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Sources: Joseph Arata, 785-532-4935,; Leslie Hannah, 785-826-2928,; Hyun Seung Jin, 785-532-3959,; Charles Martin,
785-532-3416,; William Meredith, 785-532-1472,; and Timothy Rarick,
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Six Kansas State University faculty members are receiving a 2009 Presidential Award for their compassion, dedication and creativity as teachers, advisers or administrators.

Receiving the Presidential Awards for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence are Joseph Arata, assistant professor of agricultural economics; Leslie Hannah, assistant professor of English at K-State at Salina; Hyun Seung Jin, associate professor of journalism and mass communications; and Timothy Rarick, a graduate teaching assistant in family studies and human services.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising is going to Charles Martin, associate professor of geography, and William Meredith, director of the School of Family Studies and Human Services, will receive the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head.

The awards, which include a $2,500 honorarium and plaque, are sponsored by the K-State president's office and Curtin Property Co., a real estate development firm with offices in Manhattan and Kansas City. The awards are coordinated by the Kansas State University Foundation.

"The Curtin Property Company, and its Manhattan associates at Georgetown Apartment Homes and Westchester Park, are pleased to join with the K-State president's office in recognizing and rewarding these highly talented educators," said Chris Curtin, company president. "Their commitment to the pursuit of excellence is inspirational to all of us. Each award winner has contributed greatly to undergraduate success at K-State."

"The Presidential Awards acknowledge that the creativity, dedication and excellence of its faculty members are what make a university great," said Jon Wefald, K-State president. "We appreciate that Chris Curtin and the Curtin Property Company continue to help K-State reward such efforts."

* Arata teaches three undergraduate courses in agricultural economics and is known to students as "Jumpin' Joe" for his enthusiastic and comedic teaching style. As a former Wall Street economist and trader on the stock exchange, Arata relates real-world knowledge to benefit his students. "I employ a variety of active learning strategies that will engage students in current economic problems while encouraging them to employ their critical thinking skills to analyze and evaluate these problems," Arata said. Prior to joining K-State in 1996, Arata was vice president at Merrill Lynch Capital Markets where he managed the risk level and the finance structure for commodity inventories. He has a bachelor's in economics and mathematics from St. Peters College and a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from K-State.

* Hannah is known for challenging his students to go beyond the classroom into real-world learning environments. He proactively incorporates new instructional tools, such as podcasts, into his classroom lessons. "I see teaching as a sacred duty. I try to instill a desire and devotion to becoming a lifelong learner -- someone dedicated to the deliberate journey from ignorance to competence and, perhaps, even expertise," Hannah said. Hannah received K-State at Salina's 2008 Marchbanks Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and was a 2007 Oxford University Fellow. In addition to his teaching duties, he has been serving as assistant dean of academics at K-State at Salina since 2008. Hannah has bachelor's and master's degrees in English, both from Northeastern State University, and a Ph.D. in American/Native American literature from the University of Oklahoma.

* Jin is an expert in integrated marketing communications who teaches several advertising courses. He is noted for his ability to consistently bring his research into the classroom to create an atmosphere of learning and discovery. Jin's teaching has been previously recognized with the 2005 Stamey Award for Teaching Excellence. He also received the President's Faculty Development Award in 2003 and 2006, and he received a Big 12 Research Fellowship in 2002. He has a bachelor's degree in business and a master's in mass communications, both from Sogang University in Korea, and a doctorate in mass communications from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

* Rarick is a doctoral student in life span human development. He researches positive psychology in emerging adults, including happiness in college-age students. He currently teaches two large sections of Introduction to Human Development. To engage students, he has been known to bring his guitar to class. "I'm sure most parents would agree that it is not enough to simply give their children the facts of life with its many twists and turns. Congruently, I believe that the students who enter my classroom should do more that just memorize theories, concepts and statistics," he said. Rarick has been a preschool teacher and musician/comic. He has a bachelor's degree in human development and family studies from the University of Utah and a master's degree in life span human development from K-State.

* Martin has been lead undergraduate adviser for K-State's department of geography since 2003. "The adviser is the guiding light that illuminates the possibilities of a major, the person who points out the intellectual directions, the possible career paths, the postgraduation options. As an adviser, I am careful to act as an illuminator, not as a filter," Martin said, adding that his primary job is to listen to those he advises. Martin also is director of K-State's secondary major in natural resources and environmental sciences. He has a bachelor's in geography from Dartmouth College, and a master's and Ph.D. in geography from the University of Kansas.

* Meredith has served as director of the School of Family Studies and Human Services since 1999. Under his leadership, the school has experienced substantial growth. Its graduate student enrollment has more than doubled, a conflict resolution program and doctorate in personal finance have been added, two buildings have been constructed and the school's research funding is at an all time high. In fiscal year 2008 alone, the school brought in $17.8 million in grants, the largest amount by any department in the history of K-State. The school also started a branch program at K-State at Salina. "An effective leader builds a positive atmosphere and an environment in which success can occur," Meredith said. At the end of this academic year, Meredith will enter phased retirement and will work on K-State's initiatives in China, provide leadership for the university's faculty mentoring program and teach. Meredith has a bachelor's in psychology and a master's in marriage and family counseling, both from K-State. In addition, he has a master's in social work and a Ph.D. in community and human resources, both from the University of Nebraska.