The Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office has announced the first cohort of Woodburn Fellowship recipients, whose two-year terms start in August 2020.
The newly established fellowship program is one of the College’s highest honors for faculty. Associate and full professors classified as either tenured, teaching, service or research are eligible. The program will annually recognize exemplary professors who embody the highest potential for accomplishments in teaching, research and/or service in fields spanning the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.
Woodburn Fellows are expected to be actively and constructively involved in departmental governance, contribute to a collegial work environment and provide mentorship to junior members of their department’s faculty. They will also provide leadership across the college, discipline and community levels. The fellowship includes an award to support professional development, such as travel and research expenses.
In the future, the Woodburn Fellowship will name new members annually, so the two-year cohorts overlap. Up to six Fellows will serve simultaneously.
"We are pleased to introduce this new program recognizing faculty excellence across many different dimensions of academic performance,” said Gregory Dunaway, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. “The three individuals selected for this distinction are exceptional faculty members and have made important contributions to our College and its mission."
Paul Cassak , professor of physics, represents the natural sciences. His accomplishments have been recognized by WVU and the Eberly College over the years, receiving the Eberly College Outstanding Teacher, Researcher and Public Service Awards, the Honors College Nath Outstanding Teacher Award and the Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award.
Similarly, he has been recognized in his discipline, being named a fellow to both the American Physical Society and the American Geophysical Union. In the last three years, he has published 39 peer-reviewed publications including two invited review articles and has given 16 invited talks. His research includes efforts with both small collaborations and large teams, providing varied opportunities for his students.
Cassak is also committed to educating area youth about STEM. Since 2011, Cassak has partnered with Spark! Imagination and Science Center, the children’s museum and science center in Morgantown, West Virginia. As a science adviser to the museum, he contributes to the design of exhibits and assists with the development of outreach programs.
“Since arriving at WVU in 2008, Professor Cassak has been a paragon of a professor with outstanding performance in teaching, research and service. As a departmental leader, he is a role model for everyone at WVU,” said D.J. Pisano, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “I await with great anticipation what he will do next.”
David Cerbone , professor of philosophy, represents the humanities. A 2009 Eberly College Outstanding Researcher and 2020 Eberly College Outstanding Teacher, he strives to make the most complex and abstract philosophical concepts accessible to his students and other scholars in his discipline.
He is working on his fourth book, “Wittgenstein on Realism and Idealism,” under contract w ith Cambridge University Press. His books are used internationally by researchers and students grappling with challenging philosophical ideas.
Over the course of his career, Cerbone has been sought out by students at WVU and from around the world to serve on their dissertation committees. A graduate student who read his book Understanding Phenomenology traveled from Turkey to spend a few months in Morgantown to study with him in person.
“Throughout his 22-year career at WVU, Dr. Cerbone has made outstanding contributions in the areas of research, teaching and service,” said Sharon Ryan, chair of the Department of Philosophy. “From the start of his distinguished career at WVU, he has been publishing far beyond the level expected of our best faculty. He is an inspiring, dedicated, demanding and award-winning teacher. His service to the profession and to our department has made deep impacts. On top of it all, he is a stellar colleague and a trusted mentor to new faculty.”
Since taking on this role in 2016, Estep has pursued a comprehensive update of the international studies major, including creating new courses. She is committed to recruitment, retention and advising, focusing on student learning and career outcomes. Serving more than 160 undergraduate students, the curriculum is interdisciplinary, featuring classes from political science, history, geography, world languages and other fields to broadly train students to understand the world and to navigate and lead in it.
Adviser to WVU’s Model United Nations student organization, Estep has also transformed the club into a national and international powerhouse that has dominated competitions in New York, Washington, Ecuador, Japan and Germany. As part of this activity, she created a Model United Nations course (POLS 491A) to prepare the WVU delegation to the National Model United Nations Conference for the annual diplomatic simulation. Because of her contributions, she currently serves as the vice president of the National Model United Nations Board of Directors.
“Dr. Estep’s teaching and service make her one of the most exemplary faculty. Under her leadership, international studies has become a model to other majors in the College as we strive to better serve students’ educational needs,” said John Kilwein, chair of the Department of Political Science. “The program consistently attracts some of the brightest and most outwardly focused undergraduates at WVU, many of whom go on to work in government, including in the State Department, international nongovernmental organizations and global businesses.”