Virtual Faculty Convocation will recognize outstanding contributions, years of service

Faculty members will be honored for outstanding contributions and years of service to Grand Valley at the annual Faculty Convocation on Tuesday, February 9.

The virtual program will begin at noon; register online to receive a Zoom link.

Awards will be presented for University Excellence, along with awards from the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center and Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence. Service awards will recognize faculty members with 25-50 years of service.

headshots of seven faculty members
Top row from left, are Felix Ngassa, Sally Pelon, Jack Mangala and C. "Griff" Griffin; bottom row, from left, are Tara Kneeshaw, Naoki Kanaboshi and Todd Aschenbach.
Image Credit: University Communications

A list of award recipients is below.

University Excellence Awards:

  • Glenn A. Niemeyer Award: Felix Ngassa, professor of chemistry
  • University Outstanding Teacher Award: Sally Pelon, associate professor of social work
  • Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline: Jack Mangala, professor of area/global studies and political science
  • Outstanding University Service Award: C. "Griff" Griffin, professor of general education and biology
  • Outstanding Community Services Award: Todd Aschenbach, associate professor of biology
  • Outstanding Advising and Student Services Award: Tara Kneeshaw, assistant professor of geology
  • Internationalization Award: Naoki Kanaboshi, associate professor of criminal justice

Special Recognition:

  • Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year: Stephen Mattox, professor of geology

Pew Awards for Excellence:

  • Burch, Jacobs, Moore Diversity Teaching Excellence Award: Reginald Blockett,assistant professor of education
  • Teaching Excellence Award for Part-Time Faculty: Isaac Simon, adjunct instructor of communications
  • Excellence Award for Teaching, Learning Enrichment: Gayle Schaub, associate librarian
  • Teaching with Technology Awards: Krista Benson, assistant professor of integrative, religious, and intercultural studies; and Elizabeth Storey, assistant professor of education
  • Teaching Excellence Awards: Carrie Buist, assistant professor of criminal justice; Erica Hamilton, assistant professor of education; Laura Hawk, assistant professor of chemistry; and Misti Ryefield, assistant professor of allied health sciences.

Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence Awards:

  • Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Awards: Andrea Bostrom, professor of nursing; and Karyn Rabourn, assistant professor of education
  • Distinguished Undergraduate Mentoring Awards: Lori Houghton-Rahrig, associate professor of nursing; and Randy Winchester, associate professor of chemistry
  • Distinguished Early-Career Scholar Awards: Abdullah Alrebh, assistant professor of sociology; Jaclyn Cwick, assistant professor of criminal justice; Byron DeVries, assistant professor of computing and information systems; and Leanne Kang, assistant professor of education.

More information about these award recipients is online at

Provost Maria Cimitile at podium
Provost Maria Cimitile
Valerie Hendrickson
Christine Rener at podium in academic regalia
Christine Rener, Director of the Pew FTLC and vice provost for instructional development and innovation
Valerie Hendrickson
Robert Smart, at podium in academic regalia
Robert Smart, executive director for the Center for Scholarly and Creative Excellence and vice provost for research administration
Valerie Hendrickson