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Six OHIO professors recognized in magazine’s ‘Excellence in Education’ edition

Six faculty members from three Ohio University campuses are being recognized for their outstanding work in the field of higher education.

The faculty members are being featured in Ohio Magazine's annual "Excellence in Education" section, which showcases professors from Ohio's universities and colleges. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the magazine's "Excellence in Education" section, published in December each year.

"It is an amazingly smart group of researchers and teachers who are featured in this year's 'Excellence in Education' edition," said Pam Benoit, OHIO's executive vice president and provost. "I'm proud of my colleagues and the work they do to provide a truly transformational educational experience for their students. We had an outpouring of nominations from every campus and college. This tells me that our colleagues are not only achieving excellence in the classroom, studio and laboratory, but that they are influencing the culture of their academic programs by infusing the curriculum with enthusiasm and positive collaborative energy."

Among the OHIO educators being featured are three professors from the Athens Campus, one professor from the Chillicothe Campus, and two professors from the Zanesville Campus.

"We at Ohio University Zanesville are fortunate to have outstanding faculty who engage students in course content as well as in opportunities for research and creative expression," said James Fonseca, interim dean of the Zanesville Campus. "Enhancing creativity and critical thinking is important to student success. (The two Zanesville educators being featured in the magazine) stress this importance through their interaction with their students and through their own scholarly work."

The six OHIO educators featured in Ohio Magazine's "Excellence in Education" section are: 


Photo courtesy Ohio University Zanesville

Lisa Stein Haven is an associate professor of English at Ohio University's Zanesville Campus. Haven exemplifies excellence in education by encouraging students to publish their creative work through Zane Traces, a peer reviewed journal she edits with the assistance of student reviewers. Outside the classroom she encourages students to attend and present in professional and academic venues.

"I was surprised and delighted to be nominated for the Ohio Magazine recognition," Haven said. "Surprised, because I can't say I think about such things as I'm going through my day-to-day interactions with students. It's just naturally what I do and what I love to do."

Tarig Higazi

Photo courtesy Ohio University Communications and Marketing

Tarig Higazi is an associate professor of biological sciences at Ohio University Zanesville. Higazi is regarded by colleagues and students as an excellent teacher in fundamental courses such as Principles of Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II. He also conducts international research, and his work on lymphatic filariasis and river blindness has contributed significantly to eliminating these diseases in Sudan. He provides training and technical assistance to the Ministry of Health's molecular diagnostic laboratory in Khartoum and recently published his work in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

"For me, teaching is a mission to provide students with a challenging, yet supportive environment that considers various learning styles," Higazi said. "I am honored to be recognized for delivering course contents in innovative ways that brings out the best effort and dedication of my students. I appreciate our students for their quest to learn and the conducive learning environment at Ohio University Zanesville that believes in this mission." 

Zaki Kuruppalil

Photo by Rebecca Miller

Zaki Kuruppalil is an associate professor and Kraft Scholar in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology. Kuruppalil has consistently demonstrated excellence in teaching throughout his six years at Ohio University. He is the faculty adviser for the student group Society of Manufacturing Engineers and holds the designation of Kraft Family Scholar, which is awarded to the department's outstanding faculty. He has received the White Award twice for outstanding teaching, and last year he received the Russ Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award.

"I am humbled by this nomination," said Kuruppalil. "This is truly an inspiration for my efforts to provide students with experiential learning in engineering and technology and get them excited about it."

Julia Paxton

Photo courtesy of University Communications and Marketing

Julia Paxton is an associate professor of economics in OHIO's College of Arts and Sciences where she teaches classes on poverty and development economics. Paxton's passion for teaching and her innovative teaching style led her to receive the 2011-12 University Professor Award and the 2013 Presidential Teacher Award. She offers a number of service learning experiences to her classes to help students better understand complex economic theories on poverty.

"As an educator, parent and product of an Ohio education myself, it's exciting to see Ohio Magazine focus on teaching excellence as each of us has benefited from many outstanding teachers throughout our lives," said Paxton. "I am honored to be nominated by Ohio University because it is a university that strives for a meaningful student-based learning experience."

Holly Raffle

Photo by Steven Turville

Holly Raffle is an assistant professor in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Raffle has 18 years of experience teaching health, education, psychology, athletic training and research method courses at the college level. She has embraced technology and online teaching by using the Blackboard e-Learning system's compressed video. She also uses video extensively in her teaching and is introducing the "flipped-classroom" concept into her courses this academic year.

"As I have lived and worked in Ohio for almost my entire life, I was humbled and excited to hear that I was nominated and selected to appear in the 'Excellence in Education' edition of Ohio Magazine," said Raffle. "I am proud to be a faculty member of Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs where we teach our students to think, innovate and lead in order to keep Ohio a great place to live, work and play."

Ronald Vance

Photo courtesy of Ohio University Chillicothe

Ronald Vance is an associate professor of nursing at Ohio University Chillicothe. Vance teaches nursing students to be caring and skilled practitioners in the classroom and in local medical facilities but also believes students benefit from international experience. In collaboration with faculty from the Patton College of Education and the Ohio University Tropical Disease Institute, he offers students the opportunity to achieve learning goals while providing meaningful services to the community. In May, students participated in a two-week service learning experience in Ecuador. Vance hopes to lead a multidisciplinary group of students to Ecuador in 2014 on a service-learning program.

"It truly is an honor to have been nominated for excellence in education," Vance said. "As a nurse educator, I feel that it is my duty to stay abreast of best practices and innovations in higher education. I want to prepare nursing students who are critical thinkers with the drive to provide high quality nursing care."