Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

News - OUE Awards Spring 2009

April 29, 2009

CONTACT:  Beverly Makhani, WSU OUE Communications Director, 509-335-6679,
Mary Wack, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, 509-335-8044,
Merik Metos, WSU OUE Communications Intern, 509-335-8070,

Outstanding WSU Faculty, Staff, and Students Feted at Office of Undergraduate Education Awards Ceremony

PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) celebrated the excellence of faculty, staff, and students at its 2008-9 awards ceremony April 9 at the Lewis Alumni Centre.

“These prestigious awards publicly recognize some of the most innovative and outstanding members of the WSU undergraduate academic community,” says Mary F. Wack, vice provost for undergraduate education.  “At this second annual event, we heard descriptions of the work of many exceptional people in several programs—from peer tutors to faculty mentors, and from academic advisors to leaders in teaching, learning, and assessment.  I am quite proud of, and inspired by, the accomplishments of these extraordinary people at WSU.”

Of the 14 types of awards presented, five were new this year.  Recipients were from disciplines across campus; some traveled from WSU Vancouver and WSU Tri-Cities to accept their awards.  Presenters included six OUE units (the Writing Program; General Education; Learning Communities/Freshman Focus; the Honors College; the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology; and Undergraduate Research) plus new presenters which include the WSU Emeritus Society, the WSU Academic Advising Association (ACADA), and the WSU Teaching Academy. 

From the Writing Program

Pamela Lee, an instructor in fine arts and the Honors College, received the Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Award for Exemplary Writing in the Major Course for her Modern Theories of Art course. Lee incorporated an impressive variety of inventive assignments into her fine arts course, and her syllabus demonstrated well-articulated evaluation criteria and incorporated e-learning. 

The Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Writing is given annually to less than 1 percent of the young WSU writers who are completing their Junior Writing Portfolios. In 2008, 4,992 students completed the portfolio. The 10 students who received this award are:

  • Holly Barker, elementary education major at WSU Vancouver
  • Joseph Dieter, communications-public relations major
  • Carolyn Green, English major
  • Amy Huseby, English major at WSU Vancouver
  • Peter Klosterman, mathematics major and a student in the Honors College
  • Ingrid Kraig, elementary education major and a student in the Honors College
  • Julie McFarland, nursing major from WSU Tri-Cities
  • Jacob Mills, computer science major
  • McKenzie Mohler, English major and student in the Honors College
  • Elizabeth Wollstein, music major and student in the Honors College

The Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Writing in the Disciplines Faculty Service Awards are given to faculty members who had the highest number of students submit papers for their Junior Writing Portfolios from their courses during 2008-9. The faculty members who received this award are:

  • Kendall Campbell, instructor in anthropology
  • Mark Mumford, lecturer in accounting
  • Charlotte Omoto, professor in biological sciences
  • Jeff Sellen, instructor in general education
  • Richard Taflinger, clinical assistant professor in communication

The Stanley P. Williams Award for Writing Center Tutor Excellence awards were given to students who have been outstanding peer tutors for several semesters at the WSU Writing Center:

  • Amy Dole, theatre arts and English major and Honors College student (gold award)
  • Jillian Vandehey, communication-advertising major (silver award)

From the General Education Program

Marie Glynn, assistant professor in general education, received the World Civilizations Faculty Excellence Award for her extraordinary service in instruction and devotion to student needs and to furthering their academic progress.

From Learning Communities/Freshman Focus

The Eric W. Bell Learning Community Excellence Award was presented to Freshman Focus faculty for engaging extensively with freshmen beyond their classrooms: 

  • Toria Johnson, teaching assistant in English
  • Julie Meloni, teaching assistant in English
  • Jack McNassar, teaching assistant in anthropology

The Common Reading Excellence Award went to three staff and faculty members for taking creative and exceptional measures to make WSU’s annual fall Common Reading Program (2008) a success: 

  • Sara Agostinelli, residential education director
  • Kate Gannon, residential education director
  • Frank Hill, instructor in general education


From the Honors College

The Honors College Faculty Thesis Advisor of the Year Award was presented to: 

  • Judy Meuth, clinical associate professor in women’s studies who was nominated by Honors student Renee Walker
  • Krzysztof Czaja, assistant professor in VCAPP who was nominated by Honors student Bo Herzog
  • Rebecca Craft, professor in psychology who was nominated by Honors student Brittany Navarre
  • Guy Palmer, director of the School for Global Animal Health, and Regents Professor, who was nominated by Honors student Matt Grimes 

From the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology

Each Innovation and Leadership award was presented to a colleague who has provided a new way to think about the roles and responsibilities of educators for building communities of practice, engaging authentic and pressing challenges, and doing so in ways that demonstrate a commitment to high standards of accountability.

Robert G. Olsen, professor and associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Engineering and Architecture, was presented the new Leadership in Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Award

The recipients of the new Faculty Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Innovation Awards are:

  • Meriem Chida, assistant professor in apparel, merchandising, design, and textiles
  • Patrick D. Pedrow, associate professor in electrical engineering and computer science
  • Margo Tamez, teaching assistant, American studies 

From Undergraduate Research

Three students received the WSU Undergraduate Research Excellence Award, denoting outstanding results that are disseminated to a regional or national audience.  The award goes to a student and their faculty mentor: 

  • Brandon Kvamme, chemistry major, and Aurora Clark, assistant professor of chemistry
  • Riley Stuart, civil engineering major, and Regents Professor Brian Lamb, of the Laboratory for Atmospheric Research and the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Corrie Ahrens, anthropology major, and Colin Grier, assistant professor of anthropology 

From the WSU Emeritus Society

The WSU Emeritus Society recognized undergraduates with this new award for their exceptional work in the arts and humanities, biosciences, physical sciences, and the social behavioral and economic sciences. The Emeritus Society Awards for Undergraduate Achievement in Research and Scholarship went to: 

  • Amy Huseby, English major at WSU Vancouver mentored by Collin Hughes, clinical assistant professor of English
  • Gunnar Skulason, physics and astronomy major mentored by Regents Professor Tom Dickinson, physics
  • Jatinder Jassal, neuroscience major mentored by Krzysztof Czaja, assistant professor in VCAPP 


For the first time, the WSU Academic Advising Association (ACADA) presented Outstanding Academic Advising Award plaques to: 

  • Lindsay Lightner, academic coordinator in education at WSU Tri-Cities, who received the award for her work as a new advisor
  • Anna Chow, advisor in general studies who received the award for her primary role of advising
  • William B. Davis, associate professor of biochemistry/biophysics and associate director of undergraduate studies in the School of Molecular Biosciences, who received the award as a teaching faculty member who provides academic advising to students
  • Thomas J. Whitacre, associate director of general studies, who received the award for his support of advising in his role as an administrator

From the WSU Teaching Academy

The new WSU Distinguished Teaching Award presented by the WSU Teaching Academy recognizes non-tenure track instructors at WSU who have displayed exceptional commitment to teaching. The first recipients of this award are:

  • Sheila Converse, clinical assistant professor in music and the Honors College
  • Fred Gittes, clinical associate professor in physics and the Honors College

Writing Program Co-Director Lisa Johnson-Shull (left) with artist and instructor Pamela Lee, recipient of the Harold and Jeanne Rounds Olsen Award for Exemplary Writing in the Major course.













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