Challenge Award, Zabinski created a departmental senior undergraduate capstone course in environmental sciences. The course has since grown into an annual program where students engage in and conduct research in collaboration with local, state and federal partners on issues related to land management. Zabinski’s instruction, research and mentorship across diverse agro-ecology fields has yielded in-depth peer assessments and strong course and adviser evaluations. Many of Zabinski’s students have received awards and pursued successful careers with government agencies and other universities.
Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award - Beth Burroughs
Elizabeth Burroughs, professor and department head in MSU’s Department of Mathematical Sciences in the College of Letters and Science, has been named the 2019 Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor, 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 $2,000. As a person who creates a supportive environment that fosters the realization of long- and short-term goals, Burroughs exemplifies a mentor. Former graduate students, current faculty members and post-doctoral researchers she has worked alongside say she has played a role in shaping their careers. Burroughs understands that mentoring young female scholars creates a stronger university. She helps create a supportive environment for women that contributes to the overall happiness and success of her department. One graduate student reflected that as she progressed through her doctoral work, Burroughs guided her by gradually increasing her independence and responsibility. Junior colleagues praise Burroughs’ willingness to include them in her research projects and foster the development of their own projects. Known for encouraging research and teaching through collaboration and astute guidance, Burroughs also provides crucial support as department head. Her colleagues note that she supports their mathematical work, provides a steady hand and is a role model of work-life balance.
Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching - Kevin Repasky
Kevin Repasky, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has won the Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium. Repasky is known as an exemplar of the teacher-researcher who invests deeply in student learning, both in the classroom and the lab. No matter the difficulty of the subject matter, his teaching mastery and concern for students shines through. His research has helped build a world-class MSU program in remote sensing, including atmospheric measurements that improve weather prediction and climate modeling. A legacy of successful graduates is a tribute to his mentoring approach, which immerses students in learning and discovery.
Outstanding Academic Advising Award - Melody Anacker
Melody Anacker, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Health and Human Development, and Cyndi Meldahl, director of the Education Advising Center in the Department of Education, have won the Outstanding Academic Advising Award. Each will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Anacker is known as a hard-working and dedicated professional who provides compassion, guidance and warmth to the students she advises. She also goes out of her way to make sure that students have the work and volunteer experience needed to make their resumes stand out. Anacker’s award nominator notes that she encourages students who are excelling to strive for more by defining their strengths and addressing challenges. For students facing dark times, she persists and helps them carve a path to success. “This devotion is why (those students) succeed at MSU and leave our campus with a sense of well-being, confidence and the hope for a better life,” the nominator wrote, adding that Anacker’s legacy is a group of students who attribute their success in the food and nutrition program to her guidance and counsel. - Cyndi Meldahl
Meldahl is known for her commitment to students, one of whom stated: “It isevident to me . . . that Cyndi believes in students and helps them believe in themselves.” Colleagues say she is committed to responsive, informed advising that ensures that the education department’s advising center anticipates, rather than lags behind, needed changes in student programs. As director of the center, she also involves the entire education team in reflecting on how changes can be clarified for students, and she has built a team that maintains a sterling reputation across the college. Meldahl’s nominator writes: “Those of us who work in the Department of Education hear every day student comments that reflect their warm regard for Cyndi and their faith in the quality and care of advising services she offers.”
Fox Faculty Award for Achievement in Teaching, Research, Scholarship, Creativity and Mentoring - Mary Miles
Mary Miles, professor in MSU’s Department of Health and Human Development, has won the Fox Faculty Award for Achievement in Teaching, Research, Scholarship, Creativity and Mentoring. The Martin Fox family and MSU’s Office of Academic Affairs sponsor the award, which includes a $3,325 honorarium. Miles demonstrates a strong commitment to classroom instruction, teaching undergraduate- to graduate-level courses across multiple majors. She pushes her students to think critically and use evidence-based approaches to solve problems. As a researcher, Miles focuses on critical health topics such as metabolism, nutrition and immune function. Her work in inflammation response is particularly significant as inflammation is a common factor in many diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and is recognized for her interdisciplinary scholarship and as a fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine. Miles mentors both undergraduate and graduate students as well as junior faculty at MSU and other universities.
Charles and Nora L. Wiley Award for Meritorious Research and Creativity - Jennifer DuBois
Jennifer DuBois, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has won the Charles and Nora L. Wiley Award for Meritorious Research and Creativity. The award recognizes an MSU faculty member who has made a single, especially significant, research achievement or who has a recent body of research work exhibiting extensive and mature research activity. The MSU Alumni Foundation sponsors the award in honor of the Wileys, eastern Montana pioneer ranchers. DuBois will receive $2,000. DuBois is an internationally recognized scientist whose research group has made major contributions that are providing fundamental new understanding of critical reactions in biology, while making ties to the evolutionary history and the potential health implications of key enzymes and reactions. She has authored or co-authored nearly four dozen papers published in important journals, including Biochemistry and the Journal of the American Chemical Society. A sought-after speaker, DuBois has been invited to numerous prestigious scientific conferences and meetings. She was twice honored with young investigator awards at past Gordon Research Conferences on Enzymes, Coenzymes and Metabolic Pathways and is currently chair-elect of the conference — a prestigious position won by election of her colleagues. Dubois enjoys the mental work of evaluating scientific problems and working toward understanding. She is thoughtful, creative, collaborative, incisive and an outstanding mentor for next-generation scientists.
Vice President for Research Meritorious Technology/Science Award - Rob Maher
Rob Maher, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has won the Vice President for Research Meritorious Technology/Science Award, which recognizes an MSU faculty member who has made significant technological/scientific contributions. He will receive an honorarium of $2,500. Over the course of a decade of research at MSU, Maher has established himself as a nationally sought-after expert in the field of audio forensics. His work includes documenting the unique audio signatures of gun shots as well as assessing the limitations of this kind of forensics analysis. His publications and presentations have provided much-needed objective information in criminal and civil court cases around the country. The recent publication of his book, titled "Principles of Audio Forensics," marks a major contribution to this important field of research.
Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research/Creative Mentoring - Molly Todd
Molly Todd, history, was the recipient of the Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research/Creative Mentoring. The award comes with $2,000. Todd, whose work centers on displacement and migration resulting from civil wars and dictatorships in Central and South America, has spent more than 1,000 hours mentoring more than 65 undergraduate students. She has helped them produce research that matters and that can be consumed by the general public. In the process, she has both created a successful model for applied humanities research and helped undergraduates produce meaningful projects that have had an impact beyond the university. The author of the book “Beyond Displacement: Campesinos, Refugees and Collective Action in the Salvadoran Civil War,” Todd has worked with living history museums, youth theater, “theater of the oppressed” and oral history projects to bring hidden stories to life and bridge divides between people and nations.
Provost's Award for Graduate Research/Creative Mentoring - Joseph Seymour
Joseph Seymour, professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has won the Provost's Award for Graduate Research/Creative Mentoring, which recognizes a faculty member who engages graduate students in this valuable learning process. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium. Seymour is known for an infectious love of research that attracts some of MSU's best graduate students. Since coming to MSU in 2001, he has chaired or co-chaired committees for 10 doctoral graduates — roughly a quarter of the doctorate earners in his department — and served on committees for numerous other graduate students. Nearly 60 of the papers he has published at MSU have been co-authored by students. His mentoring includes pushing his students to embark on international research experiences and present at international conferences and forums such as Three Minute Thesis to share their important findings with the wider community. He is known for staying in touch with his students once they leave Bozeman, finding ways to support their careers and aspirations around the world.
James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence - Christine Stanton
Christine Stanton, associate professor in the Department of Education, will receive the James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence in recognition of excellence in teaching and scholarship. The award includes a $2,500 honorarium. Stanton teaches social studies pedagogy in curriculum and instruction courses in the MSU College of Education, Health and Human Development. Preparing undergraduate students in MSU’s teacher education program, Stanton infuses her own scholarship into the classroom to promote inquiry-based learning through a lens of multiculturalism, equity, justice and representation in education. Providing a range of instructional practices that engage and stimulate both undergraduate and graduate students, Stanton explores culturally affirming classroom instruction and research methods. In diverse projects that integrate place and indigenous knowledge, Stanton has received a National Science Foundation grant and an MSU Outstanding Faculty Researcher Award. Additionally, she has co-directed a project on digital storytelling that integrates film-making and community-based participatory research with language and oral histories of Montana’s Little Shell, Apsaalooke and Piikani tribes.
President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award - Nika Stoop
Chatanika Stoop, Center for Faculty Excellence, has won the President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award, which honors 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 comes with $2,000. As part of MSU’s ADVANCE Project TRACS and then research resources coordinator in the Center for Faculty Excellence, Chatanika “Nika” Stoop has spent her career working to improve gender equity and diversity at MSU. Since she arrived on the MSU campus, Stoop has become known for her ability to organize complex projects with creativity and grace. Her work training faculty on the grant-writing and submission process has enhanced the research capacity among women and other junior faculty in STEM fields. Another example is her work as one of the organizers of the recent 125 Extraordinary Ordinary Women event, which was a part of MSU’s 125th anniversary celebration. Stoop displayed leadership, commitment, dedication, drive and an ability to stay calm under pressure, which made the Extraordinary Ordinary Woman celebration a success. Her work on behalf of women at MSU has been groundbreaking and will be long-lasting as MSU embarks on its next 125 years.
President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning - Wendy Bianchini Morrison
Wendy Bianchini Morrison, instructor in the Department of Health and Human Development, has won the President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning. The award comes with a $1,000 honorarium. Morrison is known for creating exceptional community-based, culturally competent study abroad programs. In service learning courses she created and led in Morocco, Zambia and Ecuador, she partnered with local organizations where MSU students engaged in projects based on the requests of these communities, contributing to larger, sustainable development projects improving the health and well-being of those communities. The students learned about the critical components of what sustainable community development is, and what it is not, along with the ethics of international development. The students experience firsthand the principles in practice, learn the challenges of sustainable development, and increase their competence to work with diverse populations. According to one community partner, Morrison equipped her students well to integrate, learn from and even mentor the field-based staff. She was sensitive to her students, assisted them to process the life-changing, cross-cultural experiences they were having, and operated as much more than just an educator: Morrison was clearly a well-trusted and admired mentor by each of her students.
President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching - Brent Rosso
Brent Rosso, associate professor of management in the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, has won the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award comes with a $2,500 honorarium. Rosso, who is known for helping his students develop as critical thinkers and lifelong learners, has designed innovative new pedagogies and experiential learning opportunities that enliven and deepen student learning. A capstone assignment in one course has students take on the role of consultants to a real organization and provide their clients with recommendations for improvement based on course principles. In “The Entreprentice Challenge,” student teams are given only $25 to launch a real business in the first three weeks of class, with the aim of being as impactful and profitable as possible. All of the profits are then donated to a local nonprofit of the class’ choice. Evaluations from Rosso’s students show his efforts are paying off. One student wrote that Rosso’s class “pushed me to think critically and solve problems in unusual ways. He is available 24/7 to help excel at anything he assigns and is always eager to go beyond his job scope to make sure everyone is getting the most out of their education.”
Rufus T. Firefly Award for Excellence in Innovative Service - Sheila Nielson
Sheila Nielsen, director of the Health Professions Advising office, won the Firefly Award for Excellence in Innovative Service, given to a professional University System employee who has demonstrated tangible innovation, positive and broad impact on student experience, and/or leadership through role modeling. The award carries a $1,500 honorarium.
Nielsen is known as an outstanding adviser and advocate for students interested in pursuing careers in health professions. Among the many innovative practices she employs, Nielsen offers weekly sessions during the spring to help students plan their applications to health professions schools, and she organizes student visits and tours of those schools. She also spends one-on-one time with every student she advises to suggest activities to help them strengthen their applications, and she assembles professionals to conduct mock interviews with students prior to their interviews with health professions schools. Since Nielsen has been actively engaged in the recruitment, development and retention of pre-health professions students, MSU has seen an increase in the number of students applying to health professions schools, and MSU’s acceptance rate to those schools continues to be 20 percent or more above the national average. Numerous advisees of Nielsen’s say that she had a direct, positive impact in their quest to become health professionals and in their lives. Beyond her work in Health Professions Advising, Nielsen is an accomplished scientist who works with NASA to study microbiology in space.
Excellence in Outreach Award - Angela Des Jardins and Aubree Roth
Angela Des Jardins, assistant research professor in the Department of Physics, and Aubree Roth, farm to school coordinator for the Montana Team Nutrition Program, won the Excellence in Outreach Award. Each will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Des Jardins, director of Montana Space Grant Consortium at MSU, is recognized for her leadership role in the nationwide, MSU-led Eclipse Ballooning Project. She initiated the project in 2014 to engage college and high school students from around the country in a meaningful, hands-on project and secured a major NASA grant to carry out her vision. With Des Jardins’ encouragement and guidance, MSU students designed and built a high-altitude ballooning system that included cameras for livestreaming the 2017 total solar eclipse, then trained more than 50 teams across the country to use it. The project became a platform for students to participate in additional science activities, including a NASA-sponsored experiment about the ability of terrestrial bacteria to survive on Mars. During the eclipse, tens of millions of people viewed the balloon livestreams on NASA’s homepage, helping to make NASA’s broadcasts of the celestial event the agency’s most-watched to date. It is widely understood that this one-of-a-kind outreach activity not only provided a unique view of the eclipse to a worldwide audience but also will have a lasting impact on the hundreds of students involved.
Roth, working in partnership with the National Center of Appropriate Technology and other partners, coordinated the development, piloting and launch of the Montana Harvest of the Month program, which showcases Montana-grown foods in school meals and snacks, taste tests and educational activities. Under Roth’s leadership, the program is expanding beyond the K-12 school setting to reach early care and education programs and hospitals throughout Montana. Roth also facilitates the state’s Farm to School Leadership Team, has planned two farm to school summits and coordinates the annual Montana Crunch Time, a celebration encouraging people to eat locally and regionally grown apples. Colleagues say Roth constantly strives to improve her skills and challenge herself to gain new knowledge. They also say she is effective in engaging new partners while maintaining effective collaborations and relationships.
Betty Coffey Outstanding Achievement Award - Tomomi Yamaguchi
Tomomi Yamaguchi, associate professor of anthropology, will receive the Betty Coffey Outstanding Achievement Award in memory of an engineering professor 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.
Yamaguchi is a cultural anthropologist who brings to her classes expertise and insight that reflects her research emphasis on women’s issues and feminist theory. While she teaches general anthropology classes and courses focused on Japan, Yamaguchi also has been effective in incorporating women’s perspectives into the curriculum by creating six new courses and by contributing to the women’s and gender studies minor. The new courses, particularly “Sex, Gender and Sexuality in Japan,” “Anthropology of Gender” and "Social Movements in Japan," give voice to previously invisible women, including the anonymous “comfort women” forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese military during World War II. Yamaguchi also brings a cross-cultural focus to women’s issues, including gender issues in Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East and elsewhere. Yamaguchi’s research interests include the cultural construction of gender and sexuality, feminism and social movements and popular culture in post-war Japan. She is working on a book about a Japanese feminist group and its attempt to represent the history of Japanese feminism from the 1970s to 1990s. She is also working on a more recent project on ultranationalism, xenophobia and backlash against feminism in contemporary Japan.
Teaching Innovation Award - Graham Austin, Meta Newhouse, Mary Stein
Graham Austin, marketing, Meta Newhouse, graphic design, and Mary Stein, sustainable
food and bioenergy systems, have won the Teaching Innovation Award, which honors a
faculty member or faculty members who have incorporated outstanding innovative teaching
practices into their classes. Each will receive a $667 honorarium.
Austin, Newhouse and Stein team teach a popular farm to market class as part of the Design Sandbox for Engaged Learning that aims to apply design thinking to solve human-centered problems related to food systems. In the course, a cross-disciplinary group of faculty and students assist Montana specialty crop farmers in developing value-added products from surplus crops or agricultural products that will otherwise end up as waste. For many students, the course is their first opportunity to work on a team with peers from other MSU colleges, and the cross-disciplinary experience prepares students for the complexity and ambiguity that they will face in their careers. Throughout the course, students also gain firsthand experience about how empathy is essential to solving difficult, human-centered problems. The course’s focus on design thinking encourages students to draw upon human logic, imagination, intuition and reasoning to help Montana farmers be more profitable. It has received a national design education award, Core 77’s Design Education Initiative, which honors educational initiatives that employ the design thinking process to spur innovation. It will also appear as a case study in a book, “Collab + Design Ed,” published by Bloomsbury Academic, which will focus on collaboration in design education.
Anna K. Fridley Award - Cathy Cripps and Gretchen Minton
Cathy Cripps, professor in MSU’s Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, and Gretchen Minton, professor in MSU’s Department of English, have won the Phi Kappa Phi Anna K. Fridley Award, MSU’s oldest award for distinguished teaching. Each will receive a $1,000 honorarium.
For the past 22 years, Cripps has been an integral part of the Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology department. Her colleagues consider her a well-regarded, caring and knowledgeable researcher and a dedicated instructor whose engaging personality, enthusiasm, endless energy and experience produce impressive academic gains for students studying mycology. As an educator, Cripps is known for her hands-on teaching method that helps students understand complicated and diverse sets of organisms. In the lab, she shares her research techniques with her students and helps them hone their scientific writing skills. Because of her influence, support and oversight, Cripps’ students have obtained competitive grants and scholarships. Colleagues say her influence endures long after students leave her classroom.
Minton, a member of the English faculty since 2006, is a worldwide authority on Shakespeare and the Early Modern Period. Motivated by Minton’s energy, intelligence and love for literature, students accept the challenge to think more deeply and accomplish more as writers. She has been involved for many years as a teacher in MSU’s Middle East Partnership Initiative summer leadership program. In addition to her work in the classroom, Minton is active in community outreach, serving as a research resource for Montana Shakespeare in the Schools and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. She also works with actors, directors and audience members at other Shakespearean companies, such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the American Players Theatre and the Globe Theatre in London.
Minton’s scholarship includes early modern drama, the English Reformation, Christian late antiquity and modern drama. She has edited texts on “Timon of Athens” and “Troilus and Cressida” as well as the first commentary on the book of Revelation written in English, John Bale’s “The Image of Both Churches.” She is working on editions of “Much Ado About Nothing” and Thomas Middleton’s “The Revenger’s Tragedy.” Minton is also working on a book about Shakespeare in Montana, from the time of Jim Bridger up through Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.
Spirit of Discovery Award - Douglas Fischer, Tony Hartshorn, Scott Powell
Douglas Fischer, Tony Hartshorn and Scott Powell have won the Spirit of Discovery Award, recognizing faculty who have excelled in teaching and mentoring students in MSU’s Honors College. The award is supported by Dr. Lew and Liane Vadheim of Miles City, whose son, Bryan, was MSU’s first Marshall Scholar. Each will receive a $500.00 honorarium.
In their nomination forms, colleagues lauded the instructors’ passion for “creating experiences for students that stimulate curiosity and engagement, blazing a path for learners to become leaders and guiding students as they chase their ideas, find sources and morph into strong writers and confident thinkers.”
Hartshorn and Powell are assistant professors in MSU’s Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, and Fischer, an MSU adjunct professor, directs an independent nonprofit news outlet focused on climate change, energy policy and environmental health.
In 2012, Fischer, Hartshorn and Powell created an upper-division Honors College seminar focusing on the widening chasm between climate science and climate change policy that challenged their students’ thinking, as well as their own. In 2015, the trio, along with Honors College Dean Ilse-Mari Lee, were so inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, they held a community discussion that explored the intersection of religion, inequality and climate change. In May 2017, their “Great Expedition” explored the intersection of international climate policy and real-time climate impacts, spending a week at the annual United Nations climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, followed by a week charting glacial and cultural change in Iceland.
A high-achieving former student who wrote in support of their nomination said Fischer, Hartshorn and Powell teach their students how to be quick learners in an interdisciplinary environment and “how to learn about and begin to solve complex global challenges,” adding that these steps help students avoid “being overwhelmed by the challenge and the things we do not understand.”
“They work incredibly hard to prepare their students to step out of the classroom with the confidence and skills needed to be leaders in their communities,” the student said.
Excellence in Online Teaching Award - Ann Ellsworth
Ann Ellsworth, professor in the Department of Education, has won the Excellence in Online Teaching Award, honoring faculty who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students and service to online education. The prize comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
A professor of reading and language arts education in the College of Education, Health and Human Development, Ellsworth is known for possessing and defining an outstanding vision of online instruction. Colleagues note she has intentionally designed her virtual classroom to be a safe space for learning, discovery and engagement, as well as a space where academic risk-taking and exploration is celebrated. Students say that Ellsworth is an exceptional educator who recognizes their value and provides them with learning opportunities that allow them to experience success. Ellsworth’s students have previously recognized her with numerous excellence awards, and she was previously named the recipient of the university’s prestigious President's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award - Elizabeth Bird
Elizabeth Ann R. Bird, project development and grants specialist for the College of Education, Health and Human Development, has been named the Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor for 2018, 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.
Bird received the award “for her breadth of influence, depth of mentoring activities, the above-and-beyond creativity and insight demonstrated and the effectiveness of efforts in outcomes.” Multiple women faculty members say that Bird supports their success, often providing support outside of her contracted duties. She has been praised for helping women faculty members to see their emerging research paths clearly, linking faculty members together to work on new projects and strengthening women faculty members’ research agendas. Other nominators said that Bird’s care for both their professional and personal lives is inspiring and encouraging and that she has helped boost productivity and confidence. One nominator wrote: “As a young, new and female tenure track faculty member, Elizabeth’s guidance has been crucial to my success in my first few years. Elizabeth serves as mentor by keeping in touch with me about my progress and wellbeing, and by thoughtfully reaching out to me in ways that can support my tenure process.”
Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching - Catherine Dunlop
Catherine Dunlop, associate professor of history, will receive a Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Dunlop is a historian of modern Europe who has distinguished herself as a top scholar the environmental and cultural history of France. Her book, “Cartophilia: Maps and the Search for Identity in the French-German Borderland” provided new perspective on the cultural and political identity in the Alsace-Lorraine region through the use of changing historic maps. Her current research is on the area of Provence and the role played by the Mistrals, the famous Provencal winds. Her work has been recognized in several international journals, including Environmental History. Dunlop’s work has also been recognized with a writing fellowship to the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich and a residential fellowship at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France. Dunlop skillfully incorporates her cutting-edge work into both undergraduate and graduate courses at MSU, encouraging her students to recognize the vital role of map-making in global history. Dunlop is on sabbatical this academic year to complete her book “Mistral: Environment and Society in Modern France.” A graduate of Stanford University with a doctorate from Yale, where she received the Hans Gatzke Prize, Dunlop joined the MSU faculty in 2010.
Outstanding Academic Advising Award - Lisa Musgrave and Ross Snider
Lisa Musgrave, undergraduate advising coordinator in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, and Ross Snider, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have won the 2017 Academic Advising Award. Each will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Since 2004, Musgrave has served as academic adviser to more than 300 undergraduate students each semester in cell biology and neuroscience. Musgrave’s colleagues say her knowledge of the departmental curriculum and university requirements combined with a genuine concern for student welfare makes her an integral part of the department and key to its success. An administrator who has worked with Musgrave for more than 15 years remarked on her passion for helping students navigate their way through MSU. She is also known for her calm demeanor, flexibility, excellent listening skills and willingness to go the extra mile to put students first. Some examples of this include setting up class equivalencies with international schools to provide student exchange opportunities, encouraging students to think critically and independently, and offering daily drop-in office hours. Musgrave, who uses her strengths of building relationships and positive motivation, has seen many students she advised and advocated for succeed in their academic and professional careers. A student-veteran who will graduate in 2018 wrote in support of Musgrave’s nomination, saying her helpfulness, compassion and optimism during orientation calmed his nerves about returning to college after nearly 10 years and set a good first impression of MSU that he carries with him to this day.
Snider is recognized for consistently exceeding his department’s expectations for one-on-one advising with undergraduate and graduate students. Shortly after joining the MSU faculty in 1999, he developed curricular “flow sheets” and degree checklists that have become a significant aid for both students and faculty in the advising process. He is also known for taking genuine interest in students’ interests and goals and for guiding them toward success in the workplace or in graduate school by providing advice about extra-curricular activities, summer internships and part-time laboratory research experiences. Students appreciate his respectful demeanor and availability, while his colleagues hold him in esteem as someone who innately recognizes that academic advising is inextricably connected to all that MSU does to ensure student learning and success. Snider’s colleagues say his outstanding advising blends encouragement and compassion while setting clear expectations for personal integrity and hard work.
Women in Science Distinguished Professorship - Suzanne Held
Suzanne Held, professor of community health in the Department of Health and Human Development, received the Women in Science Distinguished Professor Award to support and recognize outstanding women faculty in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and the social and behavioral sciences. The award comes with a $4,000 honorarium.
Held has achieved national and international recognition as a scholar for community-based participatory research and community service. She was instrumental in receiving funding from the National Institutes of Health to establish the Center for Native Health Partnerships as a means to address health disparities in Native American communities. In addition, for more than 20 years, she has partnered with the Crow Nation on Messengers for Health, a nonprofit organization aimed at improving the health of its tribal members. As principal investigator, Held has received grants totaling nearly $13 million, and she has participated in other projects that have received nearly $22 million in funding. As a co-principal investigator, Held successfully secured more than $1 million to address the under-representation of American Indians in health sciences and biomedical research careers. She has also successfully funded and mentored American Indian and non-Native women scholars to participate in many of her research projects. As her college’s associate dean for research development, she was also responsible for establishing a grant writing boot camp and mentoring programs for new faculty. Held has co-authored more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, the vast majority with students and Crow community members.
Fox Faculty Award for Achievement in Teaching, Research, Scholarship, Creativity and Mentoring - Eric Boyd
Eric Boyd, assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, has won the Fox Faculty Award, honoring excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, creativity and mentoring. The Martin Fox family and MSU’s Office of Academic Affairs sponsor the award, which includes a $3,325 honorarium.
After joining the MSU faculty in 2011, Boyd quickly established a robust research program and built one of the largest training programs for undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate scholars in his department. He has supported nearly 30 undergraduate and Native American high school students and currently supports or mentors six graduate students, along with multiple postdoctoral scholars. Six of Boyd’s undergraduate students have received Undergraduate Scholars Program awards. Additionally, Boyd has mentored three graduate students through completing two doctorates and one master’s degree.
Boyd’s research focuses on the ecology of microorganisms in extreme environments, such as the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park. His published contributions from students, postdocs and collaborators have appeared in top journals of his field, including Nature Geoscience, ISME Journal and PNAS. One recent publication resulted from a new graduate-level class Boyd taught in conjunction with earth sciences professor David Lageson in which students studied microbial descendants of lifeforms as much as 3.5 billion years old. Boyd, Lageson and 10 graduate students published their findings in the international science journal Geobiology. To provide research opportunities for students, Boyd mentors high school and junior college students from MSU’s MAP and BRIDGES programs as well as from Salish Kootenai College. Boyd’s other outreach activities include teaching courses for Xanterra snow coach drivers and the Montana Science Teachers Association.
Charles and Nora Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research - Ed Schmidt
Edward Schmidt, professor in MSU’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology, has won the Charles and Nora Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research. The award recognizes an MSU faculty member who has made a single, especially significant research achievement or who has a recent body of research work exhibiting extensive and mature research activity. The MSU Alumni Foundation sponsors the award in honor of the Wileys, who were pioneer ranchers in eastern Montana. Schmidt will receive $2,000.
An internationally renowned scientist, Schmidt works to understand the intricate gene regulatory mechanisms that function in development and maintenance of complex organisms. His research has provided key, fundamental insights into mechanisms that cause liver cancer. Colleagues and collaborators say Schmidt’s findings have spurred other collaborations related to mechanisms of cancer in various tissues, including breast, pancreas and lung, that involve top national and international researchers.
Since arriving at MSU in 1999, Schmidt has secured more than $6 million for his research from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and March of Dimes and more in equipment and NIH COBRE grants. He has published 56 papers and served as reviewer for most of the top journals in biology, including serving as academic editor of PLoS ONE and on the editorial board of American Journal of Reproductive Immunology. In the past three years, he has published 12 papers in leading journals, including the Journal of Immunology, Cell Reports and Nature Medicine, spent a year on sabbatical in Stockholm funded by a Swedish Wenner-Gren Foundation grant, was appointed to the Fulbright Specialists Roster and has been an invited speaker at prestigious conferences.
Vice President for Research Meritorious Technology/Science Award - Ron June
Ron June, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, will receive the Vice President for Research Meritorious Technology/Science Award, which recognizes an MSU faculty member who has made significant technological/scientific contributions. He will receive an honorarium of $2,500.
June, who joined the MSU faculty in 2011, is recognized as an accomplished scientist whose talents and interests span an uncommon range of disciplines, including mechanical engineering, biomechanics and molecular cell biology. His multidisciplinary approach has been exceptionally productive in terms of academic research as well as technological innovation. He has collaborated with researchers across campus to apply engineering approaches to biomedical science. He has secured more than $1.1 million in grant funding, published 13 papers and invented four biomedical technologies. One of those technologies, which involves an improved technique for studying metabolic pathways in the body and identifying potential biochemical targets for new medicines, has been licensed by June to a local business that he has created. By applying his talents and interests across the continuum of scientific and technological development, from discovery to product development, June’s research has the potential to improve many lives.
Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring - Greg Young
Gregory Young, professor of music, has won the Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring, recognizing a faculty member who engages undergraduates in this valuable learning process. He will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Young, a clarinetist, has mentored more than 80 undergraduate researchers since 1991, leading the way to make undergraduate research part of MSU’s institutional culture. In 1994, he was the founding director of MSU’s Undergraduate Scholars Program, the first program in the country that supported undergraduate research in all disciplines at a public university. In 2004, as MSU’s Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Young oversaw the implementation of Core 2.0, making MSU the first public university to require undergraduate research/creativity course for all students.
Young has published two books on the importance of undergraduate research, including 2011’s “Creative Inquiry in the Arts and Humanities: Models of Undergraduate Research,” for which he was a co-editor with Jenny Shanahan and Naomi Yavneh Klos, and this year’s “Undergraduate Research in Music,” which he co-authored with Shanahan. He has also written articles and book chapters about the topic, presented at conferences and performed and lectured globally. One of his students presented research findings at the World Congress on Undergraduate Research in Qatar in 2016. His book “Undergraduate Research in Dance,” co-written with Lynnette Overby, will be released in 2018 by Routledge Press.
Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creativity Mentoring - Matthew Fields
Matthew Fields, professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and director of the Center for Biofilm Engineering, has won the Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creativity Mentoring, which recognizes a faculty member who engages graduate students in this valuable learning process. The award comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Since joining the MSU faculty in 2007, Fields has served as adviser to 15 graduate students, eight of whom have earned a doctorate from MSU. He is currently advising six doctoral students. Fields has additionally served on the thesis and dissertation committees of 30 graduate students from multiple departments. The students under his tutelage have gone on to competitive post-doctoral positions and professional accomplishments in the workplace. He has co-authored 35 papers with MSU graduate students, many of which were in the top journals in the field. He has also shared in more than 50 presentations or awards with MSU graduate students. He supports a large number of students at any given time in his lab and has also contributed to MSU graduate education by serving as director of the campus wide Molecular Bioscience graduate program, as a member of the Microbiology and Immunology Graduate Core Committee and in other positions. The Center for Biofilm Engineering currently has more than 50 graduate students from eight academic departments pursuing advanced degrees.
James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence - Stephen Sofie
Stephen Sofie, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, will receive the James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence in recognition of excellence in teaching and scholarship. The award carries a $2,500 honorarium.
Sofie, who joined the MSU faculty in 2005, is known as a beloved instructor and accomplished researcher. Students are familiar with his contagious enthusiasm in classes that have a reputation for connecting course material and the wider engineering curriculum with the engineering profession’s engagement with contemporary challenges. Sofie has played a lead role in developing an engineering doctorate program in materials science and for mentoring dozens of graduate students. Many of those students gain valuable experience in his lab, which has secured nearly $5 million in funding for research related to important materials science applications. Sofie has authored many significant publications, most notably about fuel cells, and has presented at internationally recognized symposia. Sofie has received numerous departmental, college and university awards, including one of the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering’s most prestigious, the Lloyd Berg Faculty Mentorship Award.
President’s Commission on Status of University Women Award - Sara Rushing
Sara Rushing, associate professor in political science, has won the President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award, which honors 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 carries an honorarium of $2,000.
Rushing is a political theorist whose work focuses on the intersection of ethics and politics. At MSU, she has worked in a number of formal and informal ways to improve conditions for women at MSU and ensure gender diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. As a professor, her coursework weaves in both feminism and inclusivity. As a researcher, she employs feminist, queer and democratic theory to analyze questions of power, participation and identity. Her service work has included serving as co-director of the ADVANCE Project TRACS Institutional Transformation grant, serving as a past chair of the Women’s Faculty Caucus and serving on the women’s, gender and sexuality studies minor committee. As one of MSU’s family advocates, she has put in countless hours to help promote a more work-life friendly campus environment and support students, faculty and staff through family-related life transitions. She has served as the faculty adviser for the Queer Straight Alliance student organization. Rushing is currently at work on a book, “Sites of Political Awakening: Embodiment, Vulnerability and Citizen-Subjectivity.”
President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning - Tom McNab
Thomas McNab, a member of the faculty in the School of Architecture, has won the President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning. The award comes with a $1,000 honorarium.
McNab has been director of MSU’s Community Design Center since 2005, guiding the CDC in its mission to help nonprofit organizations representing underserved areas or under-funded projects to improve life in Montana communities. In his 12 years as director of the CDC, McNab has helped architecture students complete more than 45 Montana communities’ visioning and planning projects. One of the most recent and notable CDC projects was a year of visioning and planning for the Belgrade Library, which helped the library receive a $400,000 grant to kick off a capital campaign and also helped the library win the distinction as the best small library in the United States by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Library Journal.
Architecture students participating in the Community Design Center have also worked with the communities of Glendive, Three Forks, Paradise and Bozeman, traveling almost 5,500 miles in one academic year to complete projects. An architect with extensive professional experience, McNab has also taught courses in building construction, professional practice, advanced building systems integration and Second Year Design Studio, as well as seminars relating to environmental design and stewardship. In all of his classes, McNab emphasizes the importance of social outreach to architects beginning their careers.
President's Award for Excellence in Teaching - James Becker
Jim Becker, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has won the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award comes with a $2,500 honorarium.
Becker is recognized by his peers and students as an excellent instructor as well as an innovator in engineering education. Recently, he initiated an effort to help electrical engineering students complete a difficult sequence of circuits courses that constitute the core of the electrical engineering curriculum. With grants from the National Science Foundation, he developed web-based tools and project-based learning activities to promote student success within these courses. By offering a summer version of one of the circuits courses and emphasizing student-centered learning techniques, there have been significant improvements in student retention within this challenging major. Additionally, Becker has published several papers about innovative practices in engineering education in the journals of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Society for Engineering Education. He has won teaching awards at the departmental, college and university levels.
Rufus T. Firefly Award for Excellence in Innovative Service - Kristin Blackler
Kristin Blackler, director of the Office of Sustainability, won the Firefly Award for Excellence in 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.
As the inaugural director of the Office of Sustainability, Blackler has been a progressive force for sustainability since joining the university in 2013. Blackler helps students and other staff to understand land-scale concepts such as sustainability in small, easily digestible pieces, and then also understand how those pieces fit into the larger picture of sustainability at Montana State.
Her supervisor and colleagues say she has improved Montana State through her passion for sustainability, as well as for her passion for the success of MSU’s students. Specifically, Blackler has worked to improve MSU’s recycling efforts, not only in the daily operations of the university, but also at athletic and other events. In partnership with MSU Facilities Services, Blackler has also worked to improve waste diversion rates at MSU. Those rates are up from 11 percent in fiscal year 2013 to more than 19 percent in fiscal year 2016 (an amount that equals more than 430 tons of waste being diverted from the landfill). New and creative recycling receptacles and signs, along with strategic placement, have contributed to the success of this program. Blackler has also helped with efforts to improve MSU’s bike-ability.
Blackler’s colleagues say her friendly, positive and collaborative leadership style, combined with her strong work ethic, make her a respected member of the MSU community. She also serves on a variety of committees, including the Campus Sustainability Advisory Council, and is active in professional organizations and local community service activities.
Excellence in Outreach Award - Monica Skewes and Jeffrey Littlefield
Monica Skewes, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, and Jeffrey Littlefield in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences won the Excellence in Outreach Award. Each will receive a $2,000 honorarium.
Skewes is recognized for her research and community engagement, as well as for her work as a frequent speaker and trainer at MSU and across the state, particularly in the areas of diversity and inclusion. As an investigator for MSU's Center for American Indian and Rural Health Equity (CAIRHE), Skewes has established close collaboration with community partners from the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana, establishing, among things, the Fort Peck Substance Abuse and Resilience Project. She is known for integrating themes of cultural humility and inclusion into her research, for presenting her findings in an accessible way, and for striving for equitable, trusting relationships with Montana's Native communities. In addition to regularly sharing her research with communities on the Fort Peck Reservation, she speaks frequently on issues of alcohol and drug addiction and offers cultural awareness and training workshops to MSU clubs and organizations.
Littlefield is recognized for his tireless service in managing noxious weeds around the state. As quarantine officer of the biocontrol facility at MSU's Plant Growth Center, Littlefield works widely with public lands agencies, private landowners, federal regulators and MSU researchers to find effective ways of using insects and other biological agents to contain noxious weeds. In addition to maintaining the MSU biocontrol facility and conducting field work, Littlefield regularly works with labs around the world to identify new and effective agents. Those familiar with his work at MSU since the late 1980s say that his outreach has had an extraordinary, long-term impact on thousands of acres of Montana's wild and agricultural lands.
Betty Coffey Outstanding Achievement Award - Karen deVries
Karen deVries, an interdisciplinary instructor in women’s, gender and sexuality studies, 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.
deVries has made significant accomplishments in incorporating women’s and sexuality studies perspectives into both existing and new courses, advising, mentoring, and programing at MSU. In the last three years, she has taught the majority of the foundational courses for the women’s, gender and sexuality studies minor. She has worked tirelessly to eliminate persistent barriers to female and LGBTQ faculty and students at MSU and within academia more generally and has worked hard to bring diverse speakers, including Angela Davis, to the MSU campus. Additionally, she has made important contributions to University Studies, the Department of Political Science, and the MSU Honors College.
Teaching Innovation Award - Michael Babcock
Michael Babcock, psychology, has won the Teaching Innovation Award, which honors a faculty member who has incorporated outstanding innovative teaching practices into his or her classes. Babcock will receive $2,000.
Babcock displays innovation by integrating multiple ways of presenting information to his students, capturing the minds of the students and motivating them to want to learn more. Because of his teaching methods, his students feel they better retain information. They say that his passion for his students is displayed by his adjusting to individual learning styles both in the laboratory and in the classroom and allowing students to come to the table with their own ideas and interests, promoting critical thinking. As one student said, “Mike is an amazing professor, adviser and mentor who celebrates and takes pride in all of the successes of his students.”
Anna K. Fridley Award - Todd Kaiser
Todd Kaiser, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has won the Phi Kappa Phi honorary's Anna K. Fridley Award, MSU’s oldest award for distinguished teaching. The award carries a $1,000 honorarium.
Kaiser is recognized for teaching a "popular and impactful" elective course on microfabrication, a process underlying the production of nearly all electronics and digital devices. By introducing students to a real-world cleanroom laboratory setting and teaching practical, hand-on skills, Kaiser has opened doors for numerous students who have graduated into jobs with Micron and other major electronics manufacturers. To develop the series of courses, Kaiser initially secured a prestigious, $160,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, which ultimately led to a unique summer course about solar cells created specifically for science teachers. Since joining the MSU faculty in 2000, Kaiser has developed a reputation for teaching at all levels with excellence, and he is noted for his accessibility to students. He has won six prior MSU teaching awards and has received more than $12 million for cleanroom facility development and research, which includes a recent project to test a radiation-resistant computing system on the International Space Station.
Spirit of Discovery Award - Blake Wiedenheft
Blake Wiedenheft, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Agriculture and College of Letters and Sciences, has won the Spirit of Discovery Award, which recognizes faculty 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.
Wiedenheft, who serves on the Presidential Scholarship Committee, is known for being a dedicated and caring mentor able to recognize potential early on and as an advocate for the “diamonds-in-the-rough.” One of these students, Joshua Carter, said he was “blown away by how interested (Wiedenheft) was in involving a freshman, who had barely learned where his classes were, in his lab.” Carter, who would go on to win Goldwater and Rhodes scholarships, credits Wiedenheft’s willingness in allowing him to participate in research projects as an undergraduate as a large part of his success. In Wiedenheft’s lab, Carter contributed to research in the study of the molecular host defense mechanisms, called CRISPRs, used by microbes in their defense against viruses. This led the research team to the determination of the first crystal structure of the CRISPR associated complex for antiviral defense (Cascade). The discovery was published in the journal Science and highlighted on its cover. Carter also authored four publications, with two as first author, including a snapshot in Cell.
As a mentor, Wiedenheft’s students say he is committed to helping them discover their passions and interests while challenging them to stretch their limits, defy expectations and reap the fruits of their labor. Undergraduates in Wiedenheft’s lab have led their own research projects, presented their work at international conferences and are challenged to publish their research in scientific journals.
His mentorship continues post-graduation. Ryan Jackson, who was a postdoctoral student in Wiedenheft’s lab, credits Wiedenheft with teaching him how to succeed in scientific writing and providing him the financial means to attend professional workshops that honed his structural biology skills and allowed him to meet leaders in the field. He added that Wiedenheft helped him learn the art of grant-writing, leading him to win an award that funded his postdoctoral fellowship.
Wiedenheft also brings the spirit of discovery to the community through his outreach projects. He hosts a free summer program at MSU called the Montana Wild Virus Hunt that pairs high school students and science teachers in a team competition to isolate viruses.
Excellence in Online Teaching Award - Marvin Lansverk
Marvin Lansverk, English, has won the Excellence in Online Teaching Award, honoring faculty who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students and service to online education. The prize comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Lansverk has a gift of mentoring students from afar. An early adopter of online teaching who started his first online course in 1995, Lansverk has built critical thinking into his online courses. He "break(s) through the digital wall" with various creative approaches, including incorporating a service-learning public storytelling element into his online courses. His design for his world mythology class, which is a diversity core course, is equally applicable to majors and non-majors, inviting them to approach the subject from a variety of academic disciplines as he shares with them some of the “best stories of the world.” Students learn the value of the humanities as they think and write in elevated and sophisticated ways--and to see how global stories from Gilgamesh to Star Wars are much more than simple entertainment. One of his online students wrote that Lansverk has a great gift: “His lifelong dedication to our success … makes him a cut about the rest. He truly cares for his students as people, and it shows in his teaching style.”
Women’s Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award - Mary Murphy
Mary Murphy, professor of history, 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.
Murphy is known as a conscientious mentor who is dedicated to improving the quality of the work lives of all women faculty in her department. Colleagues say they can go to Murphy for virtually any type of question or concern. They also say Murphy encourages them to speak up, to seek promotions and awards, to believe in their own potential, and to identify a set of tools and a roadmap for pursuing that potential.
Among other things, Murphy has advocated for and supported her female colleagues’ nominations for teaching and research awards; provided feedback on grant applications; and intentionally provided leadership opportunities for junior women faculty. In addition, colleagues say Murphy has gone out of her way in her position as chair of the promotion and tenure committee in her department to make junior faculty feel well-equipped for the tenure process.
In short, Murphy’s colleagues conclude, Murphy demonstrates great depth and breadth as a mentor, and she has had a “transformative” impact on the wellbeing of women faculty.
Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching - Jovanka Voyich-Kane
Jovanka Voyich-Kane, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Agriculture and the College of Letters and Science, is the recipient of the 2017 Cox Faculty Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching. She will receive a $2,000 honorarium from the Winston and Helen Cox Family Endowment.
Voyich is recognized for her record of scholarship, teaching and research. A highly funded leading researcher in the field of bacterial pathogenesis, her work has furthered the knowledge of Staphylococcus aureus, a pathogen that causes a range of illnesses from minor to life-threatening. She has been published in some of the most prestigious scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Microbes and Infection, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the Journal of Infectious Diseases. To date, her work has been cited nearly 5,800 times in other publications. She has also received a number of national and regional awards over the past 15 years for her excellence in research, instruction and service. An internationally respected scientist, Voyich has been invited to present her research at conferences around the world.
During her 11 years at MSU, Voyich has also made significant contributions in teaching and mentoring with nearly 70 upper-division undergraduates, graduate students and WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) medical students under her mentorship. The undergraduate and graduate students she instructs benefit from her ability to merge research with teaching, giving them hands-on experience in modern scientific research so they will be more competitive in the job market.
Students in Voyich’s WWAMI infectious disease course consistently give her excellent evaluations, often commenting that she makes a difficult subject interesting and easier to understand. In the past 10 years that Voyich has instructed the course, Montana WWAMI students have outscored their peers at other sites on the common final.
Along with her research and instructional efforts, Voyich serves on a number of MSU committees and as a reviewer or member on more than a dozen peer-reviewed journals.
Outstanding Academic Advising Award - Rebecca Mattix
Rebecca Mattix, teaching professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Renee Hecox, academic adviser in the Department of Civil Engineering, have won the 2017 Academic Advising Award. Each will receive $2,000.
Mattix is known for helping hundreds of MSU students chart successful paths into professional veterinary careers. Having graduated from MSU in 1981 with a degree in animal science before going on to become a professional veterinarian, she brings first-hand experience of veterinary education and practice to her advising role. Since joining the MSU faculty in 1994, MSU's preveterinary program has grown from fewer than 70 students to more than 200. During that time, Mattix has developed a reputation for connecting with students individually, helping them through academic as well as personal challenges. As adviser to MSU's Preveterinary Club for 21 years, she has organized guest speakers, field trips and mock interviews to give students an edge in applying to professional veterinary programs and preparing for professional practice. She has also played an essential role in integrating MSU with the WIMU Regional Veterinary Program, which allows MSU students to complete their first year of veterinary school at MSU and their final three years at Washington State University. She has received the MSU Alumni and Bozeman City Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence 11 times, has served as an elected member of the executive board to Montana Veterinary Medicine Association since 2009, including as president in 2015, and was recently appointed by Gov. Bullock to a second term on the Montana Veterinary Licensing Board.
Hecox is recognized for helping MSU students navigate the rigorous curriculums of the Civil Engineering Department, with a personal touch. For over three decades she has helped hundreds if not thousands of students, whether struggling freshmen, apprehensive transfer students or concerned seniors, achieve their ultimate goal of completing a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or construction engineering technology. She has played a key role in establishing the Civil Engineering Department's peer advising program, which connects freshmen and sophomores with juniors and seniors who share lessons from their academic experience. She also plays a leading role in helping students from Great Falls College MSU and MSU Billings transition to MSU's main campus to complete their degree in civil engineering or construction engineering technology. MSU's Civil Engineering Department has roughly 700 students, but Hecox has a reputation for taking time to listen to each.
Charles and Nora Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research - Regina Gee
Regina Gee, art history, has won this year's Charles and Nora L. Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research. She 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, in recognition of an MSU faculty member who has made a single, especially significant research achievement or who has a recent body of research work exhibiting extensive and mature research activity.
Gee is a substantial and significant researcher of international influence in her field of the history of art of ancient Rome, yet she also involves herself in the life of MSU at all levels, working with colleagues on interdisciplinary possibilities and making innovations to MSU’s curriculum. One of the world’s experts of the frescoes of ancient Rome, incorporating disciplines as diverse as archaeology, chemistry and botany into her work, Gee worked tirelessly to bring to MSU an exhibit of 150 artifacts excavated from a site on the Bay of Naples where she conducts research. Through her efforts to encourage collaboration, that world-class exhibition, “Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis Near Pompeii” fostered the integration of learning and discovery across a range of colleges and disciplines. The exhibit not only enriched the lives of the MSU community, but also the lives of thousands of visitors who came to MSU’s Museum of the Rockies to experience it – some from remote locations throughout the state and the world.
Vice President for Research Meritorious Technology and Science Award - Blake Wiedenheft
Blake Wiedenheft, assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Agriculture and College of Letters and Science, has received the Vice President for Research Meritorious Technology and Science Award. The award recognizes an MSU faculty member who has made significant technological/scientific contributions and comes with a $2,500 honorarium.
An early-career scientist who received his Ph.D. from MSU in 2006, Wiedenheft has already established himself internationally as a leading researcher in microbial science, which is the study of the molecular host defense mechanisms, called CRISPRs, used by microbes in their defense against viruses. His pioneering work in CRISPRs, an acronym for “clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats,” has impacted biomedical and environmental microbiology, as well as biotechnology, since the CRISPR system has provided insights into new approaches for gene editing.
Wiedenheft has been published extensively in nearly 50 leading scientific journals, including Science, Nature and PNAS, and his high-impact work has been cited more than 3,700 times. He has also been successful at winning grants, including two non-overlapping, concurrent grants from the National Institutes of Health, and has served as co-principal investigator on a Gates Foundation grant.
Wiendenheft has been an invited lecturer at conferences around the world. In 2016, the director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences invited him to deliver the inaugural lecture for its new Director’s Early Career Scientist Lecture series, citing Wiedenheft’s cutting-edge CRISPR gene-editing system and his dedication to mentoring, education and outreach. He has garnered a number of prestigious awards, including the NIH Director’s Early Career Scientist Award in 2016, the Amgen Young Investigator Award and the MSU Alumni Foundation/Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in 2015, and the Biophysical Society’s New and Notable Lecturer award in 2014.
Since joining MSU in 2012, Wiedenheft has put forth considerable efforts in technology transfer, including three CRISPR-related patent applications and funding through a private-industry research contract that is tied to these technologies, which can potentially eliminate genetic diseases, such as muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis.
Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creativity Mentoring - Neil Cornish
Neil Cornish, professor in MSU’s Department of Physics in the College of Letters and Science, has won the Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creativity Mentoring, which recognizes a faculty member who engages graduate students in this valuable learning process. The award comes with $2,000.
Since joining the MSU faculty in 1999, Cornish has served as adviser to 19 graduate students, eight of whom have earned their Ph.D., and has continuously maintained an active research group of three to five Ph.D. students. He is currently advising nine graduate students.
Cornish, who is also director of MSU’s eXtreme Gravity Institute, works to include his students as members of the world’s foremost international scientific collaborations, including the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) group. As members of LIGO, Cornish and five of his students played a part in what scientists worldwide called the “scientific discovery of the century,” when their research contributed to the first detection of gravitational waves. The discovery paper was published in the journal Physical Review Letters in 2016, confirming Albert Einstein’s relative theory of gravity. For their work, the LIGO collaboration won a Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and the worldwide recognition launched Cornish’s students into highly regarded scientific careers.
Cornish well prepares his advisees by requiring them to present ongoing research at departmental seminars, as well as attend and give contributed research talks at national and/or international meetings before they graduate. They routinely present at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society and often at more specialized gravity meetings. Each year, a number of his students win competitive travel grants from the American Physical Society, MSU or NASA. Two of his students have won the prestigious Jocelyn Bell Award for best student talk at the Pacific Coast Gravity Meeting. His most recent Ph.D. graduate was named as one of five winners of the 2016 L’Oreal Fellowship for Women in Science.
Cornish has published 94 distinct peer-reviewed papers with graduate students reporting their work at MSU, all in well-respected journals such as Physical Review, Astrophysical Journal and Classical and Quantum Gravity. Several are published in Physical Review Letters and Nature, considered among the highest-impact publications. He has also overseen the publication of 34 peer-reviewed papers with two to five authors, including a current MSU student, as first author.
In addition to his own advisees, Cornish mentors many other physics students throughout the university and has served on 73 graduate committees for 53 different graduate students.
Fox Faculty Award for Accomplishment in Teaching, Research/Creativity and Mentorship - Nicolas Yunes
Nicolas Yunes, associate professor in MSU’s Department of Physics in the College of Letters and Science, has won the Fox Faculty Award, honoring excellence in teaching, research/creativity and mentoring. This is the first year for the award, which is sponsored by the Martin Fox family and the Office of Academic Affairs. It comes with a $3,325 honorarium.
Yunes, who joined the MSU faculty in 2011, has distinguished himself as one of the physics department’s best classroom instructors by introducing teaching methods in his freshman, graduate and honors-level courses that have boosted student performance. These methods include optional recitation sections and midterm student evaluations followed up by adjustments to his course.
Co-founder of MSU’s eXtreme Gravity Institute, Yunes’ research focuses on theoretical investigations of Einstein’s equations of general relativity and ways these equations might be experimentally tested. His prolific research program includes the pioneering of a new area of research that has drawn numerous other researchers from across the globe. Yunes has published 112 peer-reviewed articles in some of the highest-regarded scientific journals, including two in Science and seven in Physical Review Letters.
In what was perhaps his most notable achievement, Yunes, along with postdoctoral student Kent Yagi, discovered that neutron stars are approximately independent of what is inside the star, and that these relations are encoded in the gravitational waves neutron stars emit when they collide with each other. This means that observations of these waves could be used to investigate Einstein’s equations and the nature of spacetime itself. This discovery has spawned research across the world aiming to build upon this unanticipated window into the nature of gravity.
Committed to mentorship, Yunes supervises five advanced Ph.D. students and five first-year Ph.D. students. His first Ph.D. student to graduate is in Canada on a distinguished postdoctoral fellowship. Since coming to MSU, he has published 26 peer-reviewed papers with graduate students, with the student usually as first author. He has mentored six undergraduates, three now in graduate school and three who are still undergraduates, and has published three papers with undergraduates as first authors. Yunes’ students routinely present their work at national conferences and have garnered local and national awards, including prestigious fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science and the Onassis Foundation.
Yunes is also committed to outreach, bringing physics to the public by organizing and producing a variety of educational events, including the Celebrating Einstein science festival in 2013, the Rhythms of the Universe event in 2014 and a show that will premiere this year at Taylor Planetarium at Museum of the Rockies.
Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring - Clemente Izurieta
Clemente Izurieta, assistant professor in the Gianforte School of Computing, won the Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring. He receives a $2,000 honorarium.
Izurieta, who joined MSU's computer science department in 2009 after working for 16 years at Hewlett-Packard and Intel, has mentored an impressive 120 MSU computer science students on matters of academic and professional development. In 2014, Izurieta worked with software engineering faculty at the University of Helsinki to establish the first Software Factory in the U.S. The self-sustaining program has connected students with more than 12 high-tech commercial partners to give them hands-on software development experience. Izurieta regularly teaches six undergraduate classes, including a two-semester series of capstone courses in which students propose and carry out projects that encourage technical, leadership, communication and management skills. He has co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed papers with undergraduate students and has sponsored 30 undergraduates participating in the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates program, which funds student research projects each summer. Izurieta is also known for being an exemplary mentor and advocate for students who are underrepresented in the software field.
James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence - Joan Broderick
Joan Broderick, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, 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.
Broderick is an internationally recognized scientist in the area of metallobiochemistry as well as a highly successful teacher who routinely teaches at the advanced undergraduate/graduate level as well as the introductory level. Among the courses Broderick teaches is honors general chemistry I, the first science course taken by many Honors students at MSU and a pivotal course from which many students establish a strong grasp of fundamentals in science.
Broderick is well-known in the biochemistry research community for her thoughtful, scholarly approach to research. She combines many experimental approaches, including kinetic analysis, spectroscopy and protein chemistry to fully evaluate the enzymes with which she works. She is a talented problem-solver who logically moves through a series of experiments to reach important new findings and conclusions. She is also known for her technical expertise, as her experiments are extremely difficult to perform.
Broderick, who previously was named MSU’s first Woman in Science Distinguished Professor for her outstanding contributions to the understanding of radical reactions in biochemistry, has a sustained record of funding from the National Institutes of Health and Department of Energy, and she has published nearly 90 scholarly papers, many of them in top-tier publications.
President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award - Ian Handley
Ian Handley, associate professor of psychology, will receive 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.
Colleagues say Handley uses his scholarship to inform his social activism to bring about gender diversity and equality at MSU. They note he “shines as an agent for change” who uses his research knowledge to inform best practices. Handley’s research in social psychology examines people’s attitudes, including people’s attitudes toward gender bias. Handley was also a significant contributor to research testing an intervention to broaden the faculty search process at MSU. The research appeared in numerous media outlets, including Science News and Inside Higher Education.
As the co-lead for the ADVANCE Cultural Attunement team, Handley has overseen the development of the search toolkit, the nomination process for the women in science award, and the equity advocate selection/training and implementation. As the graduate program coordinator for MSU’s doctoral program in psychological science, Handley also is attuned to issues of inclusion, and he respects the unique barriers that women graduate students may face. In addition, as a professor who teaches a required 200-level undergraduate course in statistics and research methods, as well as a more advanced graduate course in statistics, colleagues say Handley helps female students to see the utility and relevance of the material, as well as to enjoy and excel as they learn it. “His success in teaching … is testimony to his incredible teaching contributions to MSU that also foster diversity and inclusion,” his colleagues write.
President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning - Rebekah VanWieren
Rebekah VanWieren, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, 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, VanWieren will receive $800.
VanWieren is one of just two faculty dedicated to teaching landscape design courses, and she excels at integrating service learning into the capstone course for landscape design students. This integration enables students to obtain relevant experience while instilling civic responsibility.
An example of a service learning integration project VanWieren designed is one where her landscape design students created and implemented a trail master plan for Missouri Headwaters State Park, partnering with Sacajawea Audubon Society, CRH-US, and Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Her students utilized their knowledge and abilities in site and planting design gained through previous coursework to develop their plans. The experience involved interacting with the public, other design professionals, and city and park officials. It also involved preparing preliminary and final plans, cost estimates, and gathering feedback at stakeholder workshops. Community partners say that VanWieren and the students played a large role in enabling the first phase of construction of the trail project last fall: “Their plans and graphics provided us with an effective tool we could use to promote our project, secure some much-needed grant funding, and give our landscape architect a starting point to finish working drawings and secure permits to get our project off the ground.”
Colleagues say the service learning projects VanWieren leads are important and have a positive impact because they allow students to recognize and respond to real-world design challenges and make a difference in their landscapes. They also praise her ideas, her communication and her dedication.
President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching - Regina Gee
Regina Gee, art history, has won the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She will receive a $2,500 honorarium.
A master teacher as well as a world-class researcher, Gee worked for several years to bring the ambitious Oplontis Project to MSU, one of just three locations outside of Italy to exhibit the priceless artifacts. During that time, she worked with faculty across the MSU community to integrate the lessons of the Villa of Oplontis into coursework across a wide range of disciplines. The courses made personal the lives of the people who lived and worked in the Roman villa in 79 AD by creating vibrant and unexpected links between the ancient Roman Bay of Naples and our own contemporary Yellowstone region. With inspired teaching and storytelling, students have explored a broad range of topics, including volcanic activity, construction of cultural identity surrounding an agrarian landscape, tourism and other leisure activities, among other connections. She has been indefatigable in her willingness to deliver the lessons of Oplontis to students as well as visiting groups large and small, all the time conveying her dedication to the project, to teaching and student-centered learning and innovative education at MSU.
Rufus T. Firefly Award for Innovative Service - Kathy Osen
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
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
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
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 and Robert Carson
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
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
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
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
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 and Rachael Ortego
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Rufus T. Firefly Award for Innovative Service - Coleen Kaiser
Coleen Kaiser, director of the Montana Dietetic Internship program, won the Firefly Award of Excellence 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.
Kaiser became director of the Montana Dietetic Internship program in 2010. Since then, the program has become an excellent example of MSU fulfilling its land-grant mission. As the only dietetic internship program in Montana, it allows more MSU nutrition graduates to complete their internships in the state. In four years, Kaiser has expanded the number of internship opportunities to 57 rotation sites and assisted professions in the state to create a scholarship fund for the interns. Three classes have graduated so far from the self-supporting program. Twenty-six of the 46 graduates are working in Montana.
Provost’s Excellence in Outreach Award - Stephanie Gray and Charles (Bill) McLaughlin
Stephanie Gray, program development manager for Gallatin College MSU, and Charles (Bill) McLaughlin, teaching professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, were selected as the 2015 recipients of MSU's Provost's Excellence in Outreach Award. Each receives a $2,000 honorarium.
In just two years, Gray has gained a reputation as an exceptional program development manager for Gallatin College. She meets with local businesses, high schools and communities throughout Gallatin and Park counties to learn their needs so she can develop programs that will best serve students and the businesses that will eventually hire them. She also attains and manages all the grants that support those programs. Her work has benefited hundreds of area high school and two-year students and helped build the work force across southwest Montana.
For the past five summers, McLaughlin has held a four-day workshop called the Science Horizons Initiative to help teachers on Montana’s Indian reservations develop a new science curriculum unit. The teachers come to MSU during the summer to interact with experts in curriculum, science disciplines and Native American programs. During the school year, participating teachers must present their work at district or regional meetings, and McLaughlin follows up by visiting the teachers’ classrooms. McLaughlin has been called an inspiration for his single-handed impact on teachers and thousands of Native American students.
Betty Coffey Award - Betsy Danforth
Betsy Danforth, director of the MSU Women’s Center, received 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.
In her 23 years with the MSU Women’s Center, Danforth’s work and commitment to social justice has transformed the university and community. Danforth helped create the VOICE Center, and she has been instrumental in revitalizing or reorganizing several student groups including Students Against Sexual Assault, Q-MSU and Students for Reproductive Choice. She is a founding member of the President’s Commission on the Status of University Women and has served on the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Committee since its inception. She was a member of the Gender Pay and Equity Task Force that brought activist Lilly Ledbetter to the MSU campus last year, which led to Gov. Bullock selecting MSU as the site for his Equal Pay for Equal Work Summit.
Teaching Innovation Award - Brent Rosso
Brent Rosso, assistant professor of management, has won the Teaching Innovation Award, which honors a faculty member who has incorporated outstanding innovative teaching practices into his or her classes. Rosso will receive $2,000.
Rosso’s research on creativity in organizations has inspired him to design innovative experiential teaching methods that enliven and deepen student learning. One example is an elevator pitch competition where Rosso’s entrepreneurship students have 60 seconds in an actual elevator to pitch new venture concepts to three investors. Rosso also developed “The Entreprentice” challenge where student teams received $25 in startup capital to launch and operate a real business in the first three weeks of class. All profits go to charities selected by students, and Rosso’s students have given more than $14,000 to local organizations in the past four years. Rosso’s techniques have inspired other instructors in the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship and beyond.
Phi Kappa Phi Award - Bonita Peterson Kramer
Bonita Peterson Kramer, professor of accounting, won the Anna K. Fridley Distinguished Teaching Award given by the Phi Kappa Phi honorary. She will receive $1,000.
Kramer, an MSU alumna in business (accounting), is in her 21st year as an MSU faculty member. The recipient of several teaching awards, including the Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants’ Outstanding Educator Award, Kramer says her overall goal is for her students to understand the material and be able to apply it in various situations. Her 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. She emphasizes hands-on learning and real-world situations. Kramer also researches accounting education, typically emphasizing fraud or auditing. Kramer co-authored the book, “Financial Statements DeMystified,” and has published more than 40 journal articles. The computerized fraud examination/auditing case simulation she co-wrote received the Best Teaching Innovation Award in 2012 from the forensic accounting section of the American Accounting Association.
Spirit of Discovery Award - Ann Bertagnolli and Abigail Richards
Ann Bertagnolli, program coordinator of the Montana INBRE program, and Abigail Richards, professor in chemical and biological engineering, have won the inaugural Spirit of Discovery Award for faculty members who have excelled in teaching and mentoring students in the Honors College. The awards were made possible by support from Dr. Lew and Liane Vadheim of Miles City. The Vadheims’ son, Bryan, was MSU’s first Marshall Scholar. Each recipient will receive a $1,400 honorarium.
Bertagnolli has mentored and taught students in the Honors College for more than 15 years. She is the chair of the Texts and Critics Advisory Committee, where she has guided the syllabus of rigorous readings for the more than 300 incoming freshmen in the Honors College. A regular presenter at the Freshman Research Symposium, Bertagnolli has provided research opportunities for students in her role as program coordinator of the Montana INBRE program. She is also the instructor of the upper level Texts and Critics course for transfer Honors students. Her students credit her for encouraging them to persist, dream and excel academically.
Richards is a generous and tireless mentor of students, encouraging excellence. Her mentees have gone on to win many of MSU’s top awards, including the Marshall Scholarship, several Goldwater Scholarships as well as National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships. She is a role model for women in engineering and has served on the MSU Goldwater Scholarship selection committee for several years. Her talents as a mentor were recognized earlier when Richards was named the national Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Advisor, in recognition of her dedication to mentoring students interested in engineering professions.
Excellence in Online Teaching Award - Scott Powell
Scott Powell, land resources and environmental sciences, has won the Excellence in Online Teaching Award honoring faculty who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students and service to online education. The prize comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
Powell has played a key role in the development of MSU’s new online master’s degree of environmental science in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences. Powell is involved in every aspect of a program that has grown to nearly 60 students in just two years. As an instructor, Powell has received outstanding evaluations from his students. As program coordinator, he has helped shape the current and future curriculum, course design and improvements, faculty recruitment and retention, program marketing, and student recruitment, admissions, retention, advising, and professional paper development. As the academic adviser to all incoming students, he makes himself available via email, phone, Skype or office visits. Powell developed two courses for the program, designed to offer students the kind of lab exercises that quality science learning requires. Powell’s research is focused on understanding the drivers of change within landscape and vegetation patterns, as well as the consequences of those changes for ecosystem processes. He has secured multiple grant awards having received nearly $1 million, either as principal investigator or co-PI, and published more than 20 refereed journal articles.
Women's Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award - Linda Young
Linda Young, political science, received the Women's Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award. It carries a $2,000 honorarium. The award recognizes an MSU faculty member for mentoring junior women faculty members by helping them negotiate the promotion and tenure process, encouraging their research and teaching activities, and providing "whole woman" role models.
The chair of the MSU Department of Political Science, Young is said to be a tireless advocate for faculty and a great model of balance between work and life, teaching and research, service and leadership. Young finds time to mentor others despite a demanding schedule that includes invitations to speak around the globe about her expertise in the field of international political economy. One colleague in her department writes, “Linda’s skill as a mentor should be copyrighted. At the very least, she could write the handbook on developing mentoring relationships.”
Cox Family Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching - Bern Kohler
Bern Kohler, chemistry and biochemistry, is the recipient of the 2015 Cox Family Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching. He will receive a $2,000 honorarium from the Winston and Helen Cox Family Endowment.
Students recognize Kohler as a highly effective teacher who makes extremely difficult subject matter stimulating and fun. In addition to his coursework, Kohler supervises a large group of research students; his current group includes five graduate students and a number of undergraduate students. He supports this highly productive research group with grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA. Kohler is also internationally recognized for his research using ultrafast laser spectroscopy to study how DNA interacts with ultraviolet light. UV damage to DNA is responsible for skin cancer. His published work in this area is widely cited. During the last decade, publications from his research group have appeared in Science, Nature, and PNAS. During the past 10 years, Kohler has also given more than 75 invited talks on his group’s work at universities and international conferences throughout the world.
Outstanding Academic Advising Award - Rita Sand and Mary Murphy
Rita Sand, Native American Studies, and Mary Murphy, history and philosophy, won Academic Advising Awards. Each receives a $2,000 award.
Sand has been an adviser at MSU for 27 years, first in University Studies and, since 2008, with Native American Studies. She is known for her dedication to advising, counseling and encouraging young American Indian students so that they have a sense of a home at MSU. Colleagues note that students often speak with Sand about challenges in their personal lives, and as a professional counselor, she is well prepared to assist such students. Her knowledge of the university and community support programs also allows her to maximize the assistance students receive. Sand’s work to recruit students to MSU is significant; each year, she visits every school on or near every reservation in Montana and Wyoming through the highly successful Native student recruitment program, Rockin’ the Rez. She also visits many schools in larger communities where there are large Native student enrollments, and she takes new faculty and staff on recruitment trips to orient them to the state and reservations. Students say that once they arrive at MSU, Sand believes in them, empowers them and motivates them along their educational journeys.
Murphy, who has been advising MSU students for 24 years, is known to students and colleagues as an outstanding, successful and reliable guide whose office is always occupied with students. In addition to advising students about basic curricular issues, Murphy talks with them about their interests and works to find individual, particular opportunities that match their desires with pre-professional opportunities that will hone their skills. Students say Murphy also motivates them to work toward personal and professional goals and helps them aim for academic success. One student wrote that her advising appointments with Murphy made her feel as though her college career was important. “Dr. Murphy inspires me daily to work my hardest in accomplishing my goals… She goes out of her way each day to make sure that the people she helps are informed of the choices ahead of them, motivated, and that they embrace their full potential for academic success.”
Charles and Nora Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research - David Weaver
David Weaver, land resources and environmental sciences, has won this year's Charles and Nora L. 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.
Weaver has led significant research on the wheat stem sawfly, the most economically destructive pest in Montana, which has caused statewide annual losses from $45-80 million over the last five years. It is research that is helping farmers as part of MSU’s statewide effort to combat the threat using biologically active compounds as part of an integrated pest management program. Weaver also helped spearhead initial efforts to combat the recent outbreak of orange wheat blossom midge, a pest that poses a significant threat to the yields produced in Montana wheat fields. Weaver worked with growers and members of MSU Extension, the Montana Agricultural Research Station and the Agricultural Research Centers to spread the word about both of these pests, as well as to track insect populations and to educate the farmers about ever-changing mitigation. He participated in the development of wheat varieties resistant to the two pests. Weaver has other lines of research ongoing, including investigating management of stored-product insect pests found in Montana’s grain facilities and collaborating to enhance the impact of biological control agents on the noxious weeds, Dalmatian and yellow toadflax.
Vice President for Research Meritorious Science/Technology Award - Joseph Shaw
Joseph Shaw, electrical and computer engineering and OPTEC Center, has received MSU’s Meritorious Technology/Science Award. It carries a $2,500 honorarium and recognizes MSU faculty members who have made at least one significant technological or scientific contribution that could be transferred or already has been transferred to the private sector.
Shaw is a leader in the development and application of optical remote sensing systems to study the natural Earth environment, including radiometers, polarimeters, and LIDARs, or Light Detection and Ranging systems, as well as the photography and science of optical phenomena in nature. Recently, Shaw’s work in the Optical Remote Sensor Laboratory has sought to harness research on infrared imaging of clouds to help NASA develop a better method for communicating with its vehicles in the far reaches of the solar system. Shaw is known for a variety of projects that range from use of LIDARS for measuring clouds in climate science and mapping invasive lake trout for protection of Yellowstone Lake to the use of imaging systems for understanding Yellowstone's thermal pools. He has led his group's development of optical aurora detectors to send cell phone text messages alerting people when they can see an aurora. Shaw is a fellow in the Optical Society of America and the International Society of Optics and Photonics, both organizations representing researchers in fields ranging from vision science to fiber optics to lasers and remote sensing. Shaw also serves as the director of the Optical Technology Center at MSU, the organization that seeks to promote research and education in optical science and engineering and the growth of the optics and photonics industry in Montana.
Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring - Tom McNab
Tom McNab, architecture, won the Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring. He receives a $2,000 honorarium.
For a decade, McNab has taught in the MSU School of Architecture and served as director of its Community Design Center, a collaborative interdisciplinary community/university partnership that undertakes research and design of the built environment as its primary means of serving the people of Montana. As director, McNab guides the students through the process of research and problem solving while teaching them critical thinking, analysis techniques and the development of written and oral presentation skills as they engage the communities in the creative exploration of design alternatives. Through his work, McNab has directly supervised more than 250 students and traveled nearly 10,000 miles throughout Montana, establishing an exemplary record of undergraduate research/creativity mentoring.
Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creativity Mentoring - Bill Inskeep
Bill Inskeep, land resources and environmental sciences, has been selected for the Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creative Mentoring, which comes with $2,000. The award recognizes faculty members who actively and creatively engage graduate students in their learning experience.
In 27 years at MSU, Inskeep has mentored 21 graduate students, including as a major adviser to 10 doctoral students and 11 master of science students. As part of his mentoring/advising relationship with those students, Inskeep has published 63 papers in peer-reviewed journals with them as co-authors. Inskeep has published nearly one paper with each student, and in one instance, Inskeep teamed up with a student to publish 13 papers. Some of Inskeep’s graduate students have won national awards under his mentorship, including a National Science Foundation dissertation award and a U.S. Department of Energy STAR award. As another indicator of Inskeep’s commitment to mentoring, he has served on more than 40 master’s degree and doctoral committees. In the words of one student: Inskeep’s mentoring style “is centered on a direct and personal involvement with our training and reflects a commitment to the ideals of academia and our personal growth as academicians and scientists.”
James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence - Brock LaMeres
Brock LaMeres, electrical and computer engineering, received the 2015 James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence, which recognizes excellence in teaching and scholarship. He receives a $2,500 honorarium for the award.
In 2014, a rocket soared into space with a new computer LaMeres and his students built to withstand the effects of space radiation. It was another step in an impressive run of successful tests for their work as part of a series of grants from NASA to build radiation-hardened computers. In 2015, NASA will send one of those computers up to the International Space Station, where it will receive its most demanding test yet. LaMeres uses this project as a way to excite his students in the 200-level digital circuits course he teaches each semester. Giving the students a real-world example of how the concepts of digital design are applied helps them better understand the material and stay motivated. It is just one effort underway by LaMeres to enhance introductory-level courses in engineering at MSU. LaMeres has also received a series of grants from the National Science Foundation to study the impact of e-learning environments on student understanding of introductory topics. LaMeres’ research has compared the learning effectiveness of online courses to those delivered using the traditional face-to-face method. He has also developed “remote laboratory” technology that allows students to complete lab exercises from off-campus. His most recent project is in developing adaptive learning modules to help address background deficiencies and dynamically tailor the material for different student demographics. His work has led to numerous publications including a recent article in the IEEE Transactions for Engineering Education, the most prestigious journal in his field for education-related research. LaMeres has also received the 2010 President’s Excellence in Teaching Award, the 2012 Teaching Innovation Award and the 2014 Excellence in Online Teaching Award.
President’s Commission on the Status of University Women Award - Ariel Donohue
Ariel Donohue, program manager of the Diversity Awareness Office, 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.
Donohue has been instrumental in bringing engaging and transformational activities, courses and workshops to MSU including Safe Zone trainings, annual Martin Luther King Day events, and assessments of diversity and inclusion at MSU. She was essential to MSU’s nomination and award of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award this year. Since she came to MSU in 2009, her work has made a difference in incorporating women’s and other diverse perspectives into the MSU curriculum, the campus community and the Northwest region.
President’s Award for Excellence in Service Learning - Julie Ruff
Julie Ruff, nursing, won the President's Award for Excellence in Service Learning. She will receive $800.
As part of a pediatric nursing course she created, Ruff leads groups of nursing students twice each year to Fort Peck Indian Reservation in the extreme northwest corner of Montana. There, the students conduct well-child exams in schools, travel to homes to provide care for families and elders, and interact with the community as part of a partnership between MSU and the reservation. Ruff’s colleagues say the partnership provides important services to children and families, while MSU students gain valuable experience in pediatric nursing. Her students say the experience inspires them and helps build confidence in their abilities.
President's Excellence in Teaching Award - Ada Giusti
Ada Giusti, modern languages and literatures, received the 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award. She will receive a $2,500 honorarium.
Giusti consistently puts students’ academic needs first, both inside and outside the classroom. She has developed a philosophy of teaching that is interdisciplinary, experiential and collaborative, as evidenced by her establishing partnerships with the College of Agriculture and College of Engineering. An innovator in integrating service learning and study abroad into her curriculum, she has involved her students in health and economic projects in various French-speaking countries such as Burkina Faso, Senegal, France, Mali and Morocco. “Dr. Giusti changed my life,” one of her former students wrote. “She has encouraged me to travel the world, serve others and have an academic practice grounded in not only holistic thought, but in love.”
The Cox Family Faculty Excellence Award – William Ruff
William Ruff, education, is the recipient of the 2014 Cox Family Award for Creative Scholarship and Teaching. He will receive a $2,000 honorarium from the Winston and Helen Cox Family Endowment.
Ruff, an associate professor of educational leadership, has an impressive record of scholarship and teaching in the area of rural and American Indian educational leadership. Ruff helped design the Indian Leadership Education and Development program, or ILEAD, which is designed to train American Indian educators and improve schools on and near Indian reservations in Montana and several neighboring states. Under Ruff’s direction, the program has won a series of grants totaling $3.5 million and placed dozens of American Indian administrators in schools serving American Indian populations. Ruff is also credited for developing a groundbreaking indigenous educational leadership model that addresses the need for a distinctly American Indian approach to leader development. He is also recognized for successfully integrating research and teaching in rural and American Indian contexts.
Wiley Award for Meritorious Research and Creativity – Joseph Shaw
Joseph Shaw, electrical and computer engineering, has won this year's Charles and Nora L. Wiley Faculty Award for Meritorious Research and Creativity. 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.
Shaw is a leader in the development and application of optical remote sensing systems to study the natural earth environment, including radiometers, polarimeters, and LIDARs, or Light Detection and Ranging systems, as well as the photography and science of optical phenomena in nature. Recently, Shaw’s work in the Optical Remote Sensor Laboratory has sought to harness research on infrared imaging of clouds to help NASA develop a better method for communicating with its vehicles in the far reaches of the solar system. Shaw is known for a variety of projects that range from use of LIDARS for applications ranging from measuring clouds in climate science to mapping invasive lake trout for protection of Yellowstone Lake. He has led his group's development of optical aurora detectors to send cell phone text messages alerting people when they can see an aurora. Shaw is a fellow in the Optical Society of America and the International Society of Optics and Photonics, both organizations representing researchers in fields ranging from vision science to fiber optics to lasers and remote sensing. Shaw is serving as the director of the Optical Technology Center at MSU, the organization that seeks to promote and harness the university’s educational opportunities to help support and grow the fields of optical science and engineering.
James and Mary Ross Provost's Award for Excellence – Mary Cloninger
Mary Cloninger, chemistry and biochemistry, received the 2014 James and Mary Ross Provost’s Award for Excellence, which recognizes excellence in teaching and scholarship. She receives a $2,500 honorarium for the award.
Cloninger is recognized as a first-rate researcher who consistently and effectively teaches and mentors undergraduate students. She regularly teaches an introductory chemistry course for non-majors, serving a variety of students including dietetic, pre-veterinary, broadfield science secondary, biotechnology and chemical engineering majors. She has mentored more than 40 undergraduates in her lab. She conducts cutting-edge research that involves national and international collaborators and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation since 2001.
Academic Advising Awards – Ada Giusti and Karen Steele
Ada Giusti, modern languages and literatures, and Karen Steele, University Studies, won Academic Advising Awards. Each receives a $2,000 award.
As MSU's sole tenure-track French professor, Giusti has more than 60 advisees each year. Underlying her work is the philosophy that everyone needs support to reach their goals, and she works tirelessly to provide that support for her students. She emphasizes research projects for language students, working diligently and consistently to find those opportunities, and she has mentored more than 30 undergraduate scholars. She established a volunteer service project for her students in Mali, Morocco and France, enabling students to serve and learn about other cultures while perfecting their skills in speaking French.
A University Studies academic adviser and MSU's National Student Exchange coordinator, Steele has been advising at MSU for a decade. A structural engineer by training, Steele earned a master's degree in education and found a passion working with students. She is recognized for her ability to connect with students on a very personal level and for her caring attitude and dedication to MSU's students. Steele is currently serving as the chair of the National Student Exchange National Council.
Betty Coffey Award – Kristen Intemann
Kristen Intemann, history and philosophy, received 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.
Intemann, an associate professor of philosophy and co-chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Committee, is recognized for successfully integrating scholarship and engagement at MSU and in the larger philosophy community. Her scholarship, teaching and service activities are all directed toward incorporating feminist theory and women’s perspectives into the curriculum, as well as eliminating persistent barriers to women on the MSU campus and within academia in general. She is committed to developing new courses that use feminist theory and focus on gender, race and class.
President's Award for Excellence in Service Learning - Diana Cooksey
Diana Cooksey, land resources and environmental sciences, won the President's Award for Excellence in Service Learning. She will receive $800.
Cooksey is a GPS lab manager/spatial sciences instructor in the land resources and environmental sciences department. Her community partners are Jon Henderson with the City of Bozeman GIS Department and Nate Bashkirew with the City of Bozeman Fire Department. Since 2003, the City of Bozeman has worked with Cooksey and the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences to develop a collaborative project that benefits both students and the community. Each semester, several areas of concern are identified and mapped to allow stakeholders the ability to improve on an existing program. For example, as part of Cooksey’s course on mapping and a project known as E-911, students have worked to map high-density housing developments in the community to aid in emergency response. They have also worked with local irrigators to inventory water resources in the Gallatin Valley. The partnership is recognized as both a benefit to the community and as a powerful tool to help motivate students to do their best.
Phi Kappa Phi Award - James Becker and Kevin O’Neill
James Becker, electrical and computer engineering, and Kevin O’Neill, land resources and environmental sciences, won the Anna K. Fridley Distinguished Teaching Award given by the Phi Kappa Phi honorary. Each will receive $750.
Becker is described by his fellow Electrical and Computer Engineering Department faculty as setting the standard for teaching excellence and for consistently showing his skills as a scholar and mentor. Becker, whose research and teaching interests include microwave, millimeter wave and nano-electronics, as well as micro- and nanofabrication, does not shy away from bringing new students into the discipline. In entry-level courses, his students regularly demonstrate competence and confidence in their coursework, and in their evaluations they consistently comment that Becker has motivated, encouraged and supported them in their work. Becker has been devoted to studying active learning methodologies and distance education. Becker has received funding from the NSF and is a 2004 recipient of the NSF CAREER award and is a senior member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, The IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society, and the IEEE Solid State Circuits Society. He has served as an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Antennas and Propagation.
O’Neill has served as a professor at MSU since 1990 and as a research associate from 1985-1990. Colleagues say he is committed to high standards, quality course content and engagement with students. He is also recognized for his dedication to student learning, innovation in the classroom and passion for interdisciplinary collaboration. Students say he consistently challenges them and encourages them to think critically about science. His research is focused on insect behavior and ecology, with emphases on studies of pollination ecology and foraging and parental strategies of bees and wasps. He is also the author of three books on wasp behavior. His previous awards include the James and Mary Ross Provost's Award for Excellence and the President's Excellence in Teaching Award.
Teaching Innovation Award – Chris Bahn
Chris Bahn, chemistry and biochemistry, has won the Teaching Innovation Award, which honors a faculty member who has incorporated outstanding innovative teaching practices into his or her classes. Bahn will receive a $2,000 award.
Bahn has served as a lecturer in the MSU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for about 10 years. Colleagues say that during that time, he has always been recognized for his willingness to try new methods and embrace new technologies that help students learn, as well as for his enthusiasm and effectiveness as a teacher. Among other innovations, Bahn uses pencasts, lecture captures and guided inquiry lab exercises in his courses. Bahn has also received many accolades for teaching, including receiving in 2011 the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award, which is the highest award for teaching that one can earn at Montana State.
Excellence in Online Teaching Award – Brock LaMeres
Brock LaMeres, electrical and computer engineering, has won the Excellence in Online Teaching Award honoring faculty who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students and service to online education. The prize comes with a $2,000 honorarium.
In addition to receiving exceptional teaching evaluations for his online courses, LaMeres has produced empirical data comparing the learning effectiveness of online courses to those delivered using the traditional face-to-face method. His work was recently published in the IEEE Transactions for Engineering Education, the most prestigious journal in his field for education-related research. LaMeres also developed “remote laboratory” technology that allows students to control laboratory equipment on campus from any other computer. It allows students to complete the laboratory component of a course without having to come to campus and promises to expand the online offerings of engineering courses throughout the state. LaMeres has received funding from the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Montana Space Grant Consortium to support his online efforts. In addition to working with online learning at MSU, LaMeres also runs a research program that was recently awarded a grant from NASA to develop a satellite containing a new, radiation tolerant computer that his team built.
Provost's Excellence in Outreach Award – Sandy Bailey and Joel Schumacher
Sandy Bailey, professor and Extension family and human development specialist, and Joel Schumacher, agricultural economics/economics, were selected as the 2014 recipients of MSU's Provost's Excellence in Outreach Award. Each receives a $2,000 honorarium.
Since 2001, Bailey has served as the MSU Extension Family & Human Development Specialist. In that role, she has developed many effective programs and innovative partnerships, including the successful Montana Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Project. Bailey began the program after finding that, due to family crises, more grandparents were taking on a primary parenting role for their grandchildren. In addition to other methods of support, the program trains support group facilitators and offers educational conferences and other resources for grandparent caregivers. Bailey also conducts research with the Montana Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Project.
Schumacher has made outstanding contributions in two vital areas of Extension education: personal finance and energy, especially alternative energy. Schumacher has established himself as one of the top Extension specialist education experts in the country on alternative energy. In the process, he has worked closely with American Indian communities through a collaboration with Fort Peck Community College. One of his most significant contributions in the area of financial planning is his collaboration with Extension Economics professor Marsha Goetting to develop the “Solid Finances” employee education seminar series. The program was initially developed for MSU-Bozeman employees, but it has since spread across Montana.
Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring – David Dickensheets
David Dickensheets, electrical and computer engineering, has won the Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring. He receives a $2,000 honorarium.
Dickensheets was recently recognized and honored by his colleagues, who named him MSU’s first College of Engineering Distinguished Professor. In addition to an array of accomplishments – he has developed microdevices used for confocal optical microscopy for medical imaging and invented the first micromachined confocal microscope for endoscope-based medical microscopy, among other things – Dickensheets distinguishes himself for his outstanding record of providing opportunities for undergraduates to learn from and experience the challenges and rewards of laboratory research. Since coming to MSU in 1997, he has personally mentored at least 25 undergraduate students in hands-on research projects that were part of his externally funded research program. He takes the time to include them on the nuts and bolts of conducting research, and he has dedicated himself to spending at least one hour per week with each of his students, undergraduates and graduates alike. The payoff has shown in McNair and Goldwater scholarship winners, as well as in the fact that many of these students remain affiliated with the research group for two or three years. In addition to being widely published and a respected editor, Dickensheets has chaired numerous conferences and is a senior member of IEEE.
Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creativity Mentoring - John Borkowski
Statistics professor John Borkowski has been selected for the Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creative Mentoring, a new award that gives him $2,000 cash. The award recognizes faculty members who actively and creatively engage graduate students in their learning experience.
Borkowski has had a significant impact on the research and creativity of graduate students locally and internationally. He has chaired the graduate committees of seven doctorate students and three master’s degree students at MSU and co-chaired 10 students at their home institutions in Asia. He has served on the final committees of 110 graduate students at MSU. Borkowski also supervises approximately 70 graduate students as chair of the graduate program in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. His work at enhancing graduate success and education in statistics has led to him being named a College of Letters and Science Distinguished Professor, a Fulbright Scholar and the recipient of a 2013 honorary doctorate from Thammasat University in Thailand. He has published more than 59 peer-reviewed articles, including 29 with credited student authors.
President's Commission on the Status of University Women Award - Jessi L. Smith
Jessi L. Smith, psychology, 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.
Smith is the principal investigator of a $3.4 million NSF ADVANCE grant that is broadening the participation of women faculty members at MSU and has been instrumental to many campus innovations that improved the lives of both men and women at MSU. Her service aligns with her own research that focuses on motivation, goals and stereotypes as they relate to gender and achievement. She is a prolific writer who has published scores of research articles in top-tier peer reviewed journals, several book chapters and an edited book.
Vice President for Research's Meritorious Technology/Science Awards – Brent Peyton
Brent Peyton, chemical and biological engineering, has received MSU’s Meritorious Technology/Science Award. It carries a $2,500 honorarium and recognizes MSU faculty members who have made at least one significant technological or scientific contribution that could be transferred or already has been transferred to the private sector.
Peyton researches chemical and biological processes that cover a range of fields with significant potential impacts on industrial and environment processes. One of them transforms selenium into an insoluble form, improving mining operations in British Columbia and significantly reducing downstream pollution. Another uses baking soda to enhance biodiesel production from algae. The technology for that is currently being licensed to a company that has committed more than $300,000 in the last two years to advance the technology for a variety of commercial uses. A third technology, this one applied by the Center for Biofilm Engineering, involves a bacteria that thrives in high salt environments.
Women's Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award – Suzanne Christopher
Suzanne Christopher, health and human development, received the Women's Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award. It carries a $2,000 honorarium. The award recognizes an MSU faculty member for mentoring junior women faculty members by helping them negotiate the promotion and tenure process, encouraging their research and teaching activities, and providing "whole woman" role models.
Christopher is praised for her effective style of mentoring that is characterized by a personable, approachable manner in combination with personal and intellectual skills that contribute to her leadership in research and scholarship. Her noteworthy collaboration with junior colleagues on grant proposals and publications has been pivotal for the development of several faculty members and research programs. An example of her innovation is her development of a grant-writing boot camp for early-career researchers. Her capacity to provide constructive guidance and encouragement, all in a spirit of friendliness and generosity of spirit, created a welcoming community for the young scholars who continue to meet long after the workshop ended.
President's Excellence in Teaching Award – Robert Mokwa
Robert Mokwa, civil engineering, was awarded the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award. He will receive a $2,500 honorarium.
As a teacher with a strong commitment to student success, Mokwa has always been interested in helping students at all levels develop their problem solving skills within the context of real-world problems and their engineering solutions. Mokwa has worked hard to improve the teaching and learning environment at MSU, securing grants to study teaching methodologies. To improve student understanding and stimulate student interest, he has incorporated various technologies into the classroom, such as the use of a CT, or computed tomography, scanner to study the properties of geotechnical materials. He has shared many of his teaching methods on the national and international level. In addition to working within his department to improve online learning opportunities, Mokwa has taken up a significant role in curriculum development at the university as a member of the MSU Academic Programs Working Group and the University Programs and Curriculum Committee, as well as during his time with the MSU Faculty Senate, for which he now serves as chairperson.
Women in Science Professorship – Joan Broderick
Joan Broderick, chemistry/biochemistry, received the inaugural Women in Science Distinguished Professor award honoring an outstanding faculty woman in the sciences who champions equity and diversity and who has excelled in research accomplishments, teaching and mentorship as well as contributions to the state of Montana and/or Montana State University.The recipient receives an annual award of $4,000 for two years.
Broderick is a bioinorganic chemist and serves as an important role model to women in science everywhere. She is a distinguished researcher, successful in obtaining funding from NIH and DOE. Likewise, she has a substantial publication record, with 64 peer-reviewed papers. A committed teacher, she teaches introductory level courses, advanced level courses, and she is engaged in supervising doctoral students. Her outreach and mentorship to both women science students and women junior science faculty is notable, visible and well-respected
Rufus T. Firefly Award for Excellence in Innovative Service – Jeff Butler
Jeff Butler, director of Facilities Services, won the Firefly Award of Excellence 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.
Butler received both his bachelor's and master's degrees at MSU, and he has worked in progressively more responsible managerial and leadership capacities at Facilities Services. He developed a system to assess the condition of campus facilities and to track the management of those systems. His system was so successful that other MSU campuses started using it, and eventually it was made available at the state and national level. He is one of the founders of Leadership MSU.
The Cox Family Faculty Excellence Award - Jeffrey Conger, Robin Gerlach, John Peters and Jessi L. Smith
Jeffrey Conger, professor of art; Robin Gerlach, professor of chemical and biological engineering; John Peters, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Jessi L. Smith, psychology professor, are the recipients of the 2013 Cox Family Awards for Creative Scholarship and Teaching. Each will receive a $2,000 honorarium from the Winston and Helen Cox Family Endowment, as well as an $800 stipend to buy books dedicated in their honor at MSU's Renne Library.
Conger is a talented designer, photographer and teacher. His students annually place in the top 10 in the prestigious Society of Publication Design student competition in New York City. He helps prepare students for a successful career in design by planning an annual trip for the senior design class to visit firms and advertising agencies in Seattle or Portland. He oversees a popular annual photography class in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. His photographs have appeared on motorsport magazine covers and with articles in the U.S. and Europe. In 2004, Conger was named one of America's 40 most influential creative individuals by ID Magazine.
Gerlach has an international reputation for groundbreaking research, from studying the complex network of interactions between biofilm growth and environmental conditions, to studying contaminant transport and transformation on certain surfaces. He has worked on using biofilms to create subsurface barriers for use in bioremediation of environmental contaminants, as well as in carbon sequestration and bioenergy. He is a researcher with Center for Biofilm Engineering and director of the Environmental and Biofilm Mass Spectrometry Facility and has been repeatedly published in Environmental Science and Technology.
Peters has a thriving research program that is focused on the study of enzymes that are important for fundamental biochemical processes. He is a superb mentor for a large number of students who work in his well-funded and productive research lab. In addition to running his lab, Peters serves as director for the MSU Center for Astrobiology and Life in Extreme Environments and for the Thermal Biology Institute. He also has developed new curriculum so that MSU can offer a minor in astrobiology. Peters has published more than 100 papers and has given many seminars and presentations.
Smith's research focuses on the roles that gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation play in understanding stereotypes. She has published 31 research articles in top-tier peer reviewed journals in her discipline --12 of those included MSU students as co-authors. Smith also published five book chapters and one edited book. Smith has been awarded four federally funded grants totaling more than $4.8M from competitive NSF and NIH programs. Her research on breastfeeding and gender objectification led to the establishment of MSU's first Family Care Room and creation of the family advocate. She is the principal investigator of the $3.4 million NSF ADVANCE grant, which has the potential to transform MSU by increasing the representation and advancement of women in academic STEM and social/behavioral science careers.
Wiley Awards for Meritorious Research and Creativity - Brian Bothner, Susan Cohen and Benfang Lei
Brian Bothner, chemistry and biochemistry; Susan Cohen, history and philosophy; and Benfang Lei, immunology and infectious diseases, have won this year's Charles and Nora L. Wiley Faculty Awards for Meritorious Research and Creativity. Each will receive $2,000. Sponsored by the MSU Foundation, the prizes are given in honor of the Wileys, who were pioneer ranchers in eastern Montana.
Bothner is widely recognized as a pioneer in developing mass spectrometry methods and the creative use of mass spectrometry to understand how viruses and biological systems function. His research program is said to be one of the most vigorous, productive and creative in MSU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, giving him an international reputation for the questions he tackles. Bothner has published more than 50 papers. His research group currently involves eight graduate students, two postdoctoral researchers, and eight undergraduate researchers. Bothner's research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Energy.
Cohen is known for her novel and creative approach to research and her dual ability to conduct meticulous field work and synthesize valuable lessons from that work. She analyzes settlement patterns, the rise of urbanism and international interconnections in the second millennium B.C.E. in the eastern Mediterranean, particularly in the Middle Bronze Age in the southern Levant (present-day Israel/Palestine). During her first year at MSU she completed a book that has been used in courses on Middle Bronze Age studies at Brown University and in a seminar at Harvard University. Since then, she has published a second book and has two more currently in press, which add to the understanding of the history, archaeology and culture of the Near East. At the same time, she conducted archaeological digs that trained students and made her research accessible to undergraduates.
Lei is an expert in the area of bacterial pathogenesis and known for making groundbreaking contributions that will have long-lasting medical relevance. He received two major grants from the National Institutes of Health in 2012 to elucidate how bacterial pathogens evade host immune system and develop therapeutics to treat streptococcal bacteria-caused devastating diseases in humans. He has published 56 papers so far, many of them high-impact papers in top-tier journals. He supervises graduate students, mentors biotechnology internships and has directed numerous undergraduate researchers in his lab.
James and Mary Ross Provost's Award for Excellence - Eric Funk
Eric Funk, music, received the 2013 James and Mary Ross Provost's Award for Excellence, which recognizes excellence in teaching and scholarship. Funk receives a $2,500 honorarium for the award. Funk teaches some of MSU's most popular classes and serves as creative director and driving force behind the award-winning "11th & Grant with Eric Funk" on MontanaPBS. He is a jazz musician, recording artist, conductor, band director and church musical director, but most of all he is a composer with more than 121 major works, including nine symphonies, four operas, 16 concertos, five string quartets and an extensive list of choral and chamber works. His "Concerto for the Violin Alone, Op 109," written for Hungarian violinist virtuoso Vilmos Olah, will be featured on "The Violin Alone" documentary debuting on MontanaPBS in the spring.
Academic Advising Awards - Doug Downs, Rob Maher and Sheila Nielsen-Preiss
Doug Downs, professor of English; Steven Holmgren, chemistry and biochemistry; Rob Maher, professor and department head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Sheila Nielsen-Preiss, director of the Health Professions Advising Office and research professor in immunology and infectious diseases, won the inaugural Academic Advising Awards. Each receives a $2,000 award.
Downs, who says that he believes advising to be "the space between course instruction and long-term mentoring on the overall spectrum of teaching," is adept at blending the humanities' concern for liberal education with students' needs for career preparation. A specialist in the area of rhetoric and composition, he is the adviser of record for 30-40 English majors per year, spread among the three options of writing, teaching and literature, but unofficial mentor to many more. His colleagues say advising is something that Downs "is," rather than just does, and his skill as an adviser is connected to his teaching and research.
As part of the teaching faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Holmgren teaches a variety of undergraduate courses at MSU, ranging from an introductory seminar to a 500-level safety and risk management course of K-12 science teachers. He also serves as adviser to all undergraduate chemistry majors. As part of that work, he mentors students and introduces them to research and takes an active role in the recruitment and retention of MSU's undergraduates.
Maher was recognized for his commitment to academic advising with the National Academic
Advising Association's 2012 Outstanding Advising Award in the faculty category. MSU's
annual survey of graduating students named Maher's department the best for student
advising satisfaction. Fellow faculty members credit him with establishing a culture
of superior faculty advising of current and prospective students, and for creating
extensive advising resources on the department's website.
Nielsen-Preiss assists students in understanding academic and extracurricular requirements for health professional schools as well as exploring possible career options in the health care delivery system. She advises more than 350 students each year who are applying or preparing to apply to health professional school. Nielsen-Preiss also serves as the director and academic adviser in the Post Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate program and the Master of Science in Health Sciences program, as well as faculty adviser for the Pre-Health Professions Club, the Pre-Health Professions Honor Society and the Pre-dental Club. She meets with nearly 100 prospective undergraduate students and their families each year, in addition to those whom she meets in group settings, such as MSU Friday.
Betty Coffey Award - Bethany Letiecq
Bethany Letiecq, health and human development, received the Betty Coffey Award. The award was established in memory of Betty Coffey, an engineering professor from 1977-1984 who was noted for her teaching excellence and her championing of women's equity and minority issues in the curriculum. It comes with a $500 honorarium. Letiecq conducts community-based action research with the goal of ameliorating health disparities among families on the economic and social margins. She is currently working in partnership with Latino migrants in the Gallatin Valley to develop interventions to improve migrant mental health and well-being. Colleagues call her work a successful integration of scholarship and engagement, both at MSU and in the community. They say it also raises awareness of important issues and causes MSU students to examine their own lives more deeply.
President's Award for Excellence in Service Learning - Carolyn Wenger and Perry Roberts
Carolyn Wenger and Perry Roberts won the inaugural President's Award for Excellence in Service Learning. Wenger is a member of the College of Nursing faculty on the Billings campus and Roberts is the executive director of the Montana Rescue Mission. The award carries an $800 award.
Since 1988, Wenger has engaged students in service learning experiences through the Montana Rescue Mission, which serves the homeless in Billings. As part of a nursing course, Wenger's students work with the organization to meet the healthcare needs of homeless individuals. Colleagues say the project engages MSU students and helps them apply their knowledge of nursing to serve a population in need. They call it a tremendous vehicle for students to deepen their understanding of the roles they can play in communities as members of the nursing profession. Roberts has worked with Wenger since 2010 to integrate MSU's student nurses into mission program activities.
Phi Kappa Phi Award - Bill Wyckoff and Linda Young
Bill Wyckoff and Linda Young won the Anna K. Fridley Distinguished Teaching Award
given by the Phi Kappa Phi honorary, sharing a $1,500 cash award.
Wyckoff has taught at MSU for 26 years and has earned high praise from his colleagues and students for his enthusiasm, energy, knowledge and compassion. He is praised for his mentoring of both undergraduate and graduate students. "He always has an open door," one student writes, "and I see students taking advantage of this daily." Colleagues praise him for his ability to bring his research into the classroom and to keep students informed about ways to think about changes in the cultural landscape.
Young is in her 17th year of teaching students at MSU about the international political economy. Colleagues praise her for her ability "to translate the most complex economic theories and policies into language that is accessible and exciting to her students." Students praise her for inspiring them to craft careful and thoughtful responses to difficult questions about economic and political developments and "to be meticulous and detail-oriented" in their own work. Highly regarded for her work on food security, Young helps students understand that their world is constantly being shaped and reshaped in light of international economic and political developments.
Teaching Innovation Awards - Brock LaMeres and Charles McLaughlin
Brock LaMeres, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Charles "Bill" McLaughlin of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, have won Teaching Innovation Awards, which honor faculty who have incorporated outstanding innovative teaching practices into their classes. Each receives a $2,000 award.
LaMeres developed "remote laboratory" technology under funding from the National Science Foundation that allows students to control laboratory equipment on campus from any other computer. It allows students to complete the laboratory component of a course without having to come to campus and promises to expand the online offerings of engineering courses throughout the state. LaMeres is known for his work with undergraduate student design teams, including serving as the primary adviser for MSU's NASA Lunabotics team over the past 3 years. The team won the systems engineering paper category in 2012 and won the national championship for mining in 2010.
McLaughlin is known for introducing chemistry to majors, as well as to students from other disciplines, using innovative classrooms that offer real-world demonstrations and the technology of online learning. McLaughlin connects with students of diverse backgrounds in large lecture courses and analytical chemistry using digital materials, online/virtual office visits, generous office hours. He also uses "smart" pen technology to extend contact hours with students. McLaughlin incorporates live demonstrations into nearly every lecture and his "chemicast" Web-based pencasts offer students another look at his presented material
Excellence in Online Teaching Award - Glenna Burg
Glenna Burg, nursing, has won the Excellence in Online Teaching Award honoring faculty who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students, and service to online education. The prize comes with a $2,000 honorarium. Colleagues call Burg a pioneer in online course teaching and development. She developed and taught several of the first fully online courses for the nursing curriculum beginning in 2003. She continues to regularly teach a variety of courses online. She also served as a member of the committee whose mission was to review and score proposals for a new learning management system, which resulted in the implementation of Desire2Learn, or D2L.
Provost's Excellence in Outreach Award - David Bertelsen and David Lageson
David Bertelsen, Extension agent for Wibaux County, and David Lageson, geology/Earth sciences, were selected as the 2013 recipients of MSU's Provost's Excellence in Outreach Award. Each receives a $2,000 honorarium.
As a longtime MSU Extension agent in Wibaux County, Bertelsen has made significant contributions to Extension programs, including agriculture, 4-H, horticulture and community development. Working to connect Wibaux to MSU's outreach resources, Bertelsen initiated a community-visioning project that has sought to grow this "gateway" community. From this effort came a visitor center and rest area that attracts freeway traffic into Wibaux. Bertelsen has helped with the Winter Ag Series, a program that has connected MSU researchers with area producers for 19 years.
Lageson has made a lifetime commitment to outreach, but he literally took that commitment to new heights when he joined a 2012 educational expedition to Mount Everest. As its chief scientist, he helped develop and implement an extensive education and outreach program that inspired students, teachers and the general public in Montana and around the world. He also wrote a chapter on the geology of Mount Everest for a new National Geographic book. Lageson's chapter explains the origin of Mount Everest and the tectonic evolution of the Himalayas. Lageson also organized National Geographic's "Young Explorers" program to help develop the next generation of explorer/journalists.
Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring - Maire O'Neill and David Varricchio
Maire O'Neill, architecture, and David Varricchio, Earth sciences, have won the Provost's Award for Undergraduate Research/Creativity Mentoring awards. Each receives a $2,000 honorarium.
O'Neill has had a productive professional career in architecture, an exemplary record of research and creative activity as well as 22 years of teaching, mentoring and collaborative research with students at MSU. Her mentoring of students takes them from the beginning of their degree program through their master's thesis design projects. She also excels as a teacher and mentor in the Core 2.0 curriculum. As a result of her work, many of her students have received external recognition, such as awards, conference presentations and exhibits, every year from the early '90s. Recently, one of her students was a finalist for the prestigious Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence and received the Berkeley Prize Traveling Fellowship.
Varricchio has a sustained and successful record of mentoring students, providing both field and lab paleontology research opportunities. He has made student research central to all of his classes, as well as his own research. To provide opportunities for student research engagement, Varricchio has made student participation in his grants a significant factor. He is the recipient of an NSF Career Award, which included as a major component an educational plan for extensive student participation. Varricchio has also co-authored a number of refereed journal articles with students, guided student presentations at national and international venues, and mentors students formally and informally.
President's Commission on the Status of University Women Award - Betsy Danforth
Betsy Danforth, director of the MSU Women's Center, was awarded the inaugural 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. Danforth served on the committee that founded the Victim Options in the Campus Environment (VOICE) Center, revitalized Students Against Sexual Assault and Students for Choice. She has served on the Women's and Gender Studies Committee since its inception. She works closely with the Diversity Awareness Office, the VOICE Center, the Women's and Gender Studies minor as well as a number of off-campus organizations linked to her work at MSU.
Vice President for Research's Meritorious Technology/Science Awards - Phil Bruckner, Luther Talbert and Kevin Repasky
Phil Bruckner and Luther Talbert, both in plant sciences and plant pathology, and Kevin Repasky, electrical and computer engineering, received MSU's Meritorious Technology/Science Award. It carries a $2,500 honorarium and recognizes MSU faculty members who have made at least one significant technological or scientific contribution that could be transferred or already has been transferred to the private sector.
Bruckner and Talbert together have contributed immeasurably through their research,
plant breeding expertise, student development and new varieties of wheat. The winter
wheat breeding project led by Bruckner has developed varieties that resulted in four
licenses to two international seed companies.
Three of those varieties have generated sales of 300,000 bushels and plantings of more than 250,000 acres in Montana and the region. The spring wheat breeding program led by Talbert has developed higher yielding and pest resistant varieties including the two leading spring wheat varieties planted in Montana. They have been grown on approximately 15 million acres in Montana since 2000.
Since joining the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty Kevin Repasky has staked an international reputation in the field of laser remote sensing, with a strong record of technology development and transfer. In addition to work that has offered innovative designs for laser source development and sensor systems, Repasky has put the technology into new and important uses. Laser remote sensing devices Repasky has helped develop are used to study and predict weather, model climate change, monitor carbon dioxide at carbon sequestration study sites and assist in removing landmines from war-torn countries.
Women's Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award - Laura Black
Laura Black, business, received the Women's Faculty Caucus Distinguished Mentor Award. It carries a $1,000 honorarium. The award recognizes an MSU faculty member for mentoring junior women faculty members by helping them negotiate the promotion and tenure process, encouraging their research and teaching activities, and providing "whole woman" role models. Colleagues say that since coming to MSU in 2002, Black has been a dedicated and committed advocate and mentor for numerous female faculty members in the College of Business and across campus. She has created a supportive research and teaching environment for those faculty members and has initiated informal mentoring relationships with junior faculty in the College of Business. Black regularly shares resources, creates opportunities for others and provides guidance in teaching, research and administration.
President's Excellence in Teaching Awards - Florence Dunkel, Christina Hayes and David Lageson
Florence Dunkel, plant sciences and pathology; Christina Hayes, mathematical sciences; and David Lageson, Earth sciences, were awarded the 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award. Each will receive a $2,500 honorarium.
A strong believer in collaborations and community involvement, Dunkel has developed discovery-based teaching that links MSU students with Mali, the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and the Crow (Apsaalooke) Indian Reservation. She knows what students want from their education, demands high scholarship and teaches skills that students need to address critical needs. One of her former students went on to become a Rhodes Scholar. Other highlights have included the establishment of an entrepreneurial incubator and the production of a film illustrating the intense teaching and learning that can take place between native cultures. She and her students also collaborated with a Malian village to eliminate malaria there.
Hayes is known for her creativity and passion for teaching mathematics and statistics. In addition to being a highly effective instructor who has used Oprah Winfrey's salary, interpretive dance and lie detector tests to help students learn, she is said to be the heart and soul of the Department of Mathematical Sciences. She created a recruitment campaign for mathematics, statistics and math education majors. She was instrumental in founding the math club and encourages students to branch out into research. She organizes undergraduate seminars and recruitment visits and advises students participating in an international math modeling competition.
Lageson has been called a force of nature and a great ambassador for MSU and the Department of Earth Sciences. Even after 32 years at MSU, he continues to inspire students with his infectious enthusiasm for geology and ongoing excellence. Since his best learning experiences have always been in the field, his career-long goal is to expose his students to those same opportunities. Even indoors, he has gained recognition for his dynamic lectures, his innovative curricular development and his sustained commitment to outreach. His lifelong commitment to education was demonstrated again this past year when he incorporated numerous learning activities with a trip to Mount Everest.
Rufus T. Firefly Award for Excellence in Innovative Service - Laura Humberger
Laura Humberger, associate vice president for financial services, has won the inaugural Firefly Award of Excellence 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.
Humberger was recognized for her proposal that eliminated MSU's $10 online payment fee. Humberger argued that eliminating the fee would improve service to students by encouraging online payment and eliminating long waiting lines at the cashier's office. The change improved credit card data security. The new procedure debuted fall 2012, increasing online payments 62.5 percent to approximately 10,650 and reducing manual payments by 43.6 percent, to about 5,960. The changed resulted in a secure and more efficient payment option for many students and their families. It also reduced the workload at fee payment time for the student accounts office and avoided the need to hire additional employees to serve MSU's growing number of students.