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College announces outstanding and distinguished faculty/staff awards for 2013

by The College of Education / Apr 2, 2013

The College of Education is pleased to announce the faculty, staff, and students who are recipients of the College's 2013 Faculty and Staff Awards. Recipients will be recognized at the spring faculty meeting, which will be held at 2:00 p.m. on May 2 in room 22 in the Education Building.

Recipients of the College's 2013 Faculty and Staff awards are Julie Kellogg, Academic Professional Excellence; Debra Bragg, Dean's Prize for Breakthrough Initiatives—Faculty; Michael McKelvey and Elizabeth Kirchgesner, Dean's Prize for Breakthrough Initiatives—Staff/Academic Professionals; Rebecca Grady, Distinguished Staff Award; James Shriner, Distinguished Teaching Career Award; Rosa Milagros Santos and Timothy Reese Cain, Outstanding Faculty Award for Service; Dorothy Espelage, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award; Anne Butler, Outstanding Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants; Mary-Alayne Hughes and Gloriana Gonzalez, Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award; and Dawn Thomas, Spitze-Mather Faculty Award for Excellence.

The following are excerpts from award winners' respective nominations:

Academic Professional Excellence Award: Julie Kellogg, Educational Psychology

Julie is among the top academic professionals I have had the pleasure of working with. Competent, hardworking, and efficient don't seem to capture the true character of Julie's work ethic; all I can say is that I wish we could clone Julie. She has amazing problem-solving skills and is more than willing to assist faculty and students in any way she can… Quite simply, Julie is the heart of the Department of Educational Psychology! She consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the department business and its four divisions run smoothly. Julie has been invaluable to me in my role as chair of the counseling psychology program. She was instrumental in assisting me and the program put together our comprehensive American Psychological Association self-study—twice.

Dean's Prize for Breakthrough Initiatives—Faculty: Debra Bragg, EPOL

Decades of research led by Dr. Bragg at the Office of Community College Research and Leadership, which she founded, has focused on student transition and completion in higher education and has contributed to the critical literature on gaps in equitable access and completion rates of diverse, underserved populations. Dozens of UIUC graduate students have been offered the opportunity to be involved in cutting edge research at OCCRL, jump-starting their careers as researchers, professors, and practitioners. Recent research that builds on her body of work has led to the conceptualization and design of a new model for achieving an historic breakthrough in linking educational research and development, policy, and practice, and has attracted attention from state agencies and large private foundations

Dean's Prize for Breakthrough Initiatives—Staff/Academic Professionals: Michael McKelvey and Elizabeth Kirchgesner, Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (MSTE) their work on creating a Public Engagement Portal, which one nominator described as "the single most comprehensive database of public engagement on campus": At every turn we see Beth's careful attention to detail and Michael's tech-savvy intuition helping to make a good effort turn into a great one. When we launched at the United Way, we had computers from MSTE and a confident, positive presentation. Without Michael and Beth's combined talents, we would not have the level of success we do today. More than 4,000 unique visitors view the site each month, we received visibility in the local media, and I often get personal accolades from community leaders… Michael and Beth are unlimited by the constraint of any job title.

Distinguished Staff Award: Rebecca Grady, EPOL

I have come to rely on Ms. Grady for a great deal of support. Her record keeping, advice, and problem-solving abilities are crucial. She keeps abreast of college and university policies, provides needed information and input, and helps ensure that our best intentions and plans keep moving forward. In short, she provides needed supports and structures, without which the EOL programs would severely suffer. The larger EPOL department would likewise be greatly diminished without her efforts. Another nominator wrote: Becky has, the six years I have known her, acted as a mentor and a positive role model… When I took the position of project manager for NILOA, Becky's knowledge of the workings of the college were indispensable … Her assistance has been and continues to be invaluable.

Distinguished Teaching Career Award: James Shriner, Special Education Shriner is a versatile teacher. He uses active learning as an integral component not only in his courses, but also in his contacts with students outside the classroom. He infuses concepts from special education into everyday encounters with students. Relevancy to practice is a key theme that pervades his teaching approaches. Another nominator writes, The level of care that Dr. Shriner brings to his classroom is unmatched to other professors I have had. He brings with him a sense of humor and subtleness of actively listening. I have learned so much from Dr. Shriner because he will spend however long it takes to talk and make sure you understand. His classes are a mix between discussions of content and fascinating life stories that only Dr. Shriner could have experienced that illuminates the topic of discussion. He truly is a magnetic professor.

Outstanding Faculty Award for Service: Rosa Milagros Santos (Special Education), Timothy Reese Cain (EPOL)

Rosa Milagros Santos:
About her founding role in the campus-wide Faculty Mentoring Groups: Professor Santos' service to our campus and her colleagues is extraordinary. The impact of her work to support Illinois faculty and instructors is outstanding in its breadth and in the quality of the mentoring interactions the Faculty Mentoring Groups provide among our campus colleagues… her important impact reaches far beyond her college. From another nominator: Throughout her career, Dr. Santos has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the field of Early Childhood Special Education and her service activities and contributions have benefitted students, parents, and communities locally, statewide, and nationally. In addition, the educational and outreach missions of all levels of the University of Illinois system (Department, College, and Campus) have been enriched because of her tireless efforts.

Timothy Reese Cain:
I believe that Tim's energetic service work in the College, not only as Faculty Secretary but as the moving force in the higher education concentration, and his work on the EPOL faculty advisory committee, the Grad Programs Committee, and frankly, any other subcommittee work that needs to be done, show that his interest in higher education is not only historical, it is continuous. He is the person who is most likely to be in his office (vigorously at work with his own research or advising students) but still at the ready to join any committee or initiative… His local service as co-director of the Ethnography of the University Initiative helps to provide not only a local character to his work but also helps to prepare thousands of University of Illinois undergraduates and graduate students to see the importance of understanding the historical and institutional context of their own studies…

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award: Dorothy Espelage, Educational Psychology

Dr. Espelage has been my adviser since I arrived at the University of Illinois, and is a primary reason I am here. It was clear when I first met her that she was devoted to helping me grow as a scholar and was eager to share her knowledge and experience with the students as mentors. She has helped me grow across all domains, improving my competencies as a researcher, helping me to learn how to network, and supporting my professional development. She continues to be an unwavering support. Another nominator said, I am forever indebted to her for she has (and will) continue to mold and shape me as a researcher and professional. Her easy going, approachable presence makes me feel as though I am working with a colleague and not a top researcher in the field.

Outstanding Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants: Anne Butler, Special Education

Anne is an excellent student with incredible potential as a significant contributor to our field... Over the years, Anne has served as teaching assistant in a number of courses. Her background (eight years of teaching experience in the Chicago Public Schools) gave her an excellent perspective on designing activities that provided students with direct application of class materials to their assignments and practicum experiences. Since that time Anne has become one of the few doctoral students in our Department who has independently taught a course. Students raved about her course, excited about how much they got out of it… I consider her one of my finest doctoral students.

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award: Mary-Alayne Hughes (Special Education) and Gloriana González (Curriculum and Instruction) Hughes:
Throughout her career, Dr. Hughes has demonstrated a sustained and deep commitment to ensuring that undergraduate students at this university accessed the highest quality of learning experiences that not only provided them with a strong foundation to start their career but also one that turned them into lifelong learners… On many occasions, I have had the pleasure to observe Dr. Hughes teach and interact with undergraduate students. As a teacher-educator, Dr. Hughes recognized the importance of not only ensuring that students become critical consumers of research, interventions, policies, and practices but it was also critical that she herself lived and thereby modeled for the students how to think, behave, and be an effective teacher. One doctoral student wrote: Dr. Hughes has made an indelible impact on our own abilities as future faculty members and teachers. Her dedication to our growth as reflective learners is unquestionable.

Gloriana González:
As an undergraduate completing her last semester at the University of Illinois with a mathematics major and secondary education minor, I have encountered a broad range of instructors. As an education student, I am always critiquing instruction and have developed a sense of what type of educator I want to be partly by observing my own instructors. Gloriana González has impacted me on a personal level, more than any other professor on campus, that will forever be witnessed through my teaching since I plan to model hers. Other than instructing me on the qualities that an effective teacher possesses, she demonstrates them in her own lessons and exemplifies what being a supportive, passionate, and empathetic teacher truly means.

Spitze-Mather Faculty Award for Excellence: Dawn Thomas, Special Education

Over the years her research has addressed several gaps in the literature on preschoolers' emotion-word use… Dr. Thomas is extremely committed to families and young children, focusing her research efforts on social emotional development, teacher-child interactions, and emotional expressiveness. In addition to her research and teaching roles in support of children and their families, Dr. Thomas does not shy away from giving of her time in terms of service. In her role as Project Coordinator for the Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map, she is often called upon to serve on task forces, workgroups, and numerous professional committees. She does this willingly even when it means frequent trips to Chicago and Springfield for meetings.