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Outstanding faculty and students to receive honors at University of Missouri System awards ceremony

The University of Missouri Board of Curators and UM System President Timothy M. Wolfe will honor 16 faculty members and one student with awards June 13.  These awards include the President’s Awards—the highest honor bestowed by the University of Missouri System for excellence in the university’s four mission areas of teaching, research, service and economic development; the Thomas Jefferson Award; the Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award; and the C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship Award. 

“Our award recipients represent the finest of our faculty and students, and the University of Missouri System is made stronger by their hard work and dedication,” Wolfe said. “Every day, each one of our award recipients makes a difference in the lives of Missouri’s citizens and truly advances our state and nation.” 

The recipients and their honors include:

Thomas Jefferson Award
Steven Watts, Ph.D., MU
This award honors a member of the university community who best exemplifies the principles and ideals of Thomas Jefferson and who rises above excellence and demonstrates clear distinction in service to the university and humankind.

Watts is a professor of American history and has been recognized with both the Provost’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Teaching Award and The William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. He specializes in the cultural and intellectual history of the United States and has published in top journals. His biographies of some of the 20th century’s most-influential cultural figures such as Walt Disney, Hugh Hefner, and most recently, Dale Carnegie, have won critical acclaim.

Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Casey F. Burton, Missouri S&T
This award honors students at one of the University of Missouri System’s four campuses who have shown entrepreneurial talent.

Burton recently graduated in May with a B.S. in chemistry and is founder of Sapentia Development, LLC, where he acts as CEO and manages close to 30 employees. Burton created an online community and publication called MCQuarterly for fans of the popular game Minecraft. He also developed The Journal of Undergraduate and High School Research, a research journal aimed at high school and undergraduate students

C. Brice Ratchford Memorial Fellowship Award
Jerry W. Valentine, Ed.D., MU

This award recognizes a faculty member who personifies the creativity, vision and leadership exhibited by the late Dr. C. Brice Ratchford, who served as president of the University of Missouri System and dean of Cooperative Extension.

Valentine is professor emeritus in Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and served at MU for 33 years, establishing himself as a premier scholar in meeting the needs of educational leaders in grades five through nine. Valentine has authored or coauthored seven books, scores of professional articles and several instruments for school improvement and leader development. At MU, he developed the state’s first comprehensive, performance-based teacher evaluation system and worked closely with Missouri’s principals and assistant principals in facilitating evaluation workshops.

President’s Award for Community Engagement
Wouter T. Montfrooij, Ph.D., MU
This award recognizes faculty who are engaged in exemplary community engagement activities such as volunteerism, service-learning, educational programming and outreach.

Montfrooij is an associate professor of physics and is the founder of the Saturday Morning Science lecture series, a weekly series of informal talks on a broad range of science topics targeted to the general community. Since its inception in 2003, this volunteer-run program has grown to be one of the most visible and respected outreach programs in the Columbia community, offering more than 320 talks and engaging some 30,000 people from Columbia and surrounding areas.

President’s Award for Cross-Cultural Engagement
Rita M. Csapó-Sweet, Ed.D., UMSL
This award is presented to a faculty member with demonstrated success in promoting cross-cultural activities or understanding through classroom or student service activities.

Csapó-Sweet is an associate professor of theater, dance and media studies.  Since joining the UMSL faculty in 1990, she has worked to establish Hungarian and Eastern European educational and cultural exchange opportunities for the UMSL and St. Louis metropolitan communities. Her efforts have not only opened an artistic cultural exchange, but have facilitated discussions about war and tolerance, and helped reconnect generations of refugees with their heritage. She has also established a student and faculty exchange program with universities in Hungary, Bosnia and Croatia.

President’s Award for Leadership
Michael B. Kruger, Ph.D., UMKC
This award is presented to a faculty member with a commitment to excellence and integrity; an ability to motivate, build and sustain a high level of morale and productivity among faculty or staff; find practical solutions to complex problems; and effectively build teams, manage projects and produce positive results.

Kruger is a Curators’ Professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. He is recognized throughout the physics community as an innovative scholar and teacher with more than 60 published articles, many awards and research funding totaling more than $1 million. Kruger leads by building consensus among the faculty and encourages them to continually seek to improve the department and expand their impact in both teaching and research.

President’s Award for Mentoring
Wayne Huebner, Ph.D., Missouri S&T
This award recognizes faculty who have provided exemplary mentoring for other faculty.

Huebner is the chair and professor of Materials Science and Engineering and has made a significant impact on the careers of many faculty members. He is known for providing frank feedback and his advice on teaching, research, professional development and service activities is unparalleled. He sets high expectations for his department and the campus community, and inspires faculty members to develop the tools and acquire the resources to be successful.

President’s Award for Service
Vicki L. Sauter, Ph.D., UMSL
This award recognizes outstanding contributions in professional expertise and personal service in promoting the missions and values of the university.

Sauter is professor of information systems and is motivated to find creative ways to help individuals and organizations use technology to meet their program needs. She created the Information Systems Advisory Board and the Information Systems Mentoring Club to engage students, alumni, faculty, staff and other members of the business community as volunteers. She also actively participates in the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences and has received several awards for her service.

President’s Award for Early Career Excellence
Suzanna K. Long, Ph.D., Missouri S&T
This award recognizes faculty who exhibit exceptional promise in scholarship, research or creativity as substantiated by significant accomplishments within their first seven years with the university.

Long is assistant professor of engineering management and systems engineering and has demonstrated an ability to create a sustainable, highly visible research program grounded in scholarship, effective teaching and service. Since joining the Missouri S&T faculty in 2008, she has received 21 grants totaling more than $7 million. With a research focus on transportation sustainability, she has published more than 60 articles and six book chapters. In addition to scholarship and teaching, Long has served in leadership positions at multiple professional organizations.

President’s Award for Sustained Excellence
Bahram Mashhoon, Ph.D., MU
This award is given to a faculty member who demonstrates and sustains a record of distinguished scholarship, research or creativity for 15 or more years.

Mashhoon is a professor of physics with more than 27 years of experience at MU. He has made significant contributions to the field of gravitational physics and general relativity, including more than 185 publications. His many achievements include the discovery of  spin-rotation-gravity coupling, now known as the “Mashhoon effect.” In addition, he has developed extensions of Einstein’s theory of relativity that are more compatible with quantum theory.

President’s Award for Innovative Teaching
Carl Hoagland, Ed.D., UMSL
This award recognizes a faculty member who is an outstanding teacher and employs innovative teaching methods to achieve success in student learning.

Hoagland is the Emerson Electric Endowed Professor of Teaching and Learning and consistently brings his vision for creating a technologically engaged campus to life. He has developed numerous educational programs using technology to maximize the learning experience. Hoagland created the E. Desmond Lee Technology and Learning Center, a technology-enriched computing center offering individual workstations, as well as UMSL’s Second Life Writing Center, a virtual tutoring and learning space, which includes an Internet-based virtual environment for children with disabilities.

President’s Award for Economic Development
Marilyn J. Rantz, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, MU

This award recognizes faculty for distinguished activity in meeting the University of Missouri's goal of serving as an economic engine for the state and its citizens.

Rantz is a Curators’ Professor and is a leader in the development of innovative approaches to improving the quality of care delivered to older adults. Her research on nursing home quality has secured nearly $52 million in grants, most recently $14.8 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service—the largest grant ever received by the MU campus. She worked with the state and private industry to create TigerPlace, which has grown from 31 to 54 apartments and now includes an 85-bed rehabilitation center—all bringing more than 140 jobs to Columbia and resulting in over $5 million in annual payroll.

President’s Award for Intercampus Collaboration
Debra A. Gayer, Ph.D., RN, CPNP-PC, MU
Susann M. Farberman, DNP, M.Ed., APRN, CPNP-PC, UMSL
Diana B. King, MSN, RN, CPNP, UMKC
Virginia R. Rahm, MSN, RN, APRN, PNP-BC, UMKC

When Gayer saw a growing need for advanced nurse providers with a focus on children, particularly in rural communities in the state, she brought together intercampus faculty resources from MU, UMKC and UMSL to develop an online Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program. By collaborating to develop core pediatric courses, the group was able to improve student learning, and students were able to maximize their exposure to expert faculty on each of the campuses without leaving their own communities. The collaborative nature of the program seeped into the actual coursework as well with students from all campuses and across the state interacting and discussing children’s health care issues.

Reviewed 2013-06-10