Recognizing College of Education leaders in 2017-2018

by the College of Education at Illinois  /   May 4, 2018

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The College of Education at Illinois is pleased to announce the faculty, staff, and students who received the 2017-2018 Faculty and Staff Awards. Honorees were recognized May 3 at the college’s Spring Faculty Meeting.

In addition to these awards, several other faculty, staff, and students of the College of Education received national recognition and campus honors during the academic year. Congratulations to all!

College of Education Faculty and Staff Awards

Academic Professional Excellence Award – George Reese, Director of the Office of Math, Science, and Technology Education
Dr. Reese has been the director of the Office of Math, Science, and Technology in the College of Education since 2003. He has made wide-ranging contributions in leading college initiatives related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) efforts, including working with teachers and administrators to offer professional development and mentorship, and has supported numerous research and outreach efforts. Reese is the former president of the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) and has played a critical role in the development of computer-science education discourse nationwide. His nominator, Dr. Mary Kalantzis, said, “Dr. Reese made it his mission to address the challenge of engaging robustly with schools and teachers in ways that they could benefit from the scholarship of the university.” Reese’s roles and responsibilities are critical, diverse, and have made a major impact in the college, in the community, and across the country.

Distinguished Staff Award – Stephanie Rayl, Office Support Associate of Education Administration
Stephanie Rayl is the office support specialist in the departments of Education Policy, Organization, & Leadership (EPOL) and Special Education, and she assists the Graduate Student Services Office staff. Her nominator, Dr. Yoon Pak, said Rayl provides critical support for approximately 300 on-campus master’s- and doctoral-level students in EPOL. Pak said Rayl is resourceful and enthusiastic when assisting students, faculty, and staff. According to Pak, her precise, knowledgeable, and patient steering of the graduate programs within the departments she serves are deeply appreciated by the faculty, students, and staff. “EPOL could not function without her presence,” Pak said.

Distinguished Teaching Career Award – Carolyn Anderson, Professor of Educational Psychology
Dr. Carolyn Anderson was selected for this award due to her considerable contributions to teaching advanced statistics and quantitative methods courses. Her nominators noted that “in her more than two decades on the faculty in the College of Education at Illinois, she has developed new courses, served on more than 75 dissertation committees—five of which have won national awards—and on countless early-research, master’s, and qualifying-exam committees.” Her instruction, according to Anderson’s nominators, is like the finest of wines: appreciation deepens as time goes on. Students very much appreciate Anderson’s courses thanks to her commitment to meeting their diverse needs and providing them with both state-of-the-art instruction and hands-on activities. One of her students noted, “Professor Anderson is committed to high-quality teaching in a way that brings honor to the College of Education at the University of Illinois.”

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award – Lisa Monda-Amaya, Professor of Special Education
During her 30-year tenure in the College of Education, Dr. Lisa Monda-Amaya has reliably demonstrated extraordinary teaching and mentoring of graduate students. She has taught more than 180 graduate students in graduate-only classes, and her courses are consistently ranked "High" and "High Average," with a mean rating of 4.71. Monda-Amaya has a strong publication record of peer-reviewed articles about graduate-student instruction, especially among preservice teachers. She has secured six graduate training grants, including two doctoral leadership grants and four master’s training grants. One of her former students said, “Dr. Monda-Amaya continues to provide a vision and a pathway for her graduate students to be funded through state and federal funding, and she ensures her instruction focuses on state-of-the-art practices. She exemplifies what is needed to be an outstanding graduate student in that she looks for current issues and trends and challenges cutting edge thinking, but provides personal and professional support beyond the classroom to ensure her students’ successes.”

Outstanding Faculty Award for Public Engagement – Johnell Bentz, Teaching Associate Professor of Special Education
Dr. Johnell Bentz was selected for this award based on her significant contributions at the local level, the campus level, and the state level. Her nominator noted, “Dr. Bentz exemplifies greatness through her teaching, advocacy, service, and community engagement at Illinois and our local communities. She passionately works on behalf of individuals with disabilities, individuals within the LGBTQIA community, people with food insecurities, and many others who feel marginalized, discriminated against, and excluded. Bentz has demonstrated sustained involvement and leadership roles at Illinois and also with numerous public and external organizations within the state and in local communities.” In her letter, Christine Ray, the Community Choices membership coordinator, wrote, “Dr. Bentz offered an important and needed perspective as a community member and as an expert in the field of special education. She brought her knowledge of best practices, thoughtfulness, and compassion to all discussions and decisions faced by the board.”

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award – Kristen Bub, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology
Dr. Kristen Bub’s primary course is Personality and Social Development (EPSY405/PSYC 465). She has made the “List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent” while leading the class and consistently receives stellar evaluations of her teaching effectiveness from former students, teaching assistants, and peers. Her nominator said, “Dr. Bub excels in the classroom not only because of her deep knowledge of the subject matter, but also because she adopts a student-centered approach to learning and incorporates several time-intensive practices to ensure mastery of the course content and excitement for continued exploration.” As the chair of the Developmental Sciences Division in the Department of Educational Psychology, Dr. Bub works hard to ensure that undergraduate students are exposed to research, theories, and practice in child and youth development.

Outstanding Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants – Meghan Kessler, Co-Director of Illinois New Teacher Collaborative
As a graduate student in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Kessler served as the sole instructor of seven sections across four different social studies preservice methods courses. One former student wrote, “Meghan modeled a myriad of exemplary traits, serving to help prospective social-science teachers create civically and politically empowering instruction. Her teaching consistently fostered critical social thought, communicated attention to democratic forms of education, and prompted students to recognize and challenge their preconceived notions of schooling.” Kessler’s nominator said, “Her dedication to improving the content and quality of this course sequence has been phenomenal. She has consistently received high praise from her students, earning mean ICES ratings of 4.94/4.8. Her commitment to high-quality instruction, her devotion to her students, and her leadership roles in college and campus initiatives make her an excellent selection to represent the ideals of our college as a recipient of this award.”

Professional Awards and Recognition for Faculty

Associate Professor Jennifer Delaney – 2017 Five Star Reviewer Award from Research in Higher Education journal

Teaching Assistant Professor Kim Fisher – Fellow of American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Professor Emerita Susan Fowler – CEC J.E. Wallace Wallin Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council for Exceptional Children

Professor Donald Hackmann and Alumna Asia Fuller-Hamilton – Article of the Year in Journal of Career and Technical Education from Omicron Tau Theta

Professor Ron Jacobs – Overall and the Research Excellence Award from the International Federation of Training and Development Organizations

Professor Mary Kalantzis – 2017 Person of the Year Honoree: Hall of Fame – Excellence in Higher Education from the United Hellenic Voters of America

Professor Peter Kuchinke – Inductee of the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame

Professor Emeritus Walter McMahon – Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Education Finance Academy

Assistant Professor Eunjung Grace Oh – Assistant Professor Award from the University Council for Workforce and Human Resource Education

Interim Head of EPOL Yoon Pak – Elected Vice President/President-Elect of the History of Education Society

Professor Eboni Zamani-Gallaher – Senior Scholar named by the American College Personnel Association   

Professional Award for College of Education Initiative

Education Justice Project – Community Impact Award from the C-U Immigration Forum and Urbana Free Library

University of Illinois Recognition

Teaching Associate Professor Johnell Bentz – 2017 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for Advocacy in LGBTQ Affairs

Professor Liora Bresler – Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring

Professor Stacy Dymond – 2017 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for Excellence in Access and Communication

Associate Professor Hedda Meadan-Kaplansky – University Scholar

Assistant Professor Chris Napolitano – Arnold O. Beckman Award from Campus Research Board

Professor Helen Neville – Arnold O. Beckman Award from Campus Research Board

Assistant Professor Eunjung Grace Oh – 2017 Assistant Professor Award from the University Council for Workforce and Human Resource Education

Professor Michaelene Ostrosky - Grayce Wicall Gauthier Professorship in Education

Teaching Professor David Zola – Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Professional Staff Award

Jane Schingel, Director of Operations of the Bureau of Educational Research – 2017 SPaRC Career Achievement Award from the SPaRC Retreat Planning Committee

Outstanding Student Medal Awardees from the College of Education

Sydney Deuter – Bachelor’s Recipient (Curriculum & Instruction)

Misty Krippel – Master’s Recipient (Special Education)

Jasmine Collins – Doctoral Recipient (Education Policy, Organization & Leadership)


View the College of Education awards nomination page.