Awards | Faculty & Staff | Info For | College of Liberal Arts | SIU

Southern Illinois University




University Excellence Awards

See sidebar for 2015 college award guidelines; Deadline for nomination packets is February 20, 2015.

2014 Scholar Excellence Award: Michael Hoane

Michael Hoane, behavioral neuroscientist in the Department of Psychology, has been named the 2014 Outstanding Scholar for the College of Liberal Arts. Professor Hoane is being recognized for the steady advancements he is making in the field of traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Hoane heads up SIU’s Restorative Neuroscience Laboratory, whose mission is, according to the department’s website, “to use state of the art preclinical technologies to develop treatments for traumatic brain injuries.” Extremely productive and one of the most oft-cited researchers in the field today, Hoane is known for his novel and combinative therapeutic approach to treatment research. Currently nearing the end of a five-year grant cycle, Dr. Hoane has recently been testing the pre-clinical efficacy of various off-label drug cocktails and vita-nutrient therapies in reducing the consequences of the initial injury, or primary head trauma. “Off-label” testing refers to the testing of approved drugs for uses beyond their first indications. Hoane’s lab is finding that most of these drugs will not alleviate TBI. While disappointing, the information contributes to the pursuit of finding further therapies that will aid brain injury patients. In addition to exploring pharmacological combination therapies, he is at the same time developing better preclinical models, and evaluating factors than can worsen (through stress or aging, for example) or improve (e.g., through cognitive training) quality of life post-TBI.

2014 Teaching Excellence Award: Carola Daffner

Carola Daffner has been named winner of the 2014 Teaching Excellence Award for the College of Liberal Arts. Assistant Professor of German in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, she is known for her engaging teaching style and the innovative way she approaches instruction. A specialist in intercultural communication, Daffner has been bringing her “no fear” style of German language study to SIU since 2007. Student comfort level is always the first priority for this year’s celebrated teacher in the Liberal Arts. It is a concern that grew out of personal experience: “I was the shy kid in the class, so for me it’s important to make students feel comfortable.” Chair David Johnson says that “Carola Daffner is a wonderful teacher who brings to the classroom a deep understanding of the latest approaches to language teaching, and creates a comfortable, creative space for her students to improve their German while learning about German culture.  We are proud to have her as a colleague and glad she’s been chosen for this award, one she so richly deserves.”

2012 Scholar Excellence Award: Theodore R. Weeks

 Weeks, a professor in the history department, is a "remarkably productive scholar whose work has international implications as well as international impact," writes former Dean Alan Vaux and Associate Dean David DiLalla. Weeks' research interests include anti-semitism, ethnic relations and assimilation, and national movements in East Central Europe and Russia. Among his many honors is a Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the University of Warsaw in Poland from September 2008 to July 2009, and the 2009 Outstanding Scholar award from the College of Liberal Arts. Week's scholarly work includes two books, two textbooks, 20 essays, 40 journal articles, four enclyclopedia articles, and more than 160 book reviews. In addition to his research record and scholarly efforts, Weeks has taught 15 classes in the history department -- ranging from advanced graduate seminars to an undergraduate course in worl civilizations. He regularly meets informally with students and serves as a resource and mentor. Weeks earned his bachelor's degree in German and a mast's degree in German literature in 1980 and 1984, respectively, both from the University of Colorado, and his doctorate in history in 1992 from the University of California, Berkley.

2012 Teaching Excellence Award: Meera Komarraju

Komarraju, an associate professor of psychology and newly appointed Associate Dean of Students in the College of Liberal Arts, is a "stellar teacher who is dedicated to her students' success," writes Benjamin Rodriguez, associate professor and department chair. Komarraju began as a lecturer in the psychology department in 1986, and held positions in both the psychology and management departments before becoming an assistant professor in psychology in 2005, and associate professor in 2009. She became director of the psychology department's undergraduate program in 2003. Komarraju received the University's outstanding Core Curriculum faculty member award in 2007. She is a two-time recipient of CoLA's "Outstanding Term Teacher" award. Komarraju earned bachelor's degrees in psychology, philosophy and English literature in 1976 from Nizam College, India; master's of Arts degree in psychology in 1978 and a master's of philosophy degree in 1980 from Osmania University, India, and a doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology in 1983, also from Osmania University. She also has a doctorate degree in applied social psychology (1987) from the University of Cincinnati.

College of Liberal Arts Awards

2011 College Outstanding Scholar Award: Jonathan D. Hill

Hill, an internationally recognized professor in anthropology, is known for his work in Amazonian research, in partiuclar the indigenous Wakuénai people living along the Amazon River in southern Venezuela. Hill's research interests include ethnology, ecology and history of Lowland Souther America. Professional colleagues cite Hill's work as having a "profound impact on the intellectural character of anthropology of this region." His work for decades "is an outsanding example of a scholar who has endured all the rigors and challenges of pursuing such a deep understanding amongst remote, tribal peoples of the Amazon." Hill's work includes his 2009 book, "Made-from-Bone: Trickster Myths, Music, and History in an Amazonian Community," in addition to "Keepers of the Sacred Chants: The Poetics of Ritual Power in an Amazonian Society." He is co-editor of two books that will be published later this year. He has also published approximately 25 peer-reviewed journal articles, 35 peer-reviewed book chapters, 15 book reviews and eight commentaries, and is active in presentation conference papers and invited lectures around the world. Hill is president of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South Africa, and an executive board member of the Society for the Anthropology of Religion, a section of the American Anthropological Society. Hill, who joined the faculty in 1986, earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1976, and his doctorate from Indiana University in 1983.

2011 College Outstanding Teacher Award: Anne K. Chandler

Chandler, an associate professor in English, is noted by colleagues as a prepared instructor who creates a comfortable educational environment that encourages students to freely participate in classroom discussions. Colleagues note Chandler's ability to "engage and challenge" her students. Chandler studies 18th century British fiction, poetry, educational theory and political philosophy, and her recent research has dealt with feminist writings from the era of the French revolution. In teaching literature Chandler said she is "often trying, directly or indirectly, to get my students to speak -- to become confident in expressing an opinion about a piece of writing, to make a case for what's important in it, and to trust their own suspicions about its failings." She said she also believes that people learn best, and for themselves, "when knowledge is offered unstintingly." Chandler said the approximately 25 college professors she recalls most vividly "both as perosonalities, and for what they taught, were all keen talkers and content providers." Chandler joined SIUC in 1995. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware in 1986, and her master's and doctoral degrees from Duke University in 1988 and 1995, respectively.

CoLA Outstanding Scholar

Past Winners

2012    Theodore R. Weeks

2011    Jonathan Hill

2010    Mary Lamb

2009    Theodore Weeks

2008    Anthony Steinbock

2007    Robbie Lieberman

2006    David Gilbert

2005    Ronald Pepas

2004    Izumi Shimada

CoLA Outstanding Teacher

Past Winners

2012    Meera Komarraju

2011    Anne Chandler

2010    Suzanne Daughton

2009    Harris Deller

2008    David Sutton

2007    Jonathan Wiesen

2006    Anthony Steinbock

2005    Jonathan Bean

2004    Jane Adams