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The Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching honors faculty members for superior teaching. Recipients are nominated by present and former students and colleagues and are chosen by a committee of alumni, students, and faculty. They receive a cash award of $3,000, made possible by contributions from the Alumni Association, graduates, former students, and friends of Ohio State. They also receive a $1,200 increase in their base salaries from the Office of Academic Affairs. The recipients will be inducted into the university’s Academy of Teaching, which provides leadership for the improvement of teaching at Ohio State.
Click on photo or scroll down the page to read winner's bio.
Lawrence Baum is an old hand at receiving awards for his teaching prowess. He is already the recipient of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the Pi Sigma Alpha Award for Undergraduate Instruction in Political Science, the Council of Graduate Students Outstanding Service Award and the Department of Political Science Distinguished Teaching Award. Despite the rigorous demands he makes on his students, he consistently receives top accolades from them. He has authored two highly regarded undergraduate textbooks that are used nationwide, and his courses and counsel are sought after by undergraduates, graduates and colleagues alike. He is an outstanding scholar of judicial politics, publishing in his discipline’s top journals, and is one of the departmental leaders in citations to his work. As one of his students commented, “Professor Baum has certainly found his calling!” Baum earned his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Wisconsin and joined the Ohio State faculty in 1973.
Joseph E. Brandesky Jr.
According to one of his students, Joseph Brandesky “knows quite a bit about theatre and its workings.” That becomes amply clear when considering his academic career. He single-handedly built OSU Lima’s theatre department, serving as the single faculty member, scene designer, lighting expert, carpenter, painter and fund-raiser when he joined the faculty in 1988. He is responsible for bringing in a large gift that is making the renovation of the campus theatre possible. He has brought internationally eminent theatre professionals to campus to interact with his students, and he has taken his students abroad to enhance their educational opportunities. He continues to offer new classes based on his commitment to presenting a broad, coherent program to his students. His respect for and patience with his students allows him to form an extraordinary rapport with them, making him a trusted adviser and mentor. His teaching extends from the classroom to the proscenium to the community, enriching faculty, students and citizens.
Preparing a new generation of children to participate fully in society is a critically important and often difficult task, and Gwendolyn Cartledge understands that. Not only has she done extensive—and acclaimed—research on children with learning and behavior disorders, but she has trained many new teachers who will follow in her stead. Her concern for the needy children of the inner city and her extensive work with them has enabled her to bring her “real life” experiences to the classroom. She has developed two curricula based on her research for students with severe emotional disturbances, and her expertise on such students is sought nationwide. She continues to work with faculty in other academic units, creating opportunities for other students to be exposed to her knowledge, instruction, mentoring and research expertise. Cartledge earned her doctorate from Ohio State in special education.
James W. DeWille
First-year veterinary medicine students get a great introduction to their future careers from James DeWille. As team teaching leader of the core course on cell biology, he gives incoming students a solid base for their next four years of assimilating scientific knowledge and does so with clarity and patience. His passion for teaching and his concern for his students are obvious from such student superlatives as “awesome,” “epitome of organization,” “incredible”-and--—even— “he makes us laugh!” In addition to his teaching duties, he maintains an active and well-funded research program that attracts high-quality graduate students to the department. Since joining the faculty in 1988, he has consistently provided leadership in improving the professional and graduate curriculum in veterinary biosciences, and his skill as a research scientist allows him to apply emerging knowledge directly into his classroom teaching. To DeWille, who holds a Ph.D. in nutrition and immunology from Michigan State University, each student is worthy of his time and respect, and no question is too trivial.
Nicklaus F. Fogt
Nicklaus Fogt has been called “a rare gem in the academic arena”; his teaching, “insightful and enlightening” and his sense of humor, “wacky.” His students are pleased to be called by name and relish the individual attention they receive. His ability to bridge the gap between vision science and clinical application makes him a popular teacher and a valued colleague. Fogt earned his O.D. and his Ph.D. in physiological optics at Ohio State and joined the optometry faculty in 1996. In a short period of time, he has significantly influenced and improved the clinical teaching program, earned a national reputation for his work on eye movements and binocular vision and developed a track record for obtaining external funding.
Samir D. Mathur
Samir Mathur’s lectures are so organized and enlightening that they are well worth getting up for an 8:30 a.m. class, according to one of his electromagnetism students. “Mathur rules!” writes another. Mathur’s ability to convey in an understandable way some of the most complicated and esoteric subjects in theoretical physics attracts not only high-level graduate students to his classes, but also a number of faculty members have also sat in to brush up on their string theory. Mathur also is able to make the more tedious basic fundamentals of physics interesting and challenging to his undergraduate students. His research on the physics of black holes has brought him international attention, and he is generous in sharing his knowledge. Since coming to Ohio State in 1999, he has developed two courses from scratch on general relativity and on string theory, one of the most exciting areas in physics today. Mathur holds a doctorate in physics from the University of Bombay, India, and was a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology prior to his Ohio State appointment.
Patrick C. McKenry
Patrick McKenry has a knack for making and keeping friends among the graduate students he has advised. As they establish their own careers, many have stayed in touch with him, continuing to conduct research with him and relying on his advice. His success as a mentor reflects his strong commitment to classroom teaching and to instilling a love of learning in his students. According to one alumna, “He motivates undergraduates toward graduate study and graduate students toward meaningful dissertation topics.” His scholarship is impeccable; he has authored or co-authored (often with Ohio State students) some 100 journal articles, five books and monographs, 16 book chapters, and has made more than 50 presentations at national and international meetings. He has served on the editorial boards of seven refereed journals. His students are the direct beneficiaries of his many contributions to the body of knowledge within his field. He is the epitome of the university professor, engaging in teaching, research and service. McKenry earned his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in child and family studies.
Teresa M. Mensing
Teresa Mensing is very well-connected—a real advantage for her students. She has fully embraced computer technology and has put it to work in her classroom, creating colorful and informative presentations to explain the science of geology. Her expertise with WebCT allows her students to check their grades, review lectures and ask questions on-line. She has created web-based learning modules that are suited for students on a non-residential campus and has set up a wireless notebook lab for her students to use on campus. Although her use of modern computer technology has made her an extremely effective teacher, she retains her personal touch, making herself available not only in her electronic chat room, but in her office, where she encourages her students to come with questions or concerns. She has also been generous with her time in bringing her colleagues up to technological speed and is an expert in getting grants to pay for all this new equipment. Mensing holds a doctorate in geology from Ohio State.
Paul F. Robbins
Paul Robbins exemplifies the ideal of teacher-scholar. He brings his internationally recognized research in the human dimensions of environmental change into the classroom, and, in turn, the classroom informs his research. Within two years of arriving at Ohio State in 1998, he was one of ten finalists for the Outstanding Teaching Award for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, a student-driven competition. His students pay him the ultimate compliment of recommending his classes to their friends. Using his own highly effective pedagogical style, Robbins challenges his students to think, examine their preconceived notions and form their own ideas. His creativity extends to curriculum development, and he recently led a faculty team that designed and implemented a new undergraduate track in geography, entitled People, Society and Environment, in less than a year. He also helped design a new centerpiece course for the track called Geographical Perspectives in Environment and Society. Robbins holds a Ph.D. in geography from Clark University.
W. Maurice Shipley
W. Maurice Shipley’s class in African-American literature came as a surprise to at least one student, who wanted simply to get a requirement out of the way. Shipley’s passion for and knowledge of his material impressed not only this reluctant student, but also many others who have rated this professor “one of the best.” His animated and engaging lectures inspire students to delve further into the subject matter, and his attention to the concerns of individual students is exemplary. Shipley holds a Ph.D. in 19th century American literature and African-American literature and composition from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and joined the Ohio State faculty in 1980. During his tenure here, he has also served in a number of administrative positions, including coordinator for the Committee on Academic Misconduct and acting assistant vice provost for the Office of Minority Affairs. He is currently teaching a number of introductory courses at the undergraduate level as well as graduate courses in special research topics. He is at work on a book-length study of Black women writers and the art of the short story.
2003 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching