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2017 Faculty Awards

The work of our faculty makes possible the distinctive education in the liberal arts and sciences that our graduates attain. A ceremony recognizing 2017 faculty accomplishments – faculty awards and emeritus status – was held April 6, 2018. It is with pride that we recognize these faculty for their hard work and dedication to their students and to the College of Arts and Sciences.

Outstanding Teaching: Dr. Rebecca Krakowski

The 2017 faculty award for Outstanding Teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences is granted to Rebecca Krakowski, Department of Mathematics.

Dr. Krakowski joined the University of Dayton in 2000 as the department’s first faculty member with expertise in mathematics education. In that role she has led the development of undergraduate curriculum for pre-service middle school teachers, has taught, and advised waves and waves of pre-service high school teachers, and has been the leading force behind the creation of UD’s Master of Mathematics Education program. She is a versatile teacher, a role model for pre-service and in-service teachers, and a mentor for both her departmental colleagues, as well as for her students who have now entered the teaching profession themselves and where they are now making a difference in the education of the next generation of learners.

Becky has focused her innovative teaching approaches on courses for pre-service teachers and Master of Mathematics Education students. This includes a teaching portfolio of 11 undergraduate courses and 6 graduate courses. She has taught all five of the middle childhood courses, is the main instructor for MTH 370 Introduction to Higher Geometry and MTH 395 Development of Mathematical Ideas, and has supervised eleven capstone projects [likely more by now Becky?] since the implementation of the university’s capstone requirement. In addition, Dr. Krakowski regularly teaches MTH 207 Introduction to Statistics, a CAP mathematics course that includes the enrollment of non-science majors and middle childhood education majors who may start Becky’s course as students that do not like mathematics and even think they are not good at it. As her department chair notes, “Dr. Krakowski manages to engage her students [in classes like these] by challenging them to think beyond formulas to develop their reasoning skills.”

Colleagues and former students cite Becky’s ability to meet students where they are educationally and to elicit growth in both math content and educational philosophy regardless of where they started. Observers have noted that this is especially evident in her graduate courses where current high school math teachers are looking to advance their education and professional skills. One of her students notes that “many of the students in this program have been removed from a university mathematics setting for some time, and therefore can feel quite disconnected from the high level mathematical thinking and skills of the undergraduate years. It's only natural that teaching algebra to high school freshman does little to maintain one's understanding of Real Analysis or other similar topics.” With the courses in the Master of Mathematics Education program she developed, Dr. Krakowski is able to build confidence and academic growth within the students who were worried, struggling, or less than proficient at the onset of a course. This same student, now a teacher at CJ, notes that “the extra effort and time it took Becky to maintain her "leave no student behind" approach has always been admirable, and I use try to use Dr. Krakowski's personalization and extra effort with each individual student as a model and motivator in my own teaching career.”

In sum, and I think appropriately in the words of another of her former students, “Dr. Krakowski is dedicated to the idea of engaging her students and providing as many different opportunities to learn as is possible within each class. Over and above the fact that this is a great way for her UD students to learn, these methods also serve as inspiration for future teachers.”

For these accomplishments, the College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to present the 2017 Outstanding Teaching Award to Dr. Rebecca Krakowski.

- Dr. Donald Pair, Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Research and Experiential Initiatives


Scholarship: Dr. Susan Trollinger

The 2017 faculty award for Outstanding Scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences is presented to Susan Trollinger from the Department of English. Dr. Trollinger came to the University of Dayton in 2007 from Bluffton University, where she had been professor and department chair. Her research examines rhetoric of religious discourse, particularly focusing on fundamentalism. Primary subjects have been Amish tourism and, most recently, the Creation Museum. That work “has catalyzed her reputation nationally and internationally as a scholar...who intervenes at the deep levels of culture,” notes Dr. Andy Slade, chair of the English department, who further notes, “Her work is wide-ranging and timely; ethically and politically engaged; nuanced and precise.”

As you would expect for someone being recognized for research, Dr. Trollinger’s publication record is extensive, exceeding the output of most scholars. Her record includes:

  • 3 books authored or co-authored, and 1 book co-edited
  • 20 journal articles and scholarly book chapters
  • 3 published conference proceedings and encyclopedia entries
  • 5 book reviews
  • 45 competitively selected conference presentations
  • 44 invited presentations and lectures

Her invited lectures illustrate the scope of her recognition as a scholar. Audiences range from diverse scholarly groups such as United Theological Seminary, Conference on the Academy and Religious Faith, Atheists National Convention, and the Anabaptist Evangelism Council, to community organizations like the John McIntire Library (Zanesville, OH), First Baptist Church (Peoria, IL), and the Centerville Historical Society. And these latter groups play a central role in what makes Dr. Trollinger’s work so important.

Most active scholars conduct and disseminate research primarily to a narrow set of scholars in their specific area of expertise. The degree that their work has broader impacts on the public often depends on whether other experts find their work and develop applications, or whether journalists incorporate their work into writings or other media targeted toward a larger audience. Dr. Trollinger, however, has engaged not only her disciplinary peers but also the public at large. In this way, her work has been influential far beyond that of most scholars. Of course, her scholarship’s focus on important topics of wide appeal is also essential in giving her work impact beyond scholars in her field.

Some of Dr. Trollinger’s public engagement results from having written books that are simultaneously scholarly important and widely accessible. Some of it comes from writing targeted to public audiences, such as the blog she maintains on the Creation Museum. And, some of it comes from media attention she has received. Her latest book, Righting America at the Creation Museum, co-authored with Dr. Bill Trollinger from the Department of History, has garnered reviews in sources ranging the Library Journal to the Los Angeles Times. Her media interviews and mentions have included such high profile outlets as The Washington Post, New York Times, Huffington Post, GQ, Inside Higher Ed, and numerous radio and TV outlets.

For her extensive record of scholarly research that advances her discipline, and for her impact on a broader public audience, it is a privilege to recognize Dr. Susan Trollinger with the College award for Outstanding Scholarship.

- Dr. Jon Hess, Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, Internationalization and Inclusive Excellence

Outstanding Service: Dr. Denise James

The 2017 faculty award for Outstanding Service in the College of Arts and Science is presented to Denise James, associate professor in the department of philosophy and director of the women’s and gender studies program.

Dr. James’ service contributions are numerous and wide ranging. Since joining the UD faculty in 2008, she is someone who is sought out as a positional and thought leader. As is often the case for recipients of this award, this citation cannot do full justice to the scope and significance of service contributions.

Among her many department service accomplishments,Dr. James has served on its advisory committee since 2009, which is an elected position. She led a few years ago an innovative effort to revamp the undergraduate philosophy curriculum to emphasize community-focused questions and experiences.

At the College level, she has contributed to key programming and visioning initiatives as a member of the Women’s and Gender STudies Advisory Committee and has served as its director since 2016. She’s also served since 2016 on the College T&P Committee, elected to that role by her colleagues in the Humanities division.

One can point to any number of university-wide engagements or initiatives where Dr. James is active and influential. We recall fondly the stirring address delivered to incoming first year students. She led the Diversity Across the Curriculum initiative for several years.

Dr. James has brought valuable leadership to a number strategic planning initiatives, including the 2013-14 university-wide strategic planning team focused on international and intercultural excellence. She was a team leader for one of the working groups--focused on international and intercultural excellence--formed to draft the College’s 2020 Strategic Plan.

Dr. James has several on several high profile search committees, including the 2015 search for VP of Diversity and Inclusion. She subsequently served on Dr. Larry Burnley’s transition team. About 1 year ago, Dr. James served on President Spina’s Inauguration Committee, where she organized and planned several events, including the faculty research symposium.

Dr. James’ leadership extends to her discipline where she’ll held several notable appointments, including the program co-chair for the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, the national conference for her philosophical subfield.

One person writing on behalf of her nomination said, “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.” I believe Dr. James’ willingness to contribute to the improvement and progress of our campus community makes her a servant leader. While some faculty would understandably reduce their service commitments when they assume an administrative role, Dr. James has continued to say yes when asked to serve and her efforts are benefiting our campus.”

Another added, “And when she shows up, she shows up with a spirit of cooperation and candor. Denise is unafraid to speak up and to work for what she believes will propel us to be the university for the common good we aspire to be. Her frank approach to difficult topics and willingness to engage in hard work make her service distinctive and worthy of acknowledgement…. Denise is a tireless servant-leader. Her warm heart along with the depth and breadth of her intellect makes her a “go-to” person for many across the University community.”

For her distinguished service and the spirit she brings, the College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to award the 2017 Award for Outstanding Service to Dr. Denise James.

- Dr. Jason L. Pierce, Dean

Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure Track Faculty Member: Dr. Hsuan Tsen

The 2017 faculty award for Outstanding Contribution by a Non-Tenure Track Faculty Member is presented to Hsuan Tsen of the Department of Art and Design. Hsuan has a BA in Liberal Arts from Hampshire College, and an MA and PhD. from Stanford University. We have been lucky enough to have her at UD since 2012. She’s made contributions to our offerings in art history, the honors program, the film studies minor, the sustainability studies program, as well as the discover arts program. And, I’m very pleased to share more about her many contributions.

One of the most impressive aspects of the nomination materials submitted by Hsuan’s colleagues is that she has a clear commitment to cross-cultural representation and to trans-disciplinarity. Hsuan lives out this commitment through her course content, her team-taught courses, and her engagement in Dayton.

In her six years of teaching, Hsuan has offered many classes including: American Art and Architecture; Arts of Asia; Introduction to the Visual Arts; Film and Sexuality: Asian Cinema; Foundations in Art History; Problems in Global Art: Modern Japanese Art and Visual Culture, 1850-200; Problems in Global Art: The City in Art; Art in the City; Survey of Art III: 1700-present; Sustainability, Energy and the Environment: Constructions of Place; Twentieth Century Art I: Global Modernisms in Art.

These courses have brought students into the Dayton community and engaged her colleagues in interdisciplinary inquiry. As one of her co-teachers wrote, “Dr. Tsen is thoroughly dedicated to the pursuit of educating others. Her research remains active and disciplined, yet she is forever finding ways to integrate her own intellectual questions with the needs, potential and general ethos of our student community, with inclusivity as a steadfast goal. Her intellectual curiosity and ability to relate abstract notions of theory and history to concrete current events inspire students and colleagues alike. Her tireless willingness to go beyond the expectations and rewards of lectureship set an example for civic-minded scholarship and socially-aware citizenship. In 2015, we partnered to co-teach SEE 303 “Constructions of Place”, a required arts course for the Sustainability minor.”

Not only did we hear from other faculty on Hsuan’s many contributions, we also heard from her students. One student was so inspired by Hsuan’s teaching that she’s found success beyond UD. This student wrote: “As an art history major, my first course began with Dr. Tsen’s introduction to visual arts course. She quickly fueled my passion for the field and pushed me to think harder about subject matter. By the time I earned my degree, I had taken seven classes in total with her. Without her passion for cultural intersections and how she successfully implemented it, I may not have had the desire to apply for my Fulbright award, nor have found the motivation to apply and be offered admission to my dream graduate school, New York University.” This was definitely my favorite letter of support because this student essentially has a minor in the work of Hsuan Tsen.

This minor is one that will serve this student well as she pursues a graduate degree since Hsuan is also an active scholar who participates in a number of selective professional conferences including the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, the Popular Culture Association, and the American Culture association. She’s also frequently invited to give talks on her areas of expertise. Just to name a few of the papers that she’s presented: “Fighting Bodies: American Representations of Japanese Men”; “Mutable Bodies: Sexuality, Cuteness, and the films of Betty Boop and Shirley Temple”; “Beyond the Geisha: American representations of Japanese men around the Russo-Japanese War”’ and “’My Buddha’: Boston, Buddhism, and Art.”

For all of these contributions and more, I am pleased that we are honoring Hsuan Tsen!

- Dr. Danielle Poe, Associate Dean for Curriculum and Academic Outcomes

Recognition of Promotion to Emeritus Status

The following faculty were promoted to the rank of Professor Emeritus in 2017:

  • Michael Barnes, Department of Religious Studies
  • Marybeth Carlson, Department of History
  • Percio Castro, Department of Global Languages and Cultures
  • Dale Courte, Department of Computer Science
  • Isabel Espinoza, Department of Global Languages and Cultures
  • Phillip Magnuson, Department of Music
  • Kathleen Watters, Department of Communication

College of Arts and Sciences

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