GVSU awards faculty members for their service

Gayle Davis and President Thomas J. Haas present Theodore Sundstrom with an award for serving an outstanding 40 years at GVSU.

Laine Girard

Gayle Davis and President Thomas J. Haas present Theodore Sundstrom with an award for serving an outstanding 40 years at GVSU.

gabriella patti

There are 864 regular faculty members at Grand Valley State University. On Tuesday, 36 of them were honored at the seventh annual Faculty Awards Convocation.

The ceremony honored faculty members’ service to the university and to students.

“We have a room full, really a campus full, of truly amazing teachers,” Provost Gayle Davis said. “The payoff is getting to see students grow, develop and become the active citizens of the world that we are proud to watch.”

Davis presided over the event and President Thomas J. Haas assisted in presenting the awards. Students from the GVSU Opera Theatre performed during the ceremony.

This year, a new award was added to the Pew Awards for Excellence. The Burch, Jacobs, and Moore Diversity Teaching Excellence Award was presented to Rachel Peterson, assistant professor of liberal studies.

The award was established to recognize faculty who encourage diversity within the GVSU community. The award is named for the first African American graduates at GVSU. Joan Burch, Annie Jacobs, and James Moore were members of the Pioneer Class of 1967.

“We are humbled by the great work of our faculty,” said Robert Smart, executive director of the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence.

The CSCE presented awards to Rachel Powers, David Stark, Cynthia Coviak, Shannon Biros and Amanda Dillard.

Professor Bradley Ambrose received the University Outstanding Teacher Award. He was nominated for his work in the physics department and for serving as a model for students and faculty.

“This is an honor because I have been selected by my peers, and also by alumni and students, who have been supporting me and getting my name out there to be selected,” Ambrose said. “It is a real honor to be selected. I feel even more inspired to give and continue to improve.”

Mathematics professor Matthew Boelkins, received the Outstanding Advising and Student Services Award and gave the keynote address, “Every Student Counts.”

“A university cannot exist without our students,” Boelkins said about why he and his fellows invest time in GVSU. “Our students are central to our identity. We have to remind ourselves every day that what we are here for is for our students and to make a positive difference in their lives.”

Milestone awards were presented for 25, 30 and 40 years of service. Professor of management Samir T. IsHak was honored for reaching the first 45-year milestone at GVSU.

“This really is an event that warms the heart,” Davis said. “It is good to stop and celebrate the achievements of the faculty.”

The Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center gave awards to Steven Hawks, Matthew Reidsma, Timothy Evans, Mandy Menke, Terry Stockton and Ayana Weekley.

Other awards presented:

Outstanding Community Service Award: Shawn Bultsma, assistant professor of leadership and learning
Outstanding University Service Award: Karen Gipson, associate professor of physics
Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline Award: Deborah Herrington and Figen Mekik

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