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College of Health and Human Sciences

University recognizes excellence in teaching, advising and administration with 2019 Presidential Awards

Thursday, March 21, 2019

MANHATTAN — Kansas State University's 2019 Presidential Awards are recognizing five faculty members and one graduate teaching assistant for excellence in teaching, advising or administration.

Each award includes a $5,000 honorarium sponsored by the university president's office and Curtin Property Company, a real estate development firm with offices in Manhattan and Kansas City. All recipients will be honored at the All-University Awards Ceremony at 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, in the Alumni Center Ballroom.

Receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching are Tamara Bauer, instructor of leadership studies; Jacob Pichelmeyer, graduate teaching assistant in mathematics; Kevin Sauer, associate professor of food, nutrition, dietetics and health; and Christine Wilson, professor of agricultural economics.

Craig Harms, professor and head of the kinesiology department, is receiving the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head. Shannon Skelton, assistant professor and lead advisor for the theatre program, is receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.

"We are pleased to continue our longtime partnership with the K-State president's office to honor the university's most talented teachers," said Chris Curtin, president of Curtin Property Company and its Manhattan associates at Georgetown Apartment Homes and Westchester Park Apartments. "We salute their professional excellence and their inspiring dedication to students."

Recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching are being recognized for serving students with compassion, dedication and creativity.

An instructor for the Staley School of Leadership Studies, Bauer teaches Introduction to Leadership Concepts, which serves between 600-700 first-semester freshmen, as well as several other leadership courses and a first-generation student Cat Community for the K-State First program. She has been with the Staley School since March 2010, first serving as coordinator of students services and an instructor, and then as a full-time instructor since August 2013. Bauer is deeply involved in developing curriculum for her courses and delivery of course content, student learning outcomes and course assessment, including coordinating a service-learning experience focused on food insecurity. She also trains the 50 upper-level undergraduates who serve as class leaders for the Introduction to Leadership Concepts course. Bauer's teaching consistently garners the highest marks available on the university's teaching evaluations. Along with her excellence in the classroom, Bauer is committed to helping the university's newest faculty members feel welcome and prepared to teach by serving as coordinator of the New Faculty Institute, a program offered by the Teaching & Learning Center.

A doctoral student in mathematics, Pichelmeyer has taught a variety of courses — from College Algebra to Applied Matrix Theory — for the mathematics department since August 2016. His teaching has received high marks, with many students noting that he prepares them not just to do their homework but to actually apply the mathematics they are being taught. His teaching extends outside the classroom. Pichelmeyer, from New London, Wisconsin, created a directed reading program at the university, which is based on a successful project at the University of Chicago. The program pairs interested undergraduates — not all math majors — with graduate students to read materials together, providing a guide for the undergraduates to successfully interact with real mathematics and helping the graduate students solidify their knowledge. He also created and was the instructor for a new prep course in topology for graduate students that was offered in summer 2018. During the summers, Pichelmeyer is a teacher for the Center for Talented Youth, a summer instruction program for gifted students who need support and inspiration beyond the usual high school curriculum. The program is offered through Johns Hopkins University.

Sauer teaches in two nationally accredited programs offered by the food, nutrition, dietetics and health department: the coordinated program in dietetics and the didactic program in dietetics. He also serves as co-director and co-principal investigator of the university's Center of Excellence for Food Safety Research in Child Nutrition Programs. Sauer brings his more than 10 years of experience as an administrator, director and manager in dietetics and food service to the classroom, as well as his service on national boards and organizations in his profession. A fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, he is a member of its board of directors and serves on several of its committees and a task force. Along with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Sauer has been recognized with the Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award and is a four-time recipient of the Bedford Outstanding Faculty Award. He also has received the Outstanding Dietetics Educator Award and the Myers-Alford Teaching Award. In addition, he was selected to present at the university's 2018 Spotlight K-State event, which highlights faculty members who are exceptional teachers.

Wilson teaches four different and diverse undergraduate courses for the agricultural economics department annually. Three of her courses are typically taken by students at the freshman and sophomore level, including a course for nonmajors, while the fourth course is for upperclassmen. Wilson continuously assesses her courses, adopts news approaches and revises materials to aid and improve student learning. Her work in the classroom has earned high marks and praise from her students. Along with her teaching duties, Wilson advises 35-40 of the department's undergraduates. She also serves as the department's director of undergraduate programs, helping to establish new courses, revise curricula for current courses and more, as well as ensuring the department's available scholarship funds help as many students as possible. Her commitment to excellence in teaching is also shown by her membership on the Teaching, Learning and Communications Section of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, which is focused on fostering outstanding teaching within the agricultural economics profession.

As the recipient of the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head, Harms is credited with helping the kinesiology department's student numbers grow, recruiting exceptional faculty, program development, increasing extramural funding, enhancing graduate student education, increasing undergraduate majors involved in research, and improving department infrastructure. Since becoming department head in 2014, Harms has based his visioning and decision-making on creating an environment for his faculty to be successful and making the department's student experience the best possible. To that end, Harms oversees a department that now has nearly 700 undergraduate majors. The department's extramural funding has grown by more than $5 million under his leadership, and he has helped recruit high-quality faculty members who have landed major grants from NASA, American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health and more. Numerous kinesiology faculty members have won teaching and research awards, and faculty publications in leading research outlets have increased significantly. He also helped his growing department secure, develop and equip additional classroom and laboratory space. Harms has increased the number of graduate teaching assistantships and scholarships offered by his department, and opportunities for graduate students to travel and present their research at prestigious conferences have increased. In addition to his department head role, Harms continues to teach, conduct research and is active in service to his profession. He recently served as vice president and was on the board of trustees of the American College of Sports Medicine, which has more than 50,000 members and is considered the global authority for sports medicine and exercise science.

Skelton, the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising, advises more than 100 theatre majors and minors. As an advisor, Skelton does more than help students with course registration; his goal is to build caring, supportive relationships with each student. His approach to advising has a foundation in seven core concepts: empathy, efficiency, communication, knowledge, accessibility, facility and advocacy. He believes it is his ethical responsibility to guide students through a fulfilling educational experience in a reasonable amount of time while accruing minimal debt. Skelton uses varied technologies to serve students, including the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance's blog to share campus events, career opportunities, course announcements and other information that would enhance the experience of theatre students. Skelton also shares the perspective of his advisees when it comes to program decisions about course revisions, sequence and scheduling. In addition, he serves on an interdisciplinary team establishing a certificate program in film study, representing the educational and career goals of his advisees in shaping the curricula for this future offering.

This article was posted on Thursday, March 21, 2019, and is filed under College News, Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health, Kinesiology.