“There’s no question that everyone in this room touches the lives of many students,” President Jim Smith told a crowd of faculty, staff and students on March 21 in the Student Center. “It’s what makes us keep coming back every year.
“(Today) we’re recognizing the work, talent and time that goes into making this University what it is.”
The occasion was the second annual Distinguished Contributions Awards Ceremony, which recognized faculty and staff for their efforts in the areas of student engagement, leadership, innovation, community service, teaching and research.
Here is a list of the award winners:
2018 Staff Distinguished Achievement Recognition Awards
Student engagement and success: Dawn Leighton (secretary, special education), Michele Rich (secretary, student affairs), Caroline Horst (coordinator, Transfer Program) and Esther Gunel (director, Office of International Students).
Leadership: Mathew Mortier (admissions), Lisa Lauterbach (director, CAPS).
Innovation: Bin Ning (executive director, IRIM), Noel Dockett (secretary, marketing),
Community Engagement and Service: Norbert Vance (astronomy), Lolita Cummings Carson (professor, public relations, for her Acts of Kindness campaign with her students). Kim Rankins (secretary, Upward Bound).
Excellent Teachers Engaging Alumni Award
Tana Bridge, professor of social work. She spoke of the terrific alumni and students she gets to work with. They teach her as she works alongside them.
2017 Full-Time Lecturer Distinguished Teaching Award
Alissa Delong, CHHS, health promotion and human performance (human anatomy). Alissa spoke of her satisfaction and excitement in working with such diverse student groups, who are always inquisitive and challenging.
2017 Part-Time Lecturer Distinguished Teaching Awards
• Sharon Nelson, psychology, spoke of her gratitude to colleagues such as professors Karen Saules and Carol Freedman-Doan.
• Sharon Vance, chemistry, was praised for her teaching of tough introductory courses and helping students succeed while not lowering standards.
• Susan Schanne, COB, management, noted that her students teach her something every day.
• Andrea Workman, CHHS, running science, spoke of the fantastic colleagues she enjoys.
2017 Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Awards
Teaching I: Eric Acton, linguistics. Eric, whose expertise on Donald Trump’s distinct way of speaking has been cited in national media, praised the teaching and student service emphasis at Eastern, noting that “everyone on this campus is a teacher.”
Teaching II: Ethan Lowenstein, teacher education. Ethan, whose work on place-based education is well known throughout southeast Michigan, noted that “every era has its challenges” and that he appreciated working in a “place where everybody values teaching.”
Research I: Sarah Shea, social work. A former clinician, she spoke of her appreciation in “being able to give back” to the community in terms of her research on infant mental health.
Research II: Anne Casper, biology. Anne brought her two young daughters, who enjoyed seeing mom get such a prestigious award. Anne, who has earned three NIH grants totaling $1.2 million for her work on genome instability, credited her very supportive departmental colleagues and students in helping her succeed.
Creative Activity: Brandon Johnson, music (vocal). Brandon, a leading presence in choral music in Michigan, observed that, “Our role as artists is to be the sociological mirror to society.”
Service: Perry Francis, counseling, coordinator, counseling training clinic. Perry said his myriad service activities and professional involvements could not be accomplished without the support of his colleagues and family. “I can’t do what I do without you doing what you do,” he said.
The event was presented by the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, led by a committee that included Wade Tornquist, Decky Alexander, Anne Balazs, Caryn Charter, Amy Ducher, Rebecca James, Lucas Langdon, Mary Larkin, Geoffrey Larcom, Phyllis Britton, Sonia Chawla, Alex Fodor, Sarah Kurz and Tracy Pytlak.
The event was sponsored by Bethann and Ernie Krumm of The Krumm Agency - Meemic Agents Insurance, which paid for the food.
Rhonda Longworth, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs; and communications professor Ray Quiel summed up the tenor of the event.
“It’s an honor and pleasure to recognize each of you today,” Longworth said.
Added Quiel: “We teach, research, create and serve here, and we do it better than anyone.”