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Faculty honored for teaching, scholarship, service at fall convocation

Faculty Aug 18, 2023
Graphic with image of two men and one woman
Graphic with image of two men and one woman

KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo honored faculty for excellence in research, teaching, and service at its annual fall convocation.

Niki Weller, professor of sociology, received the Virgil Hunt Distinguished Service Award, given to recognize outstanding service by faculty and staff.

Andrew McFarland, professor of history, was the recipient of the senior faculty scholarship award, while Mohammad Hossain, associate professor of organic chemistry, received the junior faculty scholarship award.

Chancellor Mark Canada commended Weller on her active engagement in service to her department and students, the campus, IU, her profession, and the greater community, including on an international level.

“Dr. Weller is committed to improving the outcomes for underrepresented students, marginalized youths, and their communities,” he said. “She works to address the systemic barriers that limit opportunities for these individuals and advocates for their needs. She is making a difference on our campus, in our service region, and around the world.”

In addition to serving as program coordinator and chair of sociology, she has devoted time to experiential learning and student mentoring, including working with students through the undergraduate research program.

Weller also serves as associate director of HOPE Mentoring, a volunteer program that strives to empower incarcerated youth through mentorship and support. It includes IU Kokomo students serving as peer mentors. She’s also co-director of the Global Consortium on Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention, which focuses on improving the lives of incarcerated juveniles on a global scale.

Scott Jones, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, presented the scholarship awards to McFarland and Hossain.

Jones said the selection committee was impressed with McFarland’s record of scholarly production in 2022, which included a book published by one of the top international academic presses in the world, three single-authored peer-reviewed articles, and one conference presentation.

“These publications, particularly his recent book, have led one prominent historian to describe Dr. McFarland as a pioneer in his field,” Jones said.

He noted that Hossain published four peer-reviewed articles, presented research at a national conference organized by the American Chemical Society, and was invited to lecture at an international university in Bangladesh. The committee also noted his successful collaboration with scientists outside the U.S.

“He also mentored seven undergraduate students at IU Kokomo, helping them to become active researchers in the field of organic chemistry,” Jones said.

Also honored were recipients of the IU Trustees Teaching Award. They include Nicholas Baxter, assistant professor of sociology; Samantha Fouts, clinical assistant professor of nursing; Tara Kingsley, professor of education; Gloria Preece, assistant professor of personal financial planning and marketing; Lina Rifai, associate professor of vertebrate biology; and Peter Tupa, senior lecturer in mathematics.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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