Faculty and staff excellence awards presented at Honors Convocation

Faculty and staff excellence awards presented at Honors Convocation

Indiana University East recognized several faculty and staff with awards for their service to the university during the Honors Convocation ceremony held April 25.

Ange Cooksey, senior lecturer in humanities, is this year’s recipient of the Helen Lees Award, established in 1991. Professor Emeritus Lees passed away in 1992, but her spirit continues in this annual award to honor a full-time faculty member who has taught at least 10 semesters at IU East.

Cooksey received the award for demonstrating that she is an engaged teacher who motivates her students to excellence in the classroom, online and through her leadership in service-learning. Students know that she brings enthusiasm and caring to everything that she does. She experiences fully the joy of teaching and the fulfillment that comes when students grasp a difficult concept.

Daron Olson, assistant professor of History, received the Award for Excellence in Research. This award recognizes excellence in research and/or creative work by a full-time faculty member over a sustained period of time.

His research focuses on Scandinavia, particularly Norway, and the topics of national identity, migration and race. He published a book in 2012 entitled “Vikings Across the Atlantic: Emigration and the Building of a Greater Norway, 1860-1945.” He is currently researching his next book about how Norway promoted its national identify in exile during World War II.

Katherine Frank, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, received the Distinguished Faculty Service Award. This award recognizes distinguished service, either one-time or sustained, by a full-time faculty member above and beyond the expectations of any compensation or release time provided for the service.

Frank has restructured the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, added seven new full-time faculty members and five new academic programs. She led the “One Book, Many Voices” project which involved tremendous collaborations both internally and externally. Frank serves on the Positive Place Initiative Steering Committee, the boards of the Richmond Symphony, Cope Environmental Center, and Communities in Schools, just to name a few, and her activities have strengthened the relationship between IU East and the Richmond community.

Natalia Rybas, assistant professor of Communication Studies, received the Progress Award for New Faculty. The Progress Award is a symbol of achievement for new faculty members as they are establishing their careers at IU East.

Rybas has integrated her teaching, scholarship and service to support the mission of IU East. She is engaged in service in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and has been particularly active in the community.

Her scholarship focuses on cultural communication studies that evaluate phenomena of everyday life with special emphasis on the issues of new media and culture. She is a proponent of active learning and she encourages students to be both creative and critical in the learning process.

Wayne Klusman is the recipient of the part-time Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He began teaching geology at IU East in 1973 when classes were still held on the Earlham College campus.

Awards were presented to an outstanding support staff member and professional staff member who have made significant contributions to IU East during the past year. Kara Newman, assistant director in the Office of Admissions, received the Professional Council Service Award and Deanna Cooper, secretary for the Center for Health Promotion, received the Staff Council Service Award.

Newman was recognized for being instrumental in the enrollment growth at IU East, in particular her work with high school students, their parents, guidance counselors, and other school officials. She also has developed the Admissions Ambassadors, a group of students who lead campus tours for new and prospective students and staff important campus events.

Cooper is highly respected by her coworkers and the students. She has coordinated numerous health initiatives and activities on campus, and she volunteered to be the lead person for the health screenings.

Andrew Britt is the recipient of the Student Employee Service Award. He is currently an intern for the Office of Career Planning & Placement and brings with him a vast skill set and experience by working with other departments on campus including University College. He is a Peer Mentor for four First-Year Seminar classes and has served as the campus mascot, Rufus.

Britt demonstrates a strong work ethic and leadership skills in serving as a role model to orientation leaders, envisioning and building one of the most active student clubs on campus, leading the first Spirit of Philanthropy week as part of Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow, and organizing many student events. He has worked tirelessly to create, promote, develop, maintain, and advocate for programs that contribute to student success.

Following graduation this May, Britt plans to pursue his Master of Science in College Student Personnel Administration at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, in the fall.

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