CASE President John Lippincott

2009 Luncheon Remarks
Nov. 19, 2009

Good afternoon, and welcome to this awards luncheon in honor of the 2009 U.S. Professors of the Year!

I am John Lippincott, president of CASE-the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

On behalf of CASE, I want to thank all of you for being here today.

Lunch will be served in just a few minutes, but first I'd like to talk briefly about these awards.

Founded in 1981, the U.S. Professors of the Year program is the only national award specifically designed to acknowledge outstanding undergraduate teaching.

Throughout the 29-year history of these awards, CASE has been proud to partner with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to recognize the contributions of this nation's top professors.

As you may know, CASE is a membership association of schools, colleges and universities that provides resources for professionals who work in the areas of alumni relations, communications, marketing, and fundraising.

However, you may not know that CASE, is one of the largest associations of educational institutions in the world, with nearly 3,400 institutional members in more than 60 countries.

At the core of our mission is a fundamental belief in the transformational role that education plays in our lives.

CASE helps make possible those transformational experiences by providing colleges and universities with the tools to build strong support among benefactors, alumni, opinion leaders, government officials, and other constituents.

However, it is the faculty members who actually create, stimulate, inspire and foster the transformation in their students.

And so it is that we are here today to honor our nation's professors ... and specifically, to honor those who have changed students' lives.

The professors we recognize today were identified through a rigorous selection process that included three rounds of judging by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation.

More than 300 educators from across the United States, Guam and the District of Columbia were nominated for a 2009 Professor of the Year award.

From these nominees, independent judges selected 38 state winners and four national winners.

A meticulous review of the nominating materials-including curriculum vitae, teaching logs and personal statements-provided the judges with valuable insight into the work of these extraordinary teachers.

However, it is the personal stories in the letters of support from colleagues and students that often reveal the most about the commitment, the dedication and the passion for teaching of the nominees.

In reviewing the letters submitted on behalf of our winners, I was struck by the number of times the words "creative," "engaging," "inspiring" and "encouraging" appear.

These are truly remarkable educators, from whom we all can learn.

Later in this program, you will hear from our four national winners-professors who represent undergraduate teaching at its finest.

They have transformed their students by transforming the classroom experience.

These professors have created learning environments in which students are not passive recipients of information - rather, they are active participants in their own education.

Our winners are committed to motivating their students to ask better questions and to develop the skills they will need to continue learning throughout their lives.

Our honorees believe in the pedagogical primacy of critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and real-world experience.

We applaud their creativity within and outside the classroom, their belief in a learning process that involves mutual discovery, and their dedication to the principle that knowledge liberates, empowers and humanizes us.

Now, I want to thank those who have helped make this lunch possible.

First, I want to recognize the generous support of TIAA-CREF, higher education's premier financial investment network.

I would like to ask Bernadette Davis, regional vice president, north central region, Wealth Management Group, for TIAA-CREF, to offer a few words of welcome. Bernadette, will you please join me at the lectern?

Thank you, Bernadette. TIAA-CREF has been a consistent and loyal champion of this program, and we are very grateful for your support over the years.

In addition to the ongoing sponsorships from the Carnegie Foundation and TIAA-CREF, the Professors of the Year program enjoys the support of many other members of the higher education community.

I would particularly like to thank the following sponsors:

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Community Colleges
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities
The American Association of University Professors
The Association of Community College Trustees
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
The Council of Independent Colleges, and
The National Council of University Research Administrators
In addition, I would like to thank Phi Beta Kappa for its sponsorship of this evening's reception for our winners at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Please join me in thanking all of our sponsors.

I would like to welcome several distinguished guests with us this afternoon.

I also want to welcome the friends, colleagues, students, and guests of our national winners.

And I would like to acknowledge the leaders of those institutions who are here with us today. Please stand and be recognized:

Richard Storey, chancellor, The University of Montana, Western
Karl Ulrich, provost, The University of Montana, Western
Cary Israel, president, Collin College
Douglas Kristensen, chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney

For those of us at CASE, one of the great pleasures of the Professors of the Year program is working with a wonderful group of colleagues at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

In addition to helping us guide the development of the awards, the Carnegie Foundation underwrites a portion of the costs of administering the program.

The foundation also provides a $5,000 monetary award to each of our national winners.

Most important, the foundation conducts the final round of judging that leads to the selection of the four national winners.

Leading the team at Carnegie is Dr. Anthony S. Bryk.

Tony became the foundation's ninth president in September 2008.

He previously taught at Stanford University and the University of Chicago, where he helped found the Center for Urban School Improvement, an institute that supports reform efforts in the Chicago Public Schools.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Anthony Bryk to the lectern.

Thank you, Tony.

Your remarks have eloquently captured the accomplishments of our winners and the importance of their work in today's society.

I would now like to take a moment to thank the governing boards of CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for their unwavering support of this program.

We have many trustees from both organizations with us today.

Would all of the members of the two boards please stand and be recognized?

And now, it is my pleasure to acknowledge the State Professors of the Year who are with us this afternoon.

These are faculty members who received a ranking from the CASE and Carnegie judges that placed them in the top tier of all nominees nationally and at the top of the list in their states.

I am impressed, and delighted, that 34 of our 38 state winners are able to be with us today, including some who have traveled a great distance.

As I read the names of the 2009 State Professors of the Year, I would like to ask each winner to stand and remain standing until all names have been read.

Please hold your applause until I've named all state winners who are with us.

  • From Alabama: Duane H. Pontius Jr., T. Morris Hackney Professor of Physics, Birmingham-Southern College
  • From Arkansas: Gregory J. Salamo, Distinguished and Bascor Professor of Physics, University of Arkansas
  • From Colorado: Ron Estler, Professor of Chemistry, Fort Lewis College
  • From Connecticut: Laura Nash, Associate Professor, Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Fairfield University
  • From District of Columbia: Joan Burggraf Riley, Assistant Professor of Human Science and Nursing, Georgetown University
  • From Florida: Sandra Schultz, Professor, Department of Biology, Health and Wellness, Miami Dade College
  • From Georgia: Kenneth Shane Sajwan, Professor of Environmental Science, Savannah State University
  • From Guam: Lourdes M. Ferrer, Associate Professor, Elementary Education Program, University of Guam
  • From Illinois: Gregory M. Ferrence, Professor of Chemistry, Illinois State University
  • From Indiana: Jerry Sweeten, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of Environmental Studies, Manchester College
  • From Kentucky: Tracy Knowles, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science Technology, Bluegrass Community and Technical College
  • From Louisiana: Marybeth Lima, Professor, Biological & Agricultural Engineering, Louisiana State University and A&M College
  • From Maryland: Susan Bontems, Associate Professor, Montgomery College, Rockville
  • From Massachusetts: Audrey A. Friedman, Associate Professor, Lynch School of Education, Boston College
  • From Michigan: Mary Beth Looby, Professor of English and Director, Developmental Education Program, Delta College
  • From Minnesota: Marlise Riffel, Sociology Instructor, Lake Superior College
  • From Mississippi: James B. Harris, Professor of Geology, Millsaps College
  • From Missouri: Pawan Kahol, Associate Dean, College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Missouri State University
  • From Nevada: Thomas Nickles, Foundation Professor, Philosophy Department, University of Nevada, Reno
  • From New Hampshire: Andrew Samwick, Professor of Economics and Director, Nelson A. Rockefeller Center, Dartmouth College
  • From New Mexico: Nader Vadiee, Instructor-Engineering Programs, Advanced Technical Education Department, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute
  • From New York: Anne Panning, Professor of English, SUNY-Brockport
  • From Ohio: John Parcell, Associate Professor of Music, Sinclair Community College
  • From Oklahoma: Myra Anne Decker, Professor of Accounting/Business, Oklahoma City Community College
  • From Oregon: Peter Nichols Richardson, Professor of German, Linfield College
  • From Pennsylvania: Vasiliki Anastasakos, Associate Professor of Political Science, Northampton Community College
  • From South Carolina: Angela B. Shiflet, Larry H. McCalla Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Chair, Computer Science Department, Wofford College
  • From South Dakota: Dan Dolan, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  • From Tennessee: David G. Haskell, Professor of Biology, University of the South, Sewanee
  • From Utah: David Peak, Professor of Physics, Utah State University
  • From Virginia: Kevin Hamed, Assistant Professor of Biology, Virginia Highlands Community College
  • From Washington: Robert M. Withycombe, Professor of Rhetoric and Film Studies, Whitman College
  • From West Virginia: Ruth Kershner, Associate Professor, Clinical Track, Robert C. Byrd School of Medicine, West Virginia University
  • From Wisconsin: Regan A. R. Gurung, Professor of Human Development and Psychology, and Chair of Human Development, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Please join me in acknowledging this remarkable group of educators and mentors!

Many of the state winners here today are accompanied by leaders from their campuses and we welcome them, as well.

And now to our national winners. The U.S. Professors of the Year are chosen from hundreds of nominees across the country.

They are judged within four institutional categories: baccalaureate, community college, doctoral and master's institutions.

They are selected based on four criteria:

  • their impact on and involvement with undergraduate students;
  • their scholarly approach to teaching and learning;
  • their contributions to undergraduate education on their campuses;
  • and their recommendations from colleagues and students.

CASE convenes panels of experts, many of them with us today, to conduct the preliminary round of judging.

We then forward the highest-scoring nominees to the Carnegie Foundation where a panel identifies the "best of the best."

And so, it is now time for you to hear from "the best of the best." And who better to introduce them to you than their current or former students.

We begin with the Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year: Robert C. Thomas, professor of geology, at the University of Montana Western in Dillon, Montana.

And here to introduce Professor Thomas is one of his current students, Helen Sladek.

Helen, will you please step up to the lectern?

Rob Thomas, on behalf of CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is an honor to recognize you as the 2009 Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year!

Our next winner is from the state of Texas. The Outstanding Community Colleges Professor of the Year is Tracey McKenzie, professor of sociology at Collin College in Frisco, Texas.

Introducing Professor McKenzie is her former student, Melinda Archacki. Melinda, will you please step forward and introduce your professor?

Tracey McKenzie, on behalf of CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is an honor to recognize you as the 2009 Outstanding Community Colleges Professor of the Year!

The Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year is Brian Coppola, Arthur F. Thurnau professor of chemistry, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Introducing Professor Coppola is his former student, P.J. Alaimo. P.J., will you please come forward?

Brian Coppola, on behalf of CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is an honor to recognize you as the 2009 Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year!

The Outstanding Master's Universities and Colleges Professor of the Year is from Nebraska: Richard Miller, professor of psychology and department chair, at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Introducing Professor Miller is his former student, Emily Balcetis. Emily, will you please step up to the lectern?

Richard Miller, on behalf of CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is an honor to recognize you as the 2009 Outstanding Master's Universities and Colleges Professor of the Year!

Congratulations to all of our national and state winners.

Thank you again for all you have done to help your students craft better lives, to help your colleagues create better learning environments, and to help your institutions contribute to a better world.

Before I turn the lectern over to Dr. Bryk, I would like to remind our state winners that we will be taking a group photo in this room immediately following the end of the program.

And now, I would like to invite Dr. Bryk to close the program. Dr. Bryk?

Nominate a professor for the 2012 awards program.


View 2014 photo gallery

Purchase 2014 photos

Program Sponsors