Indiana State University Newsroom

Eight earn faculty recognition awards

April 30, 2009

An Indiana State University professor who has chaired three separate science departments, authored more than 100 academic publications and taught hundreds of students is the sole recipient of this year's President's Medal, the university's highest award for faculty.

University President Daniel J. Bradley presented the medal to Arthur Halpern, professor of chemistry and provisional chair of the biology department, during the Faculty Recognition Banquet Thursday (April 30) at which seven other educators received honors for teaching, research/creativity, distinguished service and community-based learning.

An Indiana State faculty member since 1990, Halpern previously served as chair of the chemistry department and as interim chair of the physics department.

"Professor Halpern has established a record of faculty service at ISU that is second to none," Bradley said. "He has lead the hiring of several new faculty and staff members and the renovation of facilities, while also acquiring major new instrumentation, improving curricular programming and student recruiting and advising, and establishing internship positions in the local chemical industry."

Halpern's publications have been in the area of physical chemistry, particularly the photophysics and spectroscopy of organic molecules and, more recently, computational chemistry, mainly with educational applications. He is the author of a physical chemistry laboratory textbook, currently in its third edition. He has also earned professional recognition as an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, NATO Senior Scientist Fellow, as a member of a National Research Council Advisory Panel, a Department of Energy Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship Review Panel, and as a participant on review panels for the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

He has also served the university as a member of the Faculty Senate, the search committee for the university president, twice a member of search committees for deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, and on a variety of other boards, committees, and task forces.

Arthur epitomizes the faculty role in shared governance that assures the integrity of academic life," Bradley said.

"I came to ISU as a department chair because I wanted to make a contribution to the quality of academic life," Halpern said. "I had the goal of helping to provide an enriching and rewarding teaching/learning/scholarly environment for students and faculty. I am grateful for and honored by the trust placed in me by colleagues, and am fortunate to have the satisfaction of seeing student and faculty success."

Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award
Named for a 19th century educator who helped shape Indiana's public education system and served as the state's second superintendent of public instruction, this award recognizes ISU's most distinguished teachers.

The 2009 recipients are Julie Dixon, associate professor of theater, Darlene Hantzis, professor of communication and women's studies, and Art Sherwood, associate professor of management.

A professional actress who joined the faculty at Indiana State in 2002, Dixon serves as head of acting for the theater department. She is the primary acting teacher, directs a mainstage production annually and serves as advisor for most of the department's students. She founded Fat Girls Theatre Company, which is dedicated to producing plays for women of "size." The company's first play, "Fat," was performed at the 2006 Indianapolis Fringe Festival, while the second, "Invitation to a Wedding Cake", was adjudicated for the 2007 Kennedy Center American College Theater Regional Festival.

"I am very honored, and extremely humbled, to have been selected for this prestigious award from among so many excellent teachers at ISU," Dixon said. "I am constantly striving to arm students for success in an outside world saturated with actors, so it means a great deal that my faculty colleagues on the selection committee reviewed my work as excellent. I'm so grateful to my students and colleagues, as well as the university, for creating an environment where teaching is supported."

Hantzis, an Indiana State graduate, has been an ISU faculty member since 1990. In addition to her faculty position, she is coordinator of American Democracy Project activities at the university as well as the Liberal Studies Program. She was the first ISU faculty member to teach a learning community and was learning community coordinator for five years. Embracing new technology, she created a blogosphere for her students and she consistently incorporates community engagement into classroom activities. She has also served as director of the women's studies program, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, co-coordinator of the Lilly Project to Transform the First-Year Experience and as coordinator of the Diversity in Democracy project.

"Teaching is the most precious practice an individual can undertake or that a culture can support," Hantzis said. "It has been my profound good fortune to serve as a teacher in university classrooms for the past 22 years, most of them at Indiana State University, where, as an undergraduate, I found my first, best teachers. I believe all of us occupy simultaneously and continuously the roles teacher and learner. I teach from a position of gratitude because I can not imagine a more challenging or rewarding practice than the one I enjoy."

Sherwood, a College of Business faculty member since 2001 and management program coordinator, is the creator of Sycamore Business Advisors, an award-winning senior capstone program. He is the senior fellow for leadership development for Networks Financial Services Institute and works closely with the Networks Scholars program to develop exciting, theoretically sound seminars and workshops. He has taught university courses in the U.S., Poland and Hungary including strategic management, leadership, management principles, organizational behavior, entrepreneurship and international business. Additionally, he works with a team of researchers that focuses on excellence in teaching at the university level.

"We have worked hard to put the power of learning into the hands of students," Sherwood said. "This award gives testament to the empowering nature of experiential learning. My sincere appreciation goes out to all those that have worked on this same path and have taught me so much about how to truly engage the student. Without being surrounded by such excellence, my scholarship of teaching and learning could never have reached this point."

Faculty Distinguished Service Award
This award recognizes distinguished service outside the classroom. Excellence in, intensity of, long-term commitment to, and tangible evidence of the impact of service are criteria considered in selecting recipients.

This year's recipient is Debra Worley, professor of communication and coordinator of the public relations program.

At Indiana State since 1999 and a 2006 recipient of the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award, Worley's record of service to the university includes Faculty Senate, co-chair of the General Education Task Force, American Democracy Project, American Humanics Advisory Committee, AmeriCorps Training Program, University Honors Program Task Force, and president of the ISU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Communication Research and Communication Teacher, a member of the Central States Communication Association, and is an accreditation instructor for the Hoosier Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. Her community service includes United Way, Habitat for Humanity and the Carmelite Monastery Advisory Board.

"I am honored to receive this award, and to serve this institution. Service and serving are never accomplished by individuals, but by collaborators, those who recognize and appreciate the power of collective creative energy," Worley said. "I am humbled to have had the privilege of working with so many friends - faculty, staff, and students. I look forward to the future knowing that many here believe in servant leadership and its usefulness in times of change."

Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research/Creativity Award
Named for the early 20th century author who grew up in Terre Haute, this award recognizes full-time faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to their disciplines.

The 2009 recipients are Michael Angilletta, associate professor of biology, and Peter Carino, professor of English.

An Indiana State faculty member since 2000, Angilletta holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on thermal adaptation and the impact of global warming on organisms. He is currently lead scientist on a three-year study of thermoregulatory behavior funded by a $244,000 National Science Foundation grant. He has authored or co-authored more than 40 scientific publications and is currently associate editor of the journal Functional Ecology. He was previously named an ISU Promising Scholar in recognition of his commitment to research and is recognized as a certified senior ecologist by the Ecological Society of America.

"Research is my passion. So I am especially grateful to be honored for my scholarly contributions to my discipline. This award reflects not only my efforts, but also those of exceptional collaborators that I have accrued during my time at ISU. Our accomplishments would not have been possible without the unwavering support of my department and its past and present leadership," Angilletta said.

Carino earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1984, after joining the ISU faculty the year before. He is the editor of the three-volume series "Baseball/Literature/Culture: Essays," and has published several essays on baseball literature, as well as essays on American writers John Updike, Raymond Carver, and James T. Farrell. He coordinated the ISU Conference on Baseball in American Literature and Culture from 1995 to 2004. He is the former director of the ISU Writing Center; two of his many articles on writing centers have won the National Writing Centers Association Award for best article of the year. He is also the author of two basic writing textbooks, has published several essays on teaching writing, and has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Pisa, Italy.

"It is gratifying to receive this award, first, because I think many of my ISU colleagues are deserving of such recognition. ISU has many fine scholars, and it feels good to be counted among them. Second, having done work in less mainstream areas of my discipline--baseball literature and writing centers--I am happy that the committee has recognized the value of such work. Finally, as someone who has taught some of Theodore Dreiser's novels, I am thrilled to be associated with an award that carries his name," Carino said.

Community-based Learning and Scholarship Award
This award was established in 2007 to recognize outstanding faculty who have made serving the community an integral part of their academic goals and activities through community-based learning activities and scholarship focused on community issues.

This year's recipient is Nathan Schaumleffel, assistant professor of recreation and sport management, executive director of the American Humanics Program and creator of the Indiana Rural Recreation Development Project. Schaumleffel and his students regularly work with local communities throughout the Wabash Valley and beyond to improve the quality of life by enhancing recreational opportunities.

"It was an honor just being nominated for this award at Indiana State and I am elated to have been selected as the 2009 recipient. The community-based learning and scholarship work that I do would not be possible without the loving support of my wife, Missy, and son, Coleman; as well as the assistance and collegial support of the community partner organizations and my ISU colleagues," Schaumleffel said.

"Community engagement, experiential and service-learning, and community-based scholarship are powerful contexts for developing technical skills in many disciplines; developing a deep respect and appreciation for diversity; developing a strong sense of active civic responsibility; and finding a passion for serving people and communities."

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or