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Four Receive Top Faculty Honors From EIU's College of Sciences

Jun-16-2010

Shown, from left to right, are John Best, Jonathan Blitz, Sean Peebles, Noel Brodsky and Mary Anne Hanner, dean of Eastern's College of Sciences.

Eastern Illinois University has named Jonathan Blitz as its 2010 recipient of the College of Sciences' Ringenberg Award.

This award, presented annually in the spring, is the highest faculty honor bestowed by the college, and is given to tenured faculty members within the college for "exceptional performance during their academic career" at the university.

Award criteria include:

  • A teacher of the highest caliber, dedicated to helping students achieve their personal and professional goals; and
  • A published scholar who has developed a national or international reputation in his/her field; and
  • A person with a distinguished record of service to his/her department, the College of Sciences, the university, and to his/her profession.

The award is named in honor of Lawrence A. Ringenberg, the first dean (1961-1980) of the College of Arts and Sciences at EIU.

Blitz, a professor in Eastern's Department of Chemistry, has taught at the university since 1994. During his tenure, he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses, earning praise from his students as both a stimulating lecturer and as a caring professor equally at ease during one-on-one conversations.

His knowledge and expertise in diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and silica surface chemistry has earned him national and international recognition, and the opportunity to collaborate with other scientists from around the world. His work has garnered approximately $500,000 in federal grant money for additional research opportunities on the EIU campus.

Blitz has produced nearly 40 peer-reviewed articles since arriving at Eastern, and is the author of four publications on chemical education, as well as chapters in several books. He has been actively involved with various departmental/college/university committees, and is currently serving on the negotiating team and as vice president of the University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), the collective bargaining agent for the faculty and academic support professionals at EIU.

Eastern's College of Sciences also honored three other faculty members with top academic awards.

The Alan and Carlene Baharlou Distinguished Service Award is designed to recognize a faculty member in the College of Sciences who has established a record of outstanding service that supports and contributes to the teaching and research mission of the college. This year's recipient of the award, John Best, psychology, has not only been involved in a long list of diverse service to his department, the university, his profession and the community, but he has amassed an outstanding publication record that includes one of the most respected and widely used textbooks in his discipline and received numerous prestigious awards from students and his colleagues.

Noel Brodsky, associate professor of economics, is the recipient of the 2010 COS Teaching Excellence Award, presented to a faculty member who is recognized by both colleagues and students as a teacher of the highest caliber, dedicated to the learning enterprise. In addition to a consistent record of outstanding student evaluations, Brodsky is described by his peers as knowledgeable, dedicated and engaging.

"He values the achievement of each student and values fairness in his interactions with students," said Mary Anne Hanner, dean of COS. "His office is a welcoming place where students can visit for further engagement and discussion of course topics or simply coffee and conversation."

The Lida G. Wall Faculty Research Mentor Award recognizes COS faculty who have served as a research mentor to one or more undergraduate students. This award was established in honor of a former COS dean, who specifically encouraged collaborative research between undergraduate students and COS faculty. This year's recipient is Sean Peebles, chemistry.

"What stood out in Dr. Peebles nomination was the quality of student research that has been generated in his lab," Hanner said. "Dr. Peebles ' students received a full research experience, from project inception, to presentation and publication. These experiences will serve them well as their careers develop."