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Academic Affairs, University-Based Award Winners Announced

Ferris State University

PHOTO CAPTION: Ferris State University hosted its annual Employee Service Awards event, on April 25, inside the University Center on Ferris State University's main campus in Big Rapids. Above, President David Eisler addresses the crowd assembled for the ceremony.

Dedication to learning and a focus on specific academic disciplines were acknowledged on Wednesday, April 25, as a Kendall College of Art and Design professor, along with 10 Ferris State University instructors and staffers, received Academic Affairs honors at the annual Employee Service Awards.

Deborah Rockman, a professor of Drawing at KCAD, is the first member of that college’s faculty to receive the Distinguished Teacher Award. Rockman, an award-winning artist and textbook author, was featured in a separate university release.

Biology Professor Olukemi Fadayomi, from the College of Arts, Sciences and Education, received the Diversity Enhancement Award in addition to being named the Helen Gillespie Ferris Distinguished Woman Leader, by a committee assembled by the Women’s Advocacy Forum. Fadayomi said she was contacted by colleagues who expressed their desire to nominate her for her leadership efforts.

“I attended the Project Kaleidoscope Leadership Institute in the summer of 2017, because I feel we need to help under-represented groups to become aware of and involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers,” she said. “It is important to examine what we teach, so we can help more students to gain from this learning. These students need opportunities, so we, as professors, should work to make the curriculum more inclusive.”

College of Arts, Sciences and Education Associate Dean of Operations Trinidy Williams was the inaugural recipient in 2017.

“I am honored to be nominated and humbled to be selected for these awards,” Fadayomi said. “My parents always stressed the importance of doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. I am glad, in this case, that my efforts toward advancing inclusion and policy changes on behalf of women, and making the university an environment where all people – student, faculty, and staff feel welcome have not gone unnoticed.”

Beth Logan, the associate director of the Office of Budgetary Planning and Analysis, chaired the Helen Gillespie Ferris Award Committee, which intends to recognize those who provide outstanding leadership to women at their institutions, in their profession and in society at large.

“Kemi has mentored other female faculty so they might advance in their tenure-track process, successfully,” Logan said. “She has also sponsored research opportunities for middle and high school girls to support involvement in STEM fields. Our committee is pleased to recognize and honor her efforts.”

The list of award winners includes:

  • Academic Scholar Award: Christopher M. Redker, College of Arts, Sciences and Education
  • Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award: Sarah Rescoe, College of Arts, Sciences and Education
  • Distinguished Service Award: Jennifer J. Johnson, College of Arts, Sciences and Education
  • Distinguished Teacher Award: Deborah A. Rockman, Kendall College of Art and Design
  • Excellence in Course Assessment Award: Kali M. VanLangen, College of Pharmacy
  • International Educator Award: Christine Vonder Haar, College of Arts, Sciences and Education
  • Outstanding Academic Advisor Award: Dawn Schavey, Extended & International Operations
  • Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award: Anne Spain, College of Arts, Sciences and Education
  • Richard W. Griffin Political Engagement Award: Kristi L. Scholten, College of Arts, Sciences and Education

Rescoe, an adjunct instructor in English, Literature and World Languages in her sixth year with the university, expressed her appreciation for her particular honor.

“It is an honor to be considered for, and to receive this award,” Rescoe said. “It is fulfilling when my peers, or my students, indicate their appreciation of my teaching.”

Carrie Franklund, the academic communications and events coordinator in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said representatives from all the colleges, as well as many other offices, including members from the Academic Senate, were involved with the review process to consider potential award recipients.

“Committee members conscientiously deliberate over each nominee’s submission packet,” Franklund said. “This is the first year that the Richard W. Griffin Political Engagement Award was determined through a nomination and review process. We are glad that people from across campus are willing to serve and support these considerations.”

Distinguished Staff Awards were presented to the following persons on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 25.

Individual award recipients will include:

  • Kimberly Brandimore, Outreach Coordinator, Great Lakes Bay Region
  • Donna Eaton, Secretary, Extended and International Operations
  • Aleane Taylor, Secretary, Ferris Flint
  • Emily Zoet, Disbursements Manager, Finance Office

A Team Award will be presented to Physical Plant staffers Kevin Jackson, Sue Hodell, Jodi Nelson, Gary Myers, Stephanie Noud, Melanie Buffin, Lauri Knoop, Brian Bowling, Dianne Britten, Tim Maguire, Mark Falsetta, Brian Krum and Jason Mason. This is the Residence Life custodial team, whose team-oriented, systematic strategy to a staff reduction earned a 97-percent positive rating in a recent Ferris Housing Survey.