Four K-State faculty members are being recognized with the Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.
This year's recipients are James DeVault, professor of electrical and computer engineering; Hamilton Fout, assistant professor of economics; Scott Hendrix, instructor of finance; and LaBarbara James Wigfall, associate professor of landscape architecture and regional and community planning.
Each of the awards, which are sponsored by the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Commerce Bancshares Foundation, includes a $2,500 honorarium. The awards are coordinated through the Kansas State University Foundation.
"For a decade and a half, Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation have partnered with K-State to promote and support excellence in undergraduate teaching," said Tom Giller, community bank president of Commerce Bank, Manhattan. "We're pleased to work with the university to honor those who have a positive impact on students."
K-State President Kirk Schulz said that the university's quality teachers are key to K-State's success.
"When the community stands behind K-State's teachers like this, good things happen," he said. "These individuals exemplify the innovative ways our teachers engage students in learning. I am proud recognize them with this award."
DeVault joined K-State in 1985. He's been honored for his teaching numerous times, including in 2007 with the Myers-Alford Memorial Teaching Award and in 2006 with the James. L. Hollis Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, both given by the College of Engineering. In 1996 he also was honored with the John Fluke Award for Excellence in Laboratory Instruction by the American Society of Engineering Education. K-State's department of electrical and computer engineering has recognized DeVault five times with the Eta Kappa Nu Distinguished Faculty Award. He teaches analog electronics, digital electronics and instrumentation, and has taught control systems and mobile autonomous robotics. He also is an active researcher. DeVault has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and master's degree in business administration, both from Michigan Technological University, in addition to a master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.
Fout came to K-State in 2007. He currently teaches introductory courses in macroeconomics and econometrics to undergraduates, and monetary theory and dynamic macroeconomics to graduate students. Fout is known for helping his students reach a deeper understanding of economics by using an intuitive, example-driven approach in the classroom. Before coming to K-State, he was an instructor at Duke University as part of the American Economic Association's Summer and Minority Scholars Program, in addition to teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill while pursuing his doctorate. He was honored at both schools for his excellence in teaching. Fout has bachelor's degrees in economics and multinational business from Florida State University and a doctorate in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Hendrix became a member of K-State's faculty in 2002. He has been awarded both of the College of Business Administration's highest teaching honors, the Kansas State Bank Outstanding Teaching Award and the Ralph E. Reitz Outstanding Teaching Award. He also has received the college's Kansas State Bank Outstanding Advising Award. K-State 's office of student activities and services named him the 2009 adviser of the year for guiding the Student Finance Association and playing a key role in the group's face-to-face meeting with billionaire Warren Buffett in March 2009. Hendrix received multiple student nominations as adviser of the year. He serves as the College of Business Administration's Gates Capital Management Faculty Fellow. Hendrix has a bachelor's degree and a master's in business administration, both from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
In her more than 20 years at K-State, Wigfall has always worked for the benefit of her students. She teaches and advises first-year students and is known for her lessons both inside and outside the classroom. She is adviser to K-State's chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, which was named chapter of the year in 2006 under her guidance. To give her students practical experience, she also spearheaded the Coretta Scott King Gardens of Engagement, a series of three student-designed gardens that will surround K-State's bust of Martin Luther King Jr. She also received the 1995-96 Conoco Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to Minority Education. Wigfall has a bachelor's in architecture from Howard University and a master's in city and regional planning from Harvard University.