By Courtney Westlake
UIS faculty gathered in the Public Affairs Restaurant on Monday evening, May 4, to celebrate achievements, sabbaticals, retirements and distinguished awards during the annual Faculty Honors and Recognition Reception.
"We are gathered to honor the academic achievements of our colleagues," said Provost Harry Berman. "It's good to have an occasion to reflect on ourselves as a community of teachers, community of scholars and community of campus citizens."
Emeritus faculty were honored at a separate evening event on Friday, April 24, but were acknowledged again during the reception. They include: Paul McDevitt, Pat Langley, Marcellus Leonard, Elaine Rundle-Schwark, Jim Veselenak and Dean Emerita Margot Duley.
Faculty awarded tenure included James Bonacum, Sviatoslav Braynov, Sara Cordell, Eric Hadley-Ives, Yuichi Iwashita, Ranjan Karri, Xiaoqing Li, Jason Pierceson, Tih-Fen Ting and Ryan Williams.
Anthony Sisneros was also promoted from associate professor to full professor, and 12 faculty members received sabbatical.
In addition to recognizing those faculty who are retiring or received sabbatical, several distinguished faculty awards were given during the ceremony.
Professor Don O’Neal of the Management Department was the recipient of the Pearson Award.
"Don exemplifies the UIS commitment to excellence in teaching," said Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "At the time of his 2006 promotion to full professor, the Campus Promotions Committee characterized Don as a 'stellar and effective teacher'."
The Spencer Award was created to honor President Robert Spencer, the founding President of Sangamon State University. This year's Spencer Award was given to Professor Beverly Rivera of the Criminal Justice Department, who has served as department chair, as well as chair of the Sabbatical and Awards Committee, the College of Public Affairs and Administration Personnel Committee, the Student Discipline Committee and secretary of the Campus Senate.
"In recent years, she has played a key role in implementation of the general education curriculum as chair of the General Education Council," Ringeisen said.
Rivera is also a volunteer with the Chicago-based John Howard Association and the Sangamon County Court Services and Probation Unit on the evidence-based practices project.
"She is recognized for applying her scholarly expertise to public policy concerns within the criminal justice system," Ringeisen noted.
The Burks Oakley Online Teaching Award was established by Burks Oakley II, who currently serves as a Research Professor in the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service after a distinguished career in the College of Engineering at Urbana-Champaign. As a faculty associate in the system’s Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Oakley played a key role launching UIS’ online programs.
"After careful deliberation, the Sabbatical and Awards committee selected Professor James Grubbs of the Communications Department as this year’s recipient of the Oakley Award," Ringeisen announced. "He puts a tremendous amount of work into developing highly engaging, extensively hyperlinked online materials. It’s hardly surprising that his online course evaluations are outstanding."
The last faculty award that was given was the Faculty Excellence Award, which is given to a senior faculty member honored not only for excellence in teaching, scholarship and service, but also for serving as a role model and mentor to other faculty. Past recipients of the award are Lynn Pardie, Chris Mooney and Ron Havens.
The recipient for this year's Faculty Excellence Award was Professor Deborah Kuhn McGregor, who is jointly appointed in the History Department and the Women and Gender Studies Department. Since her career began in 1987, McGregor has taught courses in history, women’s studies and African-American Studies.
"She is recognized as a creative, innovative and effective instructor, who engages students through a participatory style," Ringeisen said. "Her students note that her courses provide a strong foundation for further growth and development in their chosen fields. As a scholar, Professor McGregor has made significant contributions to the study of women’s history. Her 1998 book, From Midwives to Medicine: The Birth of American Gynecology is recognized as a major work in the field."
McGregor has also been recognized by colleagues for her contributions to personnel committee deliberations, most recently completing a term on the Tenure Review Committee.
"Beyond her high quality service on campus committees, we particularly want to recognize her contributions to the Expanding Horizons Program for young women and her long-time service on the Board of Directors of the Pearson Museum at the SIU School of Medicine," Ringeisen said.