AU Press Releases

10 faculty honored by student vote for excellent teaching

Ten Alfred University (AU) faculty members were presented with Joseph Kruson Trust Fund Awards for Excellence in Teaching during the annual spring Honors Convocation.

Cited for their outstanding work in the class room were Geoffrey M. Bowers, assistant professor of chemistry, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS); Hope M. Childers, assistant professor of art history, School of Art and Design; Matthew J. Degges, visiting instructor, mechanical engineering, Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering; Xiuhong Du, assistant professor of mathematics, CLAS; Danielle D. Gagne, associate professor of psychology, CLAS; Cris W. Lauback, associate professor of school psychology, graduate program, College of Professional Studies (COPS); Steven M. Pilgrim, professor of materials science and engineering, Inamori School; Nathan H. Reff, assistant professor of mathematics, CLAS; Amy B. Rummel, assistant professor of marketing, COPS; and Joseph Scheer, professor of print media and co-director/founder of The Institute for Electronic Arts, Art and Design.

The Kruson Excellence in Teaching Award is voted upon by students. Faculty recipients are selected from each academic unit and may not receive the award in consecutive years.

Bowers is currently the Dr. Sanford S. Cole and Francis Halderman Cole Assistant Professor of Chemistry at AU and holds an adjunct appointment as assistant professor in the Inamori School of Engineering. His teaching interests include physical chemistry, general chemistry, and environmental chemistry. His research includes studying the structure and dynamics of environmental and engineering materials using nuclear magnetic resonance.

Bowers earned a bachelor of science degree from Purdue University and completed graduate school at Pennsylvania State University.

Childers’ research areas include contemporary Asian art and global avant-garde, colonial/postcolonial studies, art and science, museum studies, and curating in the global sphere. Grants and fellowships she’s earned include the Getty Dissertation Workshop Award from the Getty Research Institute, the Edward A. Dickson Doctoral Fellowship from University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Yale Center for British Art Summer Seminar Award.

Childers earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in ceramics and a master of art degree in art history, both from Louisiana State University, and a Ph.D. in art history from UCLA.

Gagne earned an associate’s degree in alcohol and chemical dependency and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Keene (NH) State College. The University of New Hampshire awarded her a master of arts degree and Ph.D. in psychology.

She holds membership in Pi Gamma Mu, the Gerontological Society of America, the Association for Psychological Science, the American Association for Retired Persons, and the American Psychological Association. Gagne was presented the Ruth Berger Rubenstein Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006 and 2008 and the Kruson Teaching Award in 2011.

Lauback’s teaching focuses on school psychology, pre-referral teams, special education, consultation and organizational change, social climate, GLTBQ, and auditory/oral education for children with earning loss. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in social relations from Colgate University and a master of arts degree in psychology and a doctorate in school psychology from Alfred University.

Lauback is a certified school psychologist and kindergarten-12 teacher, and holds memberships in the National Association of School Psychologists, the New York Association of School Psychologists, the American Federation of Teachers, the New York State United Teachers, and the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. He received the Kruson Award in 2007, 2009, and 2011.

Pilgrim’s teaching focuses on electronic ceramics and composites for electrical, electronic, and electromechanical applications. His past research interests include defibrillator materials, reuse of lead-containing dielectric material, actuators for space applications and harmonic analysis of electromechanical response. He earned a bachelor of science degree in polymer science and a Ph.D. in solid state science from the Pennsylvania State University.

Reff earned a bachelor of science degree and a master of science degree in applied mathematics from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Binghamton University.

Rummel teaches courses that include consumer behavior, international marketing, marketing principles and management, and marketing research. She earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Juniata College and a master of science degree and a Ph.D. in consumer sciences and retailing from Purdue University.

Scheer is an AU graduate. His artwork has been a continuing dialog with the natural sciences that explores the inherent basis of the human need for nature. He dedicates much of his studies to examining the approximately 14,000 living species of moths found in the United States and uses his artwork to spread information about them to a diverse audience who may not normally be aware of or come in contact with their beauty and diversity.