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Sources: Mary Cain, 785-532-6884,;
Dave Krishock, 785-532-4065,;
Kay Ann Taylor, 785-532-6974,;
and David E. Thompson, 785-532-1941,
Photos available. Contact or 785-532-6415.
Note to editors: David E. Thompson is the son of Gene and Suzanne Thompson, Clay Center.
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


MANHATTAN -- A good teacher can make all the difference, which is why four of Kansas State University's top teachers are being honored with the 2009 Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.

This year's recipients are Mary Cain, associate professor of psychology; David Krishock, instructor in grain science; Kay Ann Taylor, associate professor of secondary education; and David E. Thompson, instructor in family studies and human services.

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.

"This is the 14th year 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 join the university in honoring those who are so obviously having a positive impact on students."

"Community support such as this allows us to reward faculty members who go above and beyond to meet K-State's commitment not only to its undergraduates, but a commitment to academic excellence," said Jon Wefald, K-State president. "The university promises students a superior education and these faculty members have shown that they take that mission very seriously."

Cain joined K-State's department of psychology in 2004 and in that time has taught more than a dozen courses ranging from general psychology and psychobiology, to drugs and behavior and principles of learning. She is known for engaging students in critical thinking and discussion, so that they don't just memorize but understand the material. In March 2006, Cain was selected by students to be the first College of Arts and Sciences faculty member of the month. She also supervises several undergraduate students who conduct research in her lab. She has a bachelor's in psychology from New York's Manhattan College, and a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Vermont, both in experimental psychology.

Krishock joined K-State in 2005 as the Baker's National Education Foundation instructor. He teaches baking science I and II, as well as bakery layout and design -- core courses in K-State's bakery and science technology curriculum. The courses he teaches require a mix of science and the craft of baking. He also is adviser to K-State's Bakery Science Club. Krishock is a graduate of the American Institute of Baking and has several years of experience as a scientist and manager in the baking industry. From 1991-96, he also ran his own bakery.

Taylor teaches foundations of American education, which involves the philosophy, history, politics, sociology and law of education. In 2007, Taylor received the Exemplary Teaching Award from Sigma Lambda Beta, a fraternity at K-State. She is a Tilford Fellow and a former adviser for K-State's Developing Scholars Program. Taylor has a bachelor's in elementary curriculum and instruction, a master's in curriculum and instructional technology and a doctorate in the foundations of education, all from Iowa State University.

Thompson teaches introductory courses about human sexuality and family relationships, both in the classroom and online. Because of the potentially sensitive topics he covers in his classes, Thompson said he strives "to be sensitive and respectful to a broad ranging diversity among my students." Thompson is known for taking the time to get to know his students and for encouraging intelligent, thoughtful discussion in his classes. "I believe that today's students who attend a traditional university do so because they want more than just an intellectual education," he said. Thompson also teaches conflict mediation and the professional seminar for graduating seniors, and oversees their internships in human service agencies. Thompson has a bachelor's degree in religion and philosophy from Oklahoma Wesleyan University, a master's degree in family studies from K-State and is a candidate to receive his doctorate in family studies from K-State in May.