They may represent different subject areas, but all are committed to making sure students at West Virginia University receive a high quality, sophisticated education.
Six faculty members have been honored with the 2010 WVU Foundation Award for Outstanding Teaching. Each honoree will receive a $5,000 stipend and will be recognized during the University’s Weekend of Honors April 9-11.
Department of English Professor Dennis Allen has been a forward thinking teacher and mentor since arriving at WVU in 1982, developing new courses and tools to foster student learning and professional success.
He teaches innovative literary theory to undergraduates and graduates in the WVU department of English. He also instructs the rigorous, but popular, senior thesis course, as well as courses in cutting-edge lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies.
In addition to his outstanding teaching, Allen serves as the department’s doctoral program supervisor, imparting his wisdom and know-how to graduate students as they themselves embark on lives as teacher-scholars.
He received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota, his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas.
Department of Mathematics Assistant Professor Mary Ann Clarke believes in bare bones teaching: love the topic you teach and make it relevant to the learner.
She also makes it fun, even becoming a “math pirate” to keep students listening and involved while imparting advanced mathematical ideas through the lens of personal and practical experience, thus bridging the gap between theory and application.
As a way to make math matter to the learner, Clarke engages her WVU classes in mathematical conversations, much like a language teacher. In fact, she believes mathematics is a language which is best learned by utilizing it in real-world situations.
She received her doctorate in applied mathematic, master’s degree in mathematics and bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from Virginia Tech.
Department of Foreign Languages Assistant Professor Lisa M. DiBartolomeo is building WVU’s Russian and Eastern European language and literature program from the ground up, increasing enrollment on the strength of her engaging and entertaining teaching style.
In revamping the program, she has developed six new courses in vampires, science fiction, Polish cinema, Holocaust literature and Russian literature and folklore. DiBartolomeo is also the Russian program coordinator and associate coordinator for Slavic and East European Studies.
She initiated the Russian Club and Russian Table to keep students involved and speaking the language outside of the classroom. And she finds time each year to take students abroad to study Russian and Eastern European cultures first hand.
DiBartolomeo received her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow, after graduating from WVU as the University’s first British Marshall Scholar.
Department of Physics Assistant Professor Duncan Lorimer’s students have described him as “the best professor I’ve ever had,” “very knowledgeable,” “always willing to put in the extra time.”
Lorimer teaches a variety of courses on descriptive, radio and galactic astronomy. Each summer he works with the National Radio Astronomy Laboratory to teach high school teachers and students the fundamentals of pulsar research.
Since he began his appointment at WVU in 2006, Lorimer has developed curricula for eight new courses. He has received many grants, and has published research in prestigious journals including “Science,” “Astrophysics Journal,” “Astronomy and Astrophysics” and “Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,”
He received his doctorate in 1994 and his master’s degree in 1991 from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom; and he received his bachelor’s degree in 1990 from the University of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom.
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Marcello R. Napolitano’s teaching style is described by his peers to be “unconventional and, at the same time, refreshing.”
Napolitano teaches courses on aircraft dynamics, design of flight control systems, flight testing, flight simulation and adaptive controls. Since he joined the University in 1990, he has worked to make sure that his students understand all the complex information in his courses. One of his mottos is “no student left behind,” which has been highly regarded in his student evaluations.
His commitment to continuously expand, upgrade and enhance the aerospace engineering curriculum at WVU has led to him to work on his own textbook. He is currently working on the book to be titled “Aircraft Dynamics: From Modeling to Simulation.”
Napolitano received his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in 1989; and his master’s degree with honors from the University of Naples, Italy in 1985.
Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology Dr. Robert J. Tallaksen is dedicated to making sure his students receive a well-rounded education, and believes that a well-rounded person is a better and more compassionate physician.
Tallaksen joined WVU is 2001. He currently serves as the section chief of cardiopulmonary radiology, vice chair for education in the Department of Radiology and is the director of the Diagnostic Radiology Residency program.
In addition to working with students in WVU’s School of Medicine, Tallaksen teaches a course on Latin in WVU’s Department of Foreign Languages.
He received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine in 1976; and his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in 1969. He has also studied at the U.S. Naval Hospital, completed a fellowship on chest radiology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and earned his Master of Arts degree in art from WVU in 2005.
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