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Six faculty members receive Presidential Awards for hard work

Monday, May 6, 2013



Six Kansas State University faculty members are receiving a 2013 Presidential Award for their compassion, dedication and creativity as educators, advisers or administrators.

Receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching are: Brett DePaola, professor of physics; Kevin Roberts, assistant professor of hospitality management and dietetics; Fred Guzek, assistant professor of management and marketing at Kansas State University Salina; and Vincent Pigno, doctoral student in mathematics.

Bonnie Rush, professor and clinical sciences department head in the College of Veterinary Medicine, will receive the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head. Julie Hunt, academic adviser for open option and interdisciplinary social science majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.

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

"These talented faculty members are dedicated to helping students succeed at K-State as well as preparing them for future accomplishments," said Kirk Schulz, university president. "We are grateful for their efforts and appreciate the continued support of Chris Curtin and Curtin Property Co. to reward them for their dedication, which advance K-State's goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025."

"The Curtin Property Co., and its Manhattan associates at Georgetown Apartment Homes and Westchester Park Apartments, are please 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 their students' success, to professional excellence and to K-State is inspirational to all of us."

DePaola instructs large lectures as well as advanced physics courses. He successfully converted the department's Physical World II course into Science for Policy Makers, a new course based on his experiences as a Jefferson Science Fellow. DePaola served as a fellow with the U.S. Department of State from 2010 to 2011, and continues to be an intelligence community associate who helps the U.S. intelligence community with science- and technology-related issues.

Roberts is constantly looking for ways to expand learning opportunities for undergraduates. He teaches undergraduate courses each semester and strives to relate course material to real-life experiences. He has served as the adviser to the K-State student chapter of the Club Managers Association for several years and facilitates tours to local and state facilities where students can network with professionals.

Guzek teaches 12 semester hours in the fall and spring semesters. He has taken steps to install better lighting in classrooms, ensuring recording equipment is the best it can be, and has developed a method of recording sessions and posting them on K-State Online. Additionally, he makes a point to interact face-to-face with students in his videoconference classes, often meeting them when he travels to the Manhattan campus.

Pigno is the recipient of the Presidential Award in Undergraduate Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant. In 2010, Pigno was selected for a master graduate teaching assistantship, a merit-based competitive position in which he serves as a leader to other graduate teaching assistants. He teaches a variety of undergraduate mathematics courses, including Introduction to Digital Image Processing, Applied Matrix Theory and College Algebra. His teaching evaluations consistently average a nearly perfect score.

The Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head is awarded each year to a department head who is proactive, positive, fair and equitable and who cooperates with units across the university.

Rush played a key role in the College of Veterinary Medicine's curriculum reform. She led the drive to provide core elective courses that meet student needs and societal expectations for future veterinarians. While leading the department forward she has maintained teaching responsibilities, generated new research and served several professional organizations with excellence.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising showcases an adviser who is dedicated to providing quality advising to undergraduates.

Hunt's goal as an adviser is to serve as a catalyst to help students recognize their self-worth and support them as they make positive life changes. In 2009 she revived and now coordinates the adviser forum, which provides support and information for professional advisers across campus.

Written by

Stephanie Jacques

Notable quote

"These talented faculty members are dedicated to helping students succeed at K-State as well as preparing them for future accomplishments.
-- K-State President Kirk Schulz