2015-2016 Outstanding Faculty Awards

April 18, 2016

Grand View University held its annual Honors Convocation on Friday, April 15. This ceremony recognizes students who have achieved academic excellence during their careers at Grand View.  Four faculty members were also recognized for their contributions to the campus community.        

Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award
nullA friend of Grand View established this award to honor a faculty member who demonstrates a commitment to enhancing student learning through inter-disciplinary connections, who utilizes creative and effective teaching strategies, and who demonstrates a genuine care and concern for Grand View students.  The criteria for this award are associated with the exemplary teaching practices and positive faculty-student relationships that are encouraged by Grand View’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

This year’s honoree embodies the commitment to and engagement with learners that are in alignment with Grand View’s mission to develop the whole person – mind, body, and spirit.  Indeed, this faculty member’s pursuit of excellence happens in her classroom and beyond. In the classroom, students consistently report that her classes are very demanding in terms of workload and subject-matter, but that she comes alongside them to provide the support they need to be successful.  She often creates customized assignments for individual students so that majors and non-majors alike can stretch and grow in the discipline at an appropriate level.  At the end of the semester, students leave her class feeling more self-confident in their knowledge and ability to perform the tasks required by professionals in that field. Many students report being incredibly challenged, but experience tremendous growth as a result.

This faculty member also creates a strong sense of community in her classes.  One student said “you experience similar feelings of love, beauty, frustration, grief, and most of all, happiness that you are together.”  If a Grand View education is to be about transformation rather than a transaction, this professor exemplifies how that happens.

Another student captured that sentiment very well by saying, “This experience has taught me that at any given moment life can test you.  It can test your faith, knowledge, and patience. But when you know that everything you have been doing in life is a preparation for these tests, they don’t seem so bad or as difficult as they first appeared to be.”  That is a student who has been transformed by this professor’s work and the space she creates for music to change our lives.

In sum, the winner is more than just an exceptional teacher; she is someone who has dedicated more than two decades of faithful service to the University, to its students, and to the wider community.  It is our honor and privilege to present the Excellence and Innovation in Teaching Award for 2015 – 2016 to Dr. Kathryn Duffy.

Outstanding Academic Advising Award
nullThe individual receiving this award is being recognized for demonstrating all of the abilities outlined in the nomination document for “Outstanding Academic Advisor.” A student said, “He is an immensely supportive and dedicated advisor.  He profoundly cares about the success and educational well-being of his advisees.  He will to go above and beyond for his students to optimize their fullest potential.” This student further stated, “this person has helped ease my anxieties and concerns about student teaching and has helped me to become more confident in my abilities.”  He is deserving of this award for these major reasons:

•  He has strong interpersonal skills—[He] Never fails to greet me or converse about my concerns or classes outside of a scheduled meeting and in any environment on campus.  Always projects a caring and helpful attitude toward all his advisees. 

•  He is always available to advisees in a variety of settings—willing to discuss with me in any environment on campus.

•  He makes frequent contact with advisees and monitors their progress toward academic and career goals—Continually posts sign-up sheets for meetings and routinely emails advisees with needed information.  Provides encouragement and support when an advisee is completing a resume or an internship experience.

•  He provides appropriate referral—Fair when providing referrals and is willing to write letters of recommendation.

•  He uses a vast array of resources to access and disseminate information to his students.

This year’s recipient is an exemplary advisor who truly wants his students to reach their full potential in mind, body and spirit. It is our honor and privilege to present the Outstanding Academic Advising Award for 2015-16 to Mr. Jesse Wilcox. 

Excellence in Scholarship Award
nullThis individual was nominated because he is a scholar of “discovery”—the new knowledge that comes from research and study, of “application” in which expertise is used to address problems or advance projects, of “integration” in which scholarly work draws from several disciplines or combines practices such as when this faculty members shares his gifts of a preacher, teacher, interpreter, translator, theologian, historian, and scholar. His contributions reach from the Grand View classroom to the world around us to include summer camp counselors, inmates in a South Dakota jail, gatherings of the Lutheran community in both small and large settings.

As a church historian, he specializes in Martin Luther and the Reformation and has made important reference works in his discipline.  He was recently honored by being invited to contribute a translation of an introductory material for Martin Luther’s “Sermon on the Angels” that will be included among twenty new volumes of the American Edition of Luther’s Works being published in conjunction with the 2017 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  His book reviews commonly appear in journals such as Lutheran Quarterly,Word & World, and Trinity Seminary Review. He stays connected to his discipline through professional activities which allow him the opportunity to share his wide range of expertise with other scholars. 

He has presented both nationally and internationally to congregations, conferences, and youth gatherings.  He is considered one of the most reliable resources in teaching Lutheran theology. He is recognized for his erudition but also for his wit and humor in his lectures and for his ability to shine a light on the quirks of the church’s practices, theology, and history.

It is our honor and privilege to present the Excellence in Scholarship Award for 2015-16 to Rev. Dr. Ken Jones. 

Distinguished Faculty Service Award
nullThis award is conferred upon a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary service to the University and made a positive impact. This year’s honoree has distinguished “himself” in his level of commitment to important University initiatives through his quiet leadership among the faculty, service on committees, and especially through his writing of the HLC accreditation report. 

Writing the accreditation report is a difficult undertaking.  Yet, this report is essential to the University, its self-understanding, and its assessment of the quality education it seeks to deliver. It is critical that the report be written lucidly, fairly, boldly, and broadly. Throughout the report there were efforts and evidence of bringing as many voices to the table to convey how Grand View fulfills its mission, provides and documents student learning, and stewards it resources. There were also difficult issues raised in the report, but he addressed them with equanimity. In this regard, there is an honesty as well as respect that shaped the tone of the writing.

Writing a cohesive document that covered all the areas and is clear throughout was no small task.  This faculty colleague deserves our gratitude for presenting the university so well and helping us achieve a strong accreditation result.

For his dedication and commitment to the Grand View community, we are proud and honored to present the Distinguished Faculty Service Award for 2015-2016 to Dr. Matthew Plowman.