May 6, 2005
By Cassie Lynott
The Center for Teaching Excellence has announced the 2005-06 University Professor award recipients. This year's recipients are Michelle Brown, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Connie Esmond-Kiger, assistant professor in the School of Accountancy; Daniel P. Modaff, associate professor in the School of Communication Studies; Joan Scanlon McMath, professor in the Department of Teacher Education; and Jeffrey St. John, assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies.
Since its founding in 1970, the University Professor Award has recognized over 100 notable professors. The program was designed to honor professors who are particularly admired by students. The professors were nominated by students and winners were chosen by a student selection committee that interviewed and observed the nominees. Each University Professor is awarded $2,000 and will teach two classes on the topic of his or her choice.
Brown serves as a resident criminologist and teaches classes on the sociology of punishment and risk, law and society, and media and society. She received a combined Ph.D. in 2003 at Indiana University in criminal justice and American studies. Currently, Brown is mapping shifting meanings of imprisonment across popular culture and in the social histories of prisoners, prison workers and those who make up the emergent social networks linked to mass incarceration. Brown contributed and co-edited "Media Representations of September 11," and has an article in an upcoming issue of American Quarterly. Brown plans to teach a course that will bring together both personal and social experiences of risk in a post-Sept. 11 world.
"It is my dream course," she says. "The course will focus on ways we conceptualize risk individually and socially - and how the relationships between these conceptualizations in turn shape the nature of social life and ourselves."
Esmond-Kiger earned a Ph.D. in accounting from Indiana University, a M.B.A. from University of Edinburgh, Scotland, a B.S. in accounting from Illinois State University and a B.S. in interior design from the University of Illinois before coming to Ohio University in 1999. Her current teaching and research interests are in corporate financial reporting, accounting education strategies and ethics. She has published articles in Accounting Horizons, Advances in Accounting Education, IMA Management Accounting Quarterly and Catalyst, and serves as the adviser for the Ohio University Alpha Kappa Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the international accounting honors fraternity. Esmond-Kiger says she plans to teach financial literacy and personal governance.
"I was amazed and honored that my students took time out of their busy schedules to nominate me," Esmond-Kiger says. "Being considered for University Professor will be one of my most treasured memories and is a much appreciated and unexpected reward for my efforts inside and outside the classroom."
Before accepting a position at Ohio University, McMath directed the Child Development Research Laboratory and taught classes in Child Life at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. McMath earned her B.S. in Early Childhood, M.E.D. in Early Childhood and Ph.D. in Early Childhood and Children's Literature. McMath plans to teach a course in diversity through children, adolescent and young adult literature.
"When I was a young child," McMath says, "my mother and father read to my brothers and me and served as wonderful models of literacy. Bringing together children and books pervades my research, teaching and service. Clearly, the best way to understand diversity is to be involved with people from parallel cultures."
Second-time University Professor award winner Modaff received his B.S. and M.A. in Organizational Communication from Northern Illinois University and his Ph.D. in Organizational Communication and Language and Social Interaction from the University of Texas at Austin. He is the co-author of "Organizational Communication: Foundations, Challenges, and Misunderstandings," and is currently conducting research on the Lakota Sioux Indians, which he will further explore in his University Professor class. He won the University Professor Award for the first time in 1997 and is also the current winner of the Ohio University Outstanding Senior Faculty Member Award.
"I have had the opportunity to talk about teaching many times over the past decade," Modaff says, "but have rarely had such an invigorating and challenging discussion as the one that occurred during the interview with the selection committee."
St. John earned a doctorate in rhetorical theory and criticism from the University of Washington in the spring of 2000 and came to Ohio University that fall. He teaches undergraduate courses in public advocacy, argumentation, free speech and communication theory, along with a graduate course in public deliberation. St. John's main research interests involve public argument and communication theory. He recently co-edited the book "Communication As . . . Perspectives on Theory." St. John will be teaching a course called "Public Memory and the Public Sphere."
"I'm deeply grateful to our students," St. John says. "It's a privilege to work with them; I can't imagine doing anything else."
Cassie Lynott is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.