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ASU Profs Win Inaugural President’s Faculty Excellence Awards

May 07, 2010

Dr. Loren Ammerman of the Biology Department and Dr. David Bixler and Dr. Toni Sauncy of the Physics Department have been named the winners of the inaugural Angelo State University President’s Awards for Faculty Excellence.

Ammerman received the award for Faculty Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor. Bixler’s award was for Faculty Excellence in Teaching. Sauncy was the award winner for Faculty Excellence in Leadership/Service. Each received $2,500 and Signature Presidential Recognition Awards. Ammerman and Bixler will be ASU’s nominees for the Texas Tech University System Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Research and Excellence in Teaching.

They, along with 23 other nominees from ASU’s five academic colleges, were honored at the first-ever Faculty Recognition Dinner sponsored Thursday, May 6, by the ASU Faculty Senate. Winners in the three categories were also announced for each college. The college-level winners each received a $500 award.

Winners from the College of Business earning $500 awards were Sudhir K. Chawla, professor of marketing, Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor; and Cody D. Whittington, assistant professor of aerospace studies, Excellence in Teaching.

Winners in each category from the College of Education were Allyn Byars, associate professor of kinesiology, Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor; Susan E. Keith, associate professor of kinesiology, Excellence in Teaching; and Warren K. Simpson, associate professor of kinesiology, Excellence in Leadership/Service.

College of Liberal and Fine Arts winners were Chris Ellery, professor of English, Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor; Lana G. Marlow, assistant professor of communication, Excellence in Teaching; and George Pacheco Jr., assistant professor of communication, Excellence in Leadership/Service.

Winners from the College of Nursing and Allied Health were Beverly J. Greenwald, associate professor of nursing, Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor; Carolyn R. Mason, associate professor of physical therapy, Excellence in Leadership/Service; and R. Kelly Michael, assistant clinical professor of nursing, Excellence in Teaching.

Ammerman, Bixler and Sauncy were the winners from the College of Sciences.

Ammerman was honored in the Excellence in Research/Creative Endeavor category for her sustained efforts not only to conduct and publish her own research, but also to mentor both undergraduate student research and graduate student master’s thesis research. She developed a DNA research program that has generated grant money, publications and notoriety for the Biology Department. She has also been instrumental in helping her undergraduate and graduate student researchers acquire their own grant funding through organizations like the Texas Academy of Science, Beta Beta Beta, American Society of Mammalogists and Southwestern Association of Naturalists. She has collaborated with researchers across the U.S. and has conducted field studies in Mexico, Costa Rica and Ecuador. This summer she will do research in Malaysia. She is also finalizing a book, “The Bats of Texas,” that encompasses much of her own research, under contract with Texas A&M Press.

Bixler was honored in the Excellence in Teaching category for his ability to teach physics to all types and levels of students, regardless of their major fields of study. His nomination letter from the Physics Department states that he “is a master at communicating the wonders of understanding the natural world to the full spectrum of students that he encounters. In his hand, a piece of chalk becomes a magic tool that can do everything from convincing a future elementary school teacher that physical science is indeed not something that ‘they are just not good at’ to helping a class full of bewildered physics students see that light at the end of the quantum tunnel. He is masterful as a teacher because of his deep integrated understanding of the physical world combined with his ability to express his understanding in such a wide variety of ways that every student in the class can ‘get it.’”

Sauncy was honored in the Excellence in Leadership/Service category for her many roles in leadership and service positions both on and off campus. On campus, she is president of the Faculty Senate, chairperson of the search committee for a new provost/vice president for academic affairs, a member of the speaker selection committee for the WTMA Distinguished Lectureship in Science Honoring Dr. Roy E. Moon and faculty adviser for the Society of Physics Students (SPS). As SPS adviser, she continues to drive the community service and science outreach efforts of the Physics Department by encouraging and supervising numerous student programs and projects. Off campus, she is president of the Texas Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the SPS Zone 13 councilor, president of the National SPS and a member of the SPS National Council, where she chairs the Subcommittee on Under-Represented Groups in Physics.

Other faculty excellence nominees, who received certificates, were Mona M. Dawson, assistant clinical professor of nursing; William M. Doll, professor of drama; Crosby W. Jones Jr., professor of biology; S. Murat Kara, associate professor of economics; Constance L. Kelley, assistant professor of music; Kimberly K. Livengood, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction; William A. Montgomery, professor of psychology; Joseph I. Satterfield, associate professor of geology; Paul K. Swets, department head/associate professor of mathematics; Shelly D. Weise, associate professor of physical therapy; R. Russell Wilke, associate professor of biology; and Guoqiang Zheng, associate professor of history.