2020 Faculty Award honorees
Click on the bars below to read biographies of this year's class of Faculty Award recipients.
Click on the bars below to read biographies of this year's class of Faculty Award recipients.
Young Faculty Risk Taker
Angela Beeler, assistant professor of school psychology, Counseling, Leadership, Educational and School Psychology, College of Applied Studies
Angela Beeler joined the WSU faculty in 2018. She earned the Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in criminology from the University of South Florida in 2013, the Master of Science in educational psychology, specializing in school psychometrics, from Oklahoma State University in 2014 and the doctorate in educational psychology with a major concentration with school psychology in 2018.
As a trained psychologist and new faculty member, Angela Beeler started reaching out to area school districts and agencies working with children with special needs, such as Heartspring, to determine community needs and how the school psychology program could better prepare its graduates.
What she heard was that families and schools needed help in addressing and treating behavioral problems, particularly among children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. She immediately worked on finding a solution.
As a result, WSU now offers a new graduate certificate program in the in-demand field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which is an evidence-based treatment for behavioral issues.
“Within one year, Dr. Beeler became a certified provider, developed a verified course sequence through the rigorous Association of Behavioral Analysis International and put the curriculum through the CIM (Comprehensive Intervention Model) process,” said Jody Fiorini, CLES department head. “For a first-year faculty member to engage in such a time-consuming process and be able to maintain excellent teaching and research is incredible ... As a result of her risk-taking, many children and families in need of care will receive the treatment they require by highly qualified professionals.”
Qualified ABA practitioners are in demand in a variety of settings, including nonprofits, social service agencies, education programs and even corporations, according to College of Applied Sciences officials. The certificate is sought after by not only school psychologists, but also those in education, counseling, psychology and social work.
The ABA certificate program consists of six courses; three of the courses were already being offered at WSU but needed to be revamped with new content to meet the verification process and three other courses needed to be created. Beeler was involved in updating and creating curriculum for the program. The classes are sequenced to finish in one year.
While the program got the green light to start in the fall, the start date was pushed to this spring to better market its availability, Beeler said.
It’s already become the certificate of choice for school psychology majors, as well as drawing professionals. At least a handful of the more than 40 students pursuing the certification are current practitioners who enrolled at WSU specifically to obtain the training, Beeler said.
“The majority of our school psychology students are choosing to complete this certificate en route to their degree. They get to use their electives, so it doesn’t require any additional credits and it gives our students another avenue to be marketable in the field,” Beeler noted. “We’re also finding that students are seeking out our program because we have the ABA certificate.”
Young Faculty Scholar
Heidi VanRavenhorst-Bell, assistant professor, Department of Human Performance Studies, College of Applied Studies
Heidi Bell joined the WSU faculty in 2010 as an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Public Health Sciences and became a tenure-track HPS faculty member in 2016. She earned the Bachelor of Education and Master of Education in exercise science in 1997 and 2005, respectively, and a doctorate in communication sciences and disorders in 2015, all earned at Wichita State.
When Heidi Bell joined the human performance studies department, she established a unique line of research: studying the impact of exercise on tongue strength and performance.
It’s led to her creating a medical device and a complementary product used in making oral assessments, as well as compiling a prolific publication and presentation record in a relatively short time, her colleagues noted in her award nomination.
While eight muscles comprise the tongue, few researchers have studied lingual movement and motion from an exercise science angle, such as practicing preventative and strengthening measures and reviewing the tools and equipment used to screen and diagnose problems that involve the tongue, like difficulty swallowing and sleep apnea. Bell’s research “anomaly,” as she called it, even earned her a spot on NPR’s Science Friday show, when journalist Ira Flatow visited Wichita in search of interesting science topics.
The tongue plays an important role from consuming food to speech patterns, but it can be a difficult muscular organ to examine. Bell’s device inventions are the PARROT mouthpiece that tracks lingual movement and motion and is intended to be a screening and rehabilitation tool and an anti-slip patch that helps other lingual testing devices stay in place for more optimal assessments.
Bell’s research has resulted in six publications, a book chapter, 14 published abstracts, six invited presentations and multiple other presentations. She’s been part of nine funded research grants, including as principal investigator on one from the National Science Foundation, and has produced innovations that have results in two patent applications and four intellectual property licenses with the university, noted WSU colleague Michael Rogers in his nomination of Bell.
“That’s a significant number of grants, publications and presentations for someone in just their fourth year at WSU,” Rogers wrote.
In 2015, Bell’s poster presentation at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association conference caught the attention of Tara Hart, president and CEO of a company that manufactures a common measurement tool in the field of orofacial myofunctional therapy.
“She immediately impressed me with her intelligence, enthusiasm, inquisitiveness, integrity and dedication,” Hart said. “Since that time, we have been in regular correspondence about research and development ideas.”
Bell has also caught the attention of others in the field. In 2018, she was recognized with a Rising Star Investigator Award from the Academy of Applied Myofunctional Sciences, given during the AAMS’ third annual Hippocrates Gala in Rome, Italy.
Along with being an assistant professor in the human performance studies department, Bell is the undergraduate coordinator for the exercise science program, manager of the Human Performance Laboratory, a faculty member in the Cohen Honors College and an affiliated faculty member in the biomedical engineering department. She’s also director of WSU’s Summer Research Institute in FYRE (first-year research experience), a program that provides research and mentoring opportunities for incoming freshmen and transfer students.
Bell is also the CEO and partner of iNOv8v Health Technology LLC, which she co-founded with fellow WSU faculty Jeremy Patterson and Michael Jorgensen.
Excellence in Community Research
Karen Countryman-Roswurm, founder and executive director, Center for Combating Human Trafficking and associate professor, School of Social Work, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Karen Countryman-Roswurm joined the WSU social work faculty in 2010, after two years as a research associate with the WSU Center for Community Support and Research. She earned three degrees from WSU: the Bachelor of Arts in social work in 2005, the Master of Social Work in 2006 and a doctorate in psychology in 2012.
Even before Karen Countryman-Roswurm earned her first college degree, she was doing community-based research into populations vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and trafficking. At age 19, she was a research associate for a longitudinal study of homeless adolescents funded by the National Institute of Mental Health in 1999.
In the two decades since, she has become a well-respected national and international expert on human trafficking, a reputation based on her work with the Center for Combating Human Trafficking, creating an anti-trafficking training and survivor empowerment module, and conducting academic research. Her professional work is grounded in her own early life experiences that included overcoming stints as a runaway; negotiating child welfare, social and judicial systems; and working as a street outreach coordinator.
The majority of her community outreach and research is done through the Center for Combating Human Trafficking, which she founded and brought to the WSU campus in 2010. In the 2019 academic year alone, the center touched the lives of nearly 3,300 children through an anti-trafficking prevention program, nearly 22,000 professionals who received training and other support services, and nearly 40 survivors of sex and labor trafficking who participated in the center’s Pathway to Prosperity program.
Countryman-Roswurm has introduced agencies worldwide to her Lotus Anti-Trafficking Model, which provides prevention, intervention and prosperity-promoting strategies that are based on research and evidence.
“Lotus is not just touching our local community but also the global community through its use,” Countryman-Roswurm said. A key component of its success is training others to implement the strategies, she said. Another important part is providing survivors with options to empower themselves.
“We’re the experts of our own lives,” Countryman-Roswurm said, noting that the program allows survivors to self-actualize and advocate for themselves.
According to John Tomblin, WSU vice president for research and economic development, Countryman-Roswurm has worked with WSU Ventures to secure 14 copyrights and trademarks on the social science tools and designs of Lotus. The center has secured substantial revenue for training, technical assistance and access to Lotus, Tomblin wrote in his nomination.
As a researcher and expert, Countryman-Roswurm has published 14 articles, eight of which were in peer-reviewed journals. She’s given at least 19 keynote presentations and was the featured speaker at a 2013 TEDx event at Cambridge University in England. She’s compiled a long list of accomplishments and accolades, including being appointed as a subject matter expert on human trafficking by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Psychological Association and serving as an expert on the development of national policy addressing at-risk youth. She’s also a member of Kansas’ Human Trafficking Advisory Board that is working to inform legislation and improve services for Kansans who are at risk or survivors of human trafficking.
Countryman-Roswurm is also an advocate for reducing the criminalization of runaways or homeless young people who have survived commercial sexual exploitation.
Excellence in Accessibility
Darren Defrain, associate professor and director of the writing program, Department of English, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Darren DeFrain joined the WSU faculty in 2005. He earned the Bachelor of Arts in English and the Bachelor of Science in psychology along with a minor in Italian from the University of Utah in 1989, a Master of Arts from Kansas State University in 1992, the Master of Fine Arts degree from Texas State University in 1995 and a doctorate in creative writing from Western Michigan University in 2000. He received WSU’s Excellence in Creative Activity Award in 2009 and the Innovation Awards Creative Works in 2019.
As readers turn each page of a graphic novel, the panels of illustrations provide visual narratives that help immerse the reader into the story.
But what if the reader is visually impaired?
“It’s one thing to verbally describe a work of art — and that’s a tall order — but that’s compounded when you add sequential art and there are a whole lot of elements going on,” said Darren DeFrain, who teaches a graphic novel class in WSU’s Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program. “You’re not getting the whole experience by telling someone, ‘in this panel, Spider-Man is standing on the edge of a building and in this panel, he jumps to the next building.’”
While several tools exist to provide audio narratives to help visually impaired readers follow the action of stories, they fall short and sometimes fail completely at addressing the visual narrative and interplay that are core to graphic novels, DeFrain said.
DeFrain is hoping the Vizling app that he and a multidisciplinary team — ranging from a WSU alumnus to WSU instructors and staff — are developing will address those shortcomings.
“Our ambition is to get as close to an equitable experience for the visually impaired as for the sighted and it could be applicable to more than graphic novels,” DeFrain said. For example, it could be used for textbooks that rely on illustrations or other graphics, such as those in biology or other sciences.
The idea for the app grew from discussions two years ago between DeFrain and then-student Aaron Rodriquez, now a doctoral student at Florida State University. Since that time, the pair have been researching digital coding and visual linguistics concepts and looking for funding to design the app.
WSU’s Training and Technology Team (T3) has estimated it will cost $20,000 to develop the prototype, DeFrain said, and the entire venture could cost about $250,000. So he’s applied for grants from groups such as the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Venture program; the National Endowment for the Arts; Envision, a Wichita-based nonprofit that advocates and provides services to the visually impaired; and the Sloan Foundation, a national nonprofit that supports original research related to science, technology and economics.
A published author, DeFrain has made significant connections within the graphic novel industry, such as major comics publishers and ComiXology, the leading digital graphic novel distribution owned by Amazon, to explore the concept of the app.
DeFrain is planning to introduce digital coding to his graphic novels class to help students gain insight into making works accessible. The experience will also provide another skill set for students.
“Successful students should leave the course with an appreciation and deeper understanding of how to approach narratives, an understanding of how to critically apply disability studies to a literary text, how to render a visual narrative into a format that is both accessible and equitable, and should come to understand the many reasons rendering texts into truly equitable forms offers tremendous skills and opportunities for everyone,” DeFrain wrote in his nomination for this award.
Young Faculty Risk Taker
Rocio Del Aguila, assistant professor of Spanish and Spanish graduate coordinator, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Rocio Del Aguila joined the WSU faculty in 2016. She earned the Bachelor of Arts in linguistics and literature and the diploma of specialization in education from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in Lima in 1998 and 2000, respectively, and a Master of Arts and doctorate in Hispanic literature from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005 and 2011, respectively.
While Rocio Del Aguila considers herself a 19th-century scholar with an emphasis on South American women writers, she thinks it’s valuable to share the experience of discovery in many ways.
While working on her dissertation, Del Aguila discovered one of the 19th-century women authors she was researching had also published a cookbook that provided more than just recipes. It also gave insights into changes related to gender, politics and more that were happening at the time. It brought home the idea that food is more than nourishment but a way to gain knowledge about other cultures.
In recent years, Del Aguila has started incorporating food studies as a way to add depth, diversity and discovery to her classes and research.
Food studies have become a unique way to study and talk about other cultures and philosophies. The John Dewey Kitchen Institute at the University of Vermont, for example, has created an activity using sushi rice to convey ideas of democracy. Del Aguila has recreated the activity in her own class.
“Including food studies into my traditional scholar path has proven to be challenging, but pretty rewarding,” Del Aguila said. “Food is not merely ingredients but the representation of culture at its best. Food opens the door to serious conversations about social issues and politics and it stimulates an emotional journey for several people.”
Her efforts have included developing the course “Cooking Communities: Food and Culture in Latin America” that incorporates literary readings of Latin American and Latino authors and select historical, sociological and cultural studies readings. She facilitates activities that include food, such as providing the students with rice paper and then asking them to use ingredients from their pantries to use with the rice paper.
“Sometimes they’re reluctant to mix flavors,” Del Aguila said. “Food is a good way to introduce students to taking a risk and exploring a culture.”
With a $10,000 Humanities Kansas grant, Del Aguila created “Migrant Kitchens,” a research project about tradition, immigration, storytelling and empowerment through food and recipes. The project culminated in the production of the documentary “Cocin(ando) Wichita,” about the local Hispanic community and its cultural and culinary traditions. The film premiered at last year’s Tallgrass Film Festival and was also shown at the Huatulco Film and Food Festival in Mexico.
For a TEDx Talk she gave in 2017, Del Aguila related food topics to cultural understanding and post-colonialism. At least once a year, she has made presentations on food-related topics at professional conferences. Along with giving guest talks at several universities, she has also guest-presented in women’s studies and English classes at WSU.
Del Aguila has also been working with Notre Dame faculty member Vanesa Miseras, an award-winning scholar on Latin American women writers, on an edited volume of “Gastronarratives: Food, Literature, and Culture in Latin American Narratives” that is expected to be published later this year by the University of Arkansas Press.
Leadership in the Advancement of Teaching
John Dreifort, professor, Department of History, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
John Dreifort became a faculty member at WSU in 1970. He earned the Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Bowling Green University in 1965 and 1966, respectively, and a doctorate from Kent State University in 1970. He received the WSU Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007.
With a teaching career spanning 50 years at WSU, John Dreifort has been a popular and well-regarded professor among both young and older students.
Many WSU students have gotten to know him through the general education humanities class Western Civilization that he teaches.
“Over the years, he has been one of the true workhorses of the department whose teaching has been one of rigor and high standards. That doesn’t mean his classes are unpopular. To the contrary, his classes draw well and (he) has not just fans but groupies who regularly seek him out,” said fellow history professor Jay Price in his nomination of Dreifort.
Dreifort also has found different ways to approach and appeal to students. For example, he’s taught classes using films as the lens through which to view historical events. With military topics always being popular, he has offered classes on the Vietnam Conflict and both World Wars.
One of his most popular history classes is about America’s favorite pastime — baseball, which is a topic that hits close to home for Dreifort as well. Dreifort’s sons Todd and Darren were standout Shocker baseball players and Dreifort was Darren’s agent when he was signed to an MLB contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Dreifort continues to coach youth baseball teams, something he’s done for four decades. As an advocate for a college education and life after baseball, Dreifort noted that 40 of his former youth players have gone on to play major college ball, with 29 of them coming to WSU.
Senior adults, in particular, have sought out Dreifort’s classes for years. Many have been auditors as part of a Kansas Board of Regents program that allows seniors 60 years and older to take tuition-free classes. His continuing education class called Great Decisions, which revolves around current events, regularly draws more than 100 older students. Dreifort advocated for finding a way to convert the interest of seniors in history classes to credit hours. The result was a new set of .5 credit hour classes offered at senior communities in Wichita.
“This set of classes has been one of the most successful outreach efforts of the department,” Price noted. “Although only at .5 credit hour, these classes have made an impact on departmental credit hour production given the large number of students who take them.”
Dreifort has also reached many Wichitans outside of the classroom as the executive of the Wichita Committee on Foreign Relations since 1975. The committee is one of more than 30 similar affiliates of the American Committees on Foreign Relations and was established to promote dialogue between civic leaders and U.S. foreign policymakers. Dreifort arranges the Wichita committee’s events and guest speakers; past speakers have included John Bolton and David Rockefeller.
Leadership in the Advancement of Teaching
Jason Herron, assistant professor of educational psychology, Counseling, Leadership, Educational and School Psychology, College of Applied Studies
Jason Herron joined the WSU faculty in 2015. He earned the Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in 2005, and the Master of Education and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
Students in the programs offered by the counseling, educational leadership, educational and school psychology department know that they’ll face issues such as suicide, grief, mental illness, behavior issues and trauma and are prepared to meet those challenges.
“What strikes fear in the hearts of those students,” said CLES department chair Jody Fiorini, “are words like statistics, assessment and research.”
But generally, after taking Jason Herron’s classes on those subjects, they have a much healthier outlook. Herron, a research methodologist, impresses upon students that learning these tools will help them be better consumers of research and data that can impact their lives and those of the people they will help during their career.
In fact, through word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied students, Herron’s classes often draw students from programs outside of the College of Applied Studies.
“I have had students come in saying they hate statistics and in the end, they don’t hate it,” said Herron. “Students have commented on how they understand the way that statistics will help them in their field even though they did not see the utility at the beginning of the course. This expansion of the use of statistical analysis is important to me because of the variety of programs represented in my courses.”
Many students have provided feedback that Herron’s classes have opened their eyes about the validity and effectiveness of assessments.
“I will now be more likely to look into whether an assessment is research-based before administrating it to my clients or students. I feel more confident knowing where to find quality assessments …,” one student wrote.
“He engages students in what might be considered to be dry subject matter in a practical and applied way,” Fiorini said. “Students who may never have considered engaging in individual research have decided to present at national conferences, work with faculty on research projects and / or consider doctoral study due to the confidence instilled in them through Dr. Herron’s teaching.”
Lena Lamei was one such student.
“I remember how I was stressed out and uncertain about coming back to school with a toddler and a full-time job, but his sympathy, advice and encouragement inspired me to make my decision and pursue my higher education,” Lamei said. “I have heard a lot from other students about his motivational manner, teaching expertise and mentorship.”
A former U.S. Army field artillery officer, Herron values opportunities to provide mentorship. He is responsible for establishing the college’s student mentoring program that pairs students with faculty and staff who get together at least monthly for discussions. In its second year, participation in the program increased and the program is poised to be an important part of the college’s retention and academic success efforts.
Faculty Risk Taker
Wonyoung Kim, associate professor and graduate coordinator, Department of Sport Management, College of Applied Studies
Wonyoung Kim joined the WSU faculty in 2012. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, both in physical education from Chungnam National University in Daejeon, South Korea, in 2001 and 2003, respectively. He earned the Master of Science degree in sport administration from Mississippi State University in 2009 and a doctorate in human performance, with an emphasis in administration and teaching from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2012.
In looking for ways to provide applied learning opportunities for his students, Wonyoung Kim’s answer was to think of home.
Kim, who grew up in South Korea, has developed the sport management department’s first-ever study abroad experience, introducing American students to South Korea’s large sports and entertainment industry.
The annual abroad program started in 2018 and has grown to include students from two other American universities — Mississippi State University and the University of North Florida. Eschewing educational travel agencies to keep the trip more affordable for students, Kim spends countless hours planning the nearly two-week trip that takes place in late May. This year’s trip was canceled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
During Kim’s time at WSU, the sport management program has grown considerably, from 190 students in 2012 to about 280 currently, he said, and there’s been an emphasis on increasing learning experiences for students.
“Studying abroad may be one of the most beneficial experiences and unique opportunities for college students,” Kim said.
Through the sport management study abroad experience, the American students visit about a handful of Korean colleges, meeting students in similar programs and attending seminars. The group also interacts with a variety of sports enterprises: going to a basketball game and visiting a basketball publication, appearing on the Korean Golf Channel, visiting BMW’s driving school and meeting with the Korean Olympic Committee that hosted the 2018 Winter Olympics. The group also visits cultural sites; one year, the group visited the incursion tunnels built by North Korea that cross the DMZ.
And no sports-related trip to South Korea would be complete without esports. The country is the birthplace of professional competitive esports, which started in the 1990s. In the last decade or so, competitive esports — where gamers compete not only in games but for audiences — has become popular worldwide. During the 2019 trip, students visited an arena owned by popular video game publisher Activision Blizzard. The arena can host 500 gamers, with competitions airing on a national sports channel. The students also got a behind-the-scenes look at Riot Games, a video game developer.
Before the trip, about 90% of the students indicated no interest in esports, Kim said, but those visits changed their minds.
“Sports is entertainment now,” he said.
Kim’s work in developing the study abroad program was noticed during the sport management program’s recent reaccreditation self-study and site visit. The Commission on Sport Management Accreditation reviewers “noted Dr. Kim’s work as exemplary and worthy of acclaim,” said Mark Vermillion, professor and chair.
Kim also has created learning along with scholarship opportunities with other sports entities in Wichita, including Friends University athletics and the Wichita Open, an annual PGA golf tournament.
Excellence in Teaching
Roy Myose, professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering
Roy Myose joined the WSU faculty in 1992. He earned the Bachelor of Science in engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Southern California in 1983, a Master of Science in aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology in 1984 and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from USC in 1991 He was the 2018 recipient of the Leadership in the Advancement of Teaching Award.
Roy Myose’s first teaching experience in the early 1980s set a precedent that has never been repeated at the University of Southern California.
During his senior year at USC, he was allowed to teach a freshman class on computing.
“That was a precedent in the department that has not occurred since. Not only were his student evaluations for the course excellent but we had requests for him to teach again the following year,” said USC professor emeritus Ron Blackwelder.
“I've loved teaching ever since,” Myose said. “It's been very satisfying to be able to impact the next generation.”
Myose is a well-respected teacher by his colleagues and his students, evidenced by several nomination letters from colleagues at WSU and other universities, excellent student evaluation scores and a growing list of awards.
“However, the scores do not tell the entire story of his commitment to excellence in teaching,” noted WSU colleague Elizabeth Rollins. “When I reflect on Dr. Myose and his teaching experiences, one of the things that stands out to me is his dedication to continuous evaluation of his teaching methods for the benefit of his students.”
Each semester he does a statistical analysis of the performance of his classes, looking for clues if any changes need to be made, Rollins noted. When Myose found significant differences between two of his spring 2019 classes, he concluded there was a discrepancy in how well prepared the students had been to take one of those classes, so he made adjustments. He published his findings of the link between incoming student capabilities and class performance with the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Midwest Sciences Conference.
In the past, he’s worked with department colleagues to develop assessment tests on student preparedness for an important aerospace engineering foundational class. While the results showed good correlation for the most part between the pre-class assessment test scores and the students' final grades, the results provided insight on where the department can do better, which will help with student retention and early intervention, said Scott Miller, professor and aerospace engineering department chair. With Myose as the first author, the paper about the assessment project won a top award at the 2016 ASEE national conference.
While being a good teacher himself, Myose has mentored graduate teaching assistants who have gone on to be excellent teachers. His students have won WSU college-level GTA awards and some are now full-time faculty at universities in the U.S. and abroad.
A 2001 Fulbright Scholar to the University of Limerick in Ireland, Myose has earned several WSU College of Engineering awards in the past two decades for his teaching, providing experience-based learning and lifetime service.
For more than 17 years, Myose has been an officer with Sigma Gamma Tau, the national honor society for aerospace engineering, serving as secretary, national president between 2009 and 2012, and again as president from 2018 through 2021.
Excellence in Online Teaching
John Perry, associate dean for academic operations and undergraduate programs and professor in strategic management, Department of Management, W. Frank Barton School of Business
John Perry joined the WSU business faculty in 2005. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Dickinson College (Pennsylvania) in 1989, a Master of Business Administration from Lehigh University in 1992, a master’s degree in organizational dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and a doctorate in management from Penn State University in 2006.
For the past five years, John Perry has been at the forefront of online teaching within both the Barton School of Business and WSU, often leading by example and earning prestigious awards for his work.
As a result, the business school now offers five online degrees and several of its online classes comply with the Quality Matters Rubric, considered the industry standard in higher education for delivering the highest-quality online courses. Perry helped develop three online Bachelor of Business Administration degree programs in general business, human resource management and management, and a master’s degree in human resource management.
When the Barton School of Business made a strategic decision in 2014 to provide more of its courses online and develop online versions of degree programs, Perry, who was chair of the management department at the time, began teaching online sessions of Management 681, Strategic Management, a required course for all undergraduate business majors.
“To ensure he was offering a strong and engaging course, John actively engaged the Instructional Design Office and applied the Quality Matters Rubric to the course design,” noted Kate Kung-McIntyre, a senior educator in management.
The QM Rubric consists of what is known as eight general standards and 42 specific review standards that are used to evaluate the design of online and blended courses, according to the Quality Matters website. Review teams use a scoring system based on the rubric to determine whether a course meets the standards. A score of 85% is one of the requirements for a course to attain QM certification.
Perry’s strategic management class was the first WSU course to achieve QM certification. As a result, his course won Blackboard’s Exemplary Course Program Award, which recognizes excellence and innovation in online course design. He’s also won Blackboard’s Catalyst Award for Teaching and Learning.
To encourage other business faculty to pursue QM certification for their classes, he developed an incentive program. About 30 faculty members have participated in the program, which provided a $3,000 stipend to faculty who completed QM training and achieved certification for their online classes.
“It should be noted that John has also served as a QM peer reviewer on multiple occasions,” said Masud Chand, associate professor and chair of management.
Perry also teaches online sessions of Management 885, Advanced Strategic Management, which is a capstone course, and MBA 805, a pre-requisite for all non-business degree holders who pursue the Master of Business Administration.
One tip Perry has for online instructors is to divide students into small discussion groups because it encourages more interaction. Often traditional in-class discussions may only engage a few students, he said. Students have commented this strategy has increased their analytical skills.
“The group discussions are great, and I think that online ones really allow for more in-depth conversation than in-class could afford,” said one student. “It’s a great change of pace to have equal voice and really be able to think through responses before presenting them to others.”
Excellence in Research
Alexandre Shvartsburg, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Alexandre Shvartsburg joined the WSU faculty in 2014. He earned the Master of Science in chemical physics from the University of Nevada in 1995 and a doctorate in chemistry from Northwestern University in 1999.
Alexandre Shvartsburg, who started his scientific career in the Russian Space Program, is a shining star in a field of ion mobility spectrometry.
In July 2019, he was recognized with the U.S. government’s highest honor given to outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent research careers and show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology, according to a release from The White House. Shvartsburg was the first-ever WSU recipient and only the third in Kansas of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers since it was established in 1996.
After spending over a decade in the FDA National Center for Toxicological Research and the Department of Energy: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Shvartsburg moved to academia at WSU in 2014.
The Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) technique differentiates ions based on size and shape and is often combined with mass spectrometry that relies on charge and mass. Within IMS, ions can be separated using distinct mechanisms. In the 2000s, Shvartsburg started advancing the novel nonlinear IMS technology of differential or field asymmetric waveform IMS (FAIMS). That work led to him engineering high-definition FAIMS.
“Alex is an expert, if not the foremost expert, in FAIMS. He understands very well how the method works, has designed and engineered instrumentation for FAIMS experiments and has utilized the methods to solve important problems in bioanalysis and organic analysis,” according to Chrys Wesdemiotis, distinguished professor of chemistry and polymer science at the University of Akron.
“Throughout more than a decade and to the present day, ion mobility and the related FAIMS technologies have expanded significantly, and Shvartsburg’s fingerprints are all over the expansion,” said Neil Kelleher, an eminent researcher in mass spectrometry and professor at Northwestern University.
In particular, Shvartsburg and his doctoral adviser Martin Jarrold developed the ion mobility calculations package known as MobCal that is now the industry standard in the IMS field. Two of their pertinent papers have earned more than 1,800 citations.
Since joining the WSU faculty and during a time when competition for federal grants has spiked, Shvartsburg has garnered more than $1.3 million from the National Science Foundation, including the NSF CAREER Award and the National Institutes of Health.
Shvartsburg has published more than 100 papers and has been granted more than 10 patents. During the time of his postdoctoral research at York University in Ontario, he was recognized with the John Polanyi Prize from the Ontario government, named for the winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry and given to rising young scientists. During his time with the DoE, he won the agency’s M.T. Thomas Award for his IMS research.
Shvartsburg said he is committed to making frontline FAIMS technology available to the broad analytical community by consulting for major instrument companies and through his start-up company Heartland MS that has provided unique FAIMS and mass spectrometry hardware to multiple research labs in the U.S. and internationally.
Academy for Effective Teaching
Michelle Wallace, associate clinical professor and research coordinator, Department of Physician Assistant, College of Health Professions
Michele Wallace joined the WSU faculty in 2012, initially as a clinical educator. Wallace earned the Bachelor of Science in biology from Kansas State University in 2001 and the Bachelor of Science in physician assistant from WSU in 2005. She earned the Master of Science in physician assistant studies from A.T. Still University, based in Mesa, Arizona, in 2014.
Having maintained close ties with the WSU physician assistant faculty from her time as a student at WSU helped Michelle Wallace make a career switch to educating future PAs alongside them.
“It felt like coming home,” said Wallace, who has worked in emergency medicine since 2006.
“As I did not go through college with the intent of teaching and made this shift in my career after seven years of clinical practice, I have relied on many colleagues to construct my methods and beliefs,” Wallace wrote in a statement about her teaching. “I have been fortunate to work alongside educators from across the campus whose excitement and excellence is contagious.”
Among the highlights of Wallace’s teaching career at WSU so far are developing an experiential learning course (with colleague LaDonna Hale) to ensure students engage in community service, research and interprofessional activities, and helping WSU’s PA program be part of the Physician Assistant Education Association’s pilot initiative to create a standardized substance abuse disorder curriculum for PA programs nationwide. The two-year initiative, announced in October 2019, is being funded by a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration federal grant.
“It’s pretty exciting that out of the hundreds of PA programs in the nation, Wichita State was selected to be one of the 10 sites,” Wallace said. Other pilot sites include Yale University School of Medicine, Emory University and Case Western Reserve University. Wallace and PA department chair Kim Darden created some content for the pilot curriculum, which was introduced into the WSU program this semester.
Wallace also teaches classes in clinical behavioral medicine, preventative medicine, neurology and endocrinology. While the topics vary, the common thread among her classes is teaching students how to work with patients and deliver the best care.
With medicine constantly changing, Wallace said she embeds course activities that intentionally require students to go and seek information on their own. She teaches what are called motivational interviewing skills that can help patients feel respected, particularly when discussing behavioral topics. In the experiential learning course, students participate in at least six activities with other health professionals to build their teamwork and collaboration skills.
She ensures students understand the process and role of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent volunteer group of national medical experts who use evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive measures, such as screenings and medications.
“I want them to understand they are not just ordering a screening because someone said they should, but they understand why a certain recommendation starts at age 40 or 50 or why insurance may or may not cover a certain screening.”
Wallace, who still works shifts in the Wesley Medical Center Emergency Department on weekends and in the summer, draws on her ER experience to teach hands-on clinical skills such as suturing, injections, IV starts and other procedures.
Wallace currently serves as faculty adviser for 13 students and research adviser for 14 students. She also is the faculty adviser for the WSU PA Student Society.