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News Release

Aug. 17, 2023

Brown is 2024 Governor’s Award winner; 6 receive Faculty Excellence Awards

Northwest Missouri State University honored six individuals Wednesday as recipients of its annual Faculty Excellence Awards in recognition of their teaching, scholarship and service during 2022-23.

Continuing the institution’s long-standing tradition of naming one of the honorees as Northwest’s Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education recipient, the University announced Dr. Debra Brown, an assistant professor of music in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts, will receive the 2024 award. Brown, who joined the Northwest faculty in 2017, has taught courses related to American popular music, the intersection of arts, and music methods in elementary and secondary schools.

“It is such an honor each year to award the Faculty Excellence Awards,” Northwest Provost Dr. Jamie Hooyman said. “Northwest is blessed with so much talent that supports our success, and our faculty are amazing.”

The Governor’s Award is sponsored by the Missouri Council on Public Higher Education and presented annually to an outstanding faculty member representing each of Missouri’s four-year public institutions. Northwest’s recipient is chosen from faculty members who receive the University’s Faculty Excellence Award for teaching and exemplify the Governor’s Award criteria for effective teaching, effective advising, innovation in course design and delivery, service to the university and community, and a commitment to high standards of excellence and success in nurturing student achievement.

For Northwest’s Faculty Excellence Awards, one recipient is selected in each of the three categories of teaching, scholarship and service from nominees representing Northwest’s six professional schools, and one recipient is selected in each category from nominees representing the five academic departments comprising the College of Arts and Sciences, for a total of six award winners.

All full-time faculty holding a Board of Regents-approved appointment at the University are eligible for Faculty Excellence Awards.

This fall’s Faculty Excellence Award recipients and a summary of their nominations are provided below.

Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching

Dr. Debra Brown

Dr. Debra Brown, assistant professor of music in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts

Every indicator suggests Brown is an outstanding teacher, knowledgeable in both music and pedagogy, engaging, caring and highly innovative. She consistently receives high student evaluations, including comments referring to her passion, kindness, innovation and being a role model. She has remained focused on teaching in both music and in education while serving as associate department chair and overseeing all aspects of music, including the mentoring of other teachers.

Her participation and leadership with Orff workshops and pedagogy-based conferences, supervision of education fieldwork and sponsorship of guest artists provides value-added benefits that supplement in-class instruction for students in the discipline and beyond.

Finally, Brown works tirelessly on curricular revision. Her benchmarking and needs-based assessments, collaboration, proposal development and follow-through are exemplars on making significant program revisions. Her wisdom from experience and foresight provides an ideal combination for her work both with curriculum development and daily in every classroom.

Dr. Nate Eloe

Dr. Nate Eloe, associate professor of computer science and information systems in the School of Computer Science and Information Systems

Eloe is an incredible teacher in an area that uses constantly changing technology tools. He spends time updating course materials and integrating GitHub and Python Notebooks and other new tools. He taught nine different courses during the past academic year while supervising four independent studies and handling an increased load due to enrollment growth. He redeveloped the popular Internet of Things course, helped design the new cybersecurity lab and oversees the School of Computer Science and Information Systems’ maker space.

Eloe has connections throughout campus, teaching University Seminar and working with faculty inn the Department of Literature, Language and Writing to create a cooperative course project with game development and professional and technical writing. He also is working on a virtual reality project with the School of Agricultural Sciences.

Student evaluation comments call Eloe a fantastic teacher who gives insightful lessons and interact with students, keeping them tuned in to difficult material. His assignment methods are innovative, helping students strengthen their ability to write code.

Faculty Excellence Award for Scholarship

Daniel Biegelson

Daniel Biegelson, senior instructor of English in the Department of Language, Literature and Writing

Biegelson’s accomplishments in 2022 included a published book, six poems published in journals, and giving 11 readings and interviews. In addition to working on his own poetry, he edited an anthology of contemporary American Jewish poetry.

His work earned him recognition last September as a Missouri Arts Council Artist of the Month.

Dr. Cindy Tu

Dr. Cindy Tu, associate professor of computer science and information systems in the School of Computer Science and Information Systems

Tu is a natural researcher in addition to being a strong graduate teacher and collaborator. In 2022, she had six peer-reviewed publications and presented at the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, a top-rated conference for information technology management.

Tu’s latest paper was identified as a top 25% paper at the AMCIS 2023 conference. She also has served as a reviewer for several journals and multiple conferences.

Faculty Excellence Award for Service

Dr. Ethan Bottone

Dr. Ethan Bottone, assistant professor of geography in the Department of Natural Sciences

Bottone serves as a faculty advisor for geography majors and for the geography honor society, Gamma Theta Upsilon. He also served as a member of the Faculty Senate’s Institutional Review Board.

In addition to serving as the geography discipline’s social media coordinator, he serves on the Occupy Valk Committee, helping to organize the Northwest lecture series that brings social justice topics to the campus and community. Moreover, he has been a key player in the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency map-making project, serving as both the GeoTechnical Services coordinator and the NGA program manager.

Additionally, he served as a journal editor, a board member for a geography organization, and a research fellow for a major geography project. He also volunteers annually for the World Geography Bowl of SEDAAG and has brought that knowledge to the revitalization of the Geography Bowl as part of Geography Awareness Week at Northwest.

Diana Linville

Diana Linville, senior instructor of computer science and information systems in the School of Computer Science and Information Systems

During the last two academic years, Linville has chaired the School of Computer Science and Information Systems’ active search committee, setting up and conducting more than 50 Zoom interview sessions and coordinating 14 campus visits for candidates.

Linville leads the School of Computer Science and Information Systems’ Professional Advisory Team. She helps run visit days, participates in recruitment activities and attends Career Day to interact with employers. She is a co-sponsor of Northwest’s Association for Computing Machinery and our Upsilon Pi Epsilon chapters.

She is active across the campus, serving as the Jean Jennings Bartik Scholarship and Women in Computer Scholarship coordinator. She is on the Teaching and Learning and the Improvement of Teaching and Learning review committees. She serves among the Knacktive faculty, which requires a year-round commitment to recruit students and a client. She also serves as secretary for the Consortium for Computing at Small Colleges: Central Plains.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215