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October 19, 2005
CONTACT: Carol Anderson
734.487.4400
carol.anderson@emich.edu

EMU honors seven professors for excellence in teaching

YPSILANTI - Seven Eastern Michigan University professors will be honored at the 15th Annual Teaching Excellence Awards Oct. 22 at 9:30 a.m. in EMU’s McKenny Union. The awards honor faculty who have distinguished themselves in the classroom. The event is hosted by the EMU Alumni Association and the Office of Alumni Relations.

“The Teaching Excellence Awards are a wonderful way for the Alumni Association to salute some of EMU’s outstanding teachers. One of EMU’s strengths has always been its faculty, and these awards highlight their dedication to providing a quality education for our students,” said Vicki Reaume, executive director of alumni relations at EMU.

Faculty members, nominated by former students or other faculty from each of the five colleges, were honored.  Because of its size, EMU’s College of Arts and Sciences has honored three faculty members.

This year’s recipients are:

Jeffrey L. Bernstein, of Ann Arbor, associate professor, political science. Bernstein is being honored for his ability to inspire students to think critically about political science while challenging them to excel. Bernstein goes out of his way to make sure the material he teaches in the classroom is connected to both political science and the surrounding world, said a nominator.

“Jeff is one of the most engaging, informative and creative teachers on campus. He is absolutely committed to teaching,” said Raymond Rosenfeld, head of EMU’s Political Science Department.

Bernstein has a unique talent for presenting very complicated material in a very clear and understandable way, said a former graduate student. He is involved in various professional organizations and has been continually recognized for his outstanding teaching methods.  Bernstein has a bachelor’s degree from Washington University and a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan.

Daniel R. Brickner, of Ypsilanti, associate professor, accounting and finance. Brickner is being honored for his knowledge in accounting, professionalism in the classroom and his dedication to students.

As a former senior accountant at Ernst & Young, Brickner introduces real-life examples and uses a common sense approach to illustrate accounting and finance concepts.

Brickner really cares about and will continue to make a difference in many students’ lives and careers, said a former student.

Brickner is a member of the American Accounting Association, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Golden Key National Honor Society, Beta Gamma Sigma and Beta Alpha Psi.

Among his awards are the EMU College of Business Outstanding Teaching Award and the EMU Outstanding Faculty in a Supporting Role Award. Brickner also is a four-time nominee of the Michigan Accounting Educator of the Year.

Brickner has a bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University and a master’s degree and doctorate from Kent State University.

Ella M. Burton, of Dearborn, associate professor, educational leadership and counseling. Burton is being honored for encouraging her students to develop a more global outlook.

Burton is an educator and school leader who ensures that her classes are on the cutting edge of leadership and education. She also is an inspiration to a new generation of leaders who aspire to attain excellence, said a former student.

Burton received a Certificate of Appreciation in 2003 from the International Cultural Competence Institute and a Certificate of Excellence in Academic Advising from EMU. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University and a doctorate from Wayne State University.

Konnie G. Kustron, of Milford, associate professor of legal and paralegal studies. Kustron is being honored for empowering her students to excel by assigning course work that is thought-provoking and stimulating. She is dedicated to EMU’s Legal Assistant Program and brings real-world examples of concepts and legal issues to the classroom, said a former student.

She also uses a very straightforward and easy-to-grasp teaching style that enables students to understand the most complex legal issues.

Kustron has several awards, including EMU’s Woman of Excellence Award and Graduate Research Award, and an Award of Excellence from the Association for Continuing Legal Education.

Kustron is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Executive Council for the Law Practice Management Section of the State Bar and the Delta Pi Epsilon Honorary Graduate Society.

She has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a juris doctorate from the Detroit College of Law.

Sally McCracken, of Ypsilanti, professor, communication and theatre arts. McCracken has been a professor at EMU since 1968, and is being honored as a teacher, mentor, role model and motivator. She is a powerful and effective student advocate who has a genuine interest in people.

McCracken uses humor and an engaging, non-threatening, respectful style to put students at ease and create an environment where they can openly express their concerns or fears, said a colleague. 

She is a member of several professional associations, including the American Association of University Professors, National Communication Association and Michigan Association for Speech Communication.

McCracken has received the EMU Distinguished Faculty Award and has a bachelor’s degree from Muskingum College, a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University and a doctorate from Wayne State University.

Peggy Alford Trewn, of Ypsilanti, assistant professor of nursing. Trewn is honored for her great passion for nursing and her ability to teach leadership as well as to demonstrate it in the classroom. She also is known for her creative mind and dedicated work ethic that often extends beyond the classroom, said a former student.

Her involvement with public schools included development of a violence prevention program for elementary and middle school adolescents, and an empowerment seminar for adolescent girls.

Trewn is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Public Health Association and the Michigan Nurses Association.

She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a master’s degree and  doctorate from Wayne State University.

Norman Tyler, of Ann Arbor, professor, geography and geology department. Tyler has been a professor at EMU since 1987, and is being honored for his methods of motivating students to think, for maintaining strong ties with alumni, getting students involved in the University and for bringing subjects to life in the classroom.

“In your educational life, only a handful of teachers stand out. They teach you more than the subject at hand and make a real impact on your life. Norm is one of those teachers,” said a former student, who describes Tyler as a case study for teaching excellence.

Tyler received the Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Technology Award at the Ninth International Conference on Teaching, Learning and Technology.

Tyler has a bachelor’s degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan and a second doctorate from Michigan State University.

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 careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

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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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