The Marcus and Mark H. Trumbo Award for Excellence in Teaching
In 1976, the institution's most prestigious faculty award was established by Mark Trumbo, a former dean of Aurora College, in memory of his father. Upon his own death years later, the award was renamed to recognize the accomplishments of both father and son. This award has served to recognize the finest work of Aurora University faculty in their roles as teachers, mentors, and transformative scholars. The Trumbo Award is given annually to one professor, and recognizes the finest work of Aurora University faculty in their roles as teachers, mentors and transformative scholars.
The university's dean of faculty development presents the Marcus and Mark H. Trumbo Excellence in Teaching Award to a deserving member of the Aurora University faculty each May at commencement. Each year's recipient provides remarks at the Honors Convocation the following spring. The recognition includes a monetary award, a plaque, and an engraved name plate for the Marcus and Mark H. Trumbo Award for Excellence in Teaching plaque that is displayed on campus.
2015 Trumbo Award Recipient
Sharon Miller, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Sharon Miller teaches in the physical sciences and interdisciplinary studies. Prior to taking a position in the Physical Sciences Department in 2011, Dr. Miller acquired years of research experience in the fields of medical device development, tissue engineering, and pre-cancerous biomarker development. Her earned degrees in materials science and biomedical engineering from Purdue University and the University of Michigan allow her to bring design principles and technical skill to her courses. At every level, Dr. Miller strives as an educator to share and learn with her students how our natural world works and how humans continue to be daring and curious in our quest for knowledge. Her students comment that her classes are “challenging” and “make you think”, while she remains “respectful, fair, and helpful”. She enjoys pushing her students to synthesize and present concise but detailed information and viewpoints while pursing big, and often difficult, questions about their surroundings. Dr. Miller challenges students to be elastic as learners when combining their critical thinking skills with purpose, resourcefulness and innate curiosity.
2014 Trumbo Award RecipientStephanie A. Whitus, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
Dr. Stephanie Whitus joined the AU faculty in 2007. Having taught for California State University, Texas A&M University and the University of South Carolina, she chose AU because of its smaller class size and opportunity for student mentoring. Dr. Whitus strives to create a classroom environment that is professional, hands-on and minds-on, where she encourages risk-taking in learning. She wants students to be prepared to respond in an educated way to life's issues and challenges, and she thrives as a life-long learner who continues to grow and develop with her students. Dr. Whitus' research interests include such areas as the scholarship of teaching and learning, death- and life-sentenced populations, exoneration and wrongful conviction, violent offending and offenders, program and policy evaluation, and issues related to conducting research within the field of criminal justice. She has developed three Special Topics courses: Capital Punishment, Serial and Mass Murder, and Criminal Profiling, and recognizes that experiences outside of the classroom can enrich and reinforce academic learning while also contributing to the community. This includes collaboration with community organizations to conduct research, volunteer experiences that deepen course learning, internships that assist with networking and career decisions, and additional creative methods for sharing the university’s depth of knowledge with the community. Dr. Whitus advises ACJA (Aurora University Criminal Justice Association), and upholds a pedagogy that promotes a life comprised of a continuous search for knowledge and the development of leadership expressed in the teaching, mentoring and encouraging of students.
2013 Trumbo Award Recipient
Joan Erickson, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
Dr. Joan Erickson teaches special education literacy courses in the School of Education. The core of her beliefs as an educator is that learning to read changes the lives of children; continuing to read changes their lives forever. Prior to coming to Aurora University in 2008, Dr. Erickson spent 19 years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she taught and conducted research in literacy development and instruction. Since beginning her career as a teacher educator, she has received the Albert J. Harris Award from the International Reading Association for conducting research that made an outstanding contribution to the understanding of prevention or assessment of reading or learning disabilities. In addition, she has received the Donald R. and Mary Lee Swanson Award for Teaching Excellence and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Nebraska College of Education and Human Sciences, as well as an Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Notre Dame and the Crystal Apple Award from Michigan State University. She co-advises PEEPs (People Engaging Exceptional People), a student organization dedicated to improving the life experiences of individuals with disabilities.
2012 Trumbo Award Recipient
Donovan Gwinner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
Dr. Donovan Gwinner teaches composition, literature, and interdisciplinary studies. Before joining the faculty of Aurora University in the fall of 2004, he taught as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oregon, his undergraduate alma mater, and at such institutions as Washington State University-Vancouver, Portland Community College (in Oregon), and the University of Arizona, where he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in English Language and Literature. Increasingly, he regards college students as survivors of an educational régime dominated by bureaucrats, bean counters, and bunglers. He delights in helping students to develop their own critical perspectives and to articulate their own thinking effectively. Dr. Gwinner emphasizes student-centered instruction, providing guidance as the classroom leader but giving students the opportunity to lead discussions and generate ideas. He encourages and challenges students to be active and self-directed in pursuit of their education.
2011 Trumbo Award Recipient
Deborah A. Stevens, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
Dr. Deborah A. Stevens joined the Aurora University faculty in 2001 as an assistant professor in the School of Education. She developed and taught classes at all levels from undergraduate to graduate courses. For Dr. Stevens, teaching is the cornerstone of her work and impact means contributing to the development of teacher candidates and the larger audience including in-service teacher practitioners and the community as a whole. As a professor, Dr. Stevens assists teacher candidates in becoming critical thinkers, as they construct meaning, learn to question and not just accept educational policy, learn to be resourceful and self-directed, work to demonstrate passion and advocacy for the students they teach and to become fully devoted and committed toward having a positive impact on society. Her students describe her as "motivating to do the very best" and "she wants us to achieve to be the best teachers that we can be and after taking her class...how can you not be?" and "it's a tough class, but I have taken a lot more from it than any other methods class."
When Provost Andrew Manion presented Dr. Stevens with her award, he praised her as “an exceptionally talented educator,” saying that, “her gifts benefit not only Aurora University students in the School of Education, but also the primary and secondary students they go on to teach. Her impact is felt in schools throughout the region.”
2010 Trumbo Award Recipient
Renae Franiuk, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Dr. Renae Franiuk has been a faculty member in the Psychology Department at Aurora University since 2005 and has been Chair of the Psychology Department since 2008. She has primarily taught General Psychology, Social and Applied Psychology, and Contemporary Issues in Psychology. In the classroom, students describe Dr. Franiuk as a “difficult teacher who expects a lot from her students” and as someone who is “enthusiastic and engaging” and “pushes you to think outside of the box.” She also developed a Special Topics course, Violence against Women, which reflects her passion for investigating issues of social justice. Related, she conducts research on popular media and its impact on beliefs and attitudes toward domestic violence and sexual assault. She has been the advisor of Psi Chi, has mentored Honors students, and mentors several undergraduates who work with her on research each year. Her philosophy of teaching is based on three main principles — enthusiasm, critical thinking and evaluating multiple perspectives — with the central goals of inspiring her students to get excited about psychology and learning in general, and applying what they learn to new situations outside of the classroom.
Dr. Franiuk earned her PhD at the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign.
|Len Scholl 2009||Dr. John D. Morrison 1992|
|Dr. Denise L. Hatcher 2008||Mary S. Nelums 1991|
|Dr. Barbara A. Strassberg 2007||Dr. R. David Chambers 1990|
|Dr. Daniel W. Hipp 2006||Dr. John J. Melles 1989|
|Joe L. Dunham 2005||Dr. Sara E. Bonkowski 1988|
|Dr. Shawn A. Green 2004||Carol D. Crane 1987|
|Dr. Donald W. Phelps 2003||James J. Valesano 1986|
|Dr. Ruth G. Ahlman 2002||Dr. Steven R. Lay 1985|
|Dr. Ann E. Fleury 2001||Judith M. Kachel 1984|
|Dr. Valerie G. Flynn 2000||Peter J. Adragna 1983|
|A member of the teaching faculty 1999||Richard M. Mayer 1982|
|Linda O’Neill 1998||Dr. R. David Chambers 1981|
|Dr. Carolyn S. Mull 1997||Kenneth A. Olenik 1980|
|Dr. Jane L. Davis 1996||Joe L. Dunham 1979|
|Dr. Johanna U. Taylor 1995||Dr. Moses C. Crouse 1978|
|Dr. Walter E. Sublette 1994||Dr. Kenneth V. Mull 1977|
|Dr. Janet H. Yanos 1993|
The Jeanne Norris Award for Excellence in Teaching
The Jeanne Norris Award for Excellence in Teaching was established in 2013 to recognize outstanding teaching by faculty at George Williams College. Dr. Norris has a passion for all things GWC. She served as a faculty member and academic leader from 1959 to 1985 before returning to her summer home in Maine to live on a year-round basis. Dr. Norris earned undergraduate and advanced degrees in the fields of Music, Education, and Physiology from Boston University and Loyola University. As a multi-talented teacher and a lifelong learner, Dr. Norris infused her work with intellectual curiosity and an intrinsic commitment to excellence. Generations of George Williams’ students benefitted from her high standards and her willingness to help them realize their full educational potential.
|Chris Wells 2014|
|Dr. Richard Boniak 2013|
The Tony Olejnik Leadership Service Award
Several years ago, the Leadership Service Award was established by the Board of Trustees to pay tribute to members of the faculty and staff who exemplify the university's core values of integrity, citizenship, continuous learning and excellence.
In 2004, the award was rechristened the Tony Olejnik Leadership Service Award in memory of a professor who served first on the faculty of George Williams College in Downers Grove, Illinois, and later as a member of the psychology department at Aurora University. During his many years of service, Tony distinguished himself as a colleague, mentor, teacher and friend. This award is presented on behalf of the Board of Trustees by the Provost.
|Melinda Blakesley 2011|
|James Lancaster 2010|
|Len Scholl 2009|
|Anne McKearn 2008|
|Dr. David W. Eisinger 2008|
|Dr. Ileana Brooks 2007|
|Dr. Maryanne P. Locklin 2006|
|James A. Scott 2005|
|Dr. Anthony B. Olejnik 2004|
|Dr. Richard F. Westphal 2003|
The John McKee Citizenship Award
The John McKee Citizenship Award was established in 2009 by longtime Aurora University Board of Trustee member, John F. McKee. This award – one for an AU faculty or staff member and one for a student – was created to affirm the university’s commitment to the values of integrity, citizenship, continuous learning, and excellence. The award reflects Mr. McKee’s lifetime commitment to “service before self,” a principle that has guided his work as an AU trustee for 35 years and in his involvement and service throughout the Aurora community.
The award is presented to a member of the AU faculty or staff who has demonstrated outstanding citizenship and is actively engaged in a community service beyond his or her role at the university. Nominations are accepted from students, faculty, as well as the general Aurora community. A monetary prize is awarded to the recipient and a matching gift is given to the organization of the person’s choice.
|Kristen Johnson 2014|
|Dr. Johnny Lloyd 2013|
|Alan Benson 2012|
|Deann Edgers 2011|
|Dr. Donald Phelps 2010|
|Amy Manion 2009|
The Outstanding Pro-rata Faculty Award
The Outstanding Pro-rata Faculty Award was established in 2014 to recognize one pro-rata faculty member whose teaching and service to students exemplify the core values of Aurora University: integrity, citizenship, continuous learning, and excellence. The award is presented to a pro-rata instructor who has demonstrated a sustained, significant, and positive impact on student learning; excellence in the classroom; and support of the university mission.
Recipients have provided a minimum of two consecutive years of pro-rata faculty service, with a minimum of a twelve-semester-hour teaching assignment each academic year. The award is presented by the dean of faculty at the spring convocation and includes a monetary award, a plaque, a letter of recognition, and an engraved name plate for the Outstanding Pro-rata Faculty plaque that is displayed on campus.
|Becky Tugman 2014|
The Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award
The Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award was established in 2014 to recognize one adjunct faculty member whose teaching and service to students exemplify the core values of Aurora University: integrity, citizenship, continuous learning, and excellence. The award is presented to an adjunct instructor who has demonstrated a sustained, significant, and positive impact on student learning; excellence in the classroom; and support of the university mission.
Recipients have provided a minimum of two years of consecutive service as a part-time faculty member, with a minimum of an eight-semester-hour teaching assignment each academic year. The award is presented by the dean of faculty at the spring convocation and includes a monetary award, a plaque, a letter of recognition, and an engraved name plate for the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty plaque that is displayed on campus.
|Dr. Rajnish Mandrelle 2014|