Six West Virginia University faculty members have been selected for the 2017 Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching, which honors exceptional professors who go above and beyond to inspire their students. This year’s honorees are:
David Graham, associate professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Kristina Hash, professor and director of the Gerontology Certificate Program
Lizzie Santiago, teaching associate professor of Fundamentals of Engineering
Lori Sherlock, associate professor of Exercise Physiology
James Thompson, professor of Soil Science
Joshua Weishart, associate professor of Law and Policy
“These six faculty members are all actively engaged in research that powerfully impacts our world. Their shared commitment to teaching and inspiring the next generation of scholars and practitioners in their fields is a real gift to their students and to the university,” said Provost Joyce McConnell.
Established in 1985 by the WVU Foundation, the Outstanding Teaching award honors faculty who are particularly effective, inspiring teachers or who have established patterns of exceptional innovation in teaching methods, course and curriculum design and instructional tools.
“The WVU Foundation donors who make these annual awards possible know what so many of us on campus see first-hand—that our faculty is truly exceptional,” said B. J. Davisson, Foundation senior vice president of development and chief development officer. “We are proud to celebrate this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Teaching awards.”
David Graham uses hands-on experience and practical applications to teach students in the Benjamin Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources about power electronics, signal processing and bio-inspired electronic systems. He incorporates industry-standard computer-aided design tools in the classroom and emphasizes the fabrication and testing of student-designed integrated circuits to make classroom work both highly advanced and eng aging to students. Graham is a recipient of a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (2012) and the cofounder of Aspinity, a technology transfer start-up for electronic applications.
Kristina Hash comes to social work from the perspective of a caregiver, as caring for her grandmother was the driving force in her interest in aging education. She teaches courses in the School of Social Work in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences on such diverse topics as health and aging, rural gerontology and social work practice and research. Hash has been contributed to numerous national projects in social work and gerontology and has received both university and external awards for her research and teaching. Her publications in the field of gerontology include the textbook Aging in Rural Places: Programs, Policies, and Professional Practice.
Lizzie Santiago is committed to helping freshman engineering students succeed both in and out of the classroom. She also works to improve retention rates. She has received two grants from the NSF for her work and was the 2015 Statler College Teacher of the Year. Santiago teaches freshman engineering courses while supporting outreach and recruitment and researching the engineering applications of critical thinking, stem cell research, biomaterials and more.
Lori Sherlock is a long-time trainer and educator in the field of aquatics. She currently works with Exercise Physiology students in the Aquatic Therapy emphasis and covers the full continuum of aquatic care, from rehabilitation to pool operator certification. She also takes education far beyond the classroom, engaging her students in professional conferences and health promotion in the community. A Morgantown native and WVU alum, Sherlock has been involved with the Aquatic Exercise Association, Arthritis Foundation, Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute and the National Swimming Pool Foundation as a contributing speaker, author and researcher.
Jim Thompson takes his soil science teaching and research far afield (literally) in his role as coach of the WVU Soils Team, through which undergraduate students develop skills for description, analysis and interpretation of soils and landscapes in regional and national contests. As research and development coordinator for the Geospatial Research Unit of the National Soil Survey Center at WVU and as a professor in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, Thompson emphasizes a better understanding of soil geography and how differences in soils affect land management decisions.
Joshua Weishart uses a variety of techniques to engage his students in what he calls “the common enterprise of learning,” challenging them to build for themselves the connections between abstract legal rules and real world application. A proud WVU alum and its 14th Truman scholar, Weishart now holds dual appointment in the Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics and the WVU College of Law, where the graduating class of 2016 elected him Law Professor of the Year and invited him to deliver their Commencement address.
Each of the six honorees will receive a $5000 honorarium from the WVU Foundation and be recognized by President Gordon Gee and Provost McConnell at the upcoming faculty and staff awards dinner at Blaney House.