Eastern Michigan University honors distinguished faculty members during Academic Awards ceremony

by Debra Johnson, Published March 25, 2013


YPSILANTI - Four Eastern Michigan University faculty members were honored for their excellence in teaching, research and other categories during its 26th annual Academic Awards celebration held Wednesday, March 20.

The Academic Awards are part of the weeklong celebration on Eastern's campus known as the "Week of Excellence" where faculty, staff and students are honored for their years of service, and their contributions to the University.


(left to right) Kelly Victor-Burke, Vijaykumar Mannari, Joel Schoenhals, Doris Fields

"The Week of Excellence honors what Eastern Michigan University is all about - the empowering of students," said Sandy Norton, professor and Faculty Senate President at EMU. "The Academic Awards ceremony singles out some of our most dedicated instructors and through their comments, the recipients were clearly moved, and those who heard them were also moved by their stories."

The Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award is the highest honor a faculty member can receive at the University. Four to six faculty members are recognized each year and the recipients of The Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award will receive a plaque and a $3,500 honorarium and the Full-Time Lecturers Outstanding Teaching Award winner will receive a plaque and a $1,000 honorarium.  

The recipients honored were:

  • Kelly Victor-Burke, lecturer in the geography and geology department at Eastern was presented with the Full-Time Lecturers Outstanding Teaching Award. Victor-Burke joined Eastern in fall 2000 after teaching in the department as an adjunct since 1990. She received both her master's degree of science in historic preservation and her bachelor's degree from Eastern.
  • Doris Fields, professor in the communication, media and theatre arts department received the 2012 Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award - Teaching II. Fields began her career at Eastern in 1991 as a graduate teaching assistant and has been in her current position since 1997. Fields earned her doctoral degree from Wayne State University, and her master's and bachelor's degrees in communications from Eastern Michigan.
  • Vijaykumar Mannari, professor of Polymers and Coatings Technology, was awarded the 2012 Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award - Research II. Mannari joined Eastern Michigan's School of Engineering Technology in 2002. He received his master's and doctoral degrees from Sardar Patel University, India.
  • Joel Schoenhals, professor of piano in the music and dance department, received the 2012 Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award - Creative Activity. Schoenhals joined Eastern Michigan in 2001. He holds a master's degree in music, a doctorate in musical arts, and a performer's certificate from the Eastman School of Music. He earned his undergraduate degree in piano performance from Vanderbilt University. He also is a guest professor of piano at Nanchang University in Nanchang Jiangxi, People's Republic of China.

Margaret Crouch, a professor in the history and philosophy department was acknowledged as Eastern Michigan University's nominee for the 6th Annual Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding faculty contributions to undergraduate instruction and is sponsored by the President's Council of State Universities of Michigan. 

Several awards for service and scholarships were also announced during the ceremony including recipients of the Academic Service-Learning Fellowships, Sabbatical Leave recipients, Faculty Research Fellowships, Provost's New Faculty Research Awards, and Undergraduate Research Stimulus Program Awards.

Other events celebrated during the Week of Excellence included 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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