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College of Human Ecology

K-State's Presidential Awards

Thursday, April 20, 2006

MANHATTAN -- Six Kansas State University faculty members are earning the 2006 Presidential Awards for outstanding teaching, advising or leadership.

The awards, which include a $2,500 honorarium and plaque to each recipient, are sponsored by the K-State president's office and Curtin Property Company, a real estate development company with offices in Manhattan and Kansas City. The awards are coordinated through the Kansas State University Foundation.

Receiving the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching are Mickayla Fink, graduate teaching assistant in English; Swinder Janda, associate professor of marketing; Medhat M. Morcos, professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Yasmin Patell, assistant teaching scholar in the department of chemistry.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising recipient is Shawna Jordan, director of the athletic training education program in K-State's department of human nutrition.

Dean Zollman, university distinguished professor of physics and head of the department of physics, is receiving the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head.

"The Curtin Property Company, our related business entities of Westchester Park and Georgetown Apartment Homes, and our associates are pleased to join with the K-State president's office in rewarding these talented faculty members. As teachers, advisers or as head of a department, they all have made significant contributions to the education of undergraduates at Kansas State University," said Chris Curtin, company president.

"This year's Presidential Award honorees truly make a difference at K-State through their excellence in teaching, advising or department leadership," said Jon Wefald, K-State president. "We appreciate the support provided by Chris Curtin and the Curtin Property Company in helping K-State reward these faculty members for their accomplishments."

* Fink is a master's student in English, Manhattan. She has been a graduate teaching assistant since fall 2004 and teaches Expository Writing 100 and 200. She also is a tutor in the department's writing lab. In addition, she has taught Introduction to Women's Studies for the women's studies program. "I really enjoy helping my students connect what they learn in class to the world around them; not only does it help them learn, but it feels like they are learning material that is less abstract and more applicable to their lives." Fink earned a bachelor's degree in political science and women's studies from K-State in 2004.

* Janda, who joined K-State in 1998, teaches Marketing Research and International Marketing. He also usually teaches Introduction to Marketing during the summer. This semester, Janda designed and taught an experiential marketing course that included a nine-day European learning tour, enabling students to apply classroom learning to practical experience acquired through visits to international companies and three foreign cultures. "Although I pretty much enjoy everything about teaching, what I like most is the ability to make a positive difference in the lives of young people," Janda said. "To me, there is a great deal of satisfaction in motivating students to think on their own and grow. The European trip is an example. Observing how the participating students have grown in terms of maturity and confidence makes the job of teacher worth more than any other job in the world." Janda has been recognized previously for his teaching with the 2001 Kansas State Bank Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Business Administration. He earned a bachelor's in mathematics and physics from India's Panjab University, and a master of business administration and doctorate in marketing, both from the University of Arkansas.

* Morcos, a K-State faculty member since 1986, teaches courses in energy conversion, control systems and power electronics. He is among K-State's most honored teachers. He was selected the 2001-2002 University Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars, now known as the Coffman Chair. He also has received the Commerce Bank Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, LeRoy Paslay Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, Eta Kappa Nu Distinguished Faculty Awards, James Hollis Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and an Outstanding Professor of Engineering Award from Mortar Board. "My wife, Sharon, and I have no children, so I consider each and every student in my class as my own kid," Morcos said. "I love those kids and I share my knowledge with them. If you are a teacher and you don't love your students, you better get out of here!" Morcos, a native of Cairo, Egypt, earned a bachelor's degree from the Military Academy, Egypt; bachelor's and master's degrees from Cairo University; and a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

* Patell has been a K-State faculty member since 2000. She teaches Chemistry 1 and 2. A recipient of the William L. Stamey Award for Teaching Excellence from the College of Arts and Sciences in 2003, Patell has been active in developing teaching tools for her courses, including offering online homework. She also serves on the K-State Online Advisory Council. In addition, she was a member of the American Chemical Society General Chemistry Examination Committee that developed and produced an exam used by thousands of students in 2005.

"Without a doubt, the most enjoyable part of teaching is being able to spend time with all the exceptional students we are fortunate enough to have here at K-State," Patell said. "I always look forward to interacting with them, whether it be in a big lecture hall or my office. I am really grateful to be able to contribute to their learning experiences and then watch them gain in confidence and grow as individuals." A native of Great Britain, Patell earned a bachelor's, with honors, and a master's in chemistry, both from the University of Sussex; and a doctorate in chemistry from the Queen's University of Belfast in Northern Ireland. She also served as a postdoctoral teaching and research fellow at Queen's University and at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada.

* Jordan, as director of K-State's athletic training education program, is responsible for administering the program, including maintaining its accreditation; teaching undergraduate courses; and supervising clinical education experiences. She also advises the program's 99 undergraduates. "I enjoy getting to know the students on a one-to-one level as I assist them in their career path," Jordan said. "I also enjoy seeing them succeed with graduation, job placement and the national certification examination." Jordan joined K-State in 1999 as an assistant athletic trainer. She became director of clinical education for students in the athletic training program in 2000 and was named to her current position in 2002. Jordan earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology, with an emphasis on athletic training, from K-State. She earned a master's in education, with an emphasis on sports psychology, from the University of Kansas. She is currently working on a doctorate in education at K-State.

* Zollman, at K-State since 1970, has served as head of the department of physics since 2001. He says his main job is making it possible for the department's students, faculty, staff and alumni to achieve. "Being a facilitator is a major part of the job of department head, as is listening to all constituents and taking all points of view seriously," Zollman said. "However, most important is the quality of people in the department. To keep them working effectively, a department head frequently needs to make creative uses of limited resources." Along with his accomplishments as a department head, Zollman also is one of the nation's best teachers. He was recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education as the 1996 Professor of the Year-Research and Doctoral Universities . He also received the 1995 Robert A. Millikan medal from the American Association of Physics Teachers for his contributions to teaching physics, and has been designated a Distinguished Teaching Scholar by both K-State and the National Science Foundation. Zollman earned the designation of university distinguished professor, K-State's highest teaching rank, in 2001. He received a bachelor's and a master's in physics, both from Indiana University, and a doctorate in theoretical nuclear physics from the University of Maryland.

This article was posted on Thursday, April 20, 2006, and is filed under Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health.