Indiana State University Newsroom

11 receive awards at Faculty Recognition Banquet

April 24, 2007

Three educators received Indiana State University’s highest award for faculty during a recognition banquet (on April 18) that saw a total of 11 individuals recognized for distinguished service and outstanding contributions to the university.

ISU President Lloyd W. Benjamin III presented the President's Medal to Robyn Lugar, assistant professor of social work; John Spicknall, professor of music; and Joseph Tenerelli, professor of communication.

Lugar, an ISU faculty member since 1993, was recognized for her leadership in partnering with social services organizations, including Hamilton Center, Inc., and the Indiana Child Services Education Program and for her help in developing new university-level social work education programs in Russia and Morocco.

“I was quite surprised to receive the award. In truth I am only a representative of a group of people that I am honored to work with that has allowed my work to be so successful, Lugar said. “I am truly blessed to be able to work with professionals on campus, internationally and in our Terre Haute community. It is because of them that so much has been accomplished throughout the years.â€Â

Spicknall was recognized for his success in teaching, conducting and mentoring countless students of clarinet, jazz literature and jazz performance during his 38 years at Indiana State. During his tenure, Spicknall arranged for more than 200 jazz performances on campus and regularly contributed to WISU-FM’s 1,100 broadcasts of “Jazz You Like Itâ€Â between 1979 and 1999. Spicknall served under four university presidents and regularly performed at university functions and ISU Foundation events.

"The University and it's need of music for social occasions has allowed me to develop my interest in jazz and blossom as a player. While 'making a living,' I have made a life filled with music making largely due to Indiana State University," Spicknall said. "I am indeed thankful for the opportunity to have played with and learned from some of the most outstanding practitioners of this art form, and I look forward to assisting the university in its need for musical occasions for years to come.

Tenerelli, an ISU faculty member for 27 years, produced 21 informational or documentary video productions, two of which for the National Aeuronautics and Space Administration have been distributed around the world and led to the induction of his production team into the “Space Hall of Fame.â€Â Since 2005, Tenerelli has served as director of ISU’s Alliance for Excellence, Engagement and Experience. During that time, the alliance has enabled faculty and students to conduct 70 community-based research, learning and engagement projects, leading to national recognition for ISU as a community engagement university.

Tenerelli was also recognized for organizing the outreach program of St. Joseph University Parish for the past eight years. The program annually sends Indiana State students, faculty and alumni to Honduras to take part in medical clinics and construction teams.

"I am humbled and honored to be included not only with the other recipients this evening, but also in the company of the previous President's Medal recipients,â€Â Tenerelli said. “Recognitions such as this are seldom the result of solo effort, but rather facilitated by one's colleagues and family. That is certainly true in my case and I am fortunate to have worked with such capable colleagues.â€Â

Tenerelli previously received the university’s Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994.

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 2007 recipients are Concetta DePaolo, associate professor of operations management and analysis; Betsy Frank, professor of nursing; and Della Thacker, associate professor of education, curriculum, instruction and media technology.

DePaolo joined Indiana State in 1999 as an adjunct instructor and became a full-time faculty member the following year. Her approach to teaching statistics and management science emphasizes experiential learning activities, and she has co-developed a new insurance/operations management course on enterprise risk management.

"I am extremely honored to have been chosen for this award from among so many dedicated and talented teachers at ISU. I devote a great deal of energy to my teaching, and it is gratifying to have those efforts acknowledged by my students and colleagues," DePaolo said.

Frank is known for her research on community-based education and the effects of physician-directed spiritual intervention on quality of life in cancer patients.

“Our primary reason for being at a university is to educate our students. I take great pride in having some part in educating the next generation of nurses. What is so special about this award is that it was students who nominated me. I am so very honored,â€Â Frank said.

Thacker, an ISU graduate with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics, has been a faculty member at her alma mater since 1983 and has worked extensively with the university’s Professional Development School partners. She currently places approximately 80 students per semester in early field experience and student teaching.

“Students and their learning are very important to me. It is rewarding to hear from graduates who have succeeded in the classroom and are now teaching in schools in Indiana and across the nation. I have always wanted to be a teacher and continue to enjoy making a difference in the lives of others,â€Â Thacker said.

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 the criteria considered in selecting recipients.

This year’s recipients are Blanche Evans, professor of physical education, and Linda S. Maule, associate professor of political science.

Evans' service activities outside the classroom include performing fitness tests and developing fitness programs for older adults; and conducting exercise stress tests, blood pressure and cholesterol screening for university employees; and designing exercise programs for those employees.

“Service is completed without any expectation of recognition or reward, so the fact that my peers have selected me to receive the Distinguished Faculty Service Award is humbling. Though this award acknowledges individual achievement, it represents the collaborative efforts and support of my colleagues on campus and in my profession. This is a tremendous honor,â€Â said Evans, a 1997 recipient of the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award and recipient of the Howard D. Richardson Outstanding Faculty Performance Award in the College of Health and Human Performance in 2006.

In addition to her position in the political science department, Maule has served as interim director of the women’s studies program at Indiana State and interim chair of the sociology department. She is currently a member of the executive committee of the Council on Domestic Abuse, has been a member of the Terre Haute Human Rights Day Coalition since its inception in 2002 and has been active in ISU’s American Democracy Project since its inception in 2003.

“I am extraordinarily honored to receive the Distinguished Service award. I praise Indiana State University and the Faculty Senate for recognizing service to the university and the community, as well as the scholarship of engagement,â€Â Maule said. “Since service is never done in isolation, I share this award with the faculty, staff, students, administrators and community members that I have served with on various committees and projects over the last decade. Working with these tireless and committed individuals on social justice issues has without question enriched both my professional and personal life.â€Â

Earlier this spring, Maule received the Darlene Hantzis Advocacy Award for Leadership and Commitment to Indiana State University, and she was a 2005 recipient of the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award.

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.

This year’s recipient is Michael Chambers, associate professor and chair of the political science department. Chambers has conducted extensive research on China, its rise since the late 20th century as a major world power and its relationship with North Korea and other East Asian nations. He has also received an ISU Promising Scholars grant to study the growing importance of Indonesia to the People’s Republic of China.

“I'm extremely pleased to know that my scholarly research on China and its foreign relations is valued by my departmental colleagues, who nominated me for the award, and by my colleagues more broadly at the university,â€Â Chambers said. “The Dreiser Award also serves as affirmation that we are doing things right here in the Political Science department, particularly our emphasis on cultivating teacher-scholars who are also engaged in service to the university.â€Â

Community-based Learning and Scholarship Award
This award was established this year 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.

Inaugural recipients are Jay D. Gatrell, associate professor of geography, and Liz O’Laughlin, associate professor of psychology.

Gatrell was recognized for his commitment to research projects and/or community-based learning initiatives that promote local and/or regional change. For nearly a decade, he and his students have worked with federal, state, and local stakeholders on a variety of regional development initiatives. He has also worked with educators throughout Indiana to expand their content knowledge, develop new assessments for students, chart content standards and improve classroom skills.

“I value the support I (and my students) have received from the Center for Public Service and Community Engagement to further these efforts as well as the financial support of outside agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Education, and National Science Foundation,â€Â Gatrell said. “I greatly appreciate the professional recognition associated with this award and the importance place on community-based scholarship by Indiana State University, its leaders, and most importantly its students.â€Â

In addition to his role as associate professor of geography, Gatrell serves ISU as interim chair of the departments of sociology and African and African-American studies and as acting associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

O’Laughlin was recognized for helping establish a Prevent Child Abuse Council in Vigo County (CARE Council) and for her work on a related community resource mapping project that has collected data on services provided for children and families in the county. A new Web site,, provides a searchable database of child/family resources in Vigo County. O’Laughlin also serves as director of ISU’s ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Clinic, which has provided evaluations for more than 700 children during the past eight years.

“I'm glad that ISU is recognizing and rewarding community services and providing incentive for faculty to use their knowledge and resources to contribute to the community in which we live,â€Â O’Laughlin said. “I have worked as a part-time child clinician (licensed clinical psychologist) and have long struggled with wanting to do more for the children and families in this community.â€Â

Photo gallery
President's Medal recipients
Recipients of the ISU President's Medal for 2007 are (left to right) John Spicknall, professor of music; Robyn Lugar, assistant professor of social work; and Joe Tenerelli, professor of communication.
Award winners
ISU faculty service award recipients for 2007 include (left to right) Della Thacker, associate professor of education, curriculum, instruction and media technology; Blanche Evans, professor of physical education; Betsy Frank, professor of nursing; Concetta DePaolo, associate professor of operations management and analysis; Linda Maule, associate professor of political science; Liz O'Laughlin, associate professor of psychology; and Michael Chambers, associate professor of political science.

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or

Story Highlights

Eleven ISU educators were honored during the university's annual Faculty Recognition Banquet. Awards presented included the Presidents' Medal, the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award, Faculty Distinguished Service Award, Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research/Creativity Award, and the new Community-based Learning and Scholarship Award.

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