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Faculty members and advisers receive college honors


May 07, 2009
Six outstanding individuals are recipients of distinguished teaching and advising awards given by ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The annual awards recognize quality teaching, excellence in advising, and successful mentoring.

Award winners were nominated by students, alumni, faculty members and staff. The recipients will be recognized during the college awards ceremony, 1-2:30 p.m., May 14 at the University Club.

Okechukwu Iheduru
Zebulon Pearce Distinguished Teaching Award

Established in memory of Zebulon Pearce, who graduated from Territorial Normal School at Tempe (now ASU) with teacher's credentials in 1899, this award recognizes quality teaching in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

This year’s recipient is Okechukwu Iheduru, a professor of political science. Iheduru teaches introductory classes in comparative politics as well as upper division classes on Africa and international political economies. He has supervised several small groups of students to study abroad and complete internships in Ghana.

A student wrote in his nomination, “Professor Iheduru not only conducts class in a lively student participatory focused approach, he more importantly captivates students, stimulating reflection and the development of analytical skills. After a class or meeting with Iheduru, I always left with a clear and provocative understanding of an idea or subject, because he taught and integrated history, theory and methodological concepts with personal and human anecdotes.”

“He is innovative in terms of technology in delivering his lectures,” said Patrick Kenney, founding director of the School of Government, Politics and Global Studies. “He makes considerable use of the Internet, power points and films in his classes. His students, on the student evaluations conducted each semester, report his lectures as interesting and compelling.”

Ron Dorn
Innovation in Teaching Award

Ron Dorn, a professor in the School of Geographical Sciences, has taught 16 different courses, ranging from freshman learning communities to graduate seminars in scanning electron microscopy analysis of rock and mineral weathering. He is co-coordinator of the Arizona Geographic Alliance, a K-12 outreach program to promote geographic education in Arizona. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the Arizona and Nevada academies of science.

“He is an engaged teacher, committed to bringing out the best in every student with the goal of turning them into formed citizens, effective teachers or inquisitive scholars,” said Luc Anselin, director of the School of Geographical Sciences. “He plays a leading role in transforming some of our laboratory science curriculum into an online format, typically teaching overloads and taking on these additional tasks without compensation and without asking for it.”

Mostafa Afifi Hegazy
Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award

Mostafa Afifi Hegazy, a doctoral student in kinesiology, has been an instructor and teaching assistant in the department of kinesiology since 2004. Hegazy received a master’s degree in exercise and sports science from Ithaca College and a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Cairo University.
“Looking back at all of my professors and classes that I took on during my four years at ASU, Mostafa’s class was my most challenging yet most fulfilling class I’ve ever taken,” wrote a student nominator. “Even though it was very fast-paced, he knew how to individualize it to each student’s learning capacity.”

Denise Bodman
Outstanding Lecturer Award

Denise Bodman, senior lecturer in the School of Social and Family Dynamics, has taught 15 courses at ASU. Bodman earned a doctorate and bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. She also earned a master’s degree in speech and hearing science from the University of Arizona.

“Every day in her classroom is like being on an adventure,” wrote a student nominator. “She always finds such creative and original ways to motivate her students. I always felt comfortable in her classroom. Hers were the only classes that I felt at ease sitting in the front, not because I had trouble seeing the board or hearing the instructor, but because I wanted to.”

“Denise Bodman has always been understanding and approachable. She maintains a positive level of fun and, at the same time, keeps her students on their toes with little surprises along the way. It is very obvious by the way she teachers that she truly wishers her students to succeed,” wrote the student.

David Capco
Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor Award

David Capco, a professor in the School of Life Sciences, served as co-director and lead faculty for the college’s Learning Communities human disease and society community. In 2008, Capco actively engaged in mentoring undergraduate students in directed research projects, served as chair of honors thesis projects for two undergraduate students, and mentored two graduate students in individual research endeavors.

“I began working in Professor Capco’s research lab during the latter portion of the summer of 2007. On several occasions, Capco went out of his way to make the research experience more fulfilling,” read a nomination letter by a student. “I made mistakes with materials and supplies that came directly from grants he slaved over with no consequence. This is extremely rare to find among researchers, one who does not get too critical or down on his or her students. Moreover, he only encouraged me to learn from the mistakes that I made.”

“On several occasions, he has gone out of his way to ensure that my education is held at the highest standard. Professor Capco truly embodies the title mentor,” the student wrote.

Sabrina Mathues
Excellence in Advising Award

Sabrina Mathues, undergraduate program coordinator and academic adviser in the department of physics, serves as the primary adviser to nearly 200 physics majors. According to Robert Nemanich, chair of the department, her success in advising is evident from the student responses on the graduation senior report card. Eighty-nine percent of respondents noted they were satisfied with their advising in their major.

“Sabrina Mathues has become involved with recruiting students into the program. She worked closely with students and their parents, and she was able to knowledgably describe how their studies would progress at ASU,” Nemanich said. “Her efforts have led to nearly doubling the size of our freshman class, our overall numbers have grown by about a third, and our student acceptance rate has nearly doubled. Moreover, the students appear more confident and comfortable with the physics department than in past years.”