Aikens, Burrack receive 2017 Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award
Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017
MANHATTAN — A chemist whose research is internationally recognized and a music educator who is a national leader in designing models for assessment effectiveness are recipients of Kansas State University's Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award.
Christine Aikens, professor of chemistry, and Frederick Burrack, professor of music education and director of the university's Office of Assessment, are being recognized with the award for their outstanding scholarly achievements and contributions to graduate education at Kansas State University. Each will receive a $2,500 honorarium. The awards are supported by the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Commerce Bancshares Foundation, and are coordinated through the Kansas State University Foundation and the university president's office.
"Rewarding outstanding graduate-level instruction at Kansas State University has been a point of pride for Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation for more than 20 years," said Tom Giller, chairman of Commerce Bank, Manhattan. "We are honored to continue this tradition by recognizing Drs. Aikens and Burrack for their excellence in research and in the teaching and mentoring of K-State students."
Both professors will make public presentations on their work, with Burrack's presentation at 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, in the Big 12 Room at the K-State Student Union, and Aikens' presentation at 2 p.m. Monday, April 2, 2018, also in the Big 12 Room. The two also will be recognized at the Graduate School's fall commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, in Bramlage Coliseum.
Since joining the Kansas State University faculty as an assistant professor in fall 2007, Aikens' work on developing a theoretical understanding of the relationship between structure and properties of nanomaterials — including the structure and spectroscopic properties of gold and silver nanoparticles and nanoparticle arrays, and the reactivity of nanostructured metal oxide particles — has garnered more than $2.3 million in extramural support. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, American Chemical Society and more. Aikens and her research group have written more than 90 manuscripts that have appeared in top chemistry and scientific journals and have been cited numerous times. In 2016 alone, their work generated more than 700 citations.
Promoted to full professor in 2015, Aikens has earned many prestigious honors, including an NSF CAREER award in 2010, Hewlett-Packard Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from the American Chemical Society in 2011 and a Camille Dreyfus Teaching-Scholar Award from 2011-2016. She also was named a Kavli fellow in 2012 and awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship from 2011-2013. She has delivered more than 100 presentations at national and international conferences and workshops, including presenting the 2017 Kroto Lecture in Chemical Physics at Florida State University and the 2015 Journal of Physical Chemistry A Lectureship.
At the graduate level, Aikens has been major professor to five successful doctoral candidates at Kansas State University. She has taught six graduate-level courses, including a course she developed, Introduction to Computational Chemistry. She also includes postdoctoral researchers and undergraduate students on her research team. Aikens graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma and earned her doctorate in physical chemistry from Iowa State University. She completed postdoctoral studies at Northwestern University.
Combining his knowledge and research interests in both assessment and music education, Burrack serves the teaching profession on a national scale. As director of the university's Office of Assessment, he leads initiatives to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of assessment at the university. He also guides student learning assessment processes for all of the university's graduate programs. His efforts helped Kansas State University earn the inaugural Excellence in Assessment designation from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment in 2016. The designation recognizes the university's commitment to comprehensive assessment of student learning outcomes.
Burrack led a team of nine researchers that designed the model cornerstone assessments for the new national music education standards. He currently is working on a book, "Assessing Student Learning for the 2014 National Standards for Music in K-12 Context: A Research-Supported Approach to Applying Model Cornerstone Assessments in School Music Programs," about the project for publisher Roman and Littlefield. He has written book chapters in the "Oxford Handbook on Assessment Policy and Practice in Music Education," the "Sage Encyclopedia of Education Research, Measurement and Evaluation," "Music Assessment Across Cultures and Continents: The Culture of Shared Practice," "Connecting Practice, Measurement and Evaluation" and "Teaching Music Through Performance in Band."
The author of nearly 40 peer-reviewed publications on topics in both music education and assessment, he also has presented his work at many national and international conferences. He is member of the International Review Panel for the International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education and former chair of the Special Research Interest Group on Music Assessment, Society of Research in Music Education and National Association for Music Education. Currently, he is serving on the Knowledge Task Force for the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education, which is charged with identifying and facilitating ways to advance the development of knowledge devoted to assessing and improving student learning in higher education.
As chair of graduate studies in music education in the university's School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, Burrack has worked to increase and sustain the quality of graduate students in the program, ensuring they receive high-quality instruction, research opportunities and mentoring so that they may be successful in their careers. He also has been a member of 141 Master of Music graduate committees and the chair of 14 doctoral committees at the university.
A member of the Kansas State University faculty since 2005, Burrack was promoted to full professor in 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Music Education from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa; a Master of Music in music education from Northwestern University; and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction-music education from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.