1. Kansas State University
  2. »Division of Communications and Marketing
  3. »K-State Today
  4. »College of Arts and Sciences announces winners of 2020 Stamey, Gaches awards

K-State Today

December 15, 2020

College of Arts and Sciences announces winners of 2020 Stamey, Gaches awards

Submitted by College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences has awarded the 2020 William L. Stamey and Ron Gaches teaching and advising awards.

Ron Gaches, former chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Council, established two teaching awards to acknowledge excellence in undergraduate teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Ron Gaches Lifetime Teaching Award recognizes an outstanding teacher of undergraduate courses who has taught at K-State for a minimum of five years. The 2020 Ron Gaches Lifetime Teaching Award was awarded to Donald Saucier, psychological sciences.

Students have praised Saucier for the impact he's made, including giving students a voice, preparing them for graduate school and making them more socially conscious.

One student had the following to say: "Dr. Saucier actively encourages us to develop our autonomy through the teaching philosophy he refers to as a 'Choice to Learn.' In his courses, there are no mandatory requirements, but instead, he provides choices and opportunities for his students to gain knowledge by being engaged in the course. Dr. Saucier actively ensures that the opportunities he gives us are direct connections from the class content to our own interests and daily lives. These opportunities encourage us to go beyond the confines of the course and genuinely apply the knowledge we have learned through in-class discussions to the world around us."

The Ron Gaches Teaching Award recognizes tenured and tenure-track faculty who teach upper-level undergraduate classes — courses numbered 300-600 — and who engage in teaching innovations that improve pedagogical practices. Shirley Tung, English, has been awarded the 2020 Ron Gaches Teaching Award.

Nominators had the following to say about Tung: "Through her teaching philosophy, course design, lesson planning, and mentorship in upper-level undergraduate classes, Shirley exemplifies the award's primary criterion: innovation in undergraduate education. Shirley's commitment to creative and innovative pedagogy offers students a pathway into knowledge — new understandings of literature and new understandings of themselves and what they can each accomplish."

William L. Stamey is a mathematician and served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for 17 years from 1970-1987. In recognition of Stamey's outstanding record in recruiting excellent faculty to the university and in recognition of the continuing need to foster excellence in teaching and advising, the College of Arts and Sciences established the William L. Stamey Award.

Stamey awards have been awarded to the following faculty members: Eva Horne, Division of Biology; Jida Wang, geography and geospatial sciences; and Virginia Naibo, mathematics. The Stamey Advisor Award was awarded to Jessica Changstrom, biochemistry and molecular biophysics. The Stamey GTA Award went to Tiffany Lawless, psychological sciences.

The following is a portion of what nominators said about these awardees:

Eva Horne, Division of Biology
"Eva is one of the most dedicated and phenomenal educators in the Division of Biology, and her passion for doing science and for teaching biology is greatly appreciated by her students and fellow faculty. In return, Eva is deeply invested in the success of her students and fellow teaching staff, and this reciprocity creates a positive and effective learning environment."

Jida Wang, geography and geospatial sciences
"Jida Wang is an excellent teacher at the undergraduate level and the driving force behind the department's growing teaching and research emphasis on remote sensing and geospatial modeling. He is a rising 'teaching star' in a department that has long been recognized for its outstanding undergraduate teachers and advisors."

Virginia Naibo, mathematics
"Professor Naibo is an outstanding instructor who helps students realize they can learn — and even like — mathematics. She has developed innovative new classes and also excelled at teaching our traditional offerings. She has been extremely successful in working with students who love math and those who are often frightened of it. She is a rare professor who can be assigned to anything and have the class — or project — be a hit."

Jessica Changstrom, biochemistry and molecular biophysics
"Jessy's job as the chief undergraduate advisor in three highly dissimilar departments should be considered unique, unconventional and quite challenging. It is Jessy's enthusiasm, dedication, and hard work, but also her warm and empathic personality, which made her a truly outstanding advisor for an incredibly diverse group of students."

Tiffany Lawless, psychological sciences
"Tiffany has now served, or is serving, as instructor of record 11 times, having taught both in-person and online classes. Beyond her efforts in the — physical and virtual — classroom, Tiffany has also contributed to our lab efforts in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Tiffany nicely combines her affinity and aptitude for research with her passion for teaching to employ evidence-based best practices to teach her students."

The College of Arts and Sciences congratulates all Stamey and Gaches awardees.