By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Five members of the Bucknell University faculty were honored with awards recognizing their teaching and scholarly accomplishments during the 163rd Commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 19.
Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching
Katie Faull, professor of German and humanities, received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Described as a mentor, an innovator and a role model, Faull is known for her creative teaching and scholarship, taking students well beyond their intellectual comfort zones to their lasting benefits. Since joining the faculty in 1986, she has made numerous contributions to general education and has taught Foundation Seminars, Residential College Seminars, Integrated Perspectives courses, GIS courses in the humanities, and more.
Faull also has been a generous collaborator, sharing her expertise and time with students and colleagues. Her research into local history — translating 18th-century Moravian diaries to uncover the alliance with the Iroquois Indian Tribes — extends a larger, cross-disciplinary program at the Environmental Center, highlighting the history of the Susquehanna River Valley. The quality of her scholarship has been recognized by such granting agencies as the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Class of 1956 Lectureship Award
Er-Dong Hu, associate professor of dance, received the Class of 1956 Lectureship for Inspirational Teaching.
Described as a dance master, technical virtuoso and cross-cultural ambassador, Hu has shared his expertise with frequent guest teaching at universities here and abroad, and his choreography skills with dance commissions both national and international.
Hu joined the faculty in 1994, becoming Bucknell Dance Company concert director in 2001. Five years later, he led the Bucknell Dance Company trip to the International Ode to Peace Festival in China, the only U.S. representative invited to perform at the event.
Hu's students repeatedly reference him as one of the most inspirational professors they encountered at Bucknell, a faculty member who challenged and motivated them as dancers and individuals.
Two Presidential Awards
David Evans, professor of psychology, received one of two Presidential Awards for Teaching Excellence.
Evans, who joined the faculty in 1998, has been instrumental in establishing the highly successful major in neuroscience. He was lauded as "a motivating and inspiring teacher in the classroom, exceptional in his ability to engage undergraduates in challenging clinical research. He also has been a key leader in the development of the Bucknell-Geisinger collaboration, including the Geisinger-Bucknell Autism and Developmental Medicine Center.
A frequently published scholar, Evans teaches courses that require students to consider the complexity of brain-behavior relationships and develop their ethical and clinical-reasoning skills. Graduates seek his guidance and support as a mentor well beyond their time at Bucknell.
Joseph Tranquillo, associate professor of biomedical and electrical engineering, received one of two Presidential Awards for Teaching Excellence.
Nominated by colleagues in both colleges, Tranquillo is described as a passionate professor who works tirelessly and selflessly on behalf of his students and colleagues. One example of his novel teaching approach is "kinesthetic learning," in which he uses physical activities, such as passing shredded paper around the room, to demonstrate the concept of how brain signals pass from neuron to neuron.
In addition to teaching within his specialty of biomedical engineering, he also has co-taught a course in Comparative Humanities on Brain, Mind, and Culture. Since joining the faculty in 2005, he has been involved in numerous interdisciplinary projects including land-mine sniffing rats, building biomedical instruments, and a theatre project about living with autism.
Mary Beth Gray, associate professor of geology and 1984 graduate of Bucknell, received the William P. Boger Jr. M.D. Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Natural Sciences.
The recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation and other agencies, Gray has been described as a consummate teacher scholar who teaches demanding foundational and advanced courses at the intersection of geology and engineering. She was nominated by colleagues in the geology and civil engineering departments as well as students and alumni.
Gray has supervised multiple undergraduate research projects, ranging from potentially seismically active fault zones at Yucca Mountain in Nevada to Central Appalachian tectonics. She has led many field trips and is noted for mentoring undergraduates, particularly women in the sciences and engineering.
Burma-Bucknell Bowl Award
In addition to the teaching awards presented during Commencement, two recipients of the Burma-Bucknell Bowl were recognized. This annual award recognizes university community members who have made outstanding contributions to intercultural and international understanding.
William Flack Jr., associate professor of psychology, was honored for giving "significant time and energy to promote intercultural and international understanding for students, faculty, staff and the community."
Flack co-founded and developed the Bucknell-In Northern Ireland program in 2002 as a unique service-learning program focusing on ways that individuals and groups seek peace. His scholarship includes the risk of sexual assault for females studying abroad, hidden biases against women, racial and religious minorities, and those with mental, physical and learning disabilities, and working, and international political and social issues such as healing after 9/11, foreign film screenings and the rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
The Bucknell Africa Student Association also was honored with the Burma-Bucknell Bowl Award for its distinctive contributions to intercultural and international understanding within the Bucknell community.
BASA has worked to educate campus about and celebrates the diverse cultures of the African continent. The last few years have been especially remarkable with the launch of a renovated BASA Bash in 2011. This year, BASA raised $1,000 through T-shirt sales to ensure the education of one or two disadvantaged students in Africa today, working to promote economic development, sustainable change and creating a name for BASA and Bucknell abroad.