GVSU College of Education News

Five Education faculty receive awards

January 25, 2021

Five Education faculty receive awards

Five College of Education faculty members received 2021 GVSU Faculty Awards, which will be presented at the Faculty Awards Convocation on Tuesday, February 9th at 12:00 p.m. These awards honor the outstanding contributions of our Education faculty.

Reginald Blockett, Ph.D., received The Burch, Jacobs & Moore Diversity Teaching Excellence Award. This award recognizes GVSU faculty who advance and encourage inclusive excellence within the GVSU community.

Blockett embodies the values and practices of equity and inclusion. Students in his courses achieve deeper and critical understanding of systemic power, privilege, and oppression. His syllabi honor and deconstruct seminal theories on college student development, by both respecting the history of the discipline, while simultaneously calling for reexamination of how these theories are founded upon the under representation of diverse subjects. Engaging students on Grand Valley’s Detroit campus and routinely inviting colleagues from all over the country to share their expertise with students, Blockett expands student perspectives, helping them to see experts as approachable scholar-activists. He is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Counseling, and joined GVSU in 2018.


Erica Hamilton, Ph.D., received the Pew Teaching Excellence Award. This award celebrates faculty who inspire GVSU students across the disciplines by stimulating intellectual curiosity. Faculty who receive this award exemplify a commitment to student learning and career development.

Hamilton’s teaching excellence is praised by many in the College of Education. A Literacy and Technology colleague remarks “Dr. Hamilton’s teaching and her performance is nothing short of spectacular. I cannot imagine… a more dedicated and excellent teacher at GVSU.”  Students consistently concur: “Dr. Hamilton models teaching excellence as seen in her intelligence, kindness, and authenticity.” Beyond the classroom, her creation of partnerships with public schools facilitate applied classroom opportunities for Grand Valley students that continue to garner praise. Recognized as a Distinguished Early Career Scholar in 2018 Hamilton collaborates with students in relevant research raising their educational experience to new levels. Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Literacy and Technology, and joined GVSU in 2014.


Leanne Kang, Ph.D., was presented with a Distinguished Early Career Scholar Award from theCenter for Scholarly and Creative Excellence’s. This honors remarkable instructors at GVSU who began their independent scholarship within the past six years. Award recipients must demonstrate mastery in their field, contribute significantly to research and creative practice, and have earned national recognition for their outstanding achievements.

Having previously taught in inner-city New Jersey, Leanne Kang’s scholarship and teaching focuses on racial justice in public education. Her book, Dismantled: The Breakup of an Urban School System (Columbia University’s Teachers College Press, 2020), details the recent dissolution of Detroit Public Schools, while illuminating connections between history and contemporary policy. Kang credits her instruction of teachers and administrators at Grand Valley’s Detroit Center with allowing her to test theories and ideas with people experiencing the upheaval first hand. Her book and ongoing scholarship on urban education have garnered attention from scholars, activists, and educational reformers nationwide. Kang is an Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations, and joined GVSU in 2015.


Karyn Rabourn, Ph.D., received the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence’s Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award. This award recognizes faculty who provide consistent mentoring to graduate students during the course of their careers at GVSU. Through innovative mentoring, faculty must display outstanding commitment and effectiveness as a mentor.

Rabourn has an exemplary track record of mentoring Grand Valley graduate students in the College Student Affairs Leadership program. She has held a number of roles dedicated to supporting graduate students and their success, including master’s project advisor, thesis chair, research partner, internship supervisor, and professional development facilitator. Rabourn approaches each of these roles as collaborative learning opportunities, working with students as partners in their own learning and professional development processes. Her approach to mentorship has encouraged students’ lifelong learning and continuous improvement of research-informed practices in higher education and student affairs. Rabourn is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Counseling, and joined GVSU in 2015.


Liz Storey, M.Ed., received the Pew Teaching with Technology Award. This award recognize faculty who use technology in innovative ways, including teaching and course design. By working to improve current practices through technology, faculty can maximize students’ engagement in their learning and equip them with resources and skills for their career.

Storey is a leader within the College of Education in modeling the effective use of technological tools, including Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, Flipgrid, Padlet, Google Classroom, GoReact, Weebly and Mursion virtual reality. By using these tools in their courses, students are able to transfer these online experiences into their own classroom teaching forays as pre-service teachers. Storey is currently working with the Smithsonian Learning Lab to pilot pre-service teachers’ creation and use of online resources and Smithsonian artifacts to engage learners. Colleagues refer to Storey as a beacon as they engage more fully with the pedagogically sound use of technology. Storey is an Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning, and joined GVSU in 1990.


Article photo shows portraits (left to right) of Reginald Blockett, Erica Hamilton, Leanne Kang, Karyn Rabourn, and Liz Storey, along with the College of Education logo.

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Page last modified January 25, 2021