Congratulations, 2019 Faculty & Staff Achievement Award Winners!

The Faculty and Staff Achievement Awards Program is designed to promote and reward outstanding performance by faculty and staff at the University of Indianapolis.

The 2019 award recipients have been announced! Learn more about each recipient below:

Staff award winners

Unsung Hero Award:
John Harrison, Lead Carpenter, Facilities/Physical Plant

Any day we walk the hallways and grounds of the University, we can appreciate the artwork and sculpture displayed across campus. But what many people don’t consider is the person responsible for that artwork hanging on the wall or that sculpture standing before you. While the curation, acquisition and in some cases, creation of the work, is managed by the University Curator and the Department of Art and Design, the installation of each piece falls to one man, John Harrison, and his team. For at least 15 years, Harrison has expertly and graciously installed artwork around campus, often troubleshooting difficult spaces and other challenges to make it happen. Never shy of a challenge, he embodies all that we value and try to instill in our students – creativity, problem-solving, craftsmanship, diligence and pride in his work. He’s truly a role model and a pleasure to work with. Our campus is more visually interesting and impactful because of his work.

UIndy Emerging Leader Award:
Teri Short, Administrative Assistant for Online Programs in the College of Health Sciences

Teri Short has made a big impression in the brief time she has been at UIndy, demonstrating an incredible commitment to serving students, staff and faculty. She has revolutionized internal processes. What used to take days can now happen in minutes thanks to her innovation and proactiveness. A true problem-solver, she also invested in new software training to improve efficiencies and enhance communication tools, quickly becoming a resource not only for colleagues in the programs she supports, but for many departments and colleges within the Health Pavilion. 

Her positivity shines in all the work she does. One faculty member noted, “she does absolutely everything with an infectious, positive attitude and sense of humor. She is a true asset to our department in every sense of the word.”

This type of initiative and spirit nurtures an environment that benefits us all and supports the ongoing mission of the University. 

Spirit of UIndy Award:
Amy Magan, Communications Manager for the College of Health Sciences and the Center for Aging and Community

For nearly 15 years, Magan has been a trusted, creative and engaged team member; and a key player in the growth and success of the Center for Aging and Community. The nominators say, “she’s one of those people who does a lot of ‘other duties as assigned’ with a smile.”

She worked diligently with Joy’s House to launch a UIndy Caregiver Resource Group for faculty and staff caring for aging parents. The group was started last summer and has since helped more than two dozen caregivers. She also had the idea to create a summer camp designed for grandparents and grandchildren! “Grand Camp” was recently hosted for the third consecutive year and continues to be a success.

Collaborative Team Spirit Award:
Erica Young and the staff of the Metropolitan Indianapolis Central Indiana Area Health Education Collaborative (MICI-AHEC)

This team was nominated for their outstanding ability to facilitate collaborations across campus that support our students, from job shadowing and networking opportunities to scholarships, stipends and more.

One faculty member says, “I refer all my students here for financial aid information, test preparation and a better understanding of the pre-professional path. They are engaged, supportive and unfailingly polite and cheerful.”

Another faculty member says, “Thanks to their collaborative spirit and leadership, we’ve almost doubled the number of students who participate in the Summer Research Institute. It’s an invaluable partnership to ensure students have the support they need to be successful.”

A third person adds, “I am consistently impressed with their ability to generate ideas and opportunities for students with positive attitudes and collaborative spirits.”

Enhancing the Student Experience Award:
Kay Gunyon, Undergraduate International Admissions Counselor

Kay Gunyon has been serving UIndy and our international students for 21 years, throughout which she has rooted herself in the international higher education community. She’s dedicated to advocating for students and performing all aspects of her job exceptionally well. From the moment a prospective international student expresses an interest in UIndy until the day they arrive on campus (many times in her car), she is working diligently to assure UIndy is their number one choice and that they have what they need to make their new life at UIndy comfortable.

A world traveler, her knowledge of other cultures has contributed to the diversity of our student body. She’s often the “first face of UIndy” for students who bravely left their home countries to earn a UIndy degree. A selfless worker, she sets no limit to the number of hours she devotes to international students. Her work ethic, heart and dedication have changed many lives. 

Beyond UIndy Award:
Marianna Foulkrod, Director of Service-Learning and Community Engagement

Marianna Foulkrod is the embodiment of the Beyond UIndy Award, which is given to staff members who have made significant efforts to improve the UIndy community, as well as their own. The recipients are leaders within larger communities, working toward social justice, societal change, and service of others with humility and compassion.

As a proud two-time alumna, Foulkrod happily shares her story about why UIndy is so special to anyone who will listen. Her positive attitude and high energy make her the perfect representative for our institution in her extensive work in the community. Her work and life are guided by the same mission that leads the University: Education for Service.

As the leader of the Service Learning and Community Engagement Center, Foulkrod works daily to connect Greyhounds with community partners, helping us extend our good work beyond the boundaries of campus. She is always looking for ways to grow her impact while enhancing the quality of her work. 

Faculty award winners

Institutional Leadership Award: 

Dr. Stephanie Miller, Associate Professor and Director of Research for the Krannert School of Physical Therapy in the College of Health Sciences

Dr. Erin Fekete, Associate Professor and Director of Psychological Sciences. 

Miller and Fekete co-chaired the committee that planned the first campus-wide Scholars Showcase, demonstrating outstanding leadership throughout the process of bringing the first Scholar’s Showcase to fruition.

The Scholars Showcase highlighted the scholastic accomplishments of undergraduates, graduates and faculty from every college and school on campus. With more than 30 platforms, performances and roundtables and nearly 150 poster presentations, this inaugural event was a huge success.

Education for Service Award: 

Dr. Laura Merrifield Wilson, Assistant Professor of Political Science (pictured)

Wilson’s “commitment to service-learning is evident in all aspects of her teaching, scholarship and service,” in the words of her nominator.

In 2016, she founded and organized the UIndyVotes! Project, combining her background as a political scientist with a commitment to service-learning. The group registered 81 voters for the 2018 election and hosted activities including Senate debate watch parties, a mini-lecture series, and an election night watch party.  Meanwhile, students registered in her “Campaigns and Elections” course engaged the community to encourage participation in local, state, and national politics.

Her ability to successfully navigate academic and applied environments shines in all the work she does. She works well with people of all backgrounds, has boundless energy, and a personality that inspires people to work together to achieve common goals.

Dr. Kendra Thomas, Assistant Professor in the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences (not pictured)

Thomas has helped to bring a sense of global awareness to students, emphasizing the importance of serving the needs of individuals, families and communities and connecting expertise to action.

As one example, she facilitates impactful, collaborative experiences for UIndy students through the iThemba project in South Africa, which helps families affected by HIV and AIDS. Thanks to technology, students here in Indiana support the program by engaging in discussions on the curriculum, providing real-time feedback, and evaluating components of the program. Our students are able to provide a useful service while developing a sense of global awareness and cultural competence.

Since its inception, programs in the College of Applied Behavioral Sciences have worked to find a balance between theory and application across programs and to encourage students to engage in service-based research.

Connecting Expertise to Action Award:

Dr. Tia Bell, Assistant Professor and Online Program Director, School of Nursing (pictured)

Karen Elsea, Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Program Director, School of Nursing 

Bell and Elsea were nominated, in particular, for their efforts in launching the Primary and Ambulatory Care Minor in Nursing.

While the minor was conceived as part of a grant awarded in conjunction with Community Health Network, all aspects of the launching the minor is the responsibility of the School of Nursing. As the School’s program directors, these two faculty assumed direction of all efforts related to the creation of curriculum, student recruitment efforts, preceptor development efforts, and clinical site coordination.

The dedication displayed by these two faculty will ultimately bring UIndy and the School of Nursing national recognition as we launch the first-ever specialty minor in nursing. No other nursing program in the United States has ever launched a specialty minor in undergraduate education. This is uncharted territory for any nursing program curriculum. These women are pioneers in an emerging nursing specialty and I have no doubt will receive national recognition in years to come.

Mary Gobbett, Assistant Professor of Biology

With a passion for providing science education to children, Gobbett serves as the faculty mentor for the Biology Club, through which she has organized an outreach program with local elementary schools. She designs science activities for the church daycare on campus, is dedicated to outreach and provides a vital service to the department in terms of administrative support, often going beyond what is expected.

Colleagues note she has been prolific in obtaining funding for her educational outreach activities and is incredibly creative in the design of her courses, becoming an inspiration and resource for others in the department. This person was involved in designing the courses for the Biology Department’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program and has recently been involved in designing course for the new curriculum being developed for elementary education majors. During the upcoming academic year, she’ll be teaching a new course that she has designed by the request of the School of Health Sciences for public health majors to better suit their needs.

Teaching in the Core Award:
Dan Vice, Assistant Professor, English

One nominator says this person’s “commitment to teaching in the gen-ed core, and especially to meeting the wonderfully varied needs of students in those classes, is remarkable. Beyond remarkable, actually.”

Vice routinely teaches a number of core classes in the Department of English, with a teaching style that emphasizes student agency. His creative writing students are treated like experts and beginners at the same time, such that they feel both guided and empowered.

Vice cultivates an inclusive classroom in his composition and literature courses as well. Never content with a “good” class, each semester he takes what has worked and makes it better by tweaking or overhauling his courses. One of his students wrote that he “should never stop teaching” on his evaluations. He affirms that he won’t, and we are all lucky for that.

Emerging Scholar Award:
Cathy Zhang, Assistant Professor, School of Business

During her first year, Zhang had a manuscript accepted for publication in a top non-profit marketing journal and two papers accepted for the American Marketing Association’s Winter Marketing Educators Conference.  In 2017, she published a paper in the Journal of Business Ethics, a top 50 business journal. Last year, she published two papers in the Decision Science Institute Proceedings and continues to have an active research agenda today. In addition, she has worked to establish a student American Marketing Association chapter at UIndy.

Outstanding Faculty Award:
Heidi Hancher-Rauch, Associate Professor and Director, Undergraduate and Graduate Public Health Programs

Hancher-Rauch has done an impressive job of seamlessly weaving her expertise and passion for public health advocacy across the areas of teaching, scholarship and service.

She’s published several articles in the past year with a public health advocacy focus, and was a co-presenter of five peer-reviewed presentations at the 2019 Society for Public Health Education national conference.

Also in 2018, she was elected to the national board of the Society for Public Health Education in the role of Trustee of Advocacy and Resolutions. On campus, she uses her skills to serve on the Faculty Senate and on the Faculty Affairs committee, where she is consistently a contributing voice. She is not only an effective public health advocate, but also a mentor to her students and others across the United States.

Jean Lee, Associate Professor, Teacher Education

Lee has embodied what it truly means to be a dedicated faculty member during her 10 years on campus.

In 2018, she accepted the role of Department Chair for the reorganized School of Education. There were many reasons she could’ve said no to this new challenge, but thankfully she said yes. Throughout the year, there were many times when someone would say “let me handle this” and she would say, “no, let ME handle this.”

Colleagues appreciate her diligence, courage and willingness to compromise on decisions. In her new role, she also taught the TEACH STEM 3 licensure program, routinely worked with students individually and planned the School of Education Awards Day, pulling off meaningful surprises for two retiring faculty members along the way.

Outstanding Scholar Award:
Aaron Kivisto, Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology

In 2018, Kivisto published more than 20 articles in peer reviewed journals, including three manuscripts.

By conducting research on police shootings and “red flag” gun laws, he garnered national media attention that has the potential to influence public policy.

His first study, conducted with graduate students in the doctoral clinical psychology programs, examined the relationship between states with tougher gun laws and the number of police shootings. His results, which suggested fewer incidents of fatal police shootings in more restrictive states, were featured in news stories by the Los Angeles Times, Reuters, NPR, Huffington Post, and Mashable.

The second study examined suicide rates in Connecticut and Indiana, states that have firearm seizure laws, with findings suggesting that removing guns from individuals identified at risk of harm can save lives. This research appeared in publications such as The New York Times, USA Today, NPR, and the IndyStar.

Additionally, he is participating in a “gun violence researcher” group sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The aim of this group is to promote collaboration among researchers and to strategically disseminate this knowledge to policymakers.