Faculty Excellence 2012

International awards and achievements

society for conservation biology logoRegents’ Professor Paul Beier is the President of the Society for Conservation Biology, an international professional society of approximately 13,000 members.  Dr. Beier has a strong international reputation for his research on conservation corridors and other work related to wildlife and biodiversity. To learn more about Dr. Beier and his innovative work, click here.

Jim Sample, Professor of Geology, has joined the Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project to study the fault involved in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake that resulted in the tsunami that hit Japan.

Yeon-Su Kim, Associate Ecological Economics Professor in the School of Forestry, was invited and gave several  presentations recently in Thailand and Indonesia.These included a presentation at the fourth International Conference on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, Khon Kaen, Thailand, and seminars at Khon Kaen University, the Centre for International Forestry Research in Bogor, Indonesia, and the University of Mataram on Lombok Island, Indonesia.

Currently, Professor Kim is developing a partnership between NAU and Indonesia’s University of Mataram that involves teaching sustainable forestry, biodiversity and ecotourism, along with conducting climate change research.

Lit SEAL OF APPROVAL PHC MarheshiP.H.C. Marchesi, a Lecturer in the Department of English, was an award-winning finalist at the 2012 International Book Awards in two fiction categories, Young Adult and Science-Fiction, for her debut novel Shelby and Shauna Kitt and the Dimensional Holes. The young adult novel is a science-fiction/fantasy tale about two twins with special talents who are asked to take part in a dangerous mission in another dimension. Marchesi's novel won Best First Chapter, the Seal of Approval Award, and was a Gold Award Recipient in the Children's Literary Classics competition. The International Book Award works to honor "knowledge, creativity, wisdom and global cooperation through the written word."

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Fullbright logoLori Poloni-Staudinger, Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs, was nominated by the Fulbright Commission to be a U.S. Scholar peer reviewer for the Austria regional review. She will serve a term from 2012-14 and travel to Washington, D.C., annually to evaluate and nominate scholars for Fulbright awards.

Rodrigo de Toledo, Associate Professor of Visual Communication, has a short video/animation called Hollow Null on exhibit in the contemporary art exhibition “ID/Identities Istambul” in Turkey. The video is a whimsical adaptation from part of de Toledo’s illustrated book Chronicles of Entanglement, about the search for identity and integration in a foreign land—the search for creative balance, beauty and the muse. He also composed the video’s original music, and shot footage in downtown Flagstaff. Watch the video.

Greg Caporaso, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, co-authored “Quality-Filtering Vastly Improves Diversity Estimates from Illumina Amplicon Sequencing,” which appears in Nature Methods. Caporaso said recommendations from the paper may become a new standard in the field of microbial ecology and are contributing to the Earth Microbiome Project, a “massive project to sample and sequence under-characterized microbial diversity on Earth.”

Angela Golden, Assistant Professor and  Karen Plager, Professor, participated in the Intensive Program in Comparative International Nursing at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences School of Nursing in Groningen, Netherlands. Fourteen countries participated in this cultural exchange on healthy aging. Golden presented “Reducing Adverse Drug Effects in the Elderly.” Plager presented “Community-Based Models to Support Healthy Aging in Place.” 

Kathryn Savage, Professor in The W.A. Franke College of Business, recently chaired the annual North American Case Research Associate conference in Quincy, Mass., where more than 100 cases were presented. Several colleagues from the college participated, including Associate Dean Eric Yordy, who presented an ethics case written with Professor Nita Paden on marketing sugary cereal to children. Associate Professor Chris Scherpereel presented a corporate governance case about the Babbitt ranches written with Professor Lisa Majure and Savage. Also during the conference, Savage was elevated from vice president of Programs to president-elect of the organization.

laura camdenThe photograph at left of Dust Bowl survivor Jossie Favors, taken by Laura L. Camden, Assistant Professor of Photojournalism and Documentary Studies, was selected to appear in the 12th annual juried photo exhibit at the International Cultural Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Camden’s image will be on display as part of the exhibit, “High and Dry: People and Places of the World’s Dry Lands,” from Nov. 23 to Jan. 18. One hundred fifty professional photographers worldwide submitted more than 500 entries. Information is available on the event website.

Karen Renner, English lecturer, and Donelle Ruwe, Associate Professor of English, presented research at the international meeting of the Modern Language Association in Seattle.

Donelle Ruwe, associate professor of English, presented at the International Conference on Romanticism in Tempe, Nov. 8-11. Her paper, “Sara Coleridge’s Flashcards: Theorizing Handmade Literacies and Utilitarian Verse for Children,” discussed two archives of handcrafted children’s books and teaching aids, the first by the minister’s wife Jane Johnson (1706-1759) and the second by Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s daughter, Sara Coleridge (1802-1852). These collections of handmade literacies are the earliest nursery libraries known to exist, and though they were created almost a century apart, they share surprisingly similar content as well as approaches to literacy.

Zsuzsanna Gulacsi, Associate Professor of Art History and Religious Studies, recently delivered a series of four lectures to the École Pratique des Hautes Études at the Sorbonne in Paris. 

Karen Plager, Professor in the School of Nursing, and Margaret Conger, Professor Emeritus in the School of Nursing, presented at the 2011 Global Health Conference in Montreal.

Associate Professor of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training, Dr. Anne Hart, is one of 40 individuals qualified to evaluate athletes for international competition and has volunteered in that capacity at several Paralympic Games. The perspective that Hart brings, the experience she has with working with the highest level of international athletes, helps students see a broad range of options for their patients. “By bringing sport in to the classroom, I show students what is possible,” Hart said. “They begin to see they can make such a difference in a patient’s life. It’s about ability, not disability.”

Alan A Lew, PhD, Professor and Department Chair of Geography, Planning & Recreation, was awarded membership in the International Academy for the Study of Tourism in recognition of his significant long-term contributions to the field of tourism research.

Assistant Research Professor of Biological Sciences, Apichai Tuanyok, may have possibly found a vaccine target for glanders, a severe infectious disease that is usually limited to horses and donkeys but has potential as a biowarfare agent. Glanders, caused by the bacterium Burkholderia mallei, occurs in several countries in the Middle East, Mediterranean and South America. Human infection is uncommon but when it occurs, the bacterium is highly antibiotic resistant. No vaccine currently exists.

Dr. Jim Wilce, Anthropology Professor, presented a keynote address at the international colloquium Register: Intersections of Language, Context and Communication at Helsinki University on May 25. His keynote lecture was titled "Honorification in Karelian Laments Old and New: Insights into Social Deference and Sacred Registers."

National awards and achievements

esaThomas Whitham, Regents' Professor of Biological Sciences, was selected to receive this year's Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America.

Regents’ Professor Emeritus Michael Wagner received the Sir William Schlich Memorial Award, which is awarded every two years by the Society of American Foresters for outstanding contributions to the field of forestry. Wagner, who is only one of a handful of people to ever receive this prestigious award—Franklin Roosevelt was the first recipient in 1935—was honored for, among other things, his "substantial and lead role in the internationalization of the forestry curriculum at Northern Arizona University School of Forestry." Click here to learn more about Dr. Wagner.

Paul Jagodzinski, Dean of the College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences has been selected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.

Society of American Foresters logo

Jim Allen, Executive Director of the School of Forestry, is a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters, considered one of the highest honors for members of the society. The fellowship is bestowed upon approximately 5 percent of members by their peers for outstanding contributions and service to the Society and the profession.

benedict - fenigsenJanina Fenigsen, Anthropology Professor, won the Center for Public Anthropology’s Ruth Benedict Global Citizenship Award. Named to honor one of the 20th century’s great anthropologists, this award recognizes Dr. Fenigsen's exceptionally effective participation in Public Anthropology’s Community Action Online Project as well her wider activities in the public sphere. Less than 1% of the faculty teaching introductory anthropology courses across North America receive this award. Professor Fenigsen takes classroom knowledge and applies it to real world challenges, thereby encouraging students to be responsible global citizens.  In actively addressing important ethical concerns within anthropology, Professor Fenigsen is providing students with the thinking and writing skills needed for active citizenship.

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AAPA logoPatrick Enking, Associate Clinical Professor of Physician Assistant Studies, has been named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. This honor is bestowed upon academy members who have provided years of clinical experience, scholarly activity and community service. Enking now shares this distinction with colleagues Emily Dehn Babcock and Michelle DiBaise, both faculty members in NAU’s physician assistant studies program.

Octaviana Trujillo, Professor of Applied Indigenous Studies, was appointed co-chair to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National and Governmental Advisory Committee. The committee advises the U.S. Representative to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation on specific U.S. government policy issues related to the implementation of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and U.S. policy positions regarding implementation of the Environmental Supplemental Agreements to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Dr. Jim AllenProfessor and Executive Director of the School of Forestry, was named president-elect of the National Association of University Forest Resource Programs. The organization’s members include more than 70 universities that offer forestry and natural resource management programs.

James I. Bowie, Lecturer in Sociology, had research from his website, Emblemetric, featured in the December/January issue of Fast Company magazine. The website details Bowie’s analysis of U.S. Patent and Trademark Office data in examining trends in logo design.

Gregory Caporaso, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is a co-author of “Cross-Biome Metagenomic Analyses Soil Microbial Communities and their Functional Attributes,” which appears online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Caporaso’s role in the study involved high-throughput sequencing (DNA sequencing) to investigate microbial communities.

Allen Woodman, Professor of Creative Writing in the English Department, had his short story Wallet selected by Symphony Space for three performances in The Selected Shorts: All Write! program. The live readings of the story by actors will be recorded for archival purposes. In the short-short story, the antics surrounding a lost wallet bring a father and son together. Versions of Wallet originally appeared in Story and Micro Fiction, and the story was broadcast on NPR. Woodman’s latest short story, World’s Best Joke, will be published in Passages North in January. The story is about how a wrong number phone call leads the narrator to lead a new life.

Karen Renner and Mara Reisman, Professors in the Department of English, presented research at the meeting of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association in Boulder, Colo., last month. Renner’s paper, “Disease and Deviance in Antebellum America,” examined the deployment of disease metaphors in antebellum reform discourse. Reisman’s paper, “Fay Weldon’s Challenges to Cultural and Literary Conventions in The Spa Decameron and The Stepmother’s Diary,” addressed Weldon’s subversion of cultural and literary conventions regarding romance, marriage and family.

Mary I. Dereshiwsky, Professor of Educational Leadership, had a book titled Continual Engagement: Fostering Online Discussion, published by the Learning Resources Network.

Ricardo Guthrie, assistant professor for Ethnic Studies, published a book chapter, “Minstrelsy and Mythic Appetites: The Last King of Scotland’s Heart of Darkness in the Jubilee Year of African Independence,” in Hollywood’s Africa After 1994 (Ohio University Press), edited by MaryEllen Higgins. The chapter analyzes how the Hollywood film industry continually feeds America’s appetite for mythic stories set in exotic locales—in this case, Uganda, Africa during the 1970s—while recycling narratives that reinforce its own “heart of darkness.”

mISS foundationLaura Umphrey, Associate Professor in the School of Communication, gave a workshop at the biannual MISS Foundation conference, “The Transformative Nature of Grief,” in Phoenix in October. Her session was titled, “Mindful Listening and the Art of Supportive Communication.” Umphrey also was a panelist discussing parental bereavement, and she facilitated a bereaved parent support group at the conference.

Bill Wiist, Professor for the College of Health and Human Services, organized and moderated a panel at the American Public Health Association annual meeting in San Francisco on Oct. 29. The session, titled ”Snack Food and Beverage Industry in Global Noncommunicable Chronic Disease,” was attended by more than 240 convention participants. Wiist also was a member of a panel discussing the epidemiological cascade of corporate influence on health.

poster -socPatricia Murphey, Assistant Professor of Visual Communication, was awarded third place in the poster design category of the 2012 American Design Awards Semi-annual Design Contest. Murphey submitted a poster she designed, for the Child Maltreatment Awareness Campaign to the peer-reviewed international competition. Murphey and her class worked with Victim Witness Services of Coconino County to develop a campaign to raise awareness of child maltreatment and resources available to victims. Murphey also assisted in developing ads, brochures, apparel, a media kit and a public service announcement. The poster will appear in the American Design Awards’ annual book, set to publish in 2013.

Denise Helm, Associate Dean of the College of Health and Human Services, has been named a 2012-13 Fellow by the American Council of Education.

Dr. Richard Carroll, Associate Professor and Director of the Institute for Human Development was awarded a 2.7 million dollar, five-year grant from the Administration on Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities to conduct disability preservice interdisciplinary training, community training and technical assistance, research and and dissemination. The project commenced July 1, 2012 and will go through June 30, 2017.

Luke PlonskyAssistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, along with co-author Susan Gass of Michigan State University, was recently awarded Outstanding Article of the Year by the journal Language Learning. Read the article here.

Amanda Stan, Research Associate in the School of Forestry, was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

T. Mark Montoya, Lecturer of Ethnic Studies, recently was interviewed as part of the upcoming documentary, Waking Up from the American Dream.

sssp - nancy wonders storyNancy Wonders, PhD, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, won the Joseph B. Gittler Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems during its 2012 annual meeting in Denver. The award recognizes the significant scholarly achievements that society members have made in contributing to the ethical resolution of social problems.

Nicole Walker, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, won the 2011 Creative Nonfiction Book Award from Zone 3 Press for her poetry collection, Quench Your Thirst with Salt.

Bill Auberle, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Leadership Award, and the Northern Arizona University President's Award for his work on behalf of the environment. To learn more about Dr. Auberle, visit here

Martin D. Sommerness, Professor of Journalism, was elected to the executive board of the Western Association of Pre-Law Advisers at the quadrennial Pre-Law Advisers National Conference in Washington, D.C., this summer.

Gypsy Denzine, Professor for the College of Education, was elected vice president for fellowships and awards for the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi during its biennial convention in St. Louis. Since its creation in 1932, the fellowship program has become one of the society’s most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating $330,000 annually to deserving students for first-year graduate study. 

Dr. DRDonelle Ruwe, PhD, Associate Professor of English and Literature Coordinator, was elected co-president of the 18th- and 19th-century British Women Writer’s Association, a national scholarly organization devoted to the recovery and study of texts by early women writers. Ruwe also has been selected to serve a three-year term on the three-member committee that awards the prestigious Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry for Children.

Nancy Wonders, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, won the Joseph B. Glittler Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems during its annual meeting last week in Denver. The award recognizes the significant scholarly achievements that society members have made in contributing to the ethical resolution of social problems.

Mary Tolan, Associate Professor for the School of Communication, had an article, titled "Joe Duffy Made Me Famous; Dingle Saved Me," published in the August/September Irish America magazine.

Julie Kalil Schutten, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies, and Richard A. Rogers, Professor of Communication Studies and Associate Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies, with Craig O. Rich, assistant professor of communication studies at Loyola Marymount University, have had their essay, titled “’Don’t Drop the Soap’: Organizing Sexualities in the Repeal of the U.S. Military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy," published in the journal Communication Monographs.

Bill Wiist, Professor in the College of Health and Human Services, reviewed the book Born With a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health by Martha Rosenberg for PLOS Medicine Journal. Wiist’s review, written in response to an invitation by the publication’s editors, is titled “Risking the Public’s Health, Exposing the Hidden Practices of Big Pharma and Big Food.” The review is in the publication’s “Speaking of Medicine” blog, a new feature in the journal. Read the review here.

Luis Fernandez, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, was elected vice president for the Society for the Study of Social Problems, an interdisciplinary community of about 1,800 scholars, practitioners, advocates and students interested in the application of critical, scientific and humanistic perspectives to the study of vital social problems.

Janinie Schipper

Janine Schipper, Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Work, and author of Disappearing Desert and the Culture of Sprawl, had an article, titled “Toward a Buddhist Sociology: Theories, Methods and Possibilities,” published in The American Sociologist.

Regional awards and achievements

Paul KiemPaul Keim, Regents’ Professor and Director of NAU’s Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomics, was named Bioscience Researcher of the Year by the Arizona Bioindustry Association, AZBio. A world-renowned expert in anthrax and other infectious diseases, Keim was nominated by members of the Arizona bioscience community and selected by an independent, statewide panel of leaders for this recognition of his research and innovation in the field of pathogen genomics and microbiology.

 SFA Logo SmallDeborah Huntzinger, assistant professor for the School of Earth Science and Environmental Sustainability, has been selected as one of  Science Foundation Arizona's five new Bisgrove Scholars. Dr. HuntzingerThe Bisgrove Scholar program recruits top-tier young science and engineering talent to conduct and lead high-level research at Arizona universities. Huntzinger will use the funds from the award to research a waste byproduct of cement manufacturing to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. About five percent of global CO2 emissions come from the cement industry. Read more about Dr. Huntzinger's research here.

Regents' Professor, Wally Covington, who runs the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University, was interviewed by MSNBC Nightly News for his research and expertise on the southwest's forests and the causes and prevention of mega fires. The July 2012 fire that raged through Colorado Springs was the most destructive fire in Colorado history. See the video here

Geology Professor James Elliott and Geologic Materials Analyst in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability James Wittke, were among four authors of a paper that appeared recently in Historical Biology: An International Journal of Paleontology. Their work caught the attention of Discovery.com, which featured their research in a news story.

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chad hamillChad Hamill, Assistant Professor in the School of Music, published the book Songs of Power and Prayer in the Columbia Plateau. The book explores the role of song as a transformative force in the lives of indigenous peoples of the interior Northwest. In particular, it traces a cultural, spiritual and musical encounter that began in the mid-nineteenth century when Catholic hymns introduced to the Columbia Plateau tribes were reinterpreted and re-sung as expressions of an expanding indigenous identity. Click here to read an excerpt of the book.

Gene Balzer, Professor Emeritus of Photography, and Russ Gilbert, Instructor of Photography and Photography Lab Manager for the School of Communication, conducted a workshop for Mesa Verde National Park. The workshop was designed to help photographers gain a better understanding of composition, computer adjustments and how to photograph ancestral pueblo dwellings. Click here to view the photo gallery.

Ramona Mellott, Dean of Graduate the College, has assumed the presidency of the Western Association of Graduate Colleges.

Dennis Wayne Catlin, PhD, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, was named "Educator of the Year" for 2012 by the Arizona Justice Educators Association.  The wording on his award reads as follows:  "In recognition of your high ethical standards, outstanding achievements, contribution and dedication to students and faculty in criminal justice education" 

vosickDiane Vosick, Director of Policy and Partnerships for NAU's Ecological Restoration Institute, appeared on the KAET show Arizona Horizon on May 22. Vosick was part of a panel that examined the health of Arizona's forests and whether America's history of fire suppression has actually contributed to the highly destructive 'mega fires' now seen in Arizona on a regular basis. Watch the segment here.

wildlife society logo


Wildlife Ecology Professor Carol Chambers serves as Southwest Section Representative for the Wildlife Society, a national elected position on the Society’s governing council.

Local awards and achievements

Ricardo Guthrie at Murdoch CenterRicardo Guthrie, Professor of Ethnic Studies, received the NAU Research and Creative Activity Award for Most Significant Artistic/Creative work. Guthrie's historic Southside mural at the Murdoch Community Center in Flagstaff represents a visual history of African-Americans' significance to the city.

Okim KangAssistant Professor of English, received the NAU Research and Creative Activity Award for Most Promising New Scholar.  Kang received the award for her achievements in applied linguistics.

Sandra Stone, Chair of College of Education and Robert Neustadt, Professor of College of Arts and Letters received the Provost's award for Faculty Excellence in Global Learning.

NAU’s 2012 Research and Creative Activity Award for Most Significant Scholarly Work was presented to Alex Alvarez, Professor, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, for the Book, Genocidal Crimes (2010) The award recognizes a work of scholarship that has had a demonstrable impact on the individual or group, the discipline and/or the university as evidenced through publicity, dissemination, citation, awards, etc.

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Angele Anderfuren, Lecturer in the School of Communication, has been awarded a micro grant from Northern Arizona University’s Parent Leadership Council. The grant will fund the purchase of five mobile multimedia production kits that will allow students to work with mobile technologies to produce professional quality stories.

Linda Shadiow, Professor of Educational Leadership for the College of Education, received the President's award for Faculty and Academic Professionals. Shadiow was singled out to receive the award for her exemplary contributions to the NAU mission in at least three categories: creativity in teaching, creative use of technology, advising, assessment, recruitment/retention, collaborative research, diversity and service.

Six Northern Arizona University faculty members have been presented with the Teacher of the Year Award:

  • Peter Kosso, Professor of the College of Arts and Letters; 
  • Gae Johnson, Professor of the College of Education;
  • Jani Ingram, Assistant Professor of  CEFNS; Betty Brown, Assistant Professor of the College of Health and Human Services; 
  • Patricia Murphey, Assistant Professor of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; 
  • David Albritton, Associate Professor of The W.A.Franke College of Business; and
  • Marie Baker-Ohler, Senior Lecturer, received the assocation's Arizona Communication Educator of the Year Award.

Viola Awards Logo SmallThe Viola Awards are Flagstaff's equivalent of the Oscars for the arts and sciences community. Celebrating excellence in the arts and sciences, the Viola Awards, presented by Flagstaff Cultural Partners, recognize artists, educators, organizations and leaders who make positive contributions to the arts and sciences in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

  • Kari Barton, instructor in the School of Music, received the 2012 Viola Award in Music; 
  • Pam Stephens, Associate Professor in the School of Art, received the 2012 Viola Arts Educator Award; and
  • Ann Cummins, English Professor, received the 2012 Viola Literature Award. 
  • Regents' Professor Edith Copley won the 2011 Viola Award in Music.

The title “Regents’ Professor” is the highest faculty honor awarded at Northern Arizona University. It is conferred on those faculty who have made pioneering contributions in their areas of expertise, who have achieved a sustained level of distinction, and who enjoy national and international recognition for these accomplishments. The following faculty have been promoted to Regents' Professor:

Mary TolanAssociate Professor for the School of Communication wrote a 10-minute play, Store for Men, that was selected as a winner in the Northern Arizona Playwriting Showcase's "10-Minute Play Contest", sponsored by Theatrikos and NAU's creative writing department.

May we have permission to use the National Art Education Association logoPam Stephens, Associate Professor in the School of Art, has been selected as the 2012 Arizona Art Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association.

Wally Covington, Regents’ Professor and Executive Director of the university’s Ecological Restoration Institute, was among 21 people named to a federal advisory committee charged with providing guidance and recommendations on the implementation of the new U.S. Forest Service Planning Rule.