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Annual instructional awards honor teaching, advising

Matt Hanley, News Bureau
(217) 244-0470;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Sixteen University of Illinois faculty members, two academic professionals and five teaching assistants will be honored for excellence in teaching and advising undergraduate students Monday (April 24) at the annual UI Instructional Awards Banquet.

The teaching assistants and four professors will receive the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the principal award for undergraduate instruction at the UI, at the banquet in the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana.

The award recognizes professors and graduate teaching assistants who display consistently excellent performance in the classroom, take innovative approaches to teaching, affect the lives of their students, and make other contributions to improved instruction, including influencing the curriculum. 

Faculty winners of the award are Renate G. Gokl, art and design; Philip Graham, English; Joseph B. Miles, mathematics; and Ty Newell, mechanical and industrial engineering.

Graduate teaching assistants who will receive the award are T. William Altermatt, psychology; Boris Petracovici, mathematics; Joseph R. Pomerening, plant biology; Debbie Reese, curriculum and instruction; and Susan K. Stewart, English.

Faculty members who are selected for the award receive $5,000 and a $3,000 raise; graduate teaching assistants receive $3,500 and a $1,000 increase in their stipends.

Others to be honored at the banquet:

• Orville Vernon Burton, professor of history; Paul F. Diehl, professor of political science; and Linda Smith, professor of library information and sciences, will be recognized as Distinguished Teacher/Scholars.

• Arthur L. Kaha, associate director for undergraduate and administrative affairs in the School of Architecture; Sharon Michalove, assistant to the chair in history; and Bruce C. Wheeler, professor of electrical and computer engineering, will receive the Campus Award for Excellence in Advising Undergraduate Students, which provides $2,000 to each.

• Chrisann Schiro-Geist, professor of community health, will receive the Campus Award for Excellence in off-Campus Teaching.  She will receive $4,000, and her department will be provided with $1,000 to improve off-campus instruction and develop programs.

• Michael J. Plewa, professor of crop sciences, will receive the Campus Award for Excellence in Guiding Undergraduate Research, a $2,000 award designed to foster and reward excellence in involving and guiding undergraduate students in scholarly research.

• R. Varkki George, professor of urban and regional planning, will receive the Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Instruction Using Educational Technology, which recognizes faculty members who have introduced successful innovations into undergraduate education.  The award provides $2,000 to the recipient.

• Wayne B. Dickerson, professor of English as an international language, and Andrew P. Leipold, a professor of law, will receive the Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching, which is designed to reward faculty members in professional or graduate programs who normally wouldn’t have an opportunity to compete for undergraduate teaching awards.  Dickerson and Leipold each will receive $5,000 and a $3,000 raise.

• Chester Alwes, professor in music; James Barrett, professor in history, and Joyce Tolliver, professor in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, will receive the Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award, which recognizes exemplary efforts of members of the graduate faculty in advising and serving graduate students. Each will receive $500.