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College of Arts & Sciences | Faculty Awards

Stamey Awards for Undergraduate Teaching and Advising

William L. Stamey is a mathematician and served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for seventeen years from 1970-1987.  In recognition of Dean Stamey's outstanding record in recruiting excellent faculty to Kansas State University and in recognition of the continuing need to foster excellence in teaching and advising, the College of Arts and Sciences has established the William L. Stamey Award. This year's recipients are:

for Undergraduate Teaching

Sabri Ciftci
Associate Professor, Political Science

Lauren Ritterbush
Associate Professor, Anthropology

Ashok Aryal
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Mathematics

for Undergraduate Advising

Sarah Buchanan
Academic Advisor, Psychological Sciences

Previous Stamey Teaching Award Recipients (pdf)

Previous Stamey Advising Award Recipients (pdf)

 

2016 All-University Awards 

University Distinguished Professors

The University Distinguished Professor honor is a lifetime title that is the highest honor the university bestows on its faculty. These faculty members have demonstrated their commitment to education through their excellence in teaching, research, creative endeavors and service. University distinguished professors are appointed following a university-wide competition conducted by the provost. In 2015, the College of Arts & Sciences had one faculty members recognized for this honor.

Bharat Ratra, professor of physics

Ratra works in the areas of cosmology and astroparticle physics. He conducts research on the structure and evolution of the universe. Two of his current principal interests are developing models for the large-scale matter and radiation distributions in the universe and testing these models by comparing predictions to observational data.

In 1988, Ratra and Jim Peebles proposed the first dynamical dark energy model. Dark energy is the leading candidate for the mechanism that is responsible for causing cosmological expansion to accelerate. The discovery that cosmological expansion is accelerating is one of the most significant scientific discoveries of the last quarter of a century.

Since coming to the university in 1996, Ratra has received more than $8 million in individual and collaborative grants, largely from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. Ratra was a National Science Foundation CAREER award winner in 1999 and received the 2012-2013 Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award at Kansas State University. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Ratra's research has appeared in more than 90 scholarly publications, which have been cited more than 11,000 times in scientific literature.

He was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University, the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ratra earned his doctorate in physics from Stanford University in 1986 and his master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi in 1982.

 

Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Award

The Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Award was created to stimulate scholarly activities in the areas of teaching, research and service. Recently, a mentoring and networking component was added to facilitate the establishment of contacts and networks for new faculty with outstanding individuals in their disciplines at other Big 12 universities. The program offers faculty the opportunity to participate in cross-mentoring among universities, develop working relationships and exchange ideas with others.

Carlos Castellanos, Assistant professor of Art

Carlos Castellanos is using his fellowship to conduct an art-science collaborative research initiative exploring human-animal interaction, communication and collaboration, as well the use of lay interpretations as a form of knowledge construction within a scientific research context. Castellanos is collaborating with Gary Marsat, assistant professor of biology at West Virginia University. Castellanos performed experiments communicating with weakly electric fish by mimicking the presence of another fish and attempting to match its electric organ discharge frequency, as well as sending “chirps” — transient increases in electric organ discharge frequency — into the tank. Castellanos also created a real-time chirp detector, which could prove useful for future work. Castellanos and Marsat have developed rough plans for an art installation where the public can interact with fish and see and hear their reaction in real time. Castellanos presented his work and an overview of the new media/art-science field to faculty and students at West Virginia’s biology department. The research is ongoing, with a prototype of the art-science installation expected to debut later this year.

Saugata Datta, Associate Professor of Geology

Saugata Datta collaborated with Peter Knappett, assistant professor of hydrogeology at Texas A&M University, to develop an experimental hydrogeology program in K-State’s geology department. Datta’s fellowship allowed him to link K-State’s geology department with Texas A&M’s department of geology and geophysics, which propelled growth at both universities. The field of hydrologic sciences is vast, with studies ranging from the investigation of critical zone processes — understanding reactions of different magnitude within the sediment-water interface — to water’s impact on human and ecological health, and the roles of water in distribution of toxic and essential elements in groundwaters, especially drinking waters. Experimental hydrology serves as a new branch in the sphere of geosciences and environmental hydrogeosciences. K-State is now leading experimental hydrogeology efforts in the Midwest and in Mexico with Universidad de Guanajuato, Leon, Mexico. K-State students and faculty and Texas A&M graduates and undergraduates are collaborating with the Mexican university. Datta’s contribution in establishing this branch of study should bring more students and research funding to K-State and collaborations between Texas A&M and K-State with Mexican universities.

Theodore Morgan, Associate Professor of Biology

Theodore Morgan conducted his fellowship with Jennifer Gleason, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas, to research phenotypic plasticity and fitness in invading populations of Drosophila suzukii. The exotic pest is a new invasive species in North America and more recently in Kansas. This insect damages fruit, causing severe economic losses. Morgan’s project is looking at when the pest is most active and other factors that could affect the availability of fruit. Morgan’s fellowship resulted in extramural proposals to the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the preparation of two manuscripts focused on the seasonal timing of Drosophila species in variable environments, and the behavioral analysis of fitness in response to thermal stress. The collaboration between Morgan and Gleason will continue by studying of the thermal biology and behavior of D. suzukii or D. melanogaster, and will involve undergraduate and graduate students from both K-State and KU.

 

Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars
Donald Saucier, Assistant professor of Psychological Sciences

Dr. Donald Saucier joined the psychological sciences department in 2004. He serves as director of undergraduate studies, chair of the Undergraduate Program Committee and co-director for the teaching apprenticeship program. He has taught a broad range of classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels, from large sections of general psychology to small classes in advanced psychological research methods. He has been proud to be part of the K-State First program since 2010, through teaching as well as research and assessment efforts. Saucier has received the Putting Students First Award for Outstanding Service to Students, the University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research, the College of Arts & Sciences William L. Stamey Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In each of his classes he employs a simple and straightforward teaching philosophy founded on psychological theories of intrinsic motivation and optimal experience. Saucier believes that students are autonomous, can make decisions, accept responsibility, and contribute to their education. As the Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars, Saucier will test his "trickle down engagement" hypothesis by assessing how teachers’ experiences of engagement and enjoyment in the classroom predict those same experiences in their students. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and classical civilization from Colby College, and a master's degree and doctoral degree in experimental social psychology from the University of Vermont.

 

Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award

For nearly two decades, Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation have partnered with Kansas State University to promote ad support excellence in undergraduate teaching. These recipients are committed to having a positive effect on students.

Nathaniel Birkhead, Assistant Professor of Political Science

Nathaniel Birkhead’s main area of teaching is American politics, focusing on Congress, the presidency and political participation. He is motivated by two primary factors in the classroom. The first: to draw in otherwise uninterested students, and help them see that the political world is simultaneously more complex than they may initially think, but is also understandable. The second: to help push those engaged students to think about politics analytically and understand the way government responds to the issues that matter to him or her. He hopes that through his teaching, students know that they are valued at K-State. Birkhead aims to inspire students to contribute to this country — whether in graduate school, in public service or simply as an informed citizen.

 

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recognize compassion, dedication and creativity in undergraduate teaching. The Office of the President and Curtin Property Co. sponsor three awards for faculty and one award for a graduate teaching assistant.

Soo-Hye Han, Assistant professor of Communication Studies

Soo-Hye Han stands out as a member of the K-State faculty because of her contributions to undergraduate research, international learning opportunities and outstanding instruction for a cross-section of university students. In the past two years, she has supervised 16 undergraduate research projects that resulted in public presentations; has started discussions regarding exchange opportunities at two Japanese universities; and has organized an upcoming intercultural communication student trip to Japan. Even while teaching a challenging survey course, Han’s teaching evaluations are in the top quartile of her department.

Heidi Mehl, graduate student in Geography

Heidi Mehl has the special ability to incorporate her personal experience into teaching and to generate students’ enthusiasm about class materials. She even has attracted several new majors to the geography department through her work. According to teaching evaluation scores, she has been the department’s best graduate teaching assistant for the past two years.

Richard Zajac, Professor of Physics

As a professor at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, Richard Zajac performs the duties of a full-time laboratory technician while teaching a full load of courses and participating in scholarship and service activities. His immediate familiarity with every aspect of lab design and troubleshooting allows him to keep his classroom teaching grounded in the students’ hands-on experiences and to better integrate real-world problem-solving skills with conceptual understanding. Zajac consistently receives teaching evaluations that praise his skills as an instructor.

 

Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head

The Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head is presented each year to a department head who is proactive, positive, fair and equitable, and who cooperates with units across the university. The award is sponsored by the Office of the President and Curtin Property Co.

Amit Chakrabarti, department head of physics and interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Amit Chakrabarti established compensation time from classroom teaching for faculty members who are developing new research collaborations, classes or teaching techniques. He has brought together leaders from agriculture, engineering and fine arts for interdisciplinary research and creative activities. Also, he has promoted the commercialization of physics research by networking across campus and securing a $1 million endowment from an alumna for the Sorensen Physics to Business Incubator. He has revitalized recruitment and retention by writing a personalized letter to every physics teacher in the state, asking them to refer their brightest students to the department; increasing offerings for undergraduate students in the realms of advising, research and recognition; creating a fellowship for international students; acquiring funds to improve teaching and research facilities; and providing vision to the department, with clear-cut plans to enhance the national visibility of the department’s research enterprise.

 

Archive

2015 All-University Awards
University Distinguished Professor

The University Distinguished Professor honor is a lifetime title that is the highest honor the university bestows on its faculty. These faculty members have demonstrated their commitment to education through their excellence in teaching, research, creative endeavors and service. University distinguished professors are appointed following a university-wide competition conducted by the provost. In 2015, the College of Arts & Sciences had one faculty members recognized for this honor.

Wayne Goins, professor of Jazz, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Goins is a versatile jazz guitarist and a renowned researcher in the field of music education. He is the director of jazz studies at Kansas State University, where he conducts three big bands and teaches combos, private guitar lessons and jazz improvisation courses.

Goins plays, jazz, blues, pop, funk, rock and reggae. He has recorded more than 20 albums for Ichiban Records and started his own music label, Little Apple Records, for which he recorded six albums under his own name, as well as producing several others for his students.

Goins has delivered 54 lecture presentations and also delivered thousands of music performances at international, national, regional and local venues. He has performed with such luminaries as alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, organist Jimmy McGriff, tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, trumpeter Mike Metheny, guitarist Kenny Burrell, and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, among many others. His music has been performed with Pearle Cleage in the Broadway play, "Blues For an Alabama Sky," and his guitar work was used for August Wilson's hit Broadway play, "Seven Guitars."

Since coming to the university in 1998, Goins has written 30 articles, 18 CD reviews and numerous columns for magazines such as Pure Guitar Magazine, Jazz Ambassador Magazine and Jazz Improv Magazine. He also has published 12 peer-reviewed articles and eight books and book chapters on jazz.

Goins is leading Hale Library's Jimmy Rogers Archive Project, which is an exhibit of approximately 2,500 items related to Rogers' career and performances. Goins wrote the 2014 biography "Blues All Day Long: The Jimmy Rogers Story." Goins has been chosen to write the definitive biography on legendary blues musician Taj Mahal for the University of Illinois Press.

Goins received his doctorate in music education from Florida State University. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Award

The Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Award was created to stimulate scholarly activities in the areas of teaching, research and service. Recently, a mentoring and networking component was added to facilitate the establishment of contacts and networks for new faculty with outstanding individuals in their disciplines at other Big 12 universities. The program offers faculty the opportunity to participate in cross-mentoring among universities, develop working relationships and exchange ideas with others.

Gabriel Kerr, Assistant professor of Mathematics

Dr. Gabriel Kerr collaborated with Dr. Sean Keel and other faculty members in the mathematics department at the University of Texas, Austin. The main focus of the collaboration was on mirror symmetry, which arose in string theory. Kerr is considering whether the methods of Keel and his collaborators can be imported to his own approach to mirror symmetry. He also spoke on related work in at the GADGET — Global Analysis and Differential GeomETry — seminar at the University of Texas. Kerr earned a bachelor's from the University of Michigan and a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Chicago.

Mary Kohn, Assistant professor of English

A linguist who is interested in language variation and change across the U.S., Dr. Mary Kohn is studying Kansas speech. Because West Virginia has a similar demographic profile to that of Kansas, Kohn and Dr. Kirk Hazen at West Virginia University are studying how population shifts from rural to urban areas in both states affect language within each state's different dialect regions. Kohn used her fellowship to spend a week at WVU to align methodologies for a comparison on the effects of urbanization on language in these two regions. While at WVU, she trained with members of the West Virginia Dialect Project in current methods of acoustic analysis, data visualization and statistical analysis. She also led a three-day workshop on using R statistical software to visualize trends in the data and to identify effects associated with the speech trends. In addition, she led a seminar on approaches to working with students who speak nonstandard dialects in the college classroom and gave a talk on regional variation in African-American English. Kohn plans to conduct the same types of analyses she did at West Virginia with the Kansas Speaks Project at K-State. Over the next year, she wants to build a database of the more than 75 interviews she has conducted across Kansas so that they may be compared to similar work being completed at WVU. She says the project will not only fill a gap in dialectology research by documenting how Kansas English fits into the national landscape of language variation, but will also improve understanding of how language changes relate to population changes. Kohn has a bachelor's degree from Appalachian State University, a master's degree from North Carolina State University and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Matthew Sanderson, Associate professor of Sociology

Dr. Matthew Sanderson, who is currently a visiting research fellow at the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, studies immigration in rural communities. He used his fellowship to work with Dr. Marta Maldonado at Iowa State University, where he was introduced to a network of sociologists and extension specialists at the university. The visit also helped locate a prospective site for future research in Ottumwa, Iowa, as well as key contacts for expanding his work beyond Kansas and the Midwest. During the visit, Sanderson also met Dr. Lourdes Gouveia, director of the Office of Latino and Latin American Studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. He is now working with Maldonado and Gouveia on a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation to be submitted in August for a comparative project involving rural communities in Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska. Miller earned bachelor's and master's degrees at K-State and a doctorate from the University of Utah.

Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars
Donald Saucier, Assistant professor of Psychological Sciences

Dr. Donald Saucier joined the psychological sciences department in 2004. He serves as director of undergraduate studies, chair of the Undergraduate Program Committee and co-director for the teaching apprenticeship program. He has taught a broad range of classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels, from large sections of general psychology to small classes in advanced psychological research methods. He has been proud to be part of the K-State First program since 2010, through teaching as well as research and assessment efforts. Saucier has received the Putting Students First Award for Outstanding Service to Students, the University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research, the College of Arts & Sciences William L. Stamey Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, the Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In each of his classes he employs a simple and straightforward teaching philosophy founded on psychological theories of intrinsic motivation and optimal experience. Saucier believes that students are autonomous, can make decisions, accept responsibility, and contribute to their education. As the Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars, Saucier will test his "trickle down engagement" hypothesis by assessing how teachers’ experiences of engagement and enjoyment in the classroom predict those same experiences in their students. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and classical civilization from Colby College, and a master's degree and doctoral degree in experimental social psychology from the University of Vermont.

Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award

The Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Awards are an opportunity to showcase faculty members who excel in teaching, research and the mentoring of students. The Commerce Bancshares Foundation and the William T. Kemper Foundation support these awards as a way to help the university honor its exceptional graduate faculty.

Uwe Thumm, Professor of Physics

Dr. Uwe Thumm's research has proved essential to the field of physics. In addition to worldwide research collaborations, he holds several patents and was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2011. Thumm has contributed to 98 publications in refereed journals and books, and 231 reports and abstracts that stretch back more than two decades. Thumm's research interests include modeling, theory and numerical computation of interactions between electrons, ions and intense laser light with atoms, molecules, clusters and solid surfaces. He has taught a wide variety of physics courses, and worked with undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral research associates on various research projects. Thumm earned a master of science degree and a doctorate from the University of Freiburg in Germany.

Commerce Bank Outstanding Teaching Award

For nearly two decades, Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation have partnered with Kansas State University to promote ad support excellence in undergraduate teaching. These recipients are committed to having a positive effect on students.

Ashley Rhodes, Instructor of Biology

Dr. Ashley Rhodes' teaching philosophy is based on the simple tenet of always doing what is best for students and showing them that she cares about them. Rhodes has applied this philosophy in a variety of different types of classes from introductory biology to human body, one of the Division of Biology's most difficult undergraduate courses. Her teaching evaluations reflect success with high scores in both teacher effectiveness and an increased desire to learn. She uses multiple curricular approaches to help students see the long-term benefit of questioning, understanding and knowing the material instead of the short-term memorization of facts and figures to pass a test. She also has developed e-textbooks for Human Body and Physiological Adaptations courses, which saves students money. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the William L. Stamey Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, Haymaker Teaching Excellence Award and Motor Board National Honor Society Outstanding Faculty Member Award. She has a Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and doctorate from K-State.

K-State Mentoring Fellowship

The K-State Mentoring Fellowships are designed to help tenure-track faculty in the sciences and engineering fields find mentors and develop their research programs. The fellowship program was established in 1995 with a grant from the Alfred E. Sloan Foundation.

Santosh Aryal, Assistant professor of Chemistry

For his project "Combinatorial Multifunctional Polymeric Nanomedicine for the Treatment of Breast Cancer Using Doxorubicin and Salinomycin Combination," Dr. Santosh Aryal selected Dr. Deryl Troyer, professor of anatomy and physiology, as his mentor. Troyer also is a member of K-State's Nanotechnology Innovation Center and has done cancer therapeutic evaluations using peptides, antibodies and nanoparticles-based diagnostics and therapy. Aryal is using the drugs doxorubicin and salinomycin for his project. These drugs are selectively enveloped into the long circulating polymeric nanomedicine to develop improved and targeted therapy for doxorubicin-resistant cancers, including breast cancer. Aryal earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Tribhuvan University in Nepal and a doctorate from Chonbuk National University in South Korea. Before joining K-State, he worked at Moore's Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego and Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, Texas, in the field of theranostics nanomedicine.

Ketino "Keti" Kaadze, Assistant professor of Physics

Dr. Ketino Kaadze is a member of the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment, or CMS, at the Large Hadron Collider program at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research. Her project, under the mentorship of Tim Bolton, professor of physics, will expand K-State's High Energy Physics group's involvement in the CMS detector upgrade project. Kaadze and her team, which includes engineers at the K-State Electronics Design Laboratory, a postdoc and students, will design and build one of the components for the upgraded detector. Kaadze earned a bachelor's and master’s degree from Tbilisi State University in the republic of Georgia and a doctoral degree from K-State.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recognize compassion, dedication and creativity in undergraduate teaching. The Office of the President and Curtin Property Co. sponsor three awards for faculty and one award for a graduate teaching assistant.

Brianne Heidbreder, Associate professor of Political Science

Dr. Brianne Heidbreder has exceptional and consistent teacher evaluation scores for teaching effectiveness ranging from 4.8 to 5.0, and students reported that she increased their desire, scoring her between 4.5 and 4.9. Students report that she engages and inspires them by incorporating multimedia materials into her large lecture classes, and that she is enthusiastic, funny, flexible and clear. She teaches State Politics, U.S. Politics, Urban Politics, Gender and Politics, Public Personnel Administration and American Government. She received the William L. Stamey Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2013. Heidbreder has Bachelor of Arts in political science from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, Master of Arts in political science from K-State and a doctorate in political science from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Whitney Jeter, Doctoral student in Psychological Sciences

Whitney Jeter is the graduate teaching assistant at K-State's Teaching and Learning Center, where she works with faculty to develop core competencies for professional development courses and design supplemental materials that facilitates out-of-classroom learning. Her teaching philosophy focuses on intentional involvement, which encourages students to become active in their own learning. She does this by disclosing the course expectations and goals, establishing a collaborative and nonintimidating environment for open discussion, and diversifying the study materials to include nontraditional opportunities. She has received numerous honors and awards, including the Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award from the psychological sciences department and the Graduate Student Teaching Excellence Award from K-State's Graduate Student Council. She received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Baylor University and a Master of Science in social psychology from K-State in 2013.

Sarah Riforgiate, Assistant professor of Communications Studies

Dr. Sarah Riforgiate challenges students to take risks, encourages them to think critically, and works to help students realize education is a constant growing experience even after graduation. By creating partnerships with other departments, she gives students broad learning experiences and introduces communication studies classes to nonmajors. Some of the classes she teaches include Conflict and Communication, Communication and Leadership, Organizational Communication Theory and Perspectives in Communication. As the communication studies internship director, she promotes experiential learning through applied assignments that help students understand communication theory in conjunction with internship work. This semester she also is mentoring two undergraduate students to conduct independent research examining work-life boundary communication for individuals who live where they work. Riforgiate has a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and a Master of Arts and a doctorate, both in communication, from Arizona State University.

Brian Washburn, Associate professor of Physics

Dr. Brian Washburn teaches using three tenets: sharing his love of knowledge; expressing his empathy toward students learning a difficult subject; and fulfilling his role as a scholar and teacher. He has shown a passion for educating, inspiring and enabling students in recognizing their full potential. He teaches Engineering Physics 1, Physics 1, Engineering Physics 2 and Physics 2. Washburn has a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside and a doctorate in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head

The Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head is presented each year to a department head who is proactive, positive, fair and equitable, and who cooperates with units across the university. The award is sponsored by the Office of the President and Curtin Property Co.

Gary Mortenson, Professor and Director of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Dr. Mortenson has shown exceptional leadership since his arrival to K-State. He has successfully realigned the theatre, dance and music programs into the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance; worked with the faculty to develop policies for evaluation; worked to rebalance faculty instruction, creative/research and service responsibilities to better align with 2025 goals; and worked closely with Sheila Walker at the KSU Foundation to increase philanthropy for the performing arts at K-State. These efforts led to the school becoming the first All-Steinway School in the state of Kansas, the renovation of Kirmser Hall and major upgrades to the infrastructure of the Mark A. Chapman Theatre. Mortenson received a Bachelor of Music Education from Augustana College, Master of Music in performance from Ithaca College and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Texas, Austin.

Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising
Dan Kuester, Director of undergraduate studies and Roger Trenary chair for excellence in economic instruction

Dr. Dan Kuester understands that advising students is more than making sure they understand the academic responsibilities and requirements for graduation. He also wants to make sure students are prepared for a career after graduation. He encourages students take part in extracurricular networking activities, such as the Economics Club. As the club's advisor, he arranges an annual field trip to major metropolitan areas — such as Boston, Chicago and Kansas City — and arranges speakers to provide students with academic or career advice at club meetings. In addition, Kuester established six-minute meetings for students in his large lecture classes to talk one on one with him. He advises about 50 students in the economics department and averages a near perfect score on the academic advising surveys. He graduated magna cum laude from Drury College with a Bachelor of Arts in business and economics. He received his master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He received the Stamey Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Stamey Award for Excellence in Advising, Donald K. Anderson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction from the University of Missouri, and outstanding faculty member awards from Acacia Fraternity, Alpha Delta Pi, Pi Beta Phi, Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Nu and K-State's Housing and Dining Services.

The Putting Students First Award for Outstanding Service to Students

The Putting Students First Award for Outstanding Service to Students is presented each year by the Office of Student Life to one faculty member and one staff member who go above and beyond to show their commitment to helping students succeed.

Dan Kuester, Director of undergraduate studies, economics and Roger Trenary chair for excellence in economic instruction

Dr. Dan Kuester not only studies economics, but also makes it relatable to the masses. He is the corresponding author of the website, "The Economics of The Office," referencing the popular TV show. The website is used by many economics professors in their classrooms. Kuester served on the university's advisory board for the Faculty Exchange for Teaching Excellence, and currently serves as the faculty advisor for the K-State Economics Club. Each year, he accompanies K-State economics majors to the Economics Scholars Program at the Dallas Federal Reserve. His research interests include the history of economic thought, economics of sports, economic education and business cycle theory. He has authored or coauthored publications in "The Journal of Economic Education," among many others, and has served as the editor of The Forum of the Association for Arid Land Studies. His awards include the William L. Stamey Awards for Excellence in teaching and advising, as well as the Presidential Award for Outstanding Advising. He received his bachelor's degree in economics at Drury College in Missouri, and his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Missouri.

University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research

In Kansas State University's mission to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025, few things are more vital than teaching students the importance of research to advance our world. the University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring Undergraduate Students in Research recognizes a faculty member who has contributed to the development of undergraduates in research in the previous year.

Mary Cain, Associate professor of Psychological Sciences

Dr. Mary Cain studies the neurobiological basis of drug abuse. Currently, Cain is examining the neural structures that contribute to elevated drug use in rats, as well as the effects of emotion on drug-taking behavior in rats. Cain is investigating the brain mechanisms that contribute to elevated drug-taking behaviors that result from differential rearing environments. She is working to develop methods to decrease drug use using both behavioral and neurobiological techniques. Cain utilizes both undergraduate and graduate students in all aspects of her research process. Her students have been given many exciting opportunities, including learning small animal stereotaxic surgery, studying brain microinfusions, intravenous self-administration, immunohistochemistry, and using Pavlovian and operant conditioning models. Cain's students learn how to design research projects, write funding grants, analyze data and contribute to publication results. Her research is funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and she is a fellow of the American Psychological Association. Cain received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Manhattan College in New York and her doctoral degree in experimental psychology from the University of Vermont.

2014 All-University Awards
CASE Professor of the Year
Gregory Eiselein, professor of English

Dr. Gregory Eiselein, professor of English and a university distinguished teaching scholar, is the 2013 Kansas Professor of the Year, as named by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, or CASE. The competitive honor recognizes excellence in teaching and mentoring and is one of the most prestigious awards for U.S. professors.

Since joining Kansas State University more than 20 years ago, Eiselein has been committed to providing students with a quality undergraduate education experience. As the 2008-2009 Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars, he helped develop a series of first-year seminars, which culminated in the creation of the university's first-year experience program, K-State First, in 2010. He serves as director of the program, which includes general education courses that focus on enhancing students' first-year educational experience and providing them the tools necessary to be successful in earning their bachelor's degree.

Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award
Daniel Higgins, professor of Chemistry

Dr. Dan Higgins, professor of chemistry, researches the implementation of novel optical microscopic techniques for characterization of mesostructured thin film materials. The main goal of his research is to obtain a better understanding of the micron-to-nanometer-scale properties of these materials. His work has been supported by grants from several National Science Foundation programs, the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Office, American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Foundation, private industry and more.

He teaches chemistry courses at the beginning and upper levels, including Chemistry I, Honors Chemistry 2, Instrumental Methods of Analysis, Instrumental Methods of Laboratory, Applied Molecular Spectroscopy, Materials Chemistry and the Graduate Analytical Seminar.

Commerce Bank Outstanding Teaching Award
Donald Saucier, assistant professor of Psychological Sciences

Dr. Saucier joined the Department of Psychological Sciences in 2004. He serves as director of undergraduate studies, chair of the Undergraduate Program Committee, and co-director for the teaching apprenticeship program. He has taught a broad range of classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels, from large sections of general psychology to small classes in advanced psychological research methods. He has been part of the K-State First program since 2010 through teaching as well as research and assessment efforts. Dr. Saucier has received the Putting Students First Award for Outstanding Service to Students, the University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research, the College of Arts and Sciences William L. Stamey Teaching Award, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In each of his classes he employs a simple and straightforward teaching philosophy founded on psychological theories of intrinsic motivation and optimal experience. He believes that students are autonomous, can make decisions, accept responsibility and contribute to their education. Dr. Saucier earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and classical civilization from Colby College, and a master’s degree and a doctorate in experimental social psychology from the University of Vermont.

Excellence in Engagement Award
Laura Kanost, assistant professor of Spanish

Dr. Kanost leads a Study Abroad Connecting Across Topics Community, a program for first-year K-Staters that helps students develop leadership and foreign language skills, culminating with a trip to Costa Rica. Her teaching and research interests include 19th- and 20th-century Latin American literature, women writers and gender issues, translation, disability studies and service learning. Dr. Kanost’s work has been published in many prominent research publications including Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Hispania and the Hispanic Review. She received a Kansas Campus Compact Engaged Faculty Fellow grant and a Commerce Bank Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in 2013.

Dr. Kanost received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, English and Latin American studies from Kansas State University, and a master’s degree and a doctorate in Spanish from the University of Kansas.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
Zheng Hao, Ph.D. student in mathematics

Zheng Hao is a doctoral student in mathematics and serves as a master graduate teaching assistant in the mathematics department. He has taken on many different assignments, from working with beginning students in College Algebra to advanced classes for majors, such as grading for the Intro to Real Analysis course, an assignment given to only the top graduate teaching assistants in the department.

Hao also assists with the Putnam Seminar, which prepares and trains members of the university's Putnam Exam team for the advanced mathematical problems they will face when taking the premier competitive postsecondary mathematics exam in North America. Hao has been honored by the mathematics department with the 2013 Hotinsky Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award and the 2012 David Surowiski Memorial Fellowship.

University Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Student in Research
Andrew Rogers, undergraduate in philosophy

Mr. Rogers is interested in the areas of free will, determinism, decision theory and probability theory. His past research focused on the open theism — the view that God does not have definite foreknowledge but that he knows the objective probabilities of future events. He has written several articles on the subject that have been accepted for presentations at several conferences. He is currently working with Dr. Graham Leach-Krouse to address the questions of how to rank multiple infinite utilities in decision theory and whether advanced artificial intelligence could become religious on the basis of Pascal’s Wager-style arguments. In addition to his research, he is a staff writer for the Collegian.

University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research
Stefan Bossmann, professor of chemistry

Dr. Stefan Bossmann, professor of chemistry, sees big possibilities with the tiniest of materials. He specializes in nanotechnology — containers and metalbased particles that are just nanometers in size. In recent years, Bossmann's research has turned to applying nanotechnology to fighting cancer. He and colleagues are developing new methods to detect and stop the disease. A magnetic hyperthermia project uses iron/iron oxide nanoparticles and an alternating magnetic field to overheat a tumor, effectively killing it. Another project introduces a nanoparticle formula to a cancer patient's blood sample.

Undergraduate students have a major presence in Bossmann's research laboratory and have authored or co-authored articles in leading research journals. Many of his students have gone on to graduate or professional schools and are national award winners, including a Goldwater scholarship recipient. He also has been actively involved the chemistry department's Research Experience for Undergraduates program, funded by the National Science Foundation.

2013 All-University Awards
Big 12 Faculty Fellowship Award
Tanya Gonzalez, associate professor of English

Dr. Gonzalez specializes in U.S. Latina/o studies and ethnic American literature and teaches courses in American literature, cultural studies and Latina/o studies. In a recent study focusing on the Latino presence in sitcoms, she involved several students from K-State's Developing Scholars Program and the university's Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.

Michael Krysko, associate professor of history

Dr. Krysko is the author of "American Radio in China: International Encounters with Technology and Communications, 1919-1941." His research and teaching interests are in the history of technology and mass media, as well as U.S. foreign relations and modern East Asia. Dr. Krysko's awards include a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant and a 2007 Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Research Grant.

Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars
John Fliter, associate professor of political science

Dr. Fliter's career has focused on the laws of our nation. From the Supreme Court and judicial policy-making to civil rights and liberties, Dr. Fliter is an expert in U.S. politics. He received the K-State Presidential Teaching Award in 2010 and is the former chair of the Lou Douglas Lecture Series Committee. Dr. Fliter teaches courses in U.S. politics, civil rights and liberties, and administrative law.

Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award
Bharat Ratra, professor of physics

Dr. Ratra who works in the areas of cosmology and astroparticle physics. He researches the structure and evolution of the universe. In 1988, Dr. Ratra and another researcher proposed the first dynamical dark energy model, leading to one of the most significant scientific discoveries in the last quarter of a century. He has mentored graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting faculty members, and has received $7 million in grants, largely from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

Commerce Bank Outstanding Teaching Award
Laura Kanost, assistant professor of Spanish

Dr. Kanost leads a Study Abroad Connecting Across Topics Community, a program for first-year K-Staters that helps students develop leadership skills as well as a foreign language by traveling to Costa Rica. Her teaching and research interests include 19th- and 20th-century Latin American Literature, women writers and gender issues, translation, disability studies and service learning.

K-State Mentoring Fellowship
Alice Boyle, assistant professor of biology

Boyle studies behavioral, evolutionary and physiological ecology; basic and applied ornithology; and life history and migration. Currently, her research investigates large-scale questions regarding the ecological factors shaping animal migration and life history in both tropical and temperate biomes. She combines a strong, field-based research program with an array of laboratory and analytical methods to address questions of fundamental importance to both basic and applied branches of wildlife ecology.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
Brett DePaola, professor of physics

Dr. DePaola successfully converted the department's Physical World II course into Science for Policy Makers, a new course based on his experiences as a Jefferson Science Fellow. Dr. DePaola served as a Jefferson Science Fellow with the U.S. Department of State from 2010 to 2011, and continues to be an intelligence community associate who helps the U.S. intelligence community with science- and technology-related issues.

Vincent Pigno, Ph.D. student in mathematics

Mr. Pigno is this year's recipient of the Presidential Award in Undergraduate Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant. He is currently a Ph.D. student in mathematics working on topics in number theory. In 2010, Mr. Pigno was selected for a master graduate teaching assistantship, a merit-based competitive position in which graduate students serve as leaders to other GTAs. He teaches a variety of undergraduate math courses including Introduction to Digital Image Processing, Applied Matrix Theory and College Algebra.

Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising
Julie Hunt, academic advisor for open option and interdisciplinary social science majors

Julie Hunt is an academic advisor for open option and interdisciplinary social science majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, she revived and now coordinates the advisor forum, which provides support and information for professional advisors across campus. Her goal as an advisor is to serve as a catalyst to help students recognize their self-worth and support them as they make positive life changes.

The Putting Students First Award for Outstanding Service to Students
Kent Kerby, assistant director of undergraduate affairs in the Division of Biology

Dr. Kerby is a true example of putting the concerns of the students he works with first. Dr. Kerby's open-door policy helps students stay on track and accomplish their goals. He is a member of the College of Arts and Science's Diversity Committee and has been the Faculty Senate representative on Student Senate for the past three years.