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Five OHIO professors honored for outstanding achievements in education


Five Ohio University professors are being recognized in Ohio Magazine’s annual “Excellence in Education” section for their exceptional achievements in and dedication to the field of higher education.

The magazine’s “Excellence in Education” section, published each December, features faculty members from colleges and universities throughout the state of Ohio who were nominated for their outstanding achievements in higher education. Criteria for this honor include:

  • An individual’s teaching excellence
  • Participation in professional development activities
  • Interest in student success outside the classroom or laboratory
  • Distinction as a member of the academic community

Four faculty members from OHIO’s Athens Campus and one faculty member from its Southern Campus are being recognized. They are:

Monica Burdick

Photo by Ben Siegel

Monica Burdick is an associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, serving as both an educator and mentor to Ohio University students.

Burdick is being recognized for effectively integrating aspects of her National Institutes of Health- and National Science Foundation-funded cancer research program into OHIO’s classrooms and University outreach activities. She has also mentored various graduate, undergraduate and high school students through influential research endeavors, resulting in published journal articles, presentations at national science and engineering conferences, as well as collaborative projects in Brazil.

Burdick’s commitment to education has resulted in her students receiving the renowned NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, as well as invitations to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, an annual scientific conference during which Nobel Prize winners present to and interact with young researchers from throughout the world.

Burdick said she was surprised and humbled when she found out that she was being featured in Ohio Magazine’s “Excellence in Education” section.

“Given the wide readership of Ohio Magazine, these nominations show the public how dedicated OHIO faculty are to their students,” she said.

Shelley Delaney

Photo courtesy of Joel Stigliano

Shelley Delaney is an associate professor of theater at OHIO’s College of Fine Arts and head of the Performance Area in the School of Theater, which includes the Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) and the bachelor of fine arts in acting. A professional actor and director who has been featured in dozens of national productions, Delaney joined Ohio University in 2002 and has led the Performance Area since 2009.

“I feel privileged beyond measure to work with students who are committed to an art, a craft and a profession that is always challenging, often thrilling and sometimes terrifying,” Delaney said. “Every day in the classroom is a surprise, and every student actor is utterly unique.”

Delaney is being recognized for bringing enthusiasm and great expectations to her work with students. Under her leadership, 50 percent of the 2014 bachelor of fine arts graduates secured employment in theater, and 63 percent of master of fine arts graduates and 41 percent of bachelor of fine arts graduates have earned union membership.

“I was very surprised and touched to be nominated, especially at a time when I feel that the arts are struggling for support and visibility on campuses all over the country,” Delaney said. “My surprise was matched by my hope that an acknowledgement of this kind can serve as a reminder that the fine and performing arts classrooms have always been interactive, collaborative, transformative and deeply personal environments.”

Charles Jarrett

Photo by Ben Dean/Ohio University Southern

Charles Jarrett is an associate professor of sociology at Ohio University’s Southern Campus who believes that the ability to teach is a natural gift but excellence in the classroom requires effective preparation, enthusiasm and a passion for mentoring students.

“Nominations for superior teaching performances play an enormous role in the evolution of the teaching profession,” Jarrett said. “The recognition of effective teaching by dedicated faculty members motivates the entire university community, whether the awards are directed at traditional or more innovative teaching techniques.”

Jarrett is being recognized for his role as an outstanding faculty member who, after being awarded one of OHIO’s esteemed Kennedy Lecture Series grants, created three innovative programs to aid and transform students’ understandings of stereotypes, musical performances and the creation of stories. Those programs include: “Home Sweet Home: The LGBT Community in Appalachia,” which confronts stereotypes about the gay and lesbian community; “All Strung Out: Appalachian Music and American Frontier Culture,” which explores the Appalachian settlement through dialogue and musical performance; and “Storyboard,” which helps undergraduate students discover stories within themselves.

Jarrett said that he first felt surprised, and then accomplished, when he found out that he was nominated for the “Excellence in Education” section.

“To be nominated for the prestigious Ohio Magazine excellence in teaching award is certainly a most humbling and pleasant surprise,” he said.

Marsha Lewis

Photo by Maddie McGarvey

Marsha Lewis is an assistant professor in the master of public administration program at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and is consistently rated as one of the best instructors and mentors by Ohio University students.

Lewis is being recognized for her dedication to and consistent involvement with students, engaging Bobcats across campus in applied research projects related to education and public sector strategy development. She serves as a senior data analyst for research and evaluation projects and both developed and taught in the Ohio University Executive Leadership Institute.

In addition, Lewis is one of OHIO’s principal researchers in the Ohio Education Research Center, a collaboration of six universities and four research organizations that connect research, education and policy for Ohio’s schools. She is also involved in Battelle for Kids, a national, not-for-profit organization that provides counsel and solutions to advance the development of human capital systems, the use of strategic measures, practices for improving educator effectiveness, and communication with all stakeholders in schools.

“I was surprised to have been recognized by Ohio Magazine,” Lewis said. “I have spent my entire career in education, first as a high school teacher, then as a graduate student, and now teaching and conducting applied research at Ohio University. Among the people I most admire are educators. To be recognized as even close to a peer to these educators is quite humbling.”

Mark Lucas

Photo by Rob Hardin

Mark Lucas is an associate professor of physics and astronomy in OHIO’s College of Arts and Sciences and is being recognized for his keen concern for students’ learning.

A faculty member who is consistently rated at the top by both his peers and his students, Lucas coordinates the non-calculus physics sequence, makes continual improvements to course material and delivery, and trains new faculty. In addition, Lucas coordinates LON-CAPA, a computer-assisted homework system used for all department service courses, as well as other OHIO departments and high schools from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati.

A STEM leader at Ohio University and beyond who is sought after for his expertise, Lucas serves as a liaison for local K-12 schools, for OHIO’s regional campuses in physics, and for other organizations.

“Our main goal here at Ohio University is to transform students through education, and there are a lot of excellent educators who pour a lot of energy and time into that task,” Lucas said. “It is great that there are some ways in which this effort is recognized.”