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Celebration of Faculty Excellence set to honor faculty, academic staff

Outstanding NDSU faculty and academic staff will be recognized during the annual Celebration of Faculty Excellence, scheduled for Tuesday, May 10, at 3 p.m. in the Memorial Union Plains Room. In addition to award recipients, this year’s celebration will honor faculty who received promotion. All members of the campus community are invited, and registration is requested.

Clifford Hall, professor of plant sciences, will be recognized with the Odney Award for Excellence in Teaching; Clay Routledge, associate professor of psychology, will receive the Waldron Award for Excellence in Research; and Cheryl Wachenheim, professor of agribusiness and applied economics, will be acknowledged with the Peltier Award for Innovation in Teaching.

Ken Nygard, professor of computer science, will be recognized with the Chamber of Commerce NDSU Distinguished Faculty Service Award; James Clifton, professor of practice in accounting, will receive the Service-Learning Award; Susan Council, senior academic adviser for the College of Business, will be acknowledged with the Outstanding Professional Adviser Award; Todd West, assistant professor of plant sciences, will receive the Outstanding Faculty Advising Award; and Ardith Brunt, associate professor of dietetics, will receive the Mentoring Excellence Award.

Ann Burnett, professor of communication, who earlier was selected to give this year’s Faculty Lectureship and Michael Robinson, professor of psychology, who gave the Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Lectureship also will be recognized.

Hall, who joined NDSU in 1998, is a professor of pulse end quality and the food science undergraduate program coordinator. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and his master's degree and doctorate in food science and technology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Hall was nominated by 75 students. “Dr. Hall is an inspirational teacher,” wrote nominator Joseph Kallenbach, graduate student in cereal science. “He works hard for his students, which motivates me to work hard as well. His teaching seems to be inspired by a true passion for science.”

Routledge earned his master's degree and doctorate in psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a social psychologist and his research interests include self-related motives such as meaning and self-esteem. He writes a blog titled "More than Mortal: The science of the human quest for meaning, significance and self-transcendence. 

Routledge was nominated by fellow faculty members Mark McCourt, Michael Robinson, Paul Rokke and Benjamin Balas. “Dr. Routledge has accumulated, in about 10 years, over 80 publications, including a co-edited book and a single authored book. He is currently writing another book contracted by Oxford University Press,” they wrote. “He is already making meaningful contributions to the training of the next generaltion of social psychology researchers.”

Wachenheim joined the NDSU faculty in 1998. She earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Minnesota, and her MBA, master's degree and doctorate in agricultural economics from Michigan State University. She also graduated from Command and General Staff College.

She was nominated by William Nganje, professor and chair of agribusiness and applied economics. He described how Wachenheim has developed a cultural exchange with students in France that has “brought dozens of French students to NDSU to study, research and complete degrees.” She also developed a blog that helped the students of the NDSU National AgriMarketing Association team win the National Communication Award. In addition, she taught 290 students in five classes via the internet during a military deployment in Afghanistan. 

Nygard joined the NDSU faculty in 1977. From August 2013 to August 2014, he was the first NDSU faculty member to serve as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U. S. Agency for International Development in Washington, D. C. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Minnesota State University Moorhead, his master’s degree in mathematics at Mankato State University and his doctorate in operations research from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 

Nygard was nominated by NDSU faculty members Brian Slator, Anne Denton, Changhui Yan, Simone Ludwig, Jun Kong, Gursimran Walia, Ken Magel, Saeed Salam, Oksana Myronovych and Janet Fleming-Halmrast, who wrote that Nygard has been the adviser for 151 master’s degree students and 21 doctoral students.

“Dr. Nygard has consistently excelled and demonstrated leadership in a balanced career of teaching, research and service,” they wrote. “He knows people, knows how to work with people and, most importantly, he knows how to help other people succeed.” 

Clifton earned his bachelor's degree and master of accountancy degree from the University of North Dakota. He is a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner.

He was nominated by Herbert Snyder, professor and head of accounting, finance and information systems, who commended Clifton’s efforts in the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Clifton’s students prepare tax returns for low-income families. “James Clifton embodies the best of community-oriented, experiential teaching at NDSU,” Snyder wrote. “His students are able to gain experience in leadership and in their profession while providing a much-needed service to the F-M community.” 

Council, who was nominated by five students, earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, College Park.

In her nomination letter, Amy Martinsen, a sophomore majoring in business administration, wrote, “Talking to Mrs. Council helped me decide that I would like to major in business because of all the opportunities she discussed and her being open with me. Mrs. Council makes me feel welcome when I walk in her office and she has a good sense of humor.”

West joined the NDSU faculty in 2011 and is the NDSU horticulture program coordinator and associate professor of woody plant improvement. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and master's degree in horticulture and doctorate in plant biology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

West was nominated by Meredith Swanson, a senior majoring in horticulture. “He honestly cares about his students,” Swanson wrote. “He shows enthusiasm in helping students. He is always well prepared. He is never intimidating and always listens to his students.”

Brunt joined NDSU in 2002. She earned her master’s degree and doctorate in nutrition from Iowa State University. 

Brunt was nominated by Elizabeth Hilliard, assistant professor of practice and program coordinator, who said Brunt has been the major adviser for 21 graduate students since 2008. “Dr. Brunt is a constant advocate for her students,” Hilliard wrote. “She spends hours reading, reviewing and discussing research projects with her students.”


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