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Faculty honored for research, innovative teaching practices

Faculty Mar 18, 2022
grid of three portraits of two women and one man
grid of three portraits of two women and one man

KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo honored faculty for achievements in research and innovative, impactful teaching.

Hyunkang Hur, assistant professor of public management, received the Research and Creative Activity Award.

Erin Doss, associate professor of communication arts, and Brooke Komar, visiting lecturer of psychology, earned Experiential and Active Learning awards.

Mark Canada, interim deputy chancellor and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, commended Hur on his work, noting that as a fellow researcher, he knows how much time, energy, and commitment it requires.

The faculty selection committee highlighted that one of Hur’s publications received the 2020 best article award from the Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration.

“Given the international reach of the journals in which the work was published, it is important to note the value for elevating the stature of our campus among the public administration research community,” the committee said in its selection letter.

Hur called the award “an incredible honor,” and said he plans to use it to inspire his students to develop their own research skills, to contribute to the public sector.

“This recognition is motivating and humbling, and serves as a reminder how much my colleagues, school, university, and family support me,” he said.

The faculty committee chose Doss as one of the experiential and active learning award recipients based on the two-month project she leads, in which students plan, implement, and evaluate a social media campaign for a local non-profit organization. They noted community partners reported great success with the student campaigns.

“Students engaged with writing and posting content, analyzing metrics, and reporting campaign results,” they said. “This deep approach to learning heightened both student engagement and the development of real-world skills that can transfer to a wide range of settings.”

Doss is proud of the work the campus does to provide hands-on experiences for students.

“Of course, learning occurs in the classroom and through standard homework assignments, but students have a different experience when they take responsibility for a project with community partners, and recognize the real-world impact of their course content,” she said. “It’s important to me to provide those kinds of experiences. I’m so glad IU Kokomo values experiential learning and recognizes the important opportunities they provide our students.”

Komar’s selection was based on a six-week art therapy group students led at a local senior living community. Artwork collected by resident clients, as well as the students’ visual and reflective journals, were displayed in the campus art gallery.

“Brooke Komar understands that experiential learning is where theory meets action,” the committee said, adding that at the gallery talk, a student shared that the experience increased her empathy and passion for advocacy.

Komar said using applied and experiential learning allows her students to meaningfully practice and improve applying what they’ve learned, in ways that positively impact people in the community.

“My students were able to transfer their understanding of the theories they learned about the psychology of aging, humanistic perspectives of helping, and developmental clinical theories into practice by engaging in art therapy with individuals who were living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.

Having faculty peers evaluate her use of high impact practices was an honor, she added.

“There are many seasoned educators on our campus with a demonstrated passion for student success,” she said. “To be honored and recognized by them was incredibly affirming for me.”

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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