Skip to main content

Faculty honored for excellence in teaching, research

Faculty Feb 10, 2023
A grid of portraits of six people
A grid of portraits of six people

KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo faculty and staff received campus awards for excellent teaching, distinguished research, and experiential learning during the annual spring convocation.

Those recognized included Hisako Masuda, Distinguished Research award; Stephanie Medley-Rath, Claude Rich Excellence in Teaching; Alina Mihai, Claude Rich Excellence in Teaching; Andy Tuholski, Experiential and Active Learning award; Lu Wang, 2023 Summer Faculty Fellowship and Experiential and Active Learning award; and Brandi Keith, Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching award.

Masuda, associate professor of biochemistry, earned recognition for her research in cellular physiology of bacteria and environmental microbiology. She noted that students and faculty collaborators contributed significantly to her work.

“I would like to thank the student members of my lab for their tireless experimentation and providing fresh perspectives on a daily basis,” she said. “I am also grateful to faculty collaborators for offering keen insights, innovative ideas, and analytical tools. Their expertise allows our lab to investigate previously unexplored natural phenomena and discover their underlying principles. I am also thankful for the financial support from various sources and private donors. This research would not have been possible without their funding, as well as financial support from the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs office and the School of Sciences.”

The teaching award committee commended Masuda for “impressive success” in securing research funding, presentations at regional and national conferences, and a high degree of student involvement in her research.

Medley-Rath, associate professor of sociology; and Mihai, associate professor of education, were honored with the Claude Rich Excellence in Teaching award, IU Kokomo’s highest honor for teaching.

The teaching awards committee noted in its recommendation that Medley-Rath strategically incorporates the sociology literacy framework throughout her courses, and that her teaching extends beyond the classroom with publications, overnight Kokomo Experience and You (KEY) trips, and undergraduate research.

“Her curriculum development efforts have been wide-ranging, significant, and valuable to the field,” the committee said, also noting that despite the challenges of remote teaching during the pandemic, she demonstrated engaging and innovative ways to sustain excellent teaching. It also commended her for her regular publication in Trails, an online database of peer-reviewed teaching resources, and for her book contract from SAGE publishers.

Mihai was commended for showing responsive, supportive teaching, and for developing 10 courses for the special education and early literacy minors.

“In each course, she excels at real-world curricular design, transparent teaching, and mastery learning, providing authentic experiences for her students,” the committee said, noting that she creates effective learning experiences for students to apply what they’ve learned in local P-12 schools.

She was also applauded for publications that bridge research and practice for teachers, and for serving on executive and editorial boards for state and national organizations.

Tuholski, assistant professor of political science, and Wang, assistant professor of science education, received experiential and active learning awards.

Tuholski was noted for creating “an immersive, digital world where students experience the excitement and challenge of global leadership using Statecraft Simulations,” to investigate government systems, and learn skills such as  strategic thinking, negotiation, and compromise.

“This profound approach to learning heightened both student engagement and an understanding of real-world issues,” the committee said.

Wang was commended for designing professional development opportunities to meet course learning outcomes.

“In her science methods course, students engage in active learning and reflection through conference attendance, a student-initiated KEY event, and participating in state-level professional communities,” the committee said.

Keith, adjunct faculty in sociology and student success, was applauded for investing in herself as an educator, attending about 50 workshops and conferences to expand her knowledge base.

“As a reflective educator, she has used her training to engage in significant course revisions to support and enhance the design and development of high-quality student learning experiences,” her nomination said.

Faculty receiving IU awards included Rosalyn Davis, Luminary Award from IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs (OVPDEMA); Sarah Grubb, IU spring digital gardener fellow; J.R. Pico, W. George Pinnell Award; Niki Weller, MLK Building Bridges Award from OVPDEMA.

Tess Barker, vice chancellor for academic affairs and enrollment management, was honored as recipient of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators faculty council award for outstanding contributions as a scholar-practitioner.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

More stories