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2011 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients honored

by The College of Education / Apr 16, 2011

While some had not walked the halls of the Education Building in nearly two decades, the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients carried vivid memories of their graduate experience, untarnished by the test of time.

"I came in yesterday and sat in on Bob Stake's lecture - nothing had changed," chuckled Professor Nick Smith about visiting his former doctoral advisor. "We have great stories about Bob. It was hard to get an appointment, but when you did, he gave you his full attention. When you asked a question, he would sit there, really thinking about it before he answered."

Now, 36 years later Smith is a professor and department chair of Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation at Syracuse University in New York. He was one of six 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients honored for their contributions to the field of education.

On Friday April 1, the College of Education welcomed the Distinguished Alumni Award recipients to participate in the Second Annual Graduate Student Conference. Part of that participation included serving as session discussants.

As session discussant, Prof. Nick Smith observed the theme, "Lessons From Research: Unsuccessful Cases, Trials and Tribulations and the Fourth Estate," which featured a student's study of her own evaluation theory, as well as another student's analysis of trends in New York Times education reportage in 2010.

After the presentations, Smith initiated the dialogue with four points of discussion, asking tough questions and generating thoughtful analysis from the presenters. "I always ask the impossibly difficult questions," he smiled.

During lunch, each DAA recipient led a roundtable discussion in different rooms throughout the college. Smith reminisced about his days as a graduate student.

"I've never seen this program duplicated," Smith said. "Students were treated as equals. From day one, you'd be in a seminar and if someone wanted to argue, they would. It didn't matter if you were faculty, student, or the faculty member's wife."

Although, he was on campus 10 years and only three of those were in the College of Education, those three years had the most impact on his life.

"I've never been any place else with this sort of intellectual integrity," Smith said. "There is a depth here. There are tremendous benefits you may not recognized until you leave."

Following the Graduate Student Conference, the DAA recipients were honored at a celebratory brunch on Saturday, where they received their awards. Recipients attended with their invited guests and those from the College of Education who had nominated them for the award. Since 1995, the College of Education, in conjunction with the Education Alumni Association, has recognized the careers of our alumni who have demonstrated extraordinary contributions to the field.

The 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients are:

Dr. Marlene Schommer-Aikins
Ph.D. '89/ Educational Psychology
Professor and Chair of the Counseling, Educational
and School Psychology Department
Wichita State University
Wichita, Kansas

Susan Connor
Ed.M '97/ ECH Special Education
Director, Square One Kids, LLC
Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Susan X Day
Ph.D '99/ Educational Psychology
Research Consultant and Visiting Lecturer
University of Houston
Houston, Texas

Dr. Deirdre Cobb-Roberts
Ph.D '98/ Educational Policy Studies
Associate Professor
Department of Psychological and Social Foundations
University of South Florida
Tampa, Florida

Dr. Chris Roegge
Ph.D. '87/ Vocational and Technical Education
Director, Council on Teacher Education
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, Illinois

Dr. Nick Smith
Ph.D. '75/ Educational Psychology
Professor & Department Chair
Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation
Syracuse University-Syracuse N.Y.