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Illinois State names Outstanding Teachers and Researchers

Illinois State University honored 15 faculty members for teaching and research during the Founders Day Convocation.

Howard Parette of the Department of Special Education and Michael Stevens of the Department of Psychology are the 2009 Outstanding University Researchers. The Outstanding University Research Award goes to faculty whose research has been acknowledged by their peers in the U.S. and internationally.

Robert Broad of the English department and Lisa Szczepura of the Chemistry department are the 2008-09 Outstanding University Teachers. Julie Schumacher of the Family and Consumer Sciences department is the Category 2 Outstanding University Teacher, a classification for non-tenured faculty. The Outstanding University Teacher Award is given to faculty whose teaching accomplishments are unusually significant and meritorious among their colleagues.

Research Initiative Award recipients include Nobuko Adachi, Sociology-Anthropology; Mary Dyck, Mennonite College of Nursing; Kevin Laudner, Kinesiology and Recreation; Amy Robillard, English; and Aslihan Spaulding, Agriculture. The Research Initiative Award is given to faculty members who have initiated a promising research agenda early in their academic careers.

Teaching Initiative Award recipients include Bill Anderson, Family and Consumer Sciences; Judith Briggs, Art; Kevin Devine, Technology; Brent Simonds, Communication; and Richard Sullivan, Sociology and Anthropology. The Teaching Initiative Award is given to faculty members who have shown considerable promise in teaching early in their careers.

Parette came to Illinois State in 2003 after being appointed the Kara Peters Endowed Chair in Assistive Technology and director of the Special Education Assistive Technology (SEAT) Center in the Department of Special Education. He completed his Ed.D. in 1982 at the University of Alabama. Parette has held appointments at Louisiana Tech University, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Southeast Missouri State University. Over the past 20 years, his research has focused on assistive technology (AT) service delivery issues for persons with disabilities, with an emphasis on assistive technology decision-making and cultural and family issues. Parette has co-authored two textbooks and served as an editor or co-author for many monographs and training materials that have been nationally distributed. He was the founding editor of “Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits,” a free, peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, Web-based journal that is the only outcomes-based AT journal in the field. Parette is currently facilitating the development and publication of a series of companion monographs presenting research-based practices and recommendations.

Parette has also vigorously disseminated his scholarship through presentations at 78 international meetings, 16 national conferences, 48 regional/state meetings and 44 workshops. Content and development work in the areas of culture and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) decision-making, culminated in a professional development CD distributed nationally and garnered seven national or international media awards. As a co-author of approximately $3.8 million in funded proposals, Parette’s most recent grant activities have involved SEAT Center team members’ involvement in research investigations examining emergent literacy outcomes subsequent to technology-supported instructional strategies among more than 300 children in a local preschool setting and development of professional development materials for national distribution to practicing school psychologists. During his tenure at Illinois State, he has also been a Co-PI on several USDE grants, including the National Assistive Technology Coalition (NATC) project, and The Effectiveness of the SOLO™ Software Upon the Writing Outcomes of Students with Learning and Academic Disabilities Across the Curriculum. He has also been PI or Co-PI on several foundation grants involving multiple team members.

Stevens earned his Ph.D. at the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1981 and joined the faculty at Illinois State the same year. Stevens’ earlier work in the area of clinical and counseling psychology focused on the areas of women’s health and acute pain. Stevens’ research in the area of acute pain produced a further delineation of the theoretical bases for the cognitive mediation of acute pain and his research on women’s health had both theoretical and practical implications in that it enhanced the understanding of the psychological bases for several health issues that confront women and resulted in improved interventions for the needs of women. Stevens’ more recent work in the area of international psychology aims to apply psychological science in a socially responsible manner to pressing global concerns such as the disease burden borne by disadvantaged groups, the degradation of the environment, national development and terrorism.

Stevens has been a prolific researcher. He has been the sole or first author on 76 percent of 116 publications, many of which were published in strong peer-reviewed outlets, and on 78 percent of his 140 presentations. Stevens was the lead editor of the “Handbook of International Psychology,” work that gained him a reputation for being a major authority on international developments in world psychology. He also co-edited “Toward a Global Psychology: Research, Interventions, and Pedagogy” and has co-edited annually “PSYCHOLOGY: IUPsyS Global Resource,” a CD-ROM of international activity in psychology.

Broad is a professor in the English Department, having joined Illinois State in 1994. He has taught a wide range of courses, including 100-level introductory and general education courses, several courses for future English teachers (teaching of writing, composition and literature courses) at undergraduate and graduate levels, graduate-level writing assessment courses and research methods. Broad has also mentored graduate students as director of the Illinois State University Writing Program and directed theses and dissertations. He has mentored his colleagues by leading a semester-long series of workshops at the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology for faculty about effective use and evaluation of writing in instruction.

Szczepura is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, having joined Illinois State in 1997. She has taught a wide range of courses, including regular assignments in 100-level large lecture introductory chemistry courses, upper division inorganic chemistry and x-ray crystallography as well as organometallic chemistry at the graduate level. Her dedication to increasing the number and success of minority students resulted in several initiatives at Illinois State. She leads the Enrichment Workshop Program that has been funded for five years by a National Science Foundation to foster personal interaction with underrepresented students in the sciences in collaboration with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation that supports minority students interested in math, science, engineering and technology. Assessment of the program indicates solid success in half of participants who have conducted undergraduate research. Szczepura has also chaired numerous thesis committees and served as advisor to 19 undergraduates as they each conducted four semesters of research in her laboratory.

Julie Schumacher has been an instructor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences since fall 2005 and is director of the department’s dietetic internship and master’s program. She has taught a wide range of courses at all levels, with most being graduate-level seminars in food and nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and the professional practice internship course. Schumacher’s approach to teaching focuses on being attuned to the current generation of learners so that she can teach in ways that engage them. One way she does this is through selective use of educational technologies for cultivating learning and establishing a personal connection through the technologies with her students. She has participated extensively in workshops through the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology on using WebCT, podcasting and wikis in instruction as tools to foster positive learning environments and prompt critical thinking. Schumacher’s experience led to presenting a podcasting workshop for the College of Applied Science and Technology.

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