Augustana Presents Faculty Awards at 2022 Commencement Ceremony

By Keeley Meier '20 | June 03, 2022
Gerling and Miller

Pictured: Drs. Daniel Gerling (left) and Jeffrey Miller (right) stand up as they are recognized during the 2022 commencement ceremony at Kirkeby-Over Stadium.

During Augustana’s 2022 commencement ceremony on May 21, Provost & Executive Vice President Dr. Colin Irvine presented this year’s faculty awards — three of which weren’t announced until the ceremony.

The following awards were presented to the recipients at the ceremony: 

Frederick C. Kohlmeyer Distinguished Teaching Professorship

Awarded to Dr. Jeffrey Miller, professor of journalism and co-director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, the professorship was established through a gift in honor of the late Dr. Frederick C. Kohlmeyer. This award recognizes outstanding teaching, and the recipient receives a summer stipend for each of the two years of the award. 

Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr Faculty Excellence Award

Awarded to Dr. Daniel Gerling, associate professor of English and director of the Writing Center, this award was established to recognize excellence in teaching. The selection process is based on votes from full-time faculty and alumni celebrating their fifth anniversary. The award, provided by an endowment created by Dick Niebuhr ‘66, is named in honor of his parents, Vernon and Mildred Niebuhr, “…because they loved Augustana dearly and because they were my first and best teachers.”

The Jane and Charles Zaloudek Faculty Research Fellowship

This year’s fellowship was awarded to Anna Reich, associate professor of art and chair of the department of art and anthropology. The fellowship was established by Jane (Hemmel) ‘72 and Dr. Charles Zaloudek to support research by a member of the Augustana faculty. Along with extending the scope of research beyond the normal confines of the classroom, the driving principle behind the fellowship was the belief that, “faculty research, particularly when combined with undergraduate student research, expands thinking, emboldens the spirit of inquiry and has the potential to significantly improve the human condition.”

Additional faculty awards: 

ASA Faculty Recognition Award
Awarded to Dr. Jared Mays, associate professor of chemistry (2022) 

Selected by the Augustana Student Association (ASA), the annual ASA Faculty Recognition Award recognizes outstanding teaching and contributions to the Augustana community by a faculty member. Students nominate professors they feel display one or more of the five core values of the university — Christian, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community and Service — as well as how those faculty members have positively impacted students’ experiences at Augustana.

Carole Bland Cultivating Faculty Excellence Award
Awarded to Dr. Sherry Barkley, professor of exercise and sport science, and Dr. Shane Scholten, associate professor of exercise and sport science (2022-23) 

Named to honor the life and work of Dr. Carole Bland ‘68, longtime member of the Augustana Board of Trustees and assistant dean for faculty development at the University of Minnesota Medical School, the award provides funding for research to help create and sustain a culture of inquiry about teaching and learning at Augustana. The award focuses on cultivating excellence in teaching and the intersection between research or creative work and classroom teaching, along with faculty mentoring at Augustana, with outstanding new and mid-career faculty being paired with senior faculty members.

Granskou Award for Professional Development
Awarded to Kevin Klawonn, deputy informational technology (IT) director (2022-23) 

Augustana alumni from the era of President Clemens Granskou (1932-43) established an endowed fund to support the annual Granskou Award for professional development. This award alternates annually between members of full-time faculty and administrators of the university. The type of project is limited only by interest and imagination.  

Orin M. Lofthus Distinguished Professorship
Awarded to Dr. Kristen (KC) Carlson, associate professor of anthropology (2021-24)

The Orin M. Lofthus Distinguished Professorship is a 3-year appointment with a stipend to support summer scholarly activities. Recipients of this award are faculty who are regarded as outstanding teachers, people who have made important contributions to the campus and who have demonstrated the capacity to use this award to further their scholarly activities. Lofthus, a biology professor, served Augustana from 1935-45.

National Endowment for the Humanities Chair of Regional Heritage
Awarded to Dr. Michael Mullin, professor of history (2018-21)

This endowment was established as a result of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and matching funds raised by Augustana to support scholarly work related to the life, culture, history, environment and study of the development of the Northern Great Plains. This faculty member must be an excellent teacher and scholar who has a personal and scholarly interest in questions surrounding the Prairie West. 
The Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values
Awarded to Dr. Margaret Preston, professor of history (2020-23)

Augustana established The Stanley L. Olsen Chair of Moral Values as a result of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and matching funds raised by the university. The Chair of Moral Values was named in memory of Stanley L. Olsen, professor of philosophy at Augustana from 1937-79. The chair is to provide leadership to the campus in the areas of ethics and moral values by challenging faculty and students alike to confront value questions in our society, campus community and individual private lives. This 3-year appointment goes to a tenured associate or full professor who enjoys a reputation of being an excellent teacher and scholar and who has a personal and scholarly interest in questions of meaning and value.

The Clara Lea Olson Endowed Chair in Christian Values
Awarded to Dr. Karla Abbott, associate professor of nursing (2020-23)

This professorship was established by Clara Lea Olson in recognition of her long-term support of Augustana and concern for the spiritual well-being of the students at the university. She also wanted to acknowledge the value of educational opportunities presented in the Christian environment at Augustana. The recipient must show a concern for spiritual well-being and exemplify Christian values in their conduct, teaching and research.

The Sanford Health Peter Schotten Endowed Professorship 
Awarded to Dr. Joel Johnson, professor of government & international affairs (2018-28)

This 10-year appointment supports the creation of new opportunities for future leaders entering the field of government and international affairs. Dr. Peter Schotten, professor emeritus of government & international affairs, served Augustana for more than four decades.

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Chair in Religion
Awarded to Dr. Rocki Wentzel, associate professor of religion, philosophy and classics (2021-24)

This 3-year chair appointment is made by the president and dean of the university based upon the recommendations of the chairs of the Humanities Division and religion, philosophy and classics department. The recipient must be a member of the religion, philosophy and classics department, holding the rank of at least associate professor. An annual stipend is also awarded.

Ralph and Susie Wagoner Student Faculty Research Award
Awarded to Laura Arce Vieyra ‘23 and Dr. Raymond Leach, assistant professor of business administration (2022-23)

This endowment was created to foster and underwrite a cooperative student-faculty research project that is fruitful, creative and academic. Students apply for funding for projects that may include primary research, artistic exploration, travel, summer work stipend or publication. After the project is completed, the recipients present their findings to the Augustana campus through a presentation, publication or performance. The endowment was created by Augustana’s 21st president, Dr. Ralph Wagoner, and his wife, Susie.

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