Avesh Raghunandan - 2013A commitment to education, the development of critical courses and research are among the reasons that Dr. Avesh Raghunandan was named the winner of Ferris State University’s 2013 Distinguished Teacher Award.
Clifton Franklund - 2012
Clifton Franklund is a self-professed nerd. He is also one of the most respected professors at Ferris State University, where he has been honored with the 2011-12 Distinguished Teacher Award.
“I like science, technology and science fiction,” said Franklund, an associate professor of Biology at Ferris. “I try to incorporate those interests into my classes to enhance my students’ comprehension.”
One of his favorite sets of lectures involves using “The Lord of the Rings” to illustrate the nature of the immune system.
“I bring it all to class with a dry sense of humor – lame jokes, bad puns and all,” Franklund said. “I don’t mind if my students groan. At least I know they’re listening.”
Franklund, who also coordinates Ferris’ Biology program, is greatly admired by his students and his peers. Franklund received the university’s prestigious award this spring during the annual Employee Service Award Celebration in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room.
“I’m pleased and honored,” Franklund said. “And a little intimidated – I greatly admire and respect the individuals who have previously won this award.”
Franklund, who has been employed at Ferris since 2006, was the choice of the Distinguished Teacher Award Committee, chaired this year by Adnan Dakkuri, a professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy. The recipient is selected after a lengthy process of extensive evaluation that includes classroom visits, student input, evaluation of semifinalist essays and curriculum vitae, and interviews with finalists.
“The Distinguished Teacher Award at Ferris State University is the most coveted recognition of faculty at FSU,” Dakkuri said. “Dr. Clifton Franklund has admirably met all of these conditions based on the judgment of the selection committee.
Student input impacts the committee’s decision significantly, he said, quoting one student’s comments: “Dr. Franklund works very hard to make sure his students understand the material. He doesn’t just teach micro, he also teaches his students how to be better test-takers and how to use our time wisely. He is always busy trying to make his course better.”
“Our institution is proud to have among its professoriate individuals of high caliber who are committed to excellence in teaching and to advancement of higher education,” Dakkuri said. “Dr. Franklund truly represents these faculty members.”
Franklund teaches microbiology courses to about 200 students each semester. Most of them are students in allied health associate degree programs or in a clinical laboratory science program.
He prefers to see his role as a coach rather than a content expert.
“I tell all of my classes that microbiology is more than a mere assemblage of arcane facts with Latinized names,” he said. “It is both a method for exploring the interactions within and between living systems and a way of understanding the material world in which we live.
“The only way to truly teach microbiology, and the only way that it can be learned, is to emphasize and understand these interactions … I try to make it practical. Microbes impact our lives every day – whether you are in the drug store, grocery store or just reading the newspaper, you will find that microbes are literally all around us. The things students learn in my classes are things they will use for their entire careers.”
Franklund’s interest in science began in fifth grade, thanks to an inspiring teacher. He started experimenting in a makeshift chemistry lab in the basement of his home and “accidentally discovered how to produce chloramine gas as well as other less-potentially deadly compounds.”
Franklund earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., a Master of Science in Bacteriology from North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D., and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va.
“I didn’t really get what science was all about until graduate school, and then the light went on,” he said. “Like my students, I was focused on learning the facts and procedures at first. In graduate school, I was finally able to do science instead of learning about it.”
He moved to Big Rapids in 2006 following six years as an assistant professor at California State University in Long Beach, Calif.
“We wanted to be part of a smaller community again,” said Franklund, who grew up in Minnesota. “I went from a town of 200 to a city of 10 million and working at a university with 36,000 students … Big Rapids is the right-size town for us and a wonderful place to live, and Ferris is the perfect-size college. Our school is small enough to really get to know the students while still large enough to support a variety of activities and some great sports teams.”
Franklund speaks highly of colleagues in the Biology department at Ferris, and admires the work done by the university’s Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, facilitated by director Todd Stanislav.
“The Faculty Center is an excellent resource for people who choose to use it,” Franklund said. “It has given me an opportunity to meet faculty and staff from across our university and to hear what other people are doing in their classes. It is a great place to share ideas, and I know that it has made me a better teacher.”
He’s also a big fan of his students.
“We have really terrific students at Ferris,” Franklund said. “Ferris is part community college, part general studies, part liberal arts, part vocational school … and it’s a comprehensive university. With such a mixture of programs, we attract a very diverse student body. Perhaps we are not as racially or ethnically diverse as some colleges, but I cannot think of a school with more diverse academic programs than Ferris.”
Franklund’s wife, Carrie, also works for Ferris in Institution Research and Testing. His daughter, Jennifer, is a student at Hillsdale College, and his daughter, Emily, will attend Ferris’ Kendall College of Art and Design in the fall.
Greg Gogolin - 2011
As a member of what he describes as a distinguished team of faculty members in the College of Business, Greg Gogolin was "honored" to be named the 2011 Distinguished Teacher.
A professor who has gained notoriety for his work with Ferris' Information Security and Intelligence program, Gogolin experienced a rush of emotion as he learned of the recognition.
"It's humbling to receive this kind of honor. It's especially humbling considering
the caliber of professors that I've had the opportunity to work with from the beginning
of my career here at Ferris," said Gogolin, who has been employed at Ferris since
1999. "My mother was a finalist two times for the award, several years ago when she
was a professor at Ferris, and I know how good she was as a professor. This is a great
Gogolin, who has more than 20 years of industry experience in information systems to his credit, earned his Bachelor of Science degrees in Applied Biology and Computer Information Systems from Ferris in 1987. He earned a Master of Science from Ferris in Computer Information Systems Management in 1991 and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 2000 to conclude what he described as 19 years of attending college to discover what he wanted to do in life, professionally.
After spending time strengthening his academic portfolio and later working outside academia, Gogolin felt a tug back to education. In Fall 1999, with the pursuit on for his sixth academic degree, a Ph.D. from MSU, Gogolin returned to Ferris to teach with his Ph.D. pursuit designed to increase his options as a teacher and mentor for students.
Each year, as Gogolin sees classes of students come and go, he finds himself gratified by the relationships that mature and grow stronger as time passes.
"I have had students from 43 countries and I tell students that there is no greater compliment than if they send me an email or give me a call after they've left Ferris just to give me an update of what they're up to," he said. "I will get pictures of weddings, pictures of kids ... you name it. I get these pictures and messages from all over the world and it's hard to put into words how much that means. It is amazing to have those kinds of relationships with students."
In addition to being a professor in the College of Business, Gogolin is a licensed private investigator, a certified information systems security professional, a project management professional, a certified EnCase Examiner and a certified handheld examiner.
Being named the Distinguished Teacher was gratifying for Richard Goosen who sees himself as a down-to-earth teacher who is dedicated to the success of his students.
Goosen, a professor in the College of Engineering Technology, was named Ferris State University's Distinguished Teacher Award winner for 2009-10.
"From the student evaluations and their comments, as well as the class visitations from the committee members, it was clear that Dr. Goosen is truly a distinguished faculty member at Ferris State University," said Khagendra Thapa, committee chair. "He works very hard to ensure that students in his class understand the material he teaches. Dr. Goosen goes out of his way to help students learn the material and they are properly advised so that they can graduate within a specified time period."
"I was humbled and surprised because I view the Distinguished Teacher Award as the most significant and meaningful award we give at Ferris because it is focused specifically on teaching," Goosen said. "It was really quite an honor. If you ask me what it is I did to get this honor I would say, 'I teach.' When you receive positive reinforcement on what you consider your mission in life to be, it winds up being a very good thing."
Goosen has been an assistant professor at Ferris since 1993 and has served as coordinator of two CET programs since 2009. As an assistant professor, he teaches courses in engineering technology related to engineering science and mechanical design. As coordinator of Ferris' Product Design Engineering Technology and CAD Drafting Tool Design programs, Goosen provides administrative support in addition to teaching responsibilities.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering in 1974 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University in 1978, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from The Ohio University in 1985 and was awarded a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University in 2009.
Teaching is in the blood of Daniel Adsmond, an organic chemistry professor in Ferris State University's College of Arts and Sciences, and has been since childhood.
A dedication to education and improving the lives of students are among the reasons Dr. Adsmond was named recipient of Ferris' 2009 Distinguished Teacher Award. A professor at FSU since 1998, Adsmond was honored with the award as the result of the Distinguished Teacher Award Selection Committee's work over the period of a year. Adsmond and other candidates were involved in an exhaustive process that included classroom visitations, student surveys, personal interviews in addition to the evaluation of essays and curriculum.
In the end, Adsmond's name was selected by the committee chaired by Dr. Adnan Dakkuri.
"It's a real honor to receive this kind of award and, in many ways, I think it's an affirmation of the positive things I've always felt I've been doing with students I've had the opportunity to work with," said Adsmond, who earned his bachelor's degree from Northern Michigan University and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Adsmond's passion for teaching dates back to his youth when he tutored his older sister in geometry. His desire to teach has grown stronger over time. Among the distinguishing characteristics of Adsmond's classes is his use of group work to encourage students to work and learn together in addition to extended use of laboratory time for projects - a staple of the hands-on educational experience Ferris State University has come to be known for since its founding 125 years ago.
"I've always enjoyed teaching," said Adsmond, who was nominated for the Distinguished Teacher Award by former recipient, Mary Murnik, a professor of Biology at Ferris. "One of the things I've always enjoyed about teaching is watching the light bulb turn on in a student's head and you know they get it."
Adsmond's personal desire to strengthen his own educational knowledge base also remains strong. His ongoing research is focused on molecular recognition to learn how and why certain molecules recognize and actively bind to each other. While he enjoys keeping his own knowledge as strong as possible, his true passion remains with the education of his students.
"I love seeing students begin to feel enjoyment in the learning process," Adsmond said.
Khagendra Thapa - 2008Teaching for Khagendra Thapa means making a difference in the lives of others. Dr. Thapa's colleagues agreed when naming the professor of Surveying Engineering the 2008 Distinguished Teacher at FSU.
Thapa’s colleagues are not the only people who recognize the drive and dedication of the professor, who holds five degrees from four countries, including his native Nepal, Canada, England and the United States. He also was recently recognized by the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers with the Ralph Berry Moore Education Award for his leadership at the North American Surveying Educators Conference and his contributions to the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Specifically, Thapa has contributed to the ACSM as a member of the Curriculum, Accreditation, Registration and Education Committee.
The U.S. Department of Labor also recognized Thapa with a Certificate of Appreciation for his contributions to the National Occupational Information Network Data Collection program.
But, for Thapa it’s not about the awards.
"Teaching is a noble profession in which I can make a difference in the lives of others," he said. "The students I teach are not my children, but when I see them succeed, I feel good that I made an impact in their lives."
Teaching at Ferris for the past 21 years, after spending two years teaching at the Engineering Institute in Kathmandu in Nepal, Thapa will continue his active involvement.
He was appointed 2008-09 commissioner of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, an organization he has been involved with as an evaluator for many years. He also will remain involved with Ferris’ Academic Senate, for which he has been involved since 1989. Annually, he will continue providing scholarship assistance to one Surveying Engineering student.
Mary Rengo Murnik - 2007
Mary Rengo Murnik, Ph.D., a professor of Biology, received the prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award from her academic colleagues in 2007. Dr. Murnik came to Ferris in 1980. She was honored with the Martin Luther King Social Justice Award in 2004, the Ferris Professional Women Woman of the Year award and the Michigan Association of Governing Boards' Award for Teaching Excellence in 1998.
Dr. Murnik helps students learn to think through concepts of genetics and evolution, to "learn to think like biologists". She really enjoys teaching, and works hard to maintain currency and actively involve students in the learning process. She stresses understanding and application of concepts, not memorization. Classes include time for clarification, questioning, discussion, as well as group and individual problem solving. Her students comment: "...excellent instructor. Her passion and knowledge for the course and its material are...second to none. She has a welcoming smile when you enter the classroom and is sure you know the material before you leave."
Dr. Murnik's research interests include mutagenesis, and she mentors undergraduate student research in that area. Dr. Murnik chairs the Pre-Dental Advisory Committee and is a Dental Admission Test Constructor, Biology Content Area, for the American Dental Association.
Pasquale Di Raddo - 2006
Ever since he was in high school, Pasquale Di Raddo had a keen interest in learning how environmental pollutant chemicals acted in causing birth defects and cancer. His fusion of interests in chemistry and biology led him to undergraduate and doctoral research studies in bio-organic chemistry at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and then working as a research associate at the University of Chicago's Ben May Institute for Cancer Research.
Pasquale began a second, rich, career as a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin and at Carthage College, a small liberal arts school, where his teaching responsibilities covered the humanities and heritage studies. He arrived at Ferris State in 1994, and has taught courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry. His classes are heavily populated by talented and ambitious pre-professional health science students and he will often use his own academic experiences as examples in his teaching.
Di Raddo is faculty advisor to a number of campus RSO organizations: the pre-optometry, ACS chemistry and pre-medicine clubs, and the Kappa Psi pharmacy fraternity. He is a former recipient of the Douglas Fonner Award for Outstanding Faculty Advisor to the FSU Interfraternity Council (2004), and the Outstanding RSO advisor of the Year (2005). His ACS chemistry student chapter received both Green Chemistry Chapter Recognition and the Outstanding Chapter Award from the American Chemical Society (2006-07). Many of his former students are now successful practicing optometrists, pharmacists, chemists, doctors, nurses and dental hygienists. He has recently published poetry on various chemical themes and an article on the use of comics for the teaching of chemistry laboratory safety, and has been involved in undergraduate student research.
Robert McCullough - 2005
Robert McCullough, an associate professor of Mathematics, has taught algebra, trigonometry, calculus, operations research, discrete structures and numerous computer science classes over the past 25 years at FSU. His special interest lies in the mathematics needed for space exploration, and he regularly reviews publications for science books and films. As a regional resource person for the National Air and Space Museum, he has given more than 100 presentations on space exploration.
McCullough is the author of the textbook Mathematics for Computer Technology, which has been used by 90 colleges in eight countries. He has done extensive research, writing and speaking about the mathematics used by the Wright brothers to prove that flight was possible. His lifelong interest in space exploration led him to be selected as a Regional Resource Person for the National Air and Space Museum in 1981. In this role he has given over 130 talks to various groups on aerospace topics.
McCullough advises Applied Mathematics students, coordinates the Applied Mathematics and Mathematics programs and chairs the Program Review Panel for Applied Mathematics. In addition, he advises Ferris' MATH Challenge teams and mentors students in the University's Math/Science/Technology Center.
Fred Heck - 2005
Fred Heck has been a Ferris faculty member since 1988 and is the resident geologist at the University. He is an advisor for the Pre-Pharmacy program and teaches non-geology majors about Earth's wonders through courses in physical and historical geology, hydrogeology and earth systems science.
Heck's teaching philosophy assumes students will learn better if they are more actively involved in their learning, so his classes work together in cooperative learning groups and make frequent excursions to the local countryside. He has led students on two-week geology field trips to the Canyon Country of the southwest United States, the northern Rocky Mountains, Michigan's Upper Peninsula and to Martinique.
Dr. Heck developed a new Integrated Science Teaching major in 2003 and attended a workshop on designing courses in the Geosciences that was sponsored by the National Association of Geology Teachers and the National Science Foundation.
David Pilgrim - 2004
Professor David Pilgrim consistently maintains an open, student-centered classroom environment and remains committed to the success of his students.
As the primary donor and curator of the University's Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia,
Dr. Pilgrim as been widely quoted by such national media outlets as the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio concerning issues of race and culture. Also, he is beginning work on the Sarah Baartman
Room, which will be devoted to understanding historical and contemporary sexism.
In addition to his teaching duties, Pilgrim is a consultant to the Public Museum of Grand Rapids' Ethnic History Exhibit and was recently elected to the Michigan Museums Association's Board of Directors. He has taught at Ferris State since 1990.
Phillip Middleton - 2003
Phillip Middleton, a professor of Languages and Literature, teaches composition as well as Black literature, African literature and Shakespeare. He has served as a Fulbright scholar in the Sudan and in Romania, and was awarded another Fulbright grant to teach in Syria.
In addition to having an interest in cultures that are at the forefront of world politics, Dr. Middleton also embodies traits common to virtually all Fulbrighters -— being a willing host for the travel bug and having an unbelievable desire to learn. He's looking forward to visiting Jordan and Lebanon, where he’s never been and to re-visiting Turkey.
"To understand another culture takes a long time. You bring back the knowledge that you’re not going to learn everything about a country or culture, but you can bring back a better understanding," Middleton said.
David Hanna - 2003
David Hanna, an associate professor of Construction Technology and Management, joined the Ferris faculty in 1992. He received the 1996 Dow Outstanding New Faculty Award and the 1997 Outstanding Teacher Award from the American Society of Engineering Education.
Hanna has extensive experience with consulting engineering and construction management firms in the areas of project management, value engineering, design, administration and marketing. David's success in the classroom is based upon the belief that all students can learn when properly motivated to do so. According to Hanna, when educational objectives are clear, several methods can be utilized to match the various learning styles of students.
David's many years of construction work, professional design and teaching have solidified his foundation principles and helped him achieve the results both he and his students desire. His beliefs and teaching strategies dictate that construction education must have an applied interdisciplinary base, be holistic in nature, build each student's skills in communications and presentations, be both practical and intellectual, and emphasize creative ability, rational evaluation skills and students' ability to solve problems independently as well as in interdisciplinary teams.
David Aiken - 2003
David Aiken, professor of Humanities, Philosophy and Religion, has earned high praise from students for his teaching philosophy.
"I interact personally with students because I believe that philosophical thinking is personally relevant to daily happiness," Aikens said. "It
is my responsibility to transmit information, but also to find the key that allows students to receive information and make it their own."
Professor David Aiken holds a Doctorat d État (summa cum laude, 1995) in the History of Ideas, Comparative Literatures and Philosophy from the University of Nice (France), and a Doctorat de Troisième Cycle (cum laude, 1981) in Philosophy from the University of Strasbourg (France). He has held post-doctoral research posts in Classical Philology at the University of Frankfort (Germany), and in the Department of Dutch Studies (Middle High German Literature) at the University of Hull (England). Dr. Aiken's research interests include history of religions, ancient Greek history, philosophy, Christianity and the ancient Near East, and Nietzsche studies. He teaches Comparative, Western, and Asian religions, Christianity, Mythology, Ancient Philosophy, Introduction to Philosophy, and Ethics, as well as Cultural History.
Professor Aiken had his article entitled "Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. The Misreading of a Hero" published in the 2006 volume of Nietzsche-Studien (Germany).
Sheila MacEachron - 2002
Sheila MacEachron, program coordinator and assistant professor of Nuclear Medicine Technology, earned the Distinguished Teacher Award in 2002. "Sheila is an amazing teacher," one student wrote. "She has a great sense of humor; she is genuine and caring. I have learned more in one semester than in the last three years." Another student wrote, "She is enthusiastic about her job as a professor and I am so thankful to be one of her students."
MacEachron, who was elected to the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board of Directors, has traveled to China to evaluate medical technology there. She was also invited to take part in a summit sponsored by the Department of Labor to help in rewriting national health care standards.
In addition to her work in higher education and with medical technology and health care standards, MacEachron has mentored area high school students conducting research projects.
J. Randall Groves - 2001
Randy Groves teaches a variety of courses including Ethics, Introduction to Humanities, Eastern Religion, Western Religion, Comparative Civilization, Philosophy of Mind, Film, and Popular Culture. He joined the faculty in 1991 and was selected as a Distinguished Teacher by his peers in 2001. Groves also is a professional musician known for sharing his musical talents in the classroom, for bringing other artists and authors into the classroom and for using technology to create a multimedia, multidimensional approach to teaching music, art, literature, dance and film. He has invited guest artists to his classes, exposing students to previously unfamiliar cultures, including Chinese opera, Indian sitar music and Spanish and Indian dance. His integration of Ferris State's Arts and Lectures series into the classroom was the subject of a feature article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Professor Groves' publications include An Introduction to Health Care Ethics, Comparative Philosophy Mind, Religion and War, India in Western Philosophy of History, and An Interview with James Emery.
Abdollah Ferdowsi - 2001
Abdollah Ferdowsi, Ph.D., a professor of Accounting, Economics and Applied Statistics in the College of Business, received the prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award from his colleagues in 2001. Dr. Ferdowsi carries an exemplary record of professional development activities, involvement with students both in and out of the classroom, and participation in the University community. Ferdowsi, who joined the faculty in 1984, devotes substantial time and effort to keeping current in his field and contributes to his professional society meetings and literature. He has attended and contributed to many teaching-related conferences both on and off campus, including the "Learning, the Learner, and Teaching Methodology" workshop sponsored by the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning.
Richard J. Pisacreta - 2000
Richard Pisacreta, who joined the FSU faculty in 1980, was instrumental in developing the University's Psychology major, developing new courses to expand the curricular offerings and support the degree.
A visit to Dr. Pisacreta's classroom reveals his enthusiasm for his subject and an ability to connect with students. His open-door policy and reputation for effective teaching is evidenced by the number of students who return for additional courses.
Beyond the classroom, Dr. Pisacreta is widely published in Psychology literature and serves as a senior editor for Psychological Record. He received the Michigan Association of Governing Boards Award for Teaching Excellence in 1989.
Daniel Noren - 2000
Professor Noren teaches French, and is very passionate about the need for a university education to produce a globally conscious world citizen. He therefore conducts study abroad tours to Martinique and France. He has a special interest in oral traditions in Francophone countries and has created unique teaching modules based on this interest.
Noren was granted a sabbatical for the 2006-2007 academic year and traveled to Cameroon to pursue the elusive tricksters in the oral traditions of that African-Francophone country. He plans to create some instructional DVD's while in Cameroon about its culture, oral literature and history. One of his ambitions is to also research and develop a study-abroad program to Cameroon for FSU students and faculty.
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