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EIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


2023 Student Impact Grant for Faculty Mentors

The Student Impact Grants for Faculty Mentors are given annually to EIU faculty who engage in high impact student practices, including projects intended to result in publications with student co-authors, joint research endeavors with students that are accessible to external audiences, partnerships with local community organizations or schools, public displays of research and/or new creative works, and other projects that lead to external recognition at EIU.

Sanghoon Kang (Biological Sciences), Gopal Periyannan and Radu Semeniuc (Chemistry & Biochemistry), Diane Burns (Geology-Geography), Margaret Floress (Psychology), and Andrew Britton (School of Communication & Journalism).


2023 Achievement and Contribution Awards

The Achievement and Contribution Awards are given annually to Eastern Illinois University faculty for outstanding work in the areas of teaching/primary duties, research, service, and balanced (combination of all three areas).  Our faculty continue to achieve distinction in each of the award areas — congratulations to all!

Samantha Tableriou (Art + Design), Eden Effert-Fanta, Billy Hung, Scott Meiners (Biological Sciences), Michael Beck, Hongshan He (Chemistry & Biochemistry), Marjorie Worthington (English), Chris Laingen, James Riley (Geology-Geography), Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz, David Smith (History), Md Farhadur Reza (Mathematics & Computer Science), Jennifer Brown, Rebecca Johnson, Danelle Larson (Music), Grant Sterling (Philosophy), Gary Canivez (Psychology), Nora Heist (School of Communication & Journalism), and Anne Thibault Geen (Theatre).


2023 EIU Distinguished Faculty Award

One of the most prestigious honors available to EIU faculty, the Distinguished Faculty Award is presented each spring to the faculty member or department chair who best exemplifies achievement in teaching/performance of primary duties, research/creative activity, and service.

Colombo and students

Dr. Robert Colombo, Professor of Biological Sciences, was recognized by the Faculty Senate with the 2023 Distinguished Faculty Award.  Since joining EIU in 2009, Dr. Colombo has published 37 peer-reviewed manuscripts with 26 of those manuscripts containing EIU student co-authors.  His research includes everything from the size of the population of fish in the Wabash River, to the effect of climate change on the DNA of bluegill sunfish, the presence of invasive fish species in Illinois, and how to estimate the age of fish.  Congratulations, Robert!


2023-24 EIU Faculty Laureate

Park headshot

Dr. Jake R. Crandall, Instructor of Geology, was chosen as EIU's Faculty Laureate for the academic year 2023-2024.  Faculty chosen for this distinction are recognized for their excellence in teaching general education classes.  Dr. Crandall's research and creative interests include the investigation of potential mineral resources and magmatic intrusions into sulfur-rich sediments on Mars.  Congratulations, Jake!


2022 Luis Clay Mendez Distinguished Service Award

The Mendez Award is presented each fall to the EIU faculty member or department chair who best exemplifies dedication and achievement in service to the university, their profession, and the community at large.

Park headshot

Dr. Diane Burns, Professor of Geology, was chosen as the 2022 Luis Clay Mendez Distinguished Award recipient. Since 2007, Dr. Burns has been on the EIU faculty in the Department of Geology-Geography and served as Chair from 2017-2023.  She has served as President of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the national honors society for Earth Science, and continues to serve as Vice President.  She has been involved in the organization of numerous conference.  In the 2021-2022 academic year alone, she was Chair of the Council of Chairs, Chair of the Science subcommittee on the CLAS Strategic Planning Committee, Faculty Advisor for three Recognized Student Organizations, and served on numerous other University, College, and Departmental committees.  This is typical for Dr. Burns' formal service commitments over her years at EIU, but at least as important is her dedication to serving her students, including mentoring student research, organizing field trips, and dedicating herself to student success and well-being.  Congratulations, Diane!


2024 Alan and Carlene Baharlou Distinguished Service Award

The Alan and Carlene Baharlou Distinguished Service is designed to recognize a member in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who has developed a record of outstanding service that supports and contributes to the teaching and research missions of the College.


Dr. Melissa Ames, Professor of English, was chosen as the 2024 Baharlou Award recipient. Since coming to EIU in 2008, Melissa's service across the university, within her community, and to her profession has been commendable. Melissa has served as the Director of English Education for the past ten years, also holding interim positions as the Film Studies coordinator and the English Graduate Studies Coordinator. She also directs EIU's English Studies Camp for High School students, which she launched in 2015. During the past five years she served on a total of 25 committees and 8 subcommittees, including terms as elected chair of UPC and COTE. Melissa also held substantial UPI leadership roles, serving on both the AOD Negotiation Task Force in 2019 and on the Contract Negotiation Team from 2021-2023. Beyond the university, she is an engaged scholar, manuascript reviewer, a judge for the Illinois Association of Teachers of English Poetry Contest, and a volunteer for the Champaign Public School system.


2024 Hanner Teaching Excellence Award

The Hanner Teaching Excellence Award is designed to celebrate and honor consistent excellence in teaching.


Dr. Katherine Shaw, Professor of Fashion Merchandising & Design, was chosen as the 2024 Hanner Award recipient. Perhaps inspired by her own experience as an undergraduate student, Dr. Katherine Shaw is fully committed—"all in”—to the cause of excellence in undergraduate education at her Alma Mater. She is an exceptional teacher, who her students describe as “kind,” “dedicated,” and “always willing to help.” She is also a mentor, who through careful planning with various student groups on campus, has successfully organized fashion shows and other activities that spotlight student success in fashion merchandising. Finally, as the author of two forthcoming textbooks, Dr. Shaw is broadly committed to the improvement of undergraduate education. EIU is fortunate to have Dr. Katherine Shaw advancing the primary mission of our University.


2024 James K. and Wanda L. Johnson Award

The purpose of this award is to provide faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences with assistance in the pursuit of their individual research or development activities, the presentation of special conferences or guest speakers, the development of study abroad activities, interdisciplinary programs/courses, and the advancement of technology in the classroom.


Dr. Bradley Decker, Assistant Professor of Music, is the 2024 Johnson Award recipient. Dr. Decker is a composer, educator, and performer of contemporary concert music, whose works often incorporate electronic, electroacoustic, or interactive media. His recent works explore the interaction of acoustic instruments and electronics to create immersive composite textures. His instrumental works combine virtuosic flourishes, polyrhythmic interplay, and extended techniques. Electronic elements include interactive computer processing and sampling, multichannel diffusion, and fixed-media accompaniments. Multimedia projects range from traditional film soundtracks to live-performed improvisations with video. As a double bassist, he regularly performs his own compositions and improvisations that incorporate computer interactivity. His research focused on the creative process of composer Franco Donatoni, which has resulted in several publications. 


2024 Lawrence A. Ringenberg Award

The Ringenberg Award is the highest faculty honor bestowed by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.  The award is named in honor of Lawrence A. Ringenberg, the first dean of Arts and Sciences at EIU, serving from 1961-1980. In the tradition of Dr. Ringenberg, this award recognizes excellence in our academic community.


Dr. Stephen Eskilson, Professor of Art History, is the 2024 Ringenberg Award recipient. Dr. Eskilson has been an outstanding member of the department since 1995 and has set a high bar for the Art History area. He has been committed to teaching excellence throughout his career while maintaining a consistently superior level of research. He has authored three books and co-authored on an additional work with fellow retired EIU professor Dr Janet Marquardt-Cherry. Dr. Eskilson is considered one of the forefront authorities in the world of design. His 2023 book called Digital Design, A History was published with Princeton UP. He has co-hosted the department’s Study Abroad trip to Florence and Rome several times over the years. In terms of service, he has focused a lot of time and energy to assist with faculty searches, department committees, and most notably as a writer and collaborator for the past three department Chairs for our IBHE and NASAD reports. The department is very thankful for his dedicated service and attention to detail. Students love taking his courses, but he remains a humble faculty member always willing to assist students in any way possible.


2024 Lida G. Wall Faculty Research Mentor Award

The Lida G. Wall Faculty Research Mentor Award is an annual honor bestowed on a faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who has served as a research mentor to one or more undergraduate students during the last two years.


Dr. Michael Beck, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, is the 2024 Lida Wall Award recipient. Dr. Beck investigates chemical metabolism related to human health. His lab unitizes small molecule chemical tools and technologies to probe tissue specific metabolism of drugs and many other health-relevant biomolecules. His cutting-edge research program provides a wide range of research training opportunities for our students. Dr. Beck has mentored 14 undergraduate students over the past two years and is currently supervising seven undergraduate students in research in addition to two graduate students. Dr. Beck’s research students made a large number of presentations within the past two years that included 10 oral presentations and 22 poster presentations. Dr. Beck is a tireless grant writer and he secured two federal grants within a short period of time. This is an outstanding achievement in the light of heavy teaching and other workloads and is a testament to his research quality. One of the grants from the National Science Foundation ($250,000) emphasizes student training and the grant from the National Institute of Health focuses on research in undergraduate institutions.


2024 Outstanding Faculty Award

The CLAS Student Deans recognize an outstanding faculty member from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences each year. The recipient is nominated by EIU student.


Dr. Steven Pellizzeri, Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry, is the 2024 Outstanding Faculty Award recipient. Dr. Pellizzeri's student nominator writes, "Dr. Pellizzeri has inspired me to pursue a career in environmental chemistry and possibly on the computational side thanks to his teaching and own interest in the subject. Outside the classroom, he always makes time not only for students in his classes but research queries as well. Whether it was working through homework problems or just random questions about class topics, he always made time to work through it with me. This is what made me want to join his research group."


2024 Unit B Research/Scholarship/Creativity and/or Service Achievement Award

This award recognizes the professional activities in research and scholarship/creativity and/or service to the department, college, and campus. 

von Kamp

Dr. Rebecca von Kamp, Instructor of Voice, is the 2024 recipient in the area of Fine & Performing Arts. Dr. von Kamp continuously goes above and beyond her teaching assignments in support of voice students in the Department of Music and musical theatre students in the Theatre Department. Two of her students were winners in the annual Concerto/Aria auditions last fall, and just recently, two students were selected as winners in the Honors Auditions. Not only is this a testament to her teaching, but also her willingness to encourage and prepare students for extra-curricular performances. She also has a visible presence on campus and students know they can turn to her when in need. Recently Dr. von Kamp accompanied the performers from Children of Eden on their tour of New York City.


Amie Whittemore, Instructor of English, is the 2024 recipient in the area of Humanities. During her first semester at EIU, Amie Whittemore published two short stories, two poems, and an essay. She also completed her third book of poetry (Nest of Matches), which is under contract and now forthcoming. The publisher, Autumn House, is a fine arts press with a strong reputation, having published the first book of the current US poet laureate among other fine writers with growing reputations.
Amie also gave a reading of her work on our campus, presented on a panel at the Louisville Book Festival, and organized a writing conference at Middle Tennessee State U. In service, she helped us launch a new recruiting initiative for our MA program by coordinating the arrangements for and helping to staff a booth at the program fair at the annual conference of the Associated Writing Programs. Amie also served on the Creative Writing Committee and has volunteered to coordinate a visiting writer for our endowed Neff Poetry Reading, which has been on hiatus since the pandemic.



Graduate Student Investigator (GSI) Awards

The Graduate Student Investigator (GSI) Award program was developed by the former Dean of the College of Sciences to support graduate research and to provide a forum for the presentation of superior graduate student research.  The GSI program is open to students who are pursuing a degree program within CLAS.

2024 Recipients:

  • Sofiane Aiche, Biological Sciences
  • Tera Johnson-Swartz, English


Scholars in Undergraduate Research at Eastern (SURE) Awards

The SURE program fosters undergraduate research participation in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  Undergraduate involvement in research with mentoring professors is a rewarding experience for students.  The goal of the SURE program is to facilitate research activities and provide a forum for the presentation of undergraduate research.

2024 Recipients:

  • Karolina Guzek, Political Science
  • Lyric Johnson, Biological Sciences
  • Taylor Meritt, Political Science
  • Noah Riggs, Political Science


Social Science Writing Award

The Departments of Economics, Geology-Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminology invite students to participate in the Annual Social Science Writing Awards competition.  Regardless of major, undergraduate students who write research papers as a regular assignment in all social science courses may submit them for recognition.

2024 Recipients:

  • 1st Place - Brittney Williams-Poke, History
  • 2nd Place - Rebecca Moore, Sociology
  • 3rd Place - Paige Thing, Political Science


Creative Works Award

The Department of English, the School of Arts (Departments of Art+Design, Music, and Theatre), the Departments of World Languages & Cultures, and the Tarble Arts Center invite undergraduate students to participate in the annual Creative Works Awards competition.  Regardless of major, undergraduate students who engage in creative works in the arts and humanities may submit them for recognition.

2024 Recipients:

  • Audrey Burns, Graphic Design
  • Chevvy Edwards, English
  • Rachael Perino, Art Education
  • Jackson Probst, Music
  • Matthew Williamson, Television & Video Production


CLAS Student Deans Assistance Award

This award is offered to students who have overcome or are facing some type of hardship that has impacted their college career.

2024 Recipient:

  • Peyton Hayes, Mass Communication

Related Pages

Contact Information

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Eastern Illinois University
2210 Doudna Fine Arts Center

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