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Liberal Arts and Sciences recognizes faculty, staff

May 28, 2008

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences honored eight individuals for quality teaching, excellence in advising, and making a difference. Recipients of the college honors were recognized May 8 at a college awards program. They were nominated by students, alumni, faculty members and staff.

Neal Woodbury received the Gary Krahenbuhl Difference Maker Endowment award, which is selected by the dean of the college. Woodbury is a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry and the director of the Center for Biooptical Nanotechnology in the Biodesign Institute at ASU.

“Professor Woodbury is a dedicated teacher, an innovative and creative researcher, dependable colleague, and is energetic in his service to the college,” says Quentin Wheeler, ASU vice president and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “He has been a leading pioneer in research on the structure-function relationships in photosynthesis and is currently developing molecular devices and nanoscale hybrid electronics for use in biomedicine, threat detection and agriculture.”

The recipient of this award personifies the spirit of difference-making demonstrated by Gary Krahenbuhl, former dean of the college. The endowment was established through generous contributions from faculty, staff and friends at ASU to annually recognize and celebrate faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The Zebulon Pearce Distinguished Quality Teaching Award was 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, three faculty members received the award. They are Kyle Longley, a professor of history and a dean’s faculty Fellow; Mike Treacy, a professor of physics and director of undergraduate programs in the physics department; and Randall Cerveny, a President’s Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences.

Longley teaches in a variety of formats, including large lectures, online, and small seminars. He has served on doctoral and master’s thesis committees, and for several semesters he was involved in the undergraduate learning community “War, Culture and Memory.”

A student wrote to Longley: “I’m nearing the end of my four years at ASU, and I can count on one hand the number of classes that have truly challenged me and yours are both included.”

Treacy teaches undergraduate thermodynamics, optics and modern physics, and graduate level mechanics. He has earned a reputation for clear presentations and the ability to relate complex concepts in laymen’s terms to his students.

“I have learned that most students are serious, motivated, young people who have a strong desire to learn. It is a privilege to help them achieve their goals,” he says.

Cerveny teaches climate and meteorology to first-year students as well as upper division. He believes in giving students extra training and experience through avenues such as the “Arizona Thunderstorm Chase Project,” a summer project that has students act as mobile eyes for the National Weather Service during the monsoon. He has also introduced geography to broader audiences in his book “Freaks of the Storm” and by teaching a TV class titled “13 Ways Nature Can Kill You.”

“He engages students, most of whom have no idea what the field of geography is about, to the point of convincing them to become majors,” says Luc Anselin, director of the School of Geographical Sciences says.

There were three other teaching awards presented at the award program: Distinguished Teaching Award for Lecturers; Distinguished Teaching Award for Faculty Associates; and Distinguished Award for Teaching Associates.

Delon Washo-Krupps, recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award for Lecturers, is a lecturer in the School of Life Sciences. She teaches three courses every semester with class sizes ranging from 150 to more than 400 students.

“Delon loves to teach – this has been clear in every interaction I have had with her. And students think she is terrific, in spite of the large classes she teaches,” says Andrew Smith, associate director for undergraduate programs in the School of Life Sciences.

Charles “Chas” Barfoot received the Distinguished Teaching Award for Faculty Associates. Barfoot is a faculty associate in the department of religious studies, teaching in the classroom and online. Among his classes are: “Religion in the Americas” and “Myth, Symbol and Ritual.”

“I don’t lecture as much as I ‘academically entertain.’ I feel somewhat like George Lucas in that I am forever looking for new ways to tell an old story,” he says.

Chad Awtrey received the Distinguished Teaching Award for Teaching Associates. Awtrey is a doctoral student and teaching associate in the department of mathematics and statistics. He teaches algebra, finite mathematics and second semester calculus. Awtrey learns the name and area of study of each of his students. A former student said: “He does not view his job as teaching math. Instead he teaches his students math.”

Another student wrote: “Chad has an extraordinary ability to relate rather difficult concepts to students at different ranges of understanding.”

The college also recognized the role of academic advisors in the success of ASU students.

Debra Daly, an academic success specialist and coordinator of advising in the department of psychology, was this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Advising Award. Among her accomplishments, Daly initiated “Declaration of Graduation Workshops,” which have resulted in a substantial increase in the number of students who graduate on time.

“There is no single advisor more dedicated or involved with students than Debbie, and I’ve lost count of how many students come to me to rave about her as an advisor and as a person,” says Keith Crnic, chair of psychology.