Larsen named Hedrick Award winner at Marshall

Updated 48 weeks ago Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University

Dr. Eldon Larsen, professor of engineering at Marshall University, has been selected as the university’s Dr. Charles E. Hedrick Outstanding Faculty Award winner for 2017-2018.


Larsen will receive $5,000 through a grant from Charles B. and Mary Jo Locke Hedrick. The award is named in honor of Charles Hedrick’s father, Charles E. Hedrick, a former history professor and later chairman of the Graduate Council, and one of the founders of Marshall’s graduate program.

Marshall’s Center for Teaching and Learning today announced the Hedrick Award and three others, honoring five additional faculty members. They are:

Marshall and Shirley Reynolds Outstanding Teacher Award: Dr. Zelideth Rivas, an associate professor in the modern languages department.
Pickens-Queen Teacher Award: Dr. Hilary Brewster, an assistant professor of English; Dr. Ben Eng, an assistant professor in the division of marketing, management information systems and entrepreneurship; and Eric Smith, an assistant professor of English.
The Council of Chairs Award for Excellence in Teaching: Daniel O’Malley, an instructor in the English department.

Here is a look at the awards and the winners:

Charles E. Hedrick Outstanding Faculty Award

This award recognizes a full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has a minimum of seven years teaching experience at Marshall and has a record of outstanding classroom teaching, scholarship, research and creative activities.

Dr. Eldon Larsen has been teaching at Marshall since 1997, when he began teaching graduate courses in project management as an adjunct faculty member. Now, as a full professor of engineering, he has since served as chair of Marshall’s Graduate Council from 2001 to 2010 and then held the position of Faculty Senate chair from 2012 to 2014. In addition to his teaching duties, he is also the coordinator of the Master of Science in Engineering degree program. He was awarded the Marshall Distinguished Artists and Scholars Award and the John Deaver Drinko Distinguished Fellow Award in 2009. Over the course of his career, he has published over 40 scholarly research articles related to his discipline and shows no signs of slowing down.

“I cannot think of a more deserving person for this award than Dr. Larsen,” said Dr. Wael Zatar, dean of the College of Information Technology and Engineering. “His peers in the college and in this industry consider him to have the highest level of dedication, ethics, patience, honesty and professionalism. He is highly respected by his students and has received very high ratings on his class evaluations. These attributes contribute to his very successful career as a professor and a researcher. Our college and the university is very fortunate to have Dr. Larsen as a faculty member.”

“In research, Dr. Larsen is shockingly productive. During the past five years (i.e., since January 2013) he has delivered more than 30 presentations at academic meetings and conferences,” said Dr. Isaac Wait, associate professor of engineering. “And this is certainly not a case of quantity over quality – the vast majority of those presentations were at peer‐reviewed conferences of the premier organization in his academic discipline (i.e., the American Institute of Chemical Engineers). Further evidence of Dr. Larsen’s achievement in research can be found in the fact that he has been awarded two patents, and is routinely invited to serve as chair for sessions of academic meetings and conferences.”

“Eldon’s effectiveness as an instructor never ceases to amaze me. Eldon and I are both faculty members in the Engineering division’s master’s degree program, so we often interact with the same students. Every single one of those students has had nothing but glowing and positive things to say about his courses,” said Dr. Gregory K. Michaelson, assistant professor of structural engineering. “You’d be hard-pressed to find many Marshall professors with a service record as impressive as his. His service to Marshall, including numerous committee memberships (at the department, college, and university levels) and terms as the chair of the Faculty Senate and the chair of the Graduate Council, is representative of a genuinely indispensable faculty member. Eldon has undoubtedly left his mark at Marshall University, and we are better off for it.”

Marshall and Shirley Reynolds Outstanding Teacher Award

This award includes a $3,000 stipend, and all tenured or tenure-track faculty members who have completed six or more years of service at Marshall are eligible.

Dr. Zelideth Rivas has been teaching at Marshall since 2012, when she began teaching Japanese as assistant professor in the modern languages department. Since that time, she has become an associate professor, and served as summer faculty for the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS) Japan program. Rivas has published several articles in various peer-reviewed journals and received other university awards including the Distinguished Artists and Scholars Award, the Women of Color Award and the Pickens-Queen Teacher Award.

“Dr. Rivas’ strengths are her dynamic approach to teach a foreign language in the target language,” said Natsuki Fukunaga Anderson, associate professor in the modern languages department. “Her enthusiasm, clear instructions and friendly manner create a welcome yet challenging classroom environment…Despite a heavy course load that has consisted of many new class preparations, she managed a complicated research agenda that far surpasses anything required of faculty in our college. She functions fully as a scholar in her field who brings recognition to our program and to Marshall through her community outreach.”

“Dr. Rivas’ teaching style is kind of a combination of very interactive lecture, discussion and group work,” said Dr. Jamie Warner, professor within the political science department. “Dr. Rivas’ personality is naturally infectious and she obviously puts a great deal of time into her classes, which makes them look ‘natural.’ Those of us who teach for a living, however, know better. Good teaching is the result of not only intense content preparation but also thinking about pedagogy and the best way to expose students to that content so they are enticed into learning it well. The very best teachers among us so entice students that they become majors, and the growth of the Japanese language program at Marshall speaks to Dr. Rivas’ pedagogical skills.”

Pickens-Queen Teacher Award

Each of these three award winners receives a $1,000 stipend. The award honors outstanding junior faculty. All faculty members teaching on a full-time, tenured or tenure track appointment who have completed one to five years of service at Marshall are eligible.

Dr. Hilary Brewster has been at Marshall since 2013, when she was hired as an assistant professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts. During her time at Marshall, she’s served on the undergraduate program committee, the Chair’s Advisory Committee and the Secondary English Education Accreditation ad hoc committee.

“In working with Dr. Brewster, I discovered a brilliant and dedicated teacher,” said Ian Nolte, instructor in the Department of English.  “…. Furthermore, her work with me demonstrates her commitment to building a healthy, positive teaching culture at the university. Being a teacher, working hard and valuing the work of other teachers are important to her. Teacher candidates that meet Dr. Brewster want to be a teacher like Dr. Brewster. She makes me proud to work at Marshall University.”

Brewster earned her B.A. degree in psychology and women’s studies from Muhlenberg College, her M.S.Ed. degree in secondary English education from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in teaching and learning from the Ohio State University.

Dr. Ben Eng has taught at Marshall since 2014 as an assistant professor in marketing in the Lewis College of Business (LCOB). He received the college’s Service Award and was nominated for the Pickens-Queen Teacher Award in 2015.

“I have known and worked with Ben since he joined the LCOB faculty, and he is one of the most exceptional young faculty members I have met in over 30 years at Marshall,” said Dr. Dallas Brozik, professor of finance. “He is energetic and innovative, and his classroom teaching is top notch. He is well liked by his students, and he makes sure they actually learn something … His leadership in the Design for Delight project in the spring 2017 semester provided students across campus with the ability to interact with the community and a major corporate sponsor to address problems of local concern. Without Dr. Eng, there would have been no project. He has done a lot so far, and I anticipate he will continue to be one of the best professors in the university.”

Eng earned his B.A in political science from James Madison University, his M.B.A. from Marshall University and his Ph.D. degree in business administration from Southern Illinois University.

Eric Smith has taught at Marshall since 2010, when he was hired as an assistant professor of English.

“I have learned that Professor Smith is meticulous in his design of course documents and lesson sequencing, and he works to ensure students have the necessary tools to succeed,” said Dr. Kelli Prejean, associate professor of English. “From an interpersonal standpoint, Professor Smith is a model colleague … He approaches his work responsibilities with both passion and evenhandedness, and he models these qualities in his classroom as well. Although in a large department with a number of stellar colleagues, Professor Smith stands out as one of our most capable, well-rounded teachers and scholars.”

Smith earned his B.A. in English from the University of West Georgia, his M.A. in English from Northern Michigan University and his M.F.A. in creative writing from University of Florida.

Council of Chairs Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Council of Chairs Award for Excellence in Teaching, now in its third year, recognizes teaching excellence in Marshall’s full-time term and temporary faculty. Each fall, members of the Council of Chairs (excepting the School of Medicine) are permitted to nominate up to two candidates from a given department. A $1,000 cash award will be presented each year. Full-time term or full-time temporary faculty with at least two years’ full-time teaching at Marshall University are eligible.

Daniel O’Malley serves as an instructor in the English department.

“He brings to the classroom his national success as a fiction writer: his story ‘Bridge’ was published in the 2016 volume of Best American Short Stories,” said Dr. Allison Carey, associate professor of English. “With his skills as a teacher and his gifts as a writer, he is able to help his students become better writers themselves (in all genres, from academic essays to creative writing), and he is able to make literature more accessible and interesting to reluctant students. He is the consummate professional, always approaching things in a calm and rational manner, even when not everyone around him is doing the same. He is warm and generous with students, giving of his time and bending over backwards to answer their advising questions or to direct

them to appropriate resources. He is collaborative with his colleagues and celebrates their successes and honors while modestly downplaying his own.”

Carey said O’Malley has been entrusted with a significant leadership role in the department as coordinator of undergraduate programs and is assisting in the development of a new program in professional writing.

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