The Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost has announced the winners for the Outstanding University Researcher and the Outstanding University Creative Activity Awards. All winners will be honored during the Office of Research and Graduate Studies Awards event that will be held in April.  

Outstanding University Researcher Award 

The Outstanding University Researcher Award recognizes faculty members for excellence in research. Candidates for this award must be nominated by their college dean, and must be previous recipients of the Outstanding College Research Award. 

Lara Handsfield 

Lara Handsfield

Dr. Lara J. Handsfield is a professor of elementary, literacy, and bilingual education in the School of Teaching and Learning, where she teaches literacy methods and bilingual education courses for teacher candidates, and graduate courses in curriculum theory and theoretical foundations of literacy teaching and learning.

A former bilingual fourth-grade teacher in Providence, Rhode Island, Handsfield’s scholarship focuses broadly on teacher development and teaching in multilingual classrooms and schools.

Aslihan Spaulding 

Aslihan Spaulding

Dr. Aslihan D. Spaulding is a professor of agribusiness and food industry management, where she teaches courses in strategic agribusiness sales, food industry marketing, and strategic management, computer applications in agriculture, and agriculture and the environment. 

Spaulding’s research examines consumer, farmer, and student behavior, including such topics as big data technology use in agriculture, personality traits, learning styles, cybersecurity training needs of farmers, nutrient management, crop insurance, risk management, new product development, and marketing. 

Outstanding University Creative Activity Award 

The Outstanding University Creative Activity Award is made to experienced faculty who have established a national/international reputation for creative work in their field. Creative contributions shall include, but not be limited to, the following: painting, sculpture, film, drama, musical composition, choreography of a dance, poetry, a novel, creative non-fiction, creative media programming.  This award is not designed to recognize a single major work, but recognizes consistent and sustained contributions to the profession/discipline/field.  

Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum 

Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum

Dr. Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum is a professor of music, and an award-winning and nationally-recognized playwright and performer. She teaches courses in Black Music and Ethnomusicology and directs the ISU drumming and dance ensemble. 

Aduonum’s research interests include African American music, music in captivity, music of African diaspora, sensory studies, practice-led research, and music in slave dungeons.

Tyler Lotz

Tyler Lotz

Dr. Tyler Lotz was recently named the Harold Boyd Endowed Professor of Art in the Wonsook Kim School of Art, where he teaches Ceramics II, Digital 3d, and Studio Work Ceramics. 

His sculptures and vessels have been shown in solo and group exhibitions at venues including the Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, Illinois; Harvey/Meadows Gallery, Aspen, Colorado; Dubhe Carreño Gallery, Chicago Illinois; Cervini Haas Gallery/Gallery Materia, Scottsdale, Arizona; Cross-Mackenzie Gallery, Washington, D.C;  Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York City; Santa Fe Clay, New Mexico, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and SOFA Chicago.