EMU pays tribute to faculty award recipients during Week of Excellence

by Debra Johnson, Published April 10, 2012


YPSILANTI - Eight members of Eastern Michigan University's faculty were honored for their academic contributions to the University during the 25th annual Academic Affairs Awards ceremony held at the Student Center March 28.

The awards ceremony was part of a weeklong celebration of excellence at Eastern that recognizes students, faculty and staff who excel in the classroom and the community.

During her opening remarks, Provost Kim Schatzel expressed pride in being part of an environment that provides such rich educational opportunities for students through its outstanding faculty and staff at the University.

This year, six Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Awards and the Full-time Lecturers Outstanding Teaching Award were among the award highlights. The recipients are:

  • Anthony D. Kurek, accounting and finance lecturer, received the Full-time Lecturers Outstanding Teaching Award. Kurek joined the university in 2008. He received both his master of science in accounting and bachelor of business administration degrees at EMU, achieving a perfect 4.0 in both programs. Since beginning his career as an educator at EMU, Kurek has taught multiple classes in the areas of financial, managerial, and cost accounting.
  • William John Koolage, recipient of the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award - Teaching I. Koolage is an assistant professor of history and philosophy and began his teaching career at EMU in the fall of 2008. He has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, and holds a number of other degrees, mostly from the University of Manitoba. His teaching interests include philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, formal and traditional epistemology normative and meta-ethics, causation, and some metaphysics.
  • Paul Ramsey, assistant professor of teacher education, was awarded the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award - Research I. Ramsey has been a faculty member in the department of teacher education at Eastern since 2008. He received his doctorate and master's degree in the history of education from Indiana University, and a bachelor's degree in history and German from the University of Southern Indiana. Ramsey's primary research interest is the history of American education, with a special emphasis on bilingual public schooling in the United States.
  • Weidian Shen, recipient of the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award - Research II. Shen is a professor of physics and astronomy for EMU. He obtained his doctorate in condensed matter physics from Wayne State University, and his master and bachelor of science degrees in physics, with honors, from Fudan University, China. Shen teaches physics courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. During his 20-year tenure at EMU, Shen has carried out more than 50 research projects, obtaining more than $2,850,000 in grants.
  • Melanie Schuessler, associate professor at EMU in communication, media and theatre arts. She is the recipient of the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award - Creative Activity. Schuessler joined the faculty at Eastern in 2005. She holds a master of fine arts degree in costume design from the University of Wisconsin and received her bachelor of arts degree in history from Rice University. While at Eastern, she has designed costumes and makeup for over 20 EMU theatre productions. Her passion extends to all periods of fashion history, and her research focuses on the clothing of 16th-century England.
  • Amy Sackseder received the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award - Creative Activity. She is an associate professor in the art department. Sackseder received a master of fine arts degree in painting from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Dayton. Sackseder has attended artist residencies in Southern France, Newfoundland-Canada, Philadelphia, Illinois, Budapest-Hungary and Reykjavik-Iceland. She was recently chosen to attend the new Artist Studio Residency program at the University of Nevada's Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery.
  • Kay Woodiel, professor of health education in the school of health promotion and human performance, received the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award - Service to the University. She is in her fourteenth year at EMU and in her second year of a return to her faculty position, having served the previous five years as the director of diversity and community involvement at the University. Woodiel received her doctorate in health science from the University of Arkansas, a master of science in education degree from Arkansas State University and a bachelor of science degree from Arkansas Tech University.
  • Dan Brickner, accounting and finance professor in Eastern Michigan University's College of Business. EMU nominated Brickner for the Sixth Annual Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award, an honor awarded through the President's Council of the State Universities of Michigan. The award recognizes outstanding contributions made to the education of undergraduate students. Brickner received both a doctorate in accounting and his master's in business administration from Kent State University and a bachelor of business administration from Cleveland State University.

"Though many faculty have been singled out for recognition at this event, every member of our teaching staff is an important part of who we are at EMU," said Schatzel. This event is a symbol of the progress we are making, through our faculty's tireless efforts, in the much larger process of learning."

Other events celebrated during the Week of Excellence include the Graduate Research Fair, the Employee Service Recognition Awards, College of Education Celebration of Excellence, the Staff Gold Medallion Awards and the Undergraduate Symposium.

Debra Johnson

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