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College of Arts and Sciences

Past Faculty Award Winners

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. In lieu of our annual spring ceremony, we honor them here. 

2023 Awardees

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.

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.

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.

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.

Past awardees

Outstanding Teaching: Zelalem Bedaso

The 2022 faculty award for outstanding teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Zelalem Bedaso in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences.

Dr. Bedaso holds a Ph.D. in geology from the University of South Florida. He came to the University of Dayton in 2013 as a lecturer, became a visiting assistant professor in 2016, and joined the tenure-track faculty in 2017 as an assistant professor of geology.

Dr. Bedaso’s excellence in teaching is demonstrated by the large number of geoscience courses he has taught over the last nine years, from foundational science courses for non-majors to upper division geology classes. He receives top teaching evaluations from both students and peers, and his Student Evaluation of Teaching scores are consistently well above departmental averages.

Students often comment about Dr. Bedaso’s well-organized lectures, his expertise in the content, and his ability to explain complex issues in understandable terms.

His foundational science sections are widely sought after by all students, and he has been highly successful at recruiting new geology majors from these classes.

Dr. Bedaso has obtained Common Academic Program and Experiential Learning grants to revise and improve existing courses. He also has served on the Sustainability program’s curriculum committee for the last five years, and played an important role in developing the sustainability major’s curriculum.

One characteristic of Dr. Bedaso’s teaching is that he goes beyond expectations to create better learning experiences. For example, he takes small groups of students into the field to collect samples and study local hydrogeological settings. He also takes them to professional and academic labs in the region to learn about state-of-the art analytical tools used to analyze water and sediment chemistry.

“Zelalem does an excellent job of integrating his scientific research into the course curriculum,” wrote former Department of Geology Chair Dan Goldman. “This demonstrates to students how classroom instruction translates into real world application, and excites them about the potential to make important societal contributions based on their education.”

Dr. Bedaso incorporates experiential learning into his classes and enhances students’ educational opportunities by involving them in his research. He was awarded two National Science Foundation grants in 2021 that total more than $465,000. His research projects have led to eight students presenting at national conferences, 18 students presenting at Stander Symposium, and four students co-authoring papers published in peer-reviewed journals. With his dedicated mentoring, eight students have won research grants totaling more than $25,000.

In most of his scientific grant proposals, including the two NSF awards he received last year, Dr. Bedaso devotes significant portions of the grants to the training and education of next-generation geoscientists, particularly students from underrepresented groups.

For sustained, innovative teaching and his efforts to improve undergraduate science education through extensive experiential learning, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Zelalem Bedaso with the Outstanding Teaching Award for 2022.

Outstanding Scholarship: Sayeh Meisami

The 2021 faculty award for outstanding scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Sayeh Meisami in the Department of Philosophy.

Dr. Meisami holds a Ph.D. in Islamic studies from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Tehran. She joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2015 as an assistant professor of philosophy. She was promoted in 2019 to associate professor.

Dr. Meisami is a prolific writer whose research has a global impact. She is one of the most respected scholars of Shiʿi philosophy in the United States, and among a handful of top specialists in the study of the Safavid philosopher Mulla Sadra. Her scholarship is deeply interdisciplinary, bridging religion, philosophy,  politics and poetics.

Her first book Mulla Sadra, published in 2013, is now a standard primer for the study of Mulla Sadra. A Persian translation was recently published in Iran, and Turkish and Albanian translations are being solicited.

Her most recent book, Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī: A Philosopher for All Seasons, is the first monograph in English on the philosophy of Ṭūsī, a celebrated Iranian philosopher and scientist from the 13th century.

Because of her achievements in her field, Dr. Meisami was recently invited to write a book in a widely recognized series on philosophy at Equinox. That book, Exploring Islamic Philosophy, is scheduled for publication in 2024.

“Dr. Meisami is a preeminent voice in the study of Islamic philosophy, with scholarship that is prolific, original and accessible,” wrote Dr. Cyrus Ali Zargar, the Al-Ghazali Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Central Florida. “Her commitment to cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches within Islamic studies makes her work — already admired greatly by specialists in the field — of great value to the academy more broadly.”

Dr. Meisami also has made an important contribution to the Catholic intellectual tradition. She has translated a number of classic texts from this tradition into Farsi, including St. Augustine’s Confessions and The Imitation of Christ, both with multiple reprints.

In addition, Dr. Meisami is a superb teacher who is beloved by philosophy majors and non-majors. She is a key faculty participant in the first-year Core program and has contributed significantly to the diversification of the Department of Philosophy’s curriculum.

For the range and rigor of her scholarly achievements, including her unique contributions to the field of Islamic philosophy, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Sayeh Meisami with the Outstanding Scholarship Award for 2022.

Outstanding Service: Alan Abitbol

The 2022 faculty award for outstanding service in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Alan Abitbol in the Department of Communication.

Dr. Abitbol holds a Ph.D. in communication from Texas Tech University. He joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2016 as an assistant professor of public relations. He will be promoted to associate professor, effective August 2022.

Dr. Abitbol has contributed a remarkably high volume of quality service in just his first six years at the University. He has made high-impact service contributions at all levels of engagement — departmental, College, University and professional.  His service has advanced College and University priorities in terms of supporting student research, increasing diversity and helping to create an inclusive community.

It is important to note that Dr. Abitbol has achieved this level of service as a pre-tenure faculty member, while maintaining both the quantity and quality of his scholarship and teaching. He has published more than 12 peer-reviewed articles — three times the minimum expectation for communication faculty. He also has established himself as one of the top teachers in the department, with Student Evaluation of Teaching scores consistently above 4.5 on all measures.

In 2019, Dr. Abitbol was selected to serve as the Department of Communication’s director of graduate studies. Under his leadership, the department has increased enrollment by 50% through intentional recruiting strategies, successfully transitioned two graduate certificate programs completely online, and added non-teaching graduate assistants through partnerships with other campus units. He also established a graduate research colloquium that has positively impacted departmental culture.

His department service includes being faculty advisor for the Public Relations Student Society of America, where he helps students create programming and connect with the Dayton area’s professional PRSA chapter. He also played a significant role in helping to create the student-run public relations firm, Flyer PR, which has attracted nearly a dozen clients in its first year.

Dr. Abitbol has served on six hiring search committees, including one at the University level for the Institute of Pastoral Initiatives, chairing three of them. He also served as a member of the University’s Community Building Coordinating Consortium and the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop planning committee.

“Alan enlisted greater student participation in the workshop by offering scholarships funded by the Alumni Association to interested communication and English students,” wrote workshop director Teri Rizvi.

Professionally, Dr. Abitbol has served as a reviewer for seven academic journals, and has volunteered to review conference papers for two divisions and served on two committees for the public relations division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

For his impactful service that advances the University’s mission and priorities, and enhances graduate and undergraduate education, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Alan Abitbol with the Outstanding Service Award for 2022.

Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty: Julie Simon

The 2022 faculty award for outstanding contributions by a full-time, non-tenure-track faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Julie Simon in the Department of Mathematics.

Dr. Simon holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Wellesley College. She joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2010 as a full-time mathematics lecturer and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2020.

Dr. Simon is an excellent educator with a broad teaching agenda and a strong interest in improving the quality of student learning. She is an outstanding academic advisor, and has been involved in a range of service activities related to student success, vocational discernment and faculty development. In addition, she has been an important voice in the University’s efforts to develop and implement lecturer promotion policies.

“Julie has distinguished herself at many levels through various leadership roles she has taken on at the department, College and University levels,” wrote David Wright, director of academic technology and curriculum innovation. “It is unusual to find persons with this quality of multi-dimensional leadership — but it is even rarer to find an excellent track record in someone with non-tenure-track faculty rank and a passion for improving the quality of learning and teaching.”

Dr. Simon has taught 11 different mathematics courses to date, including those for students planning mathematics-intensive careers, as well as those for non-STEM majors. Her classes are demanding, but students know she will do all she can to help them succeed.

Dr. Simon served as assistant director of Premedical Programs from 2012 to 2016, advising from 90 to 160 premedicine and predentistry majors each year. She continues to advise about 60 students per year from those programs, guiding their applications to health professional schools, and writing letters of evaluation and composite letters for their applications.

Since fall 2020, Dr. Simon has served as a transfer credit specialist, working with the Transfer Credit Office and the College assistant deans and department chairs to determine the UD equivalent for transferred science and mathematics courses and add those courses to the Transfer Evaluation System database.

In 2016, Dr. Simon was invited to join the Teaching Fellows Program planning team as a “master teacher.” She also has facilitated numerous Midterm Instructional Diagnoses for faculty from across the University. In addition, she volunteers as a tutor for the weekly ASI 160 science study tables and also tutors in the Math Help Center.

For innovative, high-impact teaching, her commitment to student support, and consistent service to the University community, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Julie Simon with the Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Award for 2022.

Outstanding Teaching: Nicola Work

The 2021 faculty award for outstanding teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Nicola Work in the Department of Global Languages and Cultures.

Dr. Work holds a Ph.D. in modern languages from Wayne State University in Detroit. She came to the University of Dayton in 2008 as an instructor and joined the tenure-track faculty in 2009 as assistant professor of French. She was promoted to associate professor in 2015.

Dr. Work’s excellence in teaching is demonstrated by the transformative impact she has made on students, as well as her sustained commitment to teaching development through her research and work with the Ryan C. Harris Learning Teaching Center.

In her nomination letter, Dr. Carola Daffner, global languages and cultures department chair, characterized Dr. Work as a creative, energetic and personable teacher with remarkably high student evaluations. In addition, she is an educator whose teaching is informed, innovative, sophisticated and effective.

Dr. Work’s communicative approach to teaching encourages students to learn the French language not through repetitive drills, but instead by using it to do things that they care about, from learning about student life in France to creating their own imaginary French businesses. This approach further motivates students and broadens the goals of foreign language study by helping students to recognize how fully embedded language and culture are in one another.

In their evaluations from the past year, which included face-to-face, blended and fully online courses, students called Dr. Work “outstanding” and the “best professor” they’ve had at UD. The evaluations highlight her organizational skills, clear explanations and genuine concern for student’s continued success inside and outside the classroom.

“Tech-savvy, collaborative, and creative, Dr. Work interacts well with her students, encouraging us to enter into dialogue with one another and walking around the classroom to join this dialogue herself,” wrote one of her students. “Moreover, her PowerPoints are not only beautiful and organized but also interactive with Google Slides and Jamboards that all students can respond to in groups. Her creativity to engage students reaches its culmination with her well-known and beloved ‘jeu d’evasion’ escape rooms at the end of the year.”

Dr. Work is an ASPIRE, Leadership UD and LTC Studio fellow. She also is a certified Apple teacher and serves as faculty advisor to the University’s French Club. In addition, she has published, presented research, and given workshops for higher education and K-12 teachers on the use of escape rooms in the college classroom, and on the use of iPads and other technology tools to enhance language learning.

For sustained, sophisticated teaching that challenges and stimulates students, and inspires a passion for language learning, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Nicola Work with the Outstanding Teaching Award for 2021.

Outstanding Scholarship: Kyle Phelps

The 2021 faculty award for outstanding scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Kyle Phelps in the Department of Art and Design.

Professor Phelps holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in ceramics and sculpture from the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts. He joined the University of Dayton fine arts faculty in 2001, alongside his identical twin brother, Kelly Phelps. Both were awarded tenure and promotion in 2008. Kyle is a professor and head of the department’s sculpture area. His brother, Kelly, is a professor and head of sculpture at Xavier University in Cincinnati.

Kyle Phelps has more than 20 years of practice as a professional artist, often in collaboration with his brother, with whom he has produced a large body of work about the modern plight of the blue-collar worker in the United States. He is nationally acclaimed in his field of ceramics and sculpture, and his award-winning work has been featured in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions at museums, universities and private galleries. His accomplishments also include artist talks, workshops, publications and panel presentations.

The Phelps brothers’ visual art is inspired by their family members and friends who worked at manufacturing plants, steel mills and foundries in their native Indiana. They have combined found objects such as gears and corrugated metal with handcrafted ceramic/resin cast figures to create a visual narrative composition about the blue-collar experience.

Their work is widely collected by more than 100 private and public institutions, including the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; the Canton Art Museum in Canton, Ohio; Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York; and the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis. They also have completed more than 75 commissions for public and corporate collections that include the NAACP National Headquarters and the Brown-Forman Company, as well as for the private collections of actor Morgan Freeman, filmmaker Michael Moore and musician Bootsy Collins.

Kyle Phelps has given nearly a dozen individual and panel presentations on his research at such diverse venues as the McDonough Museum of Art in Youngstown, Ohio, and the AFL-CIO National Meeting at the Steelworkers Union Hall in Baltimore. In 2014, he demonstrated his creative technique at the National Council on Education for Ceramic Arts, the premier venue for ceramic artists.

The Phelps brothers were the subjects of feature articles in Ceramics Monthly, Sculpture and American Craft magazines. They also will be profiled in the forthcoming book, Survey of Contemporary African American Artists.

“One of Kyle’s incredible achievements was being the featured demonstrating artist at the 2018 National Ceramics Education Conference in Pittsburgh,” wrote Sheri Leigh O’Connor, fine arts department chair at Sierra Nevada University, who first met Kyle while he was in graduate school. “There was a huge audience present, and they were really engaged in the demos that Kyle offered. He was articulate and knowledgeable, just as he was here at SNU during his 2014 workshop. Our students were also very impressed at that time, watching Kyle make his work in his unique style, and talking about the process in detail. It was an amazing accomplishment and made me extremely proud to know him.”

For scholarly achievement that demonstrates a sustained body of creative research over two decades, and his work’s message of social justice and exploration of American labor, the College is pleased to recognize Professor Kyle Phelps with the Outstanding Scholarship Award for 2021.

Outstanding Service: Neomi De Anda

The 2021 faculty award for outstanding service in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Neomi De Anda in the Department of Religious Studies.

Dr. De Anda holds a Ph.D. in constructive theology from Loyola University Chicago. She joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2013 as assistant professor of religious studies. She was promoted in 2018 to associate professor.

Dr. De Anda is a Lay Marianist and member of the Micah Theotokos Marianist Lay Community. Her strong record of quality service to the University and the Department of Religious Studies supports the Catholic, Marianist mission and identity of UD. She has worked to advance diversity, equity and inclusion on campus by serving on the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Task Force, and co-creating the Latinx and Latin American Studies minor. In addition, she is active in service to her discipline, serving as president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the U.S. (ACHTUS), which held its annual meeting at the University of Dayton in June 2019.

Dr. De Anda began her appointment at the University with a focus on developing Marianist values. She is a consultant for the Marianist Family and a mentor for the Marianist PULSE program. She also has served as a student advisor of the Marianist Student Communities, a task that requires mentors to meet with students and provide formation activities and prayer times. Her service work in this area led her to develop a related 3-credit course, Living as Marianist Student Communities.

As ACHTUS president and president-elect, Dr. De Anda launched a mentoring program for Catholic Latinx students considering a Ph.D. in theology or religious studies. The Forum for Theological Exploration, a leadership incubator backed by the Lilly Endowment, awarded funds to support the initiative.

In October 2018, she served as an organizer and main speaker of a three-day teach-in for justice at the Hope Border Institute in El Paso, Texas. “I saw Dr. De Anda place her faith and academic expertise at the service of the cross-border community of El Paso-Juarez, of students and colleagues who came from multiple Catholic universities, and of the broader Church,” wrote Dr. Victor Carmona, ACHTUS vice president and assistant professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego, in his letter of support for this award.

During summer 2020, Dr. De Anda served as chair of the Path Forward Academic Faculty Review Processes Subgroup, which was charged with proposing recommendations for modifications to faculty evaluation processes that were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dr. De Anda was a thorough and thoughtful servant-leader who ensured that the working group’s recommendations were transparent, equitable and deeply conscious of potential bias,” wrote Dr. Leslie Picca, 2020-2021 Academic Senate president. “Under her leadership, the recommendations were accepted by the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate and adopted by the Provost.”

For her impactful service to the University, her department and field, and for her work advocating for people and on behalf of justice, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Neomi De Anda with the Outstanding Service Award for 2021.

Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty:
Laura Toomb

The 2021 faculty award for outstanding contributions by a full-time, non-tenure-track faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Laura Toomb in the Department of Communication.

A passionate University of Dayton alumna, Ms. Toomb lives by the Marianist motto of Learn, Lead and Serve. She holds a master’s degree in communication from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from UD. She joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2015 as a communication lecturer. In 2019, she received the Department of Communication’s Outstanding Lecturer Award.

Ms. Toomb has made important contributions to the University, College and her department across the areas of quality teaching, professional development and service. She has made a positive impact as an advisor in the College’s Discover Arts program, where she helps students discern their vocation, keeps them on track for their desired major, and presents alternative pathways to introduce them to majors they might not have otherwise considered.

As a teacher, Ms. Toomb’s Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) scores are consistently well above the department average, with the majority falling above 4.6 out of 5.0. That is a remarkable achievement considering that she teaches a significant number of CMM 100 sections, a required course for all students that often results in lower average scores in all key indicators — but not for Ms. Toomb.

Sumpter Miller, a 2020 graduate who had Ms. Toomb as his ASI advisor and twice as an instructor, considers her to be one of the best professors at UD. “Professor Toomb is truly a great representation of University of Dayton faculty,” he wrote. “Her teaching ability and connection with her students is what differentiates her from other faculty members. Professor Toomb shows no favoritism in the classroom, she makes sure all students participate in class activities, and ensures students have the necessary resources to succeed in her class.”

Ms. Toomb redesigned an upper-level elective, CMM 322: Interviewing for Communication and Business, transforming it into an experiential learning opportunity for students. She brings in 10 professionals and conducts videotaped mock interviews at the Fiore Talarico Sales Center. In addition, she has raised $3,500 from corporate sponsors in recent years to host a four-course business etiquette dinner in Kennedy Union for 100 students from across the University.

Last summer, Ms. Toomb helped create the online curriculum for the Early Start program for incoming first-year students. She then adapted the template for use by Discover Program instructors for their fall semester online and hybrid courses. It has since been adopted for use in the School of Business, School of Engineering, and the School of Education and Health Sciences. In addition, she created an online form that is now used by all College departments, which has streamlined pre-search processes for new full-time faculty lines.

She is a Marianist Education Associate who has served on the College and Department of Communication lecturer promotion committees. She created an online public speaking course as a member of the eLearning Fellows program, and co-chaired the Flyer Media Task Force. In addition, she serves as faculty advisor for Phi Kappa Phi and the Ronald McDonald House Charities Club.

For outstanding, high-impact teaching, and strong service and leadership to the College and her department, the College is pleased to recognize Laura Toomb with the Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Award for 2021.

Outstanding Teaching: Meghan Henning

The 2020 faculty award for outstanding teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Meghan Henning in the Department of Religious Studies.

Dr. Henning holds a Ph.D. in the New Testament from Emory University and a master’s degree in biblical studies from Yale Divinity School. She joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2014 as assistant professor of Christian origins.

Dr. Henning’s excellence as a teacher rests both on her clear philosophy of education and her dedication to its practical application with her students. She models a communal, developmental and uncomplacent style of teaching at all levels of instruction that is both effective and influential.

With undergraduate students, she mixes traditional lecture with innovative and well-structured exercises, which she refers to as “labs,” on the intensive reading of primary source materials. She complements this approach to classroom instruction with a commitment to creating a true community of learning with her students. For graduate students, she is both an erudite guide to their field of study and a model for their own professional and pedagogical formation.

Dr. Henning has demonstrated a transformative impact on students. In a departmental assessment of the learning outcome “examine one’s own faith commitments” for 200-level faith tradition courses, her results were very strong. When asked how deeply the course led them to examine their faith commitments, 23% of Dr. Henning’s students answered “Changed my life” — notably higher than the 7.7% average — and 74% responded, “It got me thinking.”

Her Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) scores are also consistently well above departmental averages at all levels of instruction. Responding to the question of whether her course increased their understanding of the subject, one student wrote: “Strongly agree feels inadequate and I wish there were a higher ranking I could offer. Dr. Henning is a phenomenal instructor who is incredibly knowledgeable and knows how to convey that in a way that is informative and easy to understand.”

Samuel Mullins ’16, now a Ph.D. student studying early Christianity, said Dr. Henning’s passion is what makes her a great teacher.

“Dr. Henning is passionate about her subject and passionate about her students,” he wrote. “The passion for her subject is evident in the energy with which she teaches. The passion for her students is evident in the time she takes to help them, her tireless efforts to help them succeed, and the kind words she offers to and about them.”

Dr. Henning’s contributions as an educator extend beyond the classroom to the formation of curriculum. She was instrumental in revising the religious studies major. She also has created numerous innovative courses for the Common Academic Program and the department’s graduate programs that demonstrate a fruitful, interdisciplinary approach. She has also contributed to the scholarship of teaching internationally, co-editing a special pedagogy issue of the Journal of Disability and Religion with Dr. Kirk Van Gilder.

As a teacher-scholar, Dr. Henning has published the book, Educating Early Christians through the Rhetoric of Hell, as well as 14 peer-reviewed articles and essays. She is writing another, Hell Hath No Fury: Gender, Disability, the Body, and the Conceptualization of Suffering in Ancient Christian Depictions of Hell, under contract with Yale University Press.

For sustained quality teaching that transforms student perspectives and creates greater interest in religious studies and theology, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Meghan Henning with the Outstanding Teaching Award for 2020.

Outstanding Scholarship: Shuang-Ye Wu

The 2020 faculty award for outstanding scholarship in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Shuang-Ye Wu in the Department of Geology.

Dr. Wu holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. She came to UD’s Department of Geology in 2004 as a visiting assistant professor and joined the tenure-track faculty in 2007. She became an associate professor in 2013, and a professor in 2019. She is the first woman to achieve the rank of professor in the geology department’s 74-year history. Dr. Wu was appointed department chair in 2019.

Dr. Wu' s research in climate modelling has made her an acknowledged international expert in analyzing current changes in climate and also those of the past, which is an important tool when interpreting current and future scenarios. Her primary research addresses important areas such as the potential impacts of climate change in the hydrological cycle, which include changing precipitation patterns, extreme storms, sea-level rise, and inland and coastal flooding.

She collaborates with faculty at Nanjing University in China, which the Nature Index ranked at No. 6 among the top global institutions for Earth and environmental sciences. She also has attracted significant funding from the Natural Science Foundation of China.

Her grants and sponsored research total more than $1.8 million and include funding from the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, University of Dayton Research Institute, and Hanley Sustainability Institute.

Dr. Wu has published five book chapters and more than 40 articles in top-tier journals that include the International Journal of Climatology, Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, Journal of Hydrology, Geophysical Research Letters and The Cryosphere. She has shared her expertise with the Dayton community through media appearances in the Dayton Daily News and on local television and radio outlets.

Dr. Wu’s work is recognized by leaders in her field. One of her research collaborators, Dr. Hou Shugui, distinguished professor at Nanjing University’s School of Geographic and Oceanic Sciences, praised Dr. Wu’s “immense scientific curiosity and astuteness, which enable her to work well across disciplines.” He also lauded Dr. Wu as a dedicated mentor of young scientists in both the U.S. and China.

At the University of Dayton, nearly 40 students have presented research co-written with Dr. Wu at the annual Brother Joseph W. Stander Symposium. Many of them also have presented their research at regional, national and international conferences.

For scholarly achievement that is not only significant and high-impact, but also timely for society facing climate change, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Shuang-Ye Wu with the Outstanding Scholarship Award for 2020.

Outstanding Service: Kelly Vibber

The 2020 faculty award for outstanding service in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Kelly Vibber in the Department of Communication.

Dr. Vibber holds a Ph.D. in public relations from Purdue University. She joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2014 as assistant professor of communication.

Dr. Vibber has contributed a remarkably high volume of quality service in just her first six years at the University. She has taken on departmental leadership roles, including study abroad coordinator and director of undergraduate studies, that have made a substantial and meaningful impact on students. She also has served on a number of important committees across the University that have benefitted UD, the College and the communication department.

“The work Dr. Vibber has accomplished and the impact it has made is both undeniable and unparalleled,” said Joe Valenzano, associate professor and Department of Communication chair, in his nomination letter for the award.

Upon arrival at UD, Dr. Vibber temporarily assumed the role of lead faculty for public relations, a concentration with nearly 200 students. She was tasked with being on a search committee for a tenure track hire in public relations and also became faculty advisor to UD’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter.

“Through her involvement and education to students, Dr. Vibber made PRSSA possible at UD,” said May graduate Kendra Zonca ’20. “She volunteered her time and expertise to help foster the interest of public relations in many students. I have been inspired by her knowledge and passion for the PR field.”

In fall 2016, Dr. Vibber became the department’s study abroad coordinator. She implemented a more open and transparent process that invited all full-time faculty to select preferred study abroad locations and suggest courses they could teach in those cities. Since summer 2017, eight faculty members have either taught or been assigned to teach abroad with the department, including three new faculty who had not previously taught abroad with UD. She also broke away from the department’s traditional three-city rotation and opened the door for new formats, adding program sites that include Sydney and Prague. Most department summer programs now enroll 20 to 30 students annually.

Perhaps her most consequential role within the department is serving as director of undergraduate studies and chair of the undergraduate curriculum committee. Under her leadership, the committee has accomplished significant goals and moved the department forward in positive ways. Their efforts have included conducting instructor teaching observations, reviewing departmental minor proposals, standardizing course learning objectives and developing undergraduate certificate programs. Currently, she represents the department as a member of the Human Rights Studies Advisory Committee and the Common Academic Plan Leadership Committee.

Dr. Vibber has served on several master’s thesis committees. She also has maintained a significant amount of service to her discipline, including serving as an article reviewer for three different journals, a submissions reviewer for two annual conferences, and creating social media content for the public relations division of the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication.

For a diverse and sustained range of quality service that impacts students, departmental faculty and the University at large, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Kelly Vibber with the Outstanding Service Award for 2020.

Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty:
Dan Birdsong

The 2020 faculty award for outstanding contributions by a full-time, non-tenure-track faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Dan Birdsong in the Department of Political Science.

Dr. Birdsong holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Cincinnati. He joined the University of Dayton faculty in 2010 as a lecturer of political science.

Dr. Birdsong has made important contributions to the University, College and his department across the areas of teaching, research and service, making a positive impact on students and advancing UD’s mission and goals.

As a teacher, he offers a broad range of popular courses, and has been a department leader in the development of SSC 200 courses and the delivery of the Common Academic Program. His Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) scores are regularly above the department’s average, and the written comments from students reflect an organized, enthusiastic and innovative teacher.

Although lecturers’ teaching responsibilities can leave little time for research, Dr. Birdsong has still been quite active as a scholar. He presents his writing and research in both academic and popular outlets. He collaborated with fellow UD political science faculty member Dr. Chris Devine on a chapter, Fly-To Country: The Midwest as a Political Battleground, in the book, The Conservative Heartland: A Political History of the Postwar American Midwest, published in April 2020 by University of Kansas Press. He also has written editorials and opinion pieces for The Cincinnati Enquirer, Dayton Daily News, CNN’s Belief Blog and The Conversation.

In addition to active scholarship and excellence in teaching, Dr. Birdsong has also provided leadership in a number of important University initiatives. For the last three years, Dr. Birdsong has served as the experiential learning coordinator for both the Department of Political Science and the Human Rights Studies program. As Dayton2DC coordinator, he is solely responsible for connecting with alumni in Washington, D.C., and organizing an annual 4-day trip for 20-30 students from across the College. He also spent a significant amount of time in the nation’s capital during the summers of 2017 and 2018, working with 10-15 honors students interning in offices across the district through the DC Flyers program.

“Anyone can arrange a field trip,” said Dr. Ann Hudock ’90, executive vice president of Counterpart International, regarding the Dayton2DC program. “What Daniel and the team put together is an amazing set of exchanges that ignite passions in students, show them what’s possible, and make alums like me wish we were still at school to experience it all.”

In addition, Dr. Birdsong serves as a political analyst for numerous local, national and international media outlets. During the 2016 election alone, news articles quoting him as an expert reached more than 127 million readers, not including his
numerous TV interviews.

For his invaluable and impactful contributions across the areas of teaching, scholarship and service, the College is pleased to recognize Dr. Dan Birdsong with the Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Award for 2020.

Outstanding Teaching: Joel Pruce

The 2019 faculty award for outstanding teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences is awarded to Dr. Joel Pruce in the Department of Political Science.

Dr. Pruce joined the University of Dayton in 2014 as an assistant professor of political science. In that role he has taught a range of political science, human rights, and Common Academic Program courses and developed a number of new courses that combine experiential and community-based learning. Those include a new co-developed gateway course for human rights majors that connects research methods and human rights content to first-hand exposure to human rights issues in Dayton. In the classroom, Dr. Pruce is known for his creative pedagogies, an unflinching willingness to challenge assumptions about content and student learning, and for modeling how he learns through his courses and students.

As a teacher-scholar, Dr. Pruce’s research focuses on how human rights claims secure or fail to secure mass appeal and how individuals and organizations can best advocate for change. In 2015 Dr. Pruce launched the Moral Courage Project, an innovative student-driven project that highlights the stories of human rights activists who exemplify moral courage where they live and work. In telling the activists’ stories, the students learn about critical human rights issues, how to conduct human rights fieldwork effectively and ethically, and how human rights advocacy can affect change. For the dozen or so students who participate in each Moral Courage Project, this is a two-year journey of study and discovery--first with a preparatory course on the topic in question, then a summer of fieldwork with Dr. Pruce and his faculty collaborators, and then a year of interview transcription and analysis to produce a multimedia exhibit of photographs and oral histories. Ferguson, Missouri was the first Moral Courage Project site, which yielded an exhibit that’s toured around the country and opens this month at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. The second project--named “America the Borderland”--took students to El Paso last summer to learn from advocates and citizens about the realities of immigration on the Texas-Mexico border. As a faculty collaborator put it, “This class and project shows again Pruce’s willingness to take risk and to be bold.” It represents “what I consider to be a pioneering pathway to transdisciplinarity.”

Dr. Pruce also serves as an Experiential Learning Fellow in the Learning Teaching Center. In this role, he has led professional development workshops over the last two years focusing on experiential learning practices and vocational developments. He’s also organized and contributed to several university-wide teach-ins in recent years.

His department chair notes that Dr. Pruce is “a talented, creative, and passionate teacher in the classroom,” who “push the boundaries of transformative education in the traditional classroom setting.” He’s found a way to connect “teaching, research and advocacy in powerful ways.”

Writing in support of his nomination, students were full-throated in their praise. Said one student, “Dr. Pruce is single handedly one of the most impactful teachers I have ever had. …[H]e has a unique way of being able to connect with every student in a classroom and making sure that every voice is heard. ... Dr. Pruce has the ability to make his students passionate about a subject, and he always presents material in a way that makes students sit back and rethink everything you have previously known about the topic.”

Another remarked, “It is not uncommon to hear students involved in political science or human rights studies to enthusiastically tell other students that they “simply have to take a class with Dr. Pruce before graduation” in order to fully experience all that the University of Dayton has to offer. … Succeeding in Dr. Pruce’s classes is a particular accomplishment; it means you have engaged in critical analysis, expressed your thoughts well, and contributed to a tangible deliverable. That is a rare and impressive feat in the classroom.”

Still another observed, “Human rights can be an immobilizing and traumatic thing to study. When we spend so much time learning about human atrocity, we look to our professors not just to teach us facts or theories, but to help us to understand and reconcile this world. While it can be easier to accept the world as it is, not only is Dr. Pruce vulnerable enough to keep searching for answers, he is courageous enough to invite his students along with him. Over and over again, Dr. Pruce has been instrumental in restoring hope and humanity into my process of learning.” “Dr. Pruce is that professor that you cannot forget and no one wishes to.”

For these accomplishments, the College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to present the 2019 Outstanding Teaching Award to Dr. Joel Pruce.

Outstanding Scholarship: Jana Bennett

The College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to have the opportunity to honor Professor Jana Bennett, our recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Scholarship Award.

Dr. Bennett earned her Ph.D. in Theology and Ethics in 2005 from Duke University. Additionally, she has a Master’s of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She joined the faculty in UD’s Department of Religious Studies in 2008, became an Associate Professor in 2012, and a Full Professor in 2018. We are honoring her for the impact that her scholarship has had within her field, the Roman Catholic Church, and within society.

Dr. Bennett has authored three books:

  • Singleness and the Church: Toward a New Theology of Singleness. Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • Aquinas on the Web? Doing Theology in an Internet Age. T&T Clark, 2012, which was reviewed in Second Nature Journal; The Journal of Pastoral Theology; Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture;
  • Water is Thicker than Blood: An Augustinian Theology of Marriage and Singleness. Oxford University Press, 2008, which was reviewed in the Journal for the Society of Christian Ethics; Modern Theology; Religious Studies Review; Ethical Perspectives: Journal of the European Ethics Network; Anglican Theological Review; and Theology Today

She has co-authored Free to Stay, Free to Leave: Fruits of the Spirit and Church Choice with Melissa Musick Nussbaum. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009. She co-edited the forthcoming book Naming Our Sins: How Recognizing the Seven Deadly Vices can Renew the Sacrament of Reconciliation with David Cloutier. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, forthcoming 2019.

Additionally, she’s published 9 articles, 9 book chapters, and been invited to give 29 lectures. While this list is certainly impressive in terms of the number of publications, I would also emphasize that her books are widely read, cited, and have been favorably reviewed in the leading journals for moral theology today.

Her chair, Dr. Dan Thompson characterizes the quality of her work in the following words, "In my judgment, the reason why Dr. Bennett’s work has garnered such a widespread and positive reception is that in it she not only receives and comprehends contemporary intellectual discourse in Christian theology and ethics, she also shapes it at the highest level…Her work often addresses areas where modern life and Christian discipleship interact but without clear conceptual categories or without careful analysis. By looking into these new spaces and attempting to shape the intellectual discourse about them for the sake of the community, Dr. Bennett’s scholarship fulfills in an exemplary way the vocation of a professional theologian and ethicist meeting the demands of the academy, society and church."

The significance of Dr. Bennett’s contributions were also emphasized by one UD colleague in the following way, "As a non-Catholic myself, I cannot imagine how difficult it is to be a moral theologian within a church that seems to be “struggling” (for lack of a better word). The forthcoming book Naming Our Sins (co-edited with Davide Cloutier) is an attempt to address what Jana sees as a broad crisis within the Catholic Church of the West. On this timely topic her perspective is both hopeful and insightful. She is hopeful in the sense that perhaps by addressing the problem that is both broader and deeper than the genuinely horrific tragedy of sexual abuse by priests. And by drawing attention to the broader problem, perhaps long-term course correction can emerge."

Finally, I’d like to cite a colleague from another institution, who does not know Dr. Bennett personally, but did confess that they tried to lure her from UD. He describes her as “one of the leading moral theologians today.” Because “[she] does theology that is simultaneously attentive to those at the margins, yet also firmly from the heart of the Church.”

Assistant editor, and frequent contributor to a popular online blog platform in which leading Catholic theologians debate, shape, and grow the Catholic Intellectual Tradition so that it can be responsive to the world’s currents needs. It is critical of injustice and hopeful in ways to build just systems.

For these and many other contributions at UD, in news outlets, and throughout the internet, we awarding Jana Bennett the Outstanding Scholarship Award for 2019.

Outstanding Service: Samuel Wallace

The College of Arts and Sciences faculty award for Outstanding Service is presented to Professor Samuel Wallace from the Department of Communication.

What you notice immediately upon looking at Dr. Wallace’s record is the sheer amount of his contributions. A list of his service activities goes on for pages, and is far more than we could list here. But, it is not the amount of service Dr. Wallace has done, but rather, three qualities of his work that make his contributions remarkable.

First, while it is common for faculty to find their niche in one or two areas of service, Dr. Wallace has contributed across all levels - to the department, the college, the university, and his academic discipline. Just to illustrate with a few examples, he has served:

  • The department - as director of the introductory Communication course (4 times for a total of 17 years), as Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of the ASI 150 program, and as member of a vast number of departmental committees.
  • The college - on the Academic Affairs Committee, College Information Technology Team, and on a committee that performed an internal review of the Computer Science graduate program.
  • The university - on the University Promotion and Tenure Committee, CAP Oral Communication Working Group, Parking Committee, Academic Computing Committee, the Basic Skills Subcommittee, and as a long-time facilitator for Midterm Instructional Diagnoses.
  • The discipline - As co-director of 2 national institutes; as a member of the National Communication Association’s Legislative Assembly, as chair of its Basic Course Division, and as coordinator of its State Journal Indexing Task Force; on the editorial review board of 4 academic journals; as editor of the Ohio Speech Journal; and as President of the Ohio Speech Association.

Second, it is not just the amount of service that he has done, but the quality with which he has done it. He has conducted his business in a way that elevates the people around him and makes his community a better place. Perhaps this point is best expressed in the words of the department chair at the time of his promotion to Professor: “Throughout my time as chair, Dr. Wallace was the go-to person when I needed assistance getting something done…. The legacy of Dr. Wallace’s service has not been the amount of work he has done -- which is considerable -- but rather, the fact that he made the department a better place through the attitude and approach he had in doing it.”

The last important quality is the impact Dr. Wallace’s service has made. His contributions have significantly shaped the university and the profession. Associate provost Joe Untener recalled the positive effects Dr. Wallace brought about while serving as a mediator for a number of difficult conflicts on campus. He said, “This is a person who is willing to sign up for cases yet unidentified, to meet with parties who are unhappy with one another, consider the principals involved, and look for resolution. You might imagine it is very difficult to find faculty to volunteer for this role. Sam said ‘yes’ knowing it could be a challenge and could take some time. Both turned out to be the case. Sam took at least a couple of uncomfortable cases, fully engaged them, and had a very positive effect.” In instructional settings, David Wright characterized him as “a highly effective faculty developer.” In the discipline, he was foundational in helping establish the Basic Communication Course Annual, a journal which is now the field’s leading periodical for scholarship on the introductory oral communication course. In short, Dr. Wallace has made positive contributions to those he encountered, and has changed his institution and profession for the better.

For his far-reaching and sustained efforts, and high impact results, it is a privilege to recognize Dr. Sam Wallace with the 2019 College award for Outstanding Service.

Outstanding Contribution, Non-Tenure-Track Faculty:
Andrea Chenoweth Wells

The 2018 award for outstanding contributions by a full-time non-tenure-track faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences is granted to Dr. Andrea Chenoweth Wells, Artist in Residence in the Department of Music.

Andrea is a graduate of the University of Dayton, having completed her Bachelor of Arts in both English and Communication. She has a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music and in 2010 she joined the Department of Music as an adjunct instructor. In 2012 she moved into her present full-time appointment as an Artist in Residence. Her significant and multiple contributions have continued and increased throughout this entire time period. In 2017, Andrea matriculated once again with a Doctor of Musical Arts, from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music.

When referencing Andrea’s teaching, her department chair Dr. Julia Randel, confirms that Dr. Wells is “a beloved and highly effective teacher in three very different areas: studio voice, Aural Skills for first-year music majors, and through a CAP course she developed called Music and Faith on Stage”. This last is a course that explores representations of religion in opera. She also notes that “in her first-year Aural Skills course, a core foundational requirement for all music majors, and one that many at UD and elsewhere find difficult and even traumatic, Dr. Wells is attentive to the wide variety of student backgrounds and learning styles. She creates a supportive atmosphere while ensuring that students develop the essential skills they need as musicians”.

During her time as a University of Dayton faculty member Andrea has performed six operatic roles, eight orchestral performances, eleven recitals, and has been highlighted in numerous broadcast recordings. Dr. Wells modestly lists career highlights which include a Carnegie Hall debut singing the soprano solos in Verdi’s Requiem, touring Japan with Maestro Neal Gittleman and the Telemann Chamber Orchestra, and frequent performances in Boston under the auspices of The Shakespeare Concerts. It is this continuing engagement in Boston that takes her away from campus this afternoon. Tonight she is singing at Jordan Hall and will be performing pieces with texts by Shakespeare by Joseph Summer, Adolphus Hailstork, Thomas Schnauber (all living composers), and Robert Schumann. She will then spend two days in recording sessions at Mechanics Hall in Worcester in preparation for an upcoming album release.

Given her dedication to teaching and a busy performance schedule, it is difficult to imagine how Dr. Wells finds the time and energy to devote to service in the department and community. However, she is a valued member of the Faculty Development Committee, Student Development Committee, Recital Committee, and the recent Music and TDP Realignment Committee. Colleagues note that she also demonstrates her commitment to educating the whole student by volunteering her time to support student activities. She serves as Program Advisor to Sigma Alpha Iota, the international women’s music fraternity, and as Special Interest Housing Advisor to a group focused on women’s health. She participates in campus governance, and is the Non-Tenure-Track Full-Time representative on the Faculty Board.

As an Artist in Residence Dr. Wells makes extraordinary contributions to the Department of Music and the College, as well as to the university and Dayton community. For her exceptional teaching, high level of artistry in performance, and dedicated service the College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to present the 2018 award for outstanding contribution by a full-time non-tenure-track faculty member to Dr. Andrea Chenoweth Wells.


College of Arts and Sciences

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