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K-State Today

April 20, 2011



Head of the class: Four faculty members earn Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards

By Julie Fosberg

Four Kansas State University faculty members are being recognized with the Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.

This year's recipients are: Laurie Curtis, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction; Anita Dille, associate professor of agronomy; Michael Dudek, associate professor of apparel, textiles and interior design; and Yasmin Patell, assistant teaching scholar in chemistry.

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.

"Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation have partnered with K-State for more than 15 years to support excellence in undergraduate teaching," said Tom Giller, community bank president of Commerce Bank, Manhattan. "We're pleased to join with the university in honoring educators who've had a superior influence on student success."

"Community support is invaluable for the success of K-State's teaching faculty," said Kirk Schulz, K-State president. "I'm grateful for Commerce Bank's contributions to help recognize these skilled educators, who are playing an important role in K-State's goal of becoming a top 50 public research university by 2025."

Curtis joined K-State in 2003. She currently teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy education and is the director of the reading specialist program. Prior to coming to K-State she was an elementary teacher for 15 years. In July 2010 she co-led a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad to Ethiopia with Jacqueline Spears, professor of curriculum and instruction and director of K-State's Center for Science and Education. The duo facilitated the monthlong trip to provide a fresh perspective on teaching social studies, literacy and cultural diversity. Curtis received the Outstanding Local Adviser award from Kansas National Education Association in 2010 and 2011. She received her bachelor's from the University of Northern Colorado, master's from the State University of New York College at Oneonta and doctorate from K-State.

Dille came to K-State in 2000. She was promoted to associate professor and earned tenure in 2005. Dille currently teaches courses in weed science, integrated management and weed ecology. She is an adviser to the Wheat State Agronomy Club and received the 2010 Teacher Fellow Award from North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture. Dille earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Guelph in Canada and doctorate from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

Dudek became a member of K-State's faculty in 2004. Previously he was a practicing interior designer for 21 years. The focus of his professional career was in large-scale commercial interior spaces. In 2008 Dudek co-authored "Interior Design's Social Compact: Key to the Quest for Professional Status" with Barbara Anderson, associate professor and interim department head of apparel, textiles and interior design, and Peggy Honey, associate professor of apparel, textiles and interior design. Dudek earned his bachelor's from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his master's from Florida State University.

Patell teaches more than 1,000 students each year. Prior to joining K-State in 2000, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Regina in Canada. In 2009 Patell received the E. Ann Nalley Regional Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society. She has also received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching and the William L. Stamey Award for Teaching Excellence from the College of Arts and Sciences. Patell earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and her doctorate from the Queen's University of Belfast in Northern Ireland.