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College of Arts and Sciences

2023 Faculty Awards

David Fine, faculty award 2023

The 2023 faculty award for outstanding teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. David Fine in the Department of English.

David holds Ph.D. and Master of Arts degrees in English from Lehigh University, and a Master of Education degree from Bloomsburg University. He joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2016 as an assistant professor of English. He was promoted in 2022 to associate professor.

David’s excellence as an educator is demonstrated by his inclusive, innovative and empowering teaching. Department of English Chair Andy Slade praised him as a professor who takes risks and trusts his students. Student comments on his teaching evaluations are extremely supportive of David as an effective teacher.

Tracy Reilly, NCR Professor of Law and Technology at the UD School of Law, took two courses with David while completing her master’s degree in literary and cultural studies. She said David structures his courses with a “refreshingly holistic approach” to literature, broadly engaging in the relevant history of the era and envisioning connections to philosophy, religion and gender studies.

John McCombe, director of the University Honors Program, said David has been among the most engaged English faculty members working with UD's honors student population.

“By teaching an array of honors courses focused on gender equity and the common good, Dr. Fine is attending to the mission of the University, and he is also committed to respecting and celebrating difference — in terms of gender, sexuality, race and religious identity,” he said.

During the 2022 fall semester, David facilitated a Teaching Transgender and Nonbinary Students pedagogy workshop for his colleagues, with students from his Feminist Theory and Methodology course leading the conversation.

That event resulted from a four-day workshop with the Transgender Training Institute that David attended in May 2021, with support from a CAP Course Innovation and Improvement grant. He applied for that grant to revise his Gender and Fiction course, and to educate himself about transgender and non-binary people, identities and experiences. He continues to revamp his courses and assignments for expanded gender inclusivity.

David also prioritizes experiential learning. His students have participated in the Facing Project, Undesign the Redline and other community-engaged initiatives.

For his innovative, impactful teaching and commitment to the principles of inclusivity and justice, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. David Fine with the Outstanding Teaching Award for 2023.

Faculty profile

Chad Painter, faculty award 2023

The 2023 faculty award for outstanding scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Chad Painter in the Department of Communication.

Chad holds Ph.D. and Master of Arts degrees in journalism from the University of Missouri. He joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2016 as an assistant professor of communication. He was promoted in 2022 to associate professor. Currently, he serves as chair of the Department of Communication.

Chad’s research is driven by the question: What is the normative role of the media? His work focuses on the portrayal of journalists in popular culture; the historical and contemporary role of the alternative press; and media depictions of gender, race, disability and sexual orientation.

Since coming to UD, Chad has published two books, 17 journal articles and nine book chapters. He also presented 12 papers at major international conferences in his field. Most significantly, he was a co-writer on two editions of Media Ethics: Issues and Cases. Designed as the main text of a media ethics course, the book has been cited more than 450 times, according to Google Scholar.

Chad has averaged four to five publications in each of his first six years at UD, far exceeding the department’s minimum of three quality articles in refereed journals for the purpose of tenure and promotion to associate professor. His rate of scholarly work is 10 times higher than what the department expects of junior faculty. He has multiple publications in top-tier, high-impact journals including Journalism Studies, Health Communication and Journalism Practice.

His work has been recognized at the University of Dayton and beyond. He was invited to present at UD’s Spotlight on Technology, Arts, Research and Scholarship event in March 2017. He has received $15,000 in University funding, including two Summer Research Fellowships and a Department of Communication Summer Grant. With his two co-authors, he received a $5,000 grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation for Media Ethics: Issues and Cases.

His students benefit from his research, according to Lee Wilkins, professor emerita at the Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to providing students with a clear understanding of the current state of the field, Chad involves them in research projects, enabling them to become case-study co-authors for the ethics texts he now edits.

“Conducting research that sits comfortably on library shelves is an accomplishment; getting it off the shelves and into students’ ways of thinking requires extra effort. Dr. Painter’s work demonstrates what is possible in this dimension,” she said.

Chad has advised nine presentations of student research at UD’s Bro. Joseph W. Stander Symposium. Currently, he serves as Stander Symposium co-chair.

For his impressive quantity of high-quality research that has had a wide impact in the fields of journalism and media ethics, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Chad Painter with the Outstanding Scholarship Award for 2023.

Faculty profile

Sam Dorf, faculty award 2023

The 2023 faculty award for outstanding service in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Sam Dorf in the Department of Music.

Sam holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Northwestern University, and a Master of Arts degree in musicology from Tufts University. He came to the University of Dayton faculty in 2010 as a lecturer, and joined the tenure-track faculty in 2012 as an assistant professor of music. He became an associate professor in 2018 and will be promoted to professor in 2023.

Sam has a deep commitment to service, as demonstrated by the quantity, diversity and range of his service activities across the University, College and Department of Music, as well as to professional and community organizations.

He was elected to two consecutive terms as president of the Academic Senate, following one year as vice president and another serving on the executive committee. Under his leadership, the senate amended its constitution to increase representation for full-time, non-tenure-track faculty; passed a new University tenure and promotion policy that rewards faculty contributions to inclusive excellence; improved the student evaluations of teaching; revised the Honor Code; and expanded midterm progress reporting for undergraduate students.

Sam was also elected to the Committee for Sustainable Institutional Transformation, convened by President Spina to develop recommendations to enable the University’s long-term financial stability. He served on the “Blue Sky” Concept and Faculty Workload and Instructional Model subcommittees, where he advocated for faculty, staff and students.

In the College, Sam served two terms on the Academic Affairs Committee and chaired the humanities subcommittee, which reviewed more than 200 course and program documents each year. In addition, he served on the working groups that informed the College’s strategic plan.

In the Department of Music, Sam has served on the ensemble directors committee, tenure and promotion committee, and program and curriculum development committee — chairing the latter from 2016 to 2019.

Beyond UD, Sam serves in many capacities, including as the treasurer of the American Musicological Society and on the board of the Anti-Defamation League’s Cleveland office. He co-founded the Oakwood Inclusion Coalition and Citizens for a Better Oakwood. In 2019, he received the Allan Wasserman Young Leadership Award for his service to the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton.

Department of Music Chair Julia Randel described Sam’s service record as inspiring and energizing. “His modeling of how service can be effective, meaningful and woven into a life of scholarship and teaching is itself a major service to the institution,” she said.

For his sustained record of excellence in service, which has had an enormous impact on and off campus, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Samuel Dorf with the Outstanding Service Award for 2023.

Faculty profile

Mary Ellen Dillon, faculty award 2023

The 2023 faculty award for outstanding contributions by a full-time, non-tenure-track faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Mary Ellen Dillon in the Department of Biology.

Mary Ellen holds a Master of Liberal Arts degree in sustainability from Harvard University and a Master of Science degree in biology from Purdue University. She joined the University of Dayton in 1991 as the biology lab coordinator. She served as a part-time lecturer from 1994 to 2000, and became a full-time lecturer in 2000. She was promoted to principal lecturer in 2020.

Mary Ellen has achieved a substantial record of accomplishments in her 30 years at UD. In addition to her aforementioned roles, she served as coordinator of the Integrated Natural Science Sequence and co-developed the Review Leader program with Said Elhamri, professor of physics. The latter program paired physics and education majors, and trained them as tutors. Many graduates credit this program for awakening their love for science.

Department of Biology Chair Karolyn Hansen described Mary Ellen as a passionate and innovative science teacher who carefully structures her courses to ensure that students engage in deep learning and critical thinking. Her teaching repertoire includes courses on biology, sustainability and global environmental systems.

She also creates innovative active-learning exercises and community-engaged experiences for her students. Some, like 2006 graduate Kimberly J.V. Boehm — now a biology teacher at Centerville High School — continue to use Mary Ellen’s teaching methods in their own classrooms.

A lifelong learner, Mary Ellen’s interest in the interconnection between local farms, food and antibiotic use led her to pursue a master’s degree in sustainability from Harvard University, while continuing to teach full-time at UD. Her research about antibiotic use in livestock resulted in a peer-reviewed publication and also inspired students to form a new club: Flyers Against Antibiotic Resistance.

Many of Mary Ellen’s non-tenure-track colleagues praised her tireless efforts as an advocate on their behalf. She has served as the professional faculty representative on both the Faculty Board and the Academic Senate, where she was instrumental in developing the lecturer promotion policy and increasing non-tenure-track representation in the senate. Currently, she serves on the College’s lecturer promotion committee.

“Mary Ellen’s professionalism and persistence in championing the implementation of a lecturer promotion policy has benefitted so many of our faculty across campus — an impact that will increase in number, benefits and morale for years to come,” said Nicky Adams, principal lecturer in the Department of English. “She is a community member who focuses on activism, working for change that benefits all.”

For her effective, student-focused teaching, and her devotion to the well-being of faculty, the College is pleased to recognize Mary Ellen Dillon with the Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award for 2023.

Faculty profile

2023 Emeritus Faculty

Paul Benson, Emeritus 2023

It is difficult to summarize briefly Paul Benson’s contributions to the University of Dayton over the past nearly 40 years. While Paul holds a special place in the hearts of those of us in the philosophy department, given his origins therein as faculty member and then department chair, it is safe to say he is among the most respected and widely beloved administrators in UD’s history over the past few decades.  

Paul received his Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton in 1984 and began at UD as an assistant professor in 1985. He became department chair in 2001 and served in that capacity for several years before entering the dean’s office as an associate dean in 2005. He became dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2007 and began serving in the provost role in 2014. Among his many contributions as an administrator at all of these levels is his ongoing commitment to diversity. As chair, he made assiduous efforts to increase the department’s number of women and minority faculty, and, as dean and provost, he has been a forthright and consistent leader in the university’s efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion.  

Paul has remained impressively active as a scholar despite his duties as a high-level administrator. His CV lists 17 peer-reviewed articles, as well as numerous book reviews, a good number of them being published since he began serving as dean and  provost. In addition, he has given countless conference and other professional presentations, some philosophical and others focused on university life and administration, again with many occurring while he was dean and then provost.  

As an administrator, Paul has built and maintained supportive personal connections with many individual faculty. One faculty member with a foreign name recalls that Paul “was one of the few people on campus who learned my name and pronounced it correctly the first time we had a conversation. He also remembered the content of our in-person conversations and referred to them correctly later.” Another faculty member recalls that, over the years, Paul has taken care to inform him of relevant professional opportunities and of recent research that might be of use to his scholarship, as well as joining him for several philosophical discussions over lunch.

Paul has been unfailingly supportive of academic freedom and the entitlement of faculty to research and teach according to their own professional judgment. One faculty member recalls that, as dean, Paul “backed my right to teach environmental concerns in my engineering ethics classes. Some students objected to my critical analysis of the use of nuclear power and dirty energy. Paul was familiar with some of the material I assigned and upheld the value of teaching these topics.” Another reports that, when she informed Paul of an upcoming publication that would likely prove controversial, he emphasized her freedom to publish the material in question and gave helpful advice for anticipating and handling any potential fallout.  

In addition to his many duties as an academic administrator, Paul has been a civically committed citizen of the Dayton community. One faculty member recalls that when the City of Dayton was trying to weaken drinking water well field regulations, Paul and his wife Stephanie testified at the City Commission meeting for preservation of strong water quality regulations. Another faculty member remembers that “Paul spoke on behalf of UD leadership at the gun violence forum I organized to mark the anniversary of the Oregon District shooting. It was the first big event I’d organized in Dayton, with numerous civic leaders and political officials present, and I was naturally quite nervous. Paul’s poise and readiness to speak to the moment put me at ease and helped make the event a success.”

Alongside his unfailing professionalism, Paul can also be quite funny. One longtime philosophy faculty member recalls that, as department chair, “Paul came into my intro class to tell me he had added three more students to the section (for a total of 38). I asked him if he thought it was fair that what he was doing in this class was precisely what I would be talking about in my next class: Marx's account of exploitation, profit and the labor theory of value. He paused and laconically enough said ‘probably not.’ ”

As one faculty member observes in summary, “somehow, in spite of his numerous promotions, Paul has managed to retain his ethical compass and his interest in philosophy.” Another aptly calls him “scholarly, elegant, and witty ... a gentleman and a mensch.” We in the philosophy department, alongside so many others in the UD community — students, faculty and staff — will miss Paul a great deal, and we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement. 

Faculty profile

Robert Crutcher, Emeritus 2023

During his 22 years at the University of Dayton, Rob Crutcher established an impressive record of scholarship, teaching, thesis mentorship and service to the department and the university. Rob is a cognitive psychologist, and his program of research examines memory processes, human learning and skill, expert-novice differences, language processes, the use of verbal report methodologies in studying mental processes and applications of cognitive psychology to improving human memory and thinking skills. He is widely regarded as an expert in his areas of specialization, and his work features meticulously conducted, multi-study investigations of memory processes that require precise, single-subject data collection. His work has been featured in some of the highest impact journals in the field. 

Rob’s contributions to the education of our students have been equally impressive. Rob routinely taught several of the most challenging and foundational courses offered by the department. He is widely regarded by colleagues and students as a truly exceptional instructor. Students routinely sought out his courses, despite his reputation of being among the most challenging instructors in the department. Students regard him as knowledgeable, fair, caring, organized, passionate and rigorous. His peers have also recognized his teaching excellence. A peer reviewer of one of his graduate statistics classes once noted that he “wished (Rob) had been my statistics professor when I was in graduate school.” 

Rob’s many contributions to the department will be felt for years to come. Rob has been a trusted and knowledgeable voice in the department and a close friend to many. He will be missed greatly, and the department will not be the same without him.

Faculty profile

Susan Gardstrom, Emeritus 2023

Since joining the UD faculty in 1998, Susan Gardstrom has led and shaped the Music Therapy program, making it the largest major in the Department of Music and earning recognition as a leading music therapy program in the country.

Her stature as a researcher in the field, with a recent focus on music therapy for women with additions, has been recognized this spring with a lifetime achievement award from the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association.

Her research has informed her teaching and mentoring through work on the pedagogy of music therapy, as well as many publications and presentations co-authored with UD students and alumni.

Part of the remarkable legacy she is leaving in the Department of Music is that two of her former students are now members of our faculty. Susan has not only been a wonderful mentor to these young colleagues, but has embraced and encouraged the new ideas and directions they have brought.

She has maintained fertile soil and planted seeds that will ensure long-term growth in our program, and we wish her all the best as she turns this energy to her own garden in retirement.

Faculty profile

Peter Hovey, Emeritus 2023

Pete Hovey has been associated with the University of Dayton for most of his life. His father worked at UDRI, and Pete himself joined the UD family when he enrolled as a mathematics major in 1971. He graduated in 1975 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Kentucky. He returned to UD to join the Research Institute in 1980. Except for a three-year stint at AFIT, he worked at UDRI until 2011, when he joined the Department of Mathematics as a tenure-line faculty member. 

Pete’s first project at UDRI was a statistical evaluation of probability of detection (POD) for nondestructive inspections of aircraft structures. He was the first to use logistic regression to analyze the data, and he became a world-renowned expert in estimating POD. Pete was one of the developers of the probabilistic software PROF, which projects the probability of fracture in aircraft structures based on limited information about crack sizes, as well as the probability of detecting cracks during routine inspections of the aircraft. This became the standard program used by the Air Force’s Air Logistics Centers to help manage aging aircraft, and Pete represented the Air Force Research Laboratory in intergovernmental committees on using probabilistic risk assessment in the design of aircraft structures.

As a faculty member in Mathematics, Pete has taught introductory statistics for non-STEM majors, a statistics course for computer science and other STEM majors, the probability and statistics sequence for mathematics majors and four different graduate statistics courses. He has often volunteered to teach the actuarial probability seminar, which prepares actuarial science minors for Exam P, the first of many actuarial exams – even though this teaching assignment constitutes an overload. He has supervised seven graduate Math Clinics, eight undergraduate capstone projects and two honors theses. He has served on six Ph.D. committees and nine M.S. committees in the School of Engineering and the School of Education and Health Sciences. 

He has been involved in organizing the department’s annual events. The Biennial Alumni Career Seminar invites our alums back to campus to talk to our current students about their careers and Undergraduate Mathematics Day is a conference that showcases students’ work in mathematics and provides them with the opportunity to network with students from other institutions. Pete served on the search committees for all but one current tenure-line statistics faculty, chairing three of them. He was the advisor to UD’s chapter of Pi Mu Epsilon, a national mathematics honor society.

Pete’s research has largely been collaborative. He has made many contributions to research related to POD, and he has an extensive collaboration record with colleagues in civil engineering. He has given numerous presentations at statistics conferences, and he has been very involved in the American Statistical Association. His professional activities within the ASA have included serving as chapter representative for the Dayton Chapter, organizing a conference held at UD and serving as chair of the Section on Physical and Engineering Sciences.

Pete has been a great department citizen. He has always provided thoughtful input in departmental discussions. He loves the department and wants it to succeed in providing an excellent education for the mathematics majors and every other student who takes a mathematics or statistics class. His colleagues will miss his presence and cheerful participation in department activities.

Faculty profile

David Johnson, Emeritus 2023

Dave Johnson joined UD’s Chemistry department in 1985. During Dave’s time at UD, he taught a variety of classes including general, environmental, analytical chemistry and, most recently, courses for the Premedical programs office and advised numerous students.

Research played a big role in Dave’s time at UD, and he spent most of his research time engaged in aircraft lubricant development with researchers at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Not surprisingly, Dave’s work led to numerous research publications.

Not being one to shy away from a challenge, Dave was appointed as department chair twice starting in 2004 and 2014. As chair, Dave oversaw numerous renovation projects which helped modernize the chemistry department. The most recent (and extensive) project was the consolidation (and renovation) of multiple laboratory spaces into a shared instrumentation facility and an advanced synthesis laboratory.

Dave has been an integral part of the chemistry department and UD community as a whole for over 37 years and will be missed by his colleagues.

Faculty profile

Jayne Robinson, Emeritus 2023

Dr. Jayne Robinson has faithfully served the Biology department, the College of Arts and Sciences and the University for 28 years. She joined UD in 1994 as an asssitant professor in the Department of Biology, was promoted to associate professor in 2000 and to full professor in 2005. Jayne’s primary teaching and research areas are microbiology and microbial ecology.

Jayne served as Associate Director of the Honors and Scholars program from 2000-05 where she was instrumental in expanding the quality and impact of the Stander Symposium from a three-hour event to the current multi-venue multi-modal event.  As part of the Honors Program, Jayne developed the River Stewardship and Global Responsibilities program in 2004 with then Honors Program Director Dr. Steve Dandaneau. Their objective was to expose the students to service in the spirit of UD and to explore in depth the role of the rivers in the history of Dayton and the immense resource of which students must be “stewards”. This program laid the groundwork for the incredibly successful UD Rivers Institute and their flagship River Steward program.

Jayne served two four-year terms as the Department of Biology Chairperson during which she successfully hired eight tenure line faculty and saw the doubling of the departmental research funding and number of majors. While serving as chair, she also maintained an active and well- funded research program right up to her retirement in July 2022.

Jayne has mentored 20 undergraduate Honors Thesis students and 17 graduate students. Her research effort has resulted in $2M-plus of funded research, 30-plus publications, and Intellectual Property (two patents awarded, one in-process). Her research effort also resulted in the establishment of the SMART Center with Dr. Shawn Swavey (Chemistry) which was renamed as our current Integrative Science and Engineering Center (ISE).

Jayne’s strong commitment to teaching, research and service has contributed to the success we have today in the Department of Biology, the College of Arts and Sciences and the university. She has been a role model for being successful in all three faculty areas: high-quality teaching, high-quality research and scholarship, and impactful service.

Faculty profile

College of Arts and Sciences

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