2015 Faculty and Staff Winners

2015 CNAS Faculty and Staff Awards


CNAS recognized outstanding faculty and staff on April 27, 2015. The award winners were nominated by departmental personnel committees, department heads or students. The nominations were then reviewed by a faculty committee for the faculty/staff awards and by a student committee for the student nominated award. We are proud to announce the following award winners for 2015! The award winners receive a certificate and a small monetary award.

Atwood Research and Teaching Award

The Atwood Research and Teaching Award was endowed by Dr. Jerry Atwood a 1964 graduate of MSU and now an internationally known chemist. He started his career at University of Alabama in 1967 but has been the department head at University of Missouri-Columbia since 1994. In addition he was appointed a Curators Professor starting in 1999. The award winner receives a certificate and $1500 to be spent over the next year on students, research supplies, summer salary or travel.

The 2015 recipient of the Atwood Research and Teaching Award is Dr. Paul Durham, Biology department. Dr. Durham’s research group studies the neurobiology of pain, particularly pain associated with migraines. In 2014 Paul’s research group had two papers published in international journals, six others accepted for publication and another submitted. In addition the group made a number of conference presentations. Dr. Durham has research funding from a variety of sources – private and public – with a 3-year total of over $800,000. Dr. Durham’s research students know that in addition to doing lab experiments they are being mentored at all times. Paul’s passion for teaching and mentoring is strong and enduring. He teaches everything from BIO121, to 320 cell biology to 755 developmental biology. For the last two years an additional 20 students from Qingdao, China joined the cell biology class.

CNAS Excellence Award – Staff

Brian Grindstaff – CNAS Machinist

Tara Herring – Biology Laboratory Supervisor

Gale Lininger – CNAS Executive Assistant

Brian Grindstaff, CNAS Machinist, supports each department in the college and provides quality service, always with a positive attitude. He does not shy away from difficult projects or the more routine projects. Most importantly, he responds with grace to all sorts of requests. He always helps to set up and take down poster boards for research days. This year he helped to set up the new CNAS lab at JVIC.

Tara Herring, lab supervisor for the biology department, has primary responsibility for supervision of TA’s and laboratories for the BIO111 course. This includes lab preparation, curriculum support and development, and teaching lab sections. Tara also teaches lecture sections of BIO100 and helps with academic advising. Tara’s greatest strength is in working closely with graduate students to ensure that they are well-trained and effective as instructors. Based on feedback from TAs and students, she completed a revision of the BIO111 lab manual this past year.

Gale Lininger, CNAS executive assistant, keeps the office functioning on a day-to-day basis. Gale keeps track of schedules and deadlines so that we do not miss anything. She is also an event planner - planning the scholarship reception, emeritus faculty dinner, graduate receptions, undergraduate research day and so much more! All of these events have been done professionally and Gale always thinks of ways to improve them for the next year. One of the things that I really appreciate about Gale is her attention to detail, her method of prioritizing projects and the constant smile on her face.

CNAS Faculty Excellence in Service Awards

Paul Durham – Biology

John Heywood – Biology

Bryan Breyfogle – Chemistry

Abbe Ehlers – Hospitality and Restaurant Administration

Paul Durham, Distinguished Professor of Biology, has a long list of service and leadership for his department, college, university and profession. Paul has chaired search committees in his department as well as the tenure/promotion committee. In the college he has been a long-time chair of the scholarship committee. He does not shy away from university committees and has been an active member of the graduate dean search committee, public affairs advisory committee, and provost committee on promotion and tenure. Paul has done presentations for the English Language Institute, served as an event leader for Science Olympiad and organizes tours of JVIC for OTC students. Professionally Paul reviews many journal articles each year and serves on two editorial boards.

John Heywood, Professor of Biology also has a list of service to the campus community that is significant. He chairs several department committees including scholarship committee and budget committee. He has served on search committees and helped with major’s fair. This past year he wrote a major revision of the department’s tenure and promotion guidelines as well as analyzing assessment data for the department. John has chaired the college IT committee for several years and leads that group with integrity. John is a member of the university’s premedical committee – a group that interviews all premed students and helps them gain admission to medical schools. He has also been a member of Faculty Senate.

Bryan Breyfogle, Professor of Chemistry, has list of service that is also long. Bryan has chaired the department’s assessment committee and served as dual credit coordinator. Bryan serves on the college MNAS committee and STEM Education committee. He has served on Faculty Senate and the Professional Education Committee. Bryan coordinates and leads departmental tours, classroom visits related to community college recruitment, dual credit classes and weeklong visits from the Springfield Public School gifted program. These tours/visits often include chemical demonstrations or hands-on learning. He regularly serves as an event leader for Science Olympiad. Professionally Bryan has served as chair of the local section of the American Chemical Society, reviewer of journal articles and AP chemistry exam grader.

Abbe Ehlers, Senior Instructor of Hospitality and Restaurant Administration has a service record that has been consistent, relevant and meaningful. On campus Abbe has served as a faculty leader for a living learning community, the co-advisor for Hospitality Leaders of Tomorrow and a mentor to first year students. She has also been an active member of the college diversity committee – serving as chair for one year. She is a board member of the Missouri Restaurant Association and Ozark Greenways. Abbe has coordinated golf tournaments, dinners and yoga on the trail to raise funds for hospitality students and Ozark Greenways. Abbe is compassionate and purposeful in her service.

CNAS Faculty Excellence in Research Awards

Nikolay Gerasimchuk – Chemistry

Kevin Mickus – Geography, Geology and Planning

Eric Bosch - Chemistry

Nikolay Gerasimchuk, Professor of Chemistry, has an active research group In 2014 he published two peer-reviewed articles in prestigious journals, including one review article in the European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry. He and his students presented at multiple professional conferences and he gave invited seminars at several regional universities. In 2013, he published a total of 7 peer-reviewed papers, while he and his students made a total of 8 presentations at various regional and national conferences. Nick was an invited speaker at the International Zing Conference on Coordination Chemistry in Mexico. this is very impressive 2 year total: 9 publications and over 10 presentations. He was awarded a supplement to his National Institute of Health (NIH) R15 AREA award "Antimicrobial effect of a new class of light resistant silver(l) complexes. Adhesion and biofilms study."

Kevin Mickus, Professor of Geology is, without a doubt, the most productive researcher in the Department of Geography, Geology, and Planning. Every single year he produces multiple peer-reviewed research publications in top-tier journals. Since 2012 he has published 18 peer reviewed articles. Many of these research articles include student co-authors, and many involve multi-institution collaborations. In this same three-year period, Dr. Mickus and his students gave a total of fifty-one research presentations at international, national, and regional scientific meetings. Dr. Mickus’ research is supported financially by grants from the U.S. Geological Survey, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the government of Ethiopia, as well as numerous private petroleum and mineral exploration companies.

Eric Bosch, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, has an active research group. He published one peer-reviewed research manuscript in 2013, four in 2014, and two have been accepted in 2015 with a third undergoing minor revision. He has a current external grant with the National Science Foundation. He presented a research poster at a Gordon Conference on Crystal Engineering (June 2014). He made an oral presentation and was coauthor on a different poster presentation at the 1st International Symposium on Halogen Bonding in Porto Cesareo, Italy, June 2014 and was an invited speaker at Midwest ACS meeting Columbia in November 2014.

CNAS Faculty Excellence in Teaching Awards

Rich Biagioni – Chemistry

Janice Greene - Biology

Melida Gutierrez – Geography, Geology and Planning

Paul Schweiger – Biology

Jill Black – Geography, Geology and Planning

Rich Biagioni, Professor of Chemistry, is an extremely hard-working, respected teacher in the chemistry department. He has developed a large number of online videos that he refers to as "minilectures" and has shared them with other faculty teaching the same courses in the department, a testament to his productivity and collegiality. He has also made his lectures more interactive by incorporating clickers and modifying his approach to using clickers to better fit the needs of his students. In addition, he has been actively troubleshooting a number of labs in the general chemistry lab sequence that he authored and is developing a forensic science class.

Janice Greene, Professor of Biology, teaches lower and upper division courses that are important components of the wildlife biology and biology education curricula – ornithology, introduction to the diversity of life, and introduction to science and research. During this past year Janice mentored six graduate students and six undergraduate research students in either biology education or bird field research. Dr. Greene is a statewide leader in the area of environmental education. Each summer she teaches workshops for current teachers at Bull Shoals Field Station including – Project Wet, Project Learning Tree and Flying Wild.

Melida Gutierrez, Professor of Geology, is one of the most effective and respected teachers in the department. She teaches courses at every level – GLG110 and 171 (general education) to GLG 680 and 697. Melida continues to develop innovative new curriculum. Her latest effort in this regard is the development (with Dr. John Havel) of a new multi-disciplinary course in Water Resources (GLG547/647). This course is offered in a blended modality, meeting on campus only one day/week with the remainder of the instruction conducted online. Dr. Gutierrez mentored three successful graduate student thesis projects in 2014. In addition she had several other students in her research group during this time period.

Paul Schweiger, Assistant Professor of Biology, teaches rigorous courses in the area of microbiology (300, 500, and 600 levels). While teaching microbial physiology and metabolism, Paul updated the lab manual and designed new lab exercises. He has written a "how to succeed" guide for the 300 level microbiology course as it is a challenge to students. Last year Paul served as major advisor to three graduate students and five undergraduate students. He also mentored two high school students who worked on projects in his laboratory.

Jill Black, Associate Professor of Geography, Geology and Planning. Dr. Black is one of the most dedicated, hard-working teachers in the department. She has embraced the pedagogical style called "experiential learning" to design and develop a very hands-on course in Earth Science for Elementary Teachers (GRY240). She also offers her students the opportunity to add a service learning component to their experience. During alternating summers Jill teachers Geography of the Ozarks. The past several summers Jill has also taught a workshop for current earth science teachers as part of a grant funded project. She received a new grant to work with more science teachers in the next two years.

CNAS Student Nominated Awards for Faculty/Staff Excellence

Seven faculty were nominated by students for this award. The nominees included Debbie Corcoran (GGP), Melissa Dallas (HRA), Kyoungtae Kim (BIO), Jorge Rebaza (MTH), Gigi Saunders (BIO), Vera Stanojevic (MTH) and Nick Gerasimchuk (CHM). In the words of the students, these faculty/staff truly understand the power of knowledge and they are always willing to help. They provide a learning environment where every student has the potential to succeed. One student also said that the nominee was the most effective teacher that he had ever had! The students chose four award winners this year.

Debbie Corcoran

Jorge Rebaza

Gigi Saunders

Vera Stanojevic