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Academic Affairs Awards


2021 Award Information

A description of each award including evaluation criteria, eligibility, and nomination process is detailed below: 


If you have questions, please contact the Provost's Office at (231) 591-2300.


Ferris State University Academic Affairs
2020 Awards Recipients Announced

So many of our colleagues embody a passion and work ethic worth emulating. These individuals positively impact the lives of others through their professional commitments. Every year, we ask the members of our campus community to nominate their deserving colleagues for the Academic Affairs Awards. Each award is assigned an award committee comprised of representative faculty members from our academic colleges and/or individuals related to the purpose of the award. 

2020 Academic Affairs Award Recipients

Academic Scholar Award: Kali M. VanLangen, Professor of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy

Non-Tenure Track Teaching Excellence Award: Jordan C. Horan, Instructor of Social Sciences, College of Arts, Sciences and Education

Distinguished Service Award: Suzanne Eberle, Professor of Art History, Kendall College of Art and Design

Distinguished Teacher Award: Lori A. Faulkner, Associate Professor of Fashion Studies, Kendall College of Art and Design

Diversity Enhancement Award: Anuli U. Njoku, Associate Professor of Public Health, College of Health Professions

Excellence in Assessment Award - Beyond Course Level:  2019-2020 Michigan College of Optometry Assessment Committee (Members: Alison Jenerou, Lillian Kalaczinski, Amy Dinardo, and Sarah Hinkley)

Excellence in Assessment Award - Course Level: Kathryn Wolfer, Associate Professor, Sports, Entertainment, and Hospitality Management, College of Business

International Educator Award: Lianne Briggs, Professor of Sports, Entertainment, and Hospitality Management, College of Business

Outstanding Academic Advisor Award: Dave Schrock, Academic Advisor, College of Arts, Sciences and Education

Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award: Not awarded this year

Richard W. Griffin Political Engagement Award: Not awarded this year


See Academic Affairs' Awards in History page 

2020 Academic Awards Recipients

  •  Kali M. VanLangen - Academic Scholar Award
    Kali VanLangen Kali VanLangen, Professor of Pharmacy, is the recipient of the 2020 Academic Scholar Award for demonstrating excellence in research and scholarship and for modeling exceptional qualities of the teacher-scholar model in discovery, integration, application, and teaching.

    “Kali is an outstanding academic scholar with an increasingly significant track record of excellence in research and scholarship,” said Thomas Dowling, Professor and Assistant Dean for Professional Development and Research in the College of Pharmacy in his nomination letter. “Her work has deeply improved our understanding of teaching and learning within the pharmacy profession...”

    In addition to teaching in the College of Pharmacy’s Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (AAPE), VanLangen is a course coordinator for three courses, provides didactic instruction, and is an Internal Medicine Preceptor and an Academia Preceptor in the PGY-1 Residency Program at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.

    VanLangen attributes collaboration with others to successfully getting research projects to completion. “Collaboration allows you to discuss ideas and get energized from the excitement of others while trying to develop innovative projects that address common questions and help solve problems,” she said. “Collaboration also allows you to learn from others' experience in order to enhance your own skills and abilities while also giving you the opportunity to highlight your own skills with others. [It also] ... forces me to stay on track with projects that may otherwise get pushed aside for newer opportunities or other general responsibilities.”

    VanLangen has published 10 scholarly manuscripts since 2012, with five of these as first author in peer-reviewed journals such as the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (AJPE) and Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning (CPTL). “Dr. VanLangen’s scholarly work has generated significant new knowledge in pharmacy educational research (also called the scholarship of teaching and learning or SOTL),” Dowling said. “This work serves as an underpinning for future studies, particularly in the areas of electronic health records in the curriculum, APPE readiness, and perceptions of Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs).”

    In addition to writing two textbook chapters, and a review article used for professional continuing education, and VanLangen, along with colleagues, designed and delivered a new course on integrated therapeutics.

    VanLangen serves the profession of pharmacy through leadership roles in professional organizations, advises students and trainees in professional development, and is a dedicated teacher. “I am very grateful for Dr. VanLangen as her guidance has helped me evolve as a student pharmacist and I know many of my classmates are thankful as well,” said Kamah Ellena Ferris State University Pharm.D. Candidate 2020. “Her dedication to teaching students is incredible. Dr. VanLangen has not only made an impact in healthcare through her clinical interventions and patient care, she has helped equip many young pharmacists to make a difference and advocate for patients as well.”

    VanLangen earned a Doctor of Pharmacy and an Associate of Science/Pre-Pharmacy, both from Ferris state University.

    VanLangen and other recipients of the 2020 Academic Affairs Awards will be recognized at the virtual Employee Service Awards ceremony planned for Thursday, August 27, during Kickoff Week.

  •  Jordan C. Horan - Non-Tenure Track Teaching Excellence Award
    Jordan C. HoranKnown for his innovative and creative teaching, enthusiastic ability to engage and motivate his students, and high academic standards, Jordan Horan was selected as the recipient of the 2020 Non-Tenure Track Teaching Excellence Award.

    “In a pool of highly qualified and well-deserving candidates, Jordan Horan rose to the top for this recognition as a valuable member of the Ferris community,” wrote the Non-Tenure Track Teaching Excellence Award Committee on selecting Horan.

    “Horan incorporates activities that allow students to engage with various resources available at Ferris, including the SHOAH Genocide database and Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia,” the Award Committee wrote. “He maintains a nurturing learning environment while holding students to high standards and encouraging them to develop their critical thinking skills. Students describe him as “influential,” “passionate,” and “one of the best

    Horan teaches Personality Psychology and Introduction to Psychology courses as well as serves as a guest lecturer in other classes. He is engaged with student-involved research as a Co-Faculty research advisor with Dr. Christopher Redker, serves on the Shoah Genocide Education Faculty Committee, and as an Advisory Board Member on the Political Engagement Project. He has presented at regional conferences, including the Midwestern Psychology Association conference.

    In her support letter, English, Literature, and World Languages professor Sarah Rescoe said that “Jordan exemplifies what it means to be a top-tier instructor at Ferris; he provides his students with a solid understanding of introductory psychology through quality, innovative instruction in a nurturing, structured classroom environment that extends far beyond that of a traditional college classroom.”

    “Jordan emphasizes a pastoral role with his concurrent (high school) enrollment students, who, without such an adaptable and empathetic instructor and tailored, supportive learning environment, might otherwise be unprepared or overwhelmed by the transition from high school to college,” she continued.

    Jennifer Johnson, Professor of Geography, writes this of Horan. “His student evaluations ring with high praise, with many students describing him as knowledgeable, skilled at introducing real-world connections, encouraging to students who need help, and one of the best professors they've had. This is especially impressive when you realize that his students include both main campus students and students from several local high schools, where he teaches dual enroll classes for our department. Teaching a class at the high school requires a slightly different skill set and a certain adeptness that provides pedagogical flexibility, and Professor Horan does well in both settings.”

    Horan earned a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Ferris. He is a Limited License Psychologist.

    Horan and other recipients of the 2020 Academic Affairs Awards will be recognized at the virtual Employee Service Awards ceremony planned for Thursday, August 27, during Kickoff Week.

  •  Suzanne Eberle - Distinguished Service Award
    Suzanne EberleProfessor of Art History Suzanne Eberle is the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Service Award for her commitment and dedication to her students and her immeasurable influence and leadership in service to Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) and the greater Grand Rapids community.

    Recently retired, Eberle served at KCAD for 41+ years and taught Art History and general education courses. She is known as a master teacher and mentor to students and colleagues alike. In her philosophy of service statement she said that she teaches the essential components of art history courses but that “equally important is facilitating deep thinking and critique, reading and assessing research, writing and speaking about art and design; and it is perhaps most effective to model these processes and to spark an enthusiasm for a life of the mind

    Joseph Antenucci Becherer, Professor of Art History at the University of Notre Dame, said in his support letter that “Words are ever so pale in comparison to what Sue Eberle has actually done and continues to do for the discipline of art history in the classroom. Dr. Suzanne Eberle PhD is simply one of the best educators the discipline of art history has ever had. A teacher, always, and a scholar, certainly; moreover, she is a humanist-cum-ambassador that has introduced legions of undergraduate and graduate students, museum patrons, docents and conference attendees to the power and majesty of art history.”  

    Eberle’s leadership contributions to KCAD have been extensive and influential. “During her tenure, Dr. Eberle initiated and led the development efforts for the college's Bachelor of Science degree in Art History [which] … provides curricular support for the college's 16 additional undergraduate programs,” Tara McCrackin, President of KCAD said. “Later in her tenure, Dr. Eberle led the research into and then helped guide the efforts to develop the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion Studies. Both of these programs have a strong history of innovation within their curricular experiences supporting both students and industry needs, ensuring long-term success for KCAD graduates within their fields of study.” 

    Eberle played a pivotal role in establishing a cross-disciplinary group to develop a new model of general education at KCAD. “In terms of furthering the well-being of Ferris, Sue's service has been similarly significant,” Professor of Graphic Design Angela Dow said. "As a colleague, Sue has always been a part of every important curricular discussion, and her prolific knowledge of design and the arts and her wise counsel helps us all to make our programs better, more thoughtful, and more relevant. She has been a fully engaged participant in all of the most crucial committees at the institution, working collaboratively and across disciplines to solve problems and innovate.”

    Professor and Chair of Art History, Anne Norcross, and Professor and Chair of General Education, Susanna Kelly Engbers, who together nominated Eberly for the award speak to Eberle’s service to professional organizations and scholarship. “Sue's particular gift, however, is in bringing art history to the wider professional art and design community. In that capacity, she has presented countless lectures in West Michigan; has worked in a leadership capacity at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, including training docents there; and serves on the Board of Directors and the Sculpture Advisory Committee at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.” She has also presented yearly at the School of Visual Arts Conference on Liberal Arts and the Education of Artists as well as at the Costume Society of America.

    In 2019, Eberle established the Suzanne Pilat Eberle Endowed Scholarship for Arts History and Fashion Studies majors to continue to influence students. The scholarship has already begun to help students as the first recipient received an award for the 2019-2020 academic year.

    Eberle earned a Doctor of Philosophy in English with a concentration in Art Historical and Literary relationships and a Bachelor of Art double major in Art History and English, with a minor in history, both from the University of Detroit.

    Eberle and other recipients of the 2020 Academic Affairs Awards will be recognized at the virtual Employee Service Awards ceremony planned for Thursday, August 27, during Kickoff Week.

  •  Lori A. Faulkner - Distinguished Teacher Award

    Lori FaulknerKendall College of Art and Design Associate Professor and Fashion Studies Program Director Lori A. Faulkner has been named Ferris State University’s Distinguished Teacher Award recipient for 2019-20.

    It was a relatively unique opportunity that came Faulkner’s way in early 2012, as KCAD administrators invited her to chair their Fashion Studies program and granted her freedom to create the curriculum from the ground up. Faulkner holds degrees from Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She started her career as an educator at Michigan State, where she won the 2006 Distinguished Academic Staff Award.

    “There was a great deal of flexibility offered and a good many things to do, such as creating the workspace for our students, procuring the necessary equipment for instruction, and setting the structure for our first year of classes,” Faulkner said. She quickly established program specifics and developed the space for the Fashion Studies program in the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building in Grand Rapids.

    “I want students to understand that Fashion Studies is more than developing the ability to create cool clothing,” Faulkner said. “We have worked to create a safe environment for our students to experiment, learn and connect with the industry.” 

    Having worked in various positions within the apparel industry, Faulkner realized practical experience could be combined with academic learning to create a unique program. She further understood that companies needed creative problem solvers as they manage rapidly changing marketplaces.

    One opportunity Fashion Studies students can pursue is completing their studies at the renowned Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. As an alumna, Faulkner said she is glad that this collaboration is available to her students and has grown.

    “Our graduates enjoy a high rate of employment in the industry, working to establish career paths in marketing, distribution and creation of fashion products,” Faulkner said. “Having FIT as a partner provides students a great opportunity to make connections with leading designers and manufacturers so they can best pursue their goals.”

    Faulkner said another highlight for the Fashion Studies program was a 2014 visit from Steven Kolb, the president and chief executive officer of the Council of Fashion Designers of America in NYC. Kolb received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree and, beyond his commencement address, he spoke to students and Pamella DeVos, offering encouragement and career advice.

    “We were moving toward our first graduating class of Fashion Studies students at that point,” Faulkner said. “It was an opportunity to celebrate our development and success, in the company of two very significant names in the fashion industry.” The first BFA recipients in KCAD’S Fashion Studies program celebrated their success in 2015 and Faulkner said the program continues to expand its range of opportunity for its students.

    “Our students are afforded incredible opportunities, each time we embark on a Fashion Studies trip,” Faulkner said. “Thanks to the support of the DeVos Foundation, we have sent students to events in New York City, Hong Kong and China, Australia and Europe. The support from the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation continues to this day and has been a most wonderful element of our school and our program’s achievement and pursuit of excellence.”

    Fashion Studies graduates are also encouraged to work toward community collaboration, something Faulkner said has brought them in contact with one of the world’s best-known performers.

    “For Elton John’s final concert at Van Andel Arena in 2018, KCAD teamed up with SMG, the arena’s management group to sponsor a contest for students to submit costume designs,” Faulkner said. “The winning student received a $1,000 stipend to make the costume which stood outside his dressing room. Sir Elton was so taken with the work; he has it featured on his Instagram story, which is a great honor for our students and the program.”

    Other opportunities for Fashion Studies students include the creation of clothing for Rockford-based Johnny Agar, a triathlete with cerebral palsy in collaboration with Under Armour, the development of costumes for the Grand Rapids Ballet, and working with DisArt to support youthful patients at Spectrum Health.

    “There are children who need outfits that provide compression to help them manage their neuromuscular disorders,” Faulkner said. “Since they are growing and rapidly move through these products, we created clothing that was low-cost, but provided them the attributes they needed to have some comfort and greater potential to achieve their physical goals.”

    Internships are a part of the program where students can practice their skills and experience learning in the workplace. Past opportunities include working with Marchesa, Boston Crusaders, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, One Stop, Crowned Free, Conscious Clothing, Public Thread and Grand Rapids Public Museum.

    Faulkner said there have been capstone fashion shows held annually to show that her students’ designs and collections can also serve to benefit people of all kinds in their community.

    “The collaborative efforts we have been able to take part in are a unique element of the learning our students are able to experience,” Faulkner said. “It is my hope that these opportunities foster inspiration and the imagination of our students so they can achieve great things while giving back to their communities.”

    Faulkner is KCAD’s second recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award. Drawing Professor Emeritus Deborah Rockman was honored in 2018.

    “I am so honored to have been nominated for this award,” Faulkner said. “I am humbled and excited to be selected as the recipient of the 2019-20 Distinguished Teacher Award.”

    Eberle and other recipients of the 2020 Academic Affairs Awards will be recognized at the virtual Employee Service Awards ceremony planned for Thursday, August 27, during Kickoff Week.

    The above content is from the Ferris News Service.

  •  Anuli Njoku - Diversity Enhancement Award
    Anuli NjokuAssociate Professor of Public Health Anuli Njoku has been chosen as the 2020 Diversity Enhancement Award recipient for her contributions in fostering diversity and inclusion through her teaching, leadership, and scholarship.

     “Dr. Njoku exhibits a spirit of diversity through her efforts to develop world-class health leaders by teaching students about health disparities and cultural competence in healthcare,” wrote the Diversity Enhancement Award committee.

    “Her positive interaction between persons of different backgrounds, such as serving on seven University committees, including the MI-ACE Women of Color Collaborative Luncheon Committee, International Working Group, Faculty/Staff Diversity Mini-Grant Committee, University-Wide Diversity, and Inclusion Work Group, 2017 Equity within the Classroom Conference Planning Committee, and Academic Senate Diversity Committee exhibit her efforts and leadership ability to promote acceptance and foster mutual respect resulting in a more diverse and inclusive campus," continued the committee.

    In her award application, Njoku writes about her passion for teaching about cultural competency and health disparities particularly in disadvantaged populations. “I greatly value the opportunity to learn about cultural groups different from my own, teach students, serve communities, and promote the assurance of healthier, equitable communities for all,” Njoku said. “Helping underrepresented groups feel welcomed and included can help foster a sense of belonging and facilitate discourse and understanding among groups. I believe that everyone benefits from a collective attempt to promote diverse and inclusive environments.” 

    Njoku teaches three diversity-related courses at Ferris and has served on many University committees dedicated to advancing diversity. As a member and Chair of CHP’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee (2015-2017), Njoku collaborated between CHP and other colleges and offices on campus to coordinate student panel discussions and develop workshops that promote social justice and appreciation for cultural diversity through applied learning. Some of these include the first Lunch & Learn workshop on culturally responsive learning within the health professions, a smoking awareness workshop for the Endless Opportunities youth mentoring program at the Baxter Community Center in Grand Rapids, and a CHP Best Practices Day: Illuminating Ideas for Inclusion workshop. In 2019, she was a successful applicant to the Fulbright Specialist Roster for a three-year tenure. 

    Regarding scholarship, Njoku promotes FSU at regional, national and international conferences on topics related to developing a diversity-guided curriculum and reducing health disparities. She has published six first-authored articles about broadening student awareness of health disparities and has presented or submitted at least 15 peer-reviewed conference proceedings on diversity-guided topics. She has also served as a faculty research mentor for the Promesa Scholars Program Undergraduate Research Mentoring Collaboration with the Center for [email protected] Studies at FSU. 

    In 2015, she was a selected scholar for the National Institute of Health-funded Health Equity Leadership Institute, a competitive national program that aims to increase the number of minority investigators engaged in health disparities research and competing successfully for tenure track and leadership positions. 

    Njoku earned a Doctor of Public Health in Community Health and Prevention from Drexel University, a Master of Public Health in International Health, from Boston University, and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Rutgers University.

    Njoku and other recipients of the 2020 Academic Affairs Awards will be recognized at the virtual Employee Service Awards ceremony planned for Thursday, August 27, during Kickoff Week.

  •  Lianne Briggs - International Educator Award
     Tracy BuschContent coming soon.
  •  David Schrock - Outstanding Academic Advisor Award

    David SchrockKnown as a caring and highly effective coach, teacher, and mentor, David Schrock, Professional Advisor for the College of Arts, Sciences and Education (CAS), has been chosen as the recipient for the 2020 Outstanding Academic Advisor award.

    Since 2015, Schrock has been the Professional Advisor for Integrative Studies, Liberal Arts, Political Science, Social Work, and Sociology majors, the recruiting representative for the CAS, and the liaison between CAS faculty/staff and Degree Works software programmers and developers. He taught communication classes at Ferris from 2006 - 2014 and continues teaching as a FSUS 100 course instructor. 

    Schrock thinks of his advisees as a few hundred "little brothers and sisters" that he advises each semester. More than someone who helps students choose classes, he sees an advisor as one who “provides students the necessary tools and motivation to start their transition into adulthood in a way that increases their likelihood for a successful professional and personal life.” 

    With her office on the same floor as Schrock, Rebecca Sammel, Associate Professor in English, Literature, and World Languages, says that she has had the opportunity to experience Schrock’s expertise, wide range of knowledge, and mentoring in action. “He has an unfailingly positive and encouraging attitude toward students, and his commitment and professionalism is outstanding,” she said. “He has gifts and talents that he brings to bear on his interactions with students, plus a very real kindness and deep sense of compassion. He has won awards for his Professional Development activities, and his friendly, kind and encouraging advising has demonstrably resulted in students successfully completing their degrees.” 

    Schrock’s colleagues remark that he is an exceptional communicator. “The level of care that Dave gives to students is seconded by none. He takes time to get to know the students as individuals - their academic interests, strengths, career plans, of course, but also the unique needs they may have,” Assistant Professor of Social Work Elizabeth Post said. “There have been so many times that he has helped a student in a way that is likely not in his job description, from coaching over a personal setback, to some counseling about tough living situations, being a cheerleader when students are feeling like they can't make it, or just being a safe adult who checks in when something more serious has happened in their lives, ” Post said. 

    Schrock is known for his work with First-Generation Students and assisting at Summer Orientation and Registration with incoming students and their parents. “Dave is a huge hit; he makes them feel at ease right away, and communicates with them on a very welcoming down-to-earth, approachable demeanor,” Sammel said. 

    Abigail Lewandowski, a graduate student at Western Michigan University, was an advisee of Schrock. “Dave has excellent inter­personal skills. He listens, critically responds to inquiries, is always willing to do further research if he is unsure, and genuinely cares about any subject that comes up in conversation,” Lewandowski said. “In addition, through our frequent visits we developed a friendship and I often turned to him to vent and for personal advice. He is an amazing advisor with a heart of gold who will always go above and beyond to make sure his advisees are reaching their full potential.” 

    Schrock earned a Master of Arts in Speech Communication and a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Interpersonal and Public Communication both from Central Michigan University. 

    Schrock and other recipients of the 2020 Academic Affairs Awards will be recognized at the virtual Employee Service Awards ceremony planned for Thursday, August 27, during Kickoff Week.