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Northwest Missouri State University


Faculty/Staff Spotlight

Aug. 27, 2014

College of Arts and Sciences gives 3 Dean’s Faculty Awards

Dr. Michael Steiner, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University, has announced three faculty members as winners of this year’s Dean's Faculty Awards.

Brenda Ryan, instructor of English, received the Dean’s Faculty Award for Teaching; Dr. John Gallaher, associate professor of English, received the Dean’s Faculty Award for Research; and Dr. Carol Spradling, associate professor of Computer Science and Information Systems, received the Dean’s Faculty Award for Service.

The Dean's Faculty Award Program recognizes superior faculty performance in each of the three traditional areas of academic responsibility: teaching, research and service. All full-time faculty holding a board-approved appointment at the University are eligible for the awards.

Remarks from each award winner’s nomination form appear below.

Northwest will recognize its 2014 Dean’s Faculty Award winners from all three academic colleges during a ceremony at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, on the first floor of the Administration Building. One faculty member is selected from among each academic college’s Dean’s Faculty Award for Teaching winners as the recipient of the 2015 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, which also will be announced during the ceremony.

Brenda Ryan, Dean's Faculty Award for Teaching

Brenda Ryan continues to be a pacesetter in the Department of English and Modern Languages. Her evaluation numbers are the highest overall, and she has consistently demonstrated that she is one of the finest teachers on the Northwest campus.

Ryan’s overall evaluation scores from spring 2013 and fall 2013 were a near perfect 3.89 and 3.85. She remains one of the most sought-after instructors on the campus, her classes always are among the first to fill in the department, and students often request they be added into her already full sections. Here are three representative comments from her students:

  • “I like that we took the time to really analyze every aspect of our writing that needed to be included in the final draft. I really like the one-on-one meetings where we could truly focus on my writing and what I needed to work on.”
  • “She went above and beyond to connect with students and to get them involved. She was extremely organized, clear on teaching, and always available for extra help.”
  • “She challenged me to become a better writer, to take more time and exert more effort.”
  • “She made coming to class fun and enjoyable. She helped me improve my writing style tremendously.”

Ryan supervised two honors program special projects last year and serves as the faculty sponsor of the Northwest chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society. She also is the faculty co-sponsor of the Northwest chapter of Phi Eta Sigma, the national freshman honor society.  In addition, she has been recognized by the offices of Residential Life and Student Affairs as an individual who has made a positive impact on a student living on our campus.

Ryan has been honored by Northwest’s Mortar Board as one of the Top 10 Professors on Campus and was one of 22 faculty members nominated by a sorority to be honored at the Fall 2013 Panhellenic Scholarship Banquet. She also has been recognized by the honors program and invited to participate in its “The 60 Second Lecture” series next year.

Brenda Ryan

Dr. John Gallaher, Dean's Faculty Award for Research

Dr. John Gallaher has continued his enviable output both scholarly and creatively. He has co-edited one book, published another new chapbook of his own poetry, published a scholarly essay and published 20 new poems in a variety of creative writing journals during the last year.

Gallaher co-edited a book-length collection of Michael Benedikt poems, “Time Is a Toy: The Selected Poems of Michael Benedikt,” which was published by the University of Akron Press in December. He also published an essay “On Gerald Stern” in a journal, titled “Field,” and Dead Lake press published his new chapbook, “The Future of Love” in January.

Gallaher also presented invited readings of his poetry at Left Bank Books in Seattle and at William Paterson University’s Spring Literary Festival, where he also served as a guest workshop leader.

“It is an honor to have John as a colleague at Northwest,” one nominator wrote. “He is an amazingly accomplished contemporary poet and continues to astonish folks with both the quality and quantity of his literary output. He remains the pacesetter in the Department of English and Modern Languages for research and creative accomplishment.”

Dr. John Gallaher

Dr. Carol Spradling, Dean’s Faculty Award for Service

Dr. Carol Spradling has completed an exceptional year in service to her students, department, the University and the computer profession. She is an active member of numerous department and university committees. She also is active in regional, national and international groups related to computer science education and computing in society. 

Spradling’s extensive efforts in student support include her advising, counseling of students, her endless hours of meeting with students, and her constant positive attitude toward all of her students. As an advisor to students in computer science, interactive digital media, applied computer science and management information systems, she listens intently to their individual situations, provides gentle advice and instills confidence in her students.

As the faculty advisor to the DigEM student group, she successfully motivates members to conduct meaningful meetings that bring interesting speakers to campus. She also connects members with appropriate high-tech businesses to help them obtain internships and jobs.

As a team member of the CS4HS Google grant, Computer Science for High Schools, she has conducted computer workshops for area teachers to help them incorporate computer technology in their classrooms. In the same manner, she and a group of students have conducted recruiting trips at schools in Omaha, Neb.; Kansas City, Mo.; and other area schools to introduce students to computing careers and Northwest. 

Last fall she was the co-chairperson of the Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas Women In Computing Conference in Kansas City, which brought well-known women in technology to discuss their computing careers. Carol’s work for the conference has supported the purpose of recruiting women into computing careers. 

As a member of the National Science Foundation S-STEM grant team, she has played a significant role in recruiting under-represented students to attend Northwest and study computing. This has involved contacting students, visiting with prospective students and then meeting monthly with STEM scholarship recipients.

Dr. Carol Spradling

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468