Two popular and highly respected West Virginia University professors have been chosen as finalists for 2014 Professor of the Year by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia.

WVU’s finalists are Lisa DiBartolomeo, of world languages, literatures and linguistics ; and Powsiri Klinkhachorn, of computer science and electrical engineering, who was nominated for the second straight year.

Each year the Faculty Merit Foundation honors an outstanding faculty member at a West Virginia college of university with the designation. Interviews with the candidates will be held Jan. 22, 2015. The finalists will be recognized at a March 2015 reception in Charleston, where the 2014 Professor of the Year will be announced.

“Dr. DiBartolomeo and Dr. Klinkhachorn both think deeply about their teaching and care passionately about their discipline and their students,” said Provost Joyce McConnell. “Like all of the faculty at WVU, they deserve to be recognized as exceptional educators. I am so delighted that the Foundation has selected them both as finalists for Professor of the Year.”

The Faculty Merit Foundation was created in 1984 to recognize and reward innovation and creativity among faculty at West Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities.

“Teaching is central to my identity, and so to be recognized for the primary activity in my professional life, as well as to be among such a distinguished company, is gratifying,” DiBartolomeo said. “I feel called to be a teacher, and at WVU, I’ve been lucky to have had many opportunities to be the best I can be and pursue my passion.

“My goal in every class is to help students consume all culture more critically,” she added.

DiBartolomeo came to WVU in 2005 as a visiting assistant professor. She is now teaching associate professor in the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics. She is a member of the WVU Board of Governors and also served as Faculty Senate chair from 2013-2014. DiBartolomeo has earned various awards for teaching, including the WVU Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award in 2009.

Klinkhachorn, or “Dr. Klink,” as his students know him, came to WVU in 1988 after five years at Louisiana State University. He teaches some of the most challenging courses in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and is perhaps best known on campus for his work in robotics. In recent years, he’s led a multidisciplinary team of students in NASA-sponsored international competitions. He, too, is a WVU Foundation Outstanding Teacher award winner (2013).

“I am fortunate to be selected as a finalist for the second year in a row,” Klinkhachorn said. “I would like to congratulate all of the finalists and those of us who have been dedicated to our careers to educate and mentor our students.”

Klinkhachorn said, in his 30-plus years of teaching, that he has strived to show students how engineering concepts can be applied to life.

“I believe that students at any level, including college, excel better when given the opportunity to apply what they have learned in theory/math,” he said. “Otherwise, these concepts can be boring without seeing their application and turning those collective concepts into a real world problem.”

A $10,000 cash award is given to Professor of the Year, with $2,500 to the runner-up and smaller awards to other finalists. The Professor of the Year award is presented with financial support from United Bank.

The three other finalists are Zachary Loughman, natural sciences and mathematics, West Liberty University; Harald Menz, world languages and cultures, Bethany College; and William Palmer, history, Marshall University.



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