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March 31, 2004
CONTACT: Carol Anderson

EMU honors four faculty with Distinguished Teaching Awards

YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University recently honored four professors with the Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award for teaching. The awards, which are the highest honor EMU bestows upon its faculty, were presented at the 27 th Annual Faculty Awards Ceremony, March 24 at McKenny Union Ballroom.

Each recipient was awarded a plaque and a check for $3,500.

"The honorees represent the dedication and passion that make our faculty special," said EMU President Samuel A. Kirkpatrick. "We know you not only teach in the classroom, but make a difference in the lives of your students."

Those honored were:

  • Barbara Leapard , assistant professor of mathematics, of Sylvania, Ohio, earned the Teaching I Award for her dedication to helping students become more mathematically competent.   Leapard said that many of her students have had unpleasant mathematical encounters so she takes them from their current situation and works to help them improve their math ability as well as their confidence to achieve that goal.

"My overriding philosophy of teaching is that I can teach any math concept to any student, given the proper timing and opportunity," said Leapard.

The Teaching I Award is given to faculty with less than five years at EMU.

  • T. Daniel Seely , professor of English language and literature and chair of the linguistics program, of Ann Arbor, received the Teaching II Award for his enthusiasm and commitment to teaching.

Seely urges students to let the obvious amaze them and to find new ways to look at ordinary things. Once that happens, he said, people will begin to ask different questions and unearth diverse results.

"The joyfulness of inquiry and discovery is really important," he said. "There's nothing greater than that."

Russell Larson, department head of English language and literature, wrote "Even English syntax can be a joyful experience when taught by Professor Seely."            

Seely also serves on various committees including the English personnel and finance committee and is director of the Polish Exchange Program at EMU. The Teaching II Award is given to faculty with five or more years at EMU.

  • Mary Ann Watson , professor of communication and theatre arts, of Ann Arbor, was granted the Scholarly/Creative Activity Award for her consulting on documentaries, service on advisory boards and insight as a broadcast analyst and historian who authored the book "The Expanding Vista: American Television in the Kennedy Years."

She has consulted on two Public Broadcast Service documentaries and two major museum exhibitions; served on four professional advisory boards; is current chair of the Television Quarterly Review Board and was guest editor for an issue of the "Journal of Popular Film and Television." She also has commented as an expert for several newspaper articles and media reports.

The Scholarly/Creative Activity Award is granted for scholarly and creative activity in publications, performances and other professional recognition.

  • Daryl L. Barton, professor of marketing, of Ann Arbor, received the Service to the University Award for her overall service to the University.   She has participated at the committee level, in general university service, in the College of Business and in service to the community.

She said that university committee service is a way to unify colleges and departments since many times department members lose sight of the overall goals of the University.

The award is granted for contributions to department projects and committee tasks, college and university committee activities, involvement in student activities and professionally-related community activities.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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