Faculty Convocation

Faculty Awards Convocation logo

Faculty Awards Convocation is held each February to honor the outstanding contributions of our faculty. University awards are presented for excellence in teaching in and outside of the classroom, scholarship that advances the professions and helps society, inspiring mentoring to aid our students successfully along their way, and dedicated service to the campus and larger community.

View the Faculty Awards Convocation Ceremony - Video premieres at noon on February 8, 2022


2022 Recipients

University Awards for Excellence

Steeve Buckridge

Internationalization Award

Steeve Buckridge, Ph.D.
Professor of History
Joined Grand Valley State University in 1998


Since he began in 1998, Steeve Buckridge has been a leader in advancing internationalization at Grand Valley. He has been involved in developing and leading two faculty-led programs, served as the inaugural director of area and global studies, has been instrumental in initiating multiple international partnerships, led the Faculty/Staff Partnership Delegation to Jamaica, and has hosted many international colleagues over the years. Buckridge has conducted research in Africa and the Caribbean that has led to the creation of new courses, visiting scholar opportunities, and a recent Fulbright Scholar award. His leadership on events such as Remembering the Crossings lecture series has had a significant impact on students, GVSU colleagues, and the wider community.

Adrienne Wallace

Outstanding Advising and Student Services Award

Adrienne Wallace, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Communications
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2016


Adrienne Wallace, associate professor in the School of Communications, not only advises and mentors students one-on-one, but also coordinates internships, advises multiple student organization, participates as a student success network mentor, serves incoming students through first-year advising and registration, and incorporates advising and mentoring into her professional and scholarly publications and presentations. Her colleagues and students describe her as a superstar and powerhouse advisor, who offers authentic engagement, long-term support, and deep care for her students. Wallace is praised by colleagues and students for her availability, collegiality, support for student professional development, and willingness to support students through challenging circumstances academically and personally.

Lihong Heidi Jiao

Outstanding Community Service Award

Lihong (Heidi) Jiao, Ph.D.
Professor of Engineering
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2004


Heidi Jiao’s community service extends from local schools and businesses in the greater Grand Rapids area to health care in Africa. She has successfully promoted STEM education among high school and college students through a variety of community opportunities, and she has established community partnerships that include the Van Andel Institute, Gentex, and Steelcase. This has helped to create a pipeline of STEM students and promoted GVSU in the community. One of her most notable achievements is a collaborative project that uses solar power to provide emergency backup systems to health care facilities in Malawi. Jiao mentored her students to design, build, and install multiple portable solar power units allowing uninterrupted electricity and life-saving support for several hospital units, including the maternity unit, where many lives were regularly at risk due to a lack of power.

David Huizen

Outstanding University Service Award

David Huizen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Occupational Safety and Health
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2009


Dave Huizen’s service includes a variety of roles that impact GVSU students, faculty, and the university. He has connected with incoming and new students through service roles, such as Awards of Distinction and Laker Days. He has served on search committees, the University Curriculum Committee, and the University Academic Senate. However, his most notable service is his participation and leadership on the Virus Action Team during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this role, he has used his background in occupational health and safety to impact every student, faculty, and staff member in the GVSU community, working diligently and efficiently to ensure the safest possible learning and working environment. He has done this not only through his technical knowledge of industrial hygiene, but also through his understanding of how to make cultural changes that incorporate the most effective disease-prevention strategies.

Corey Anton

Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline Award

Corey Anton, Ph.D.
Professor of Communications
Joined Grand Valley State University in 1998


Corey Anton is a leading contemporary scholar in the fields of communication theory, semiotics and general semantics, the philosophy of communication, and media ecology. His productivity has been remarkable, and his research output over 20 years has consistently been followed by high honors from colleagues and professional associations. Anton has published seven books, 35 articles, and 25 book chapters. A few of the many professional awards Anton has won for his scholarship include: the Outstanding Book Award from the National Communication Association (2021), Edmund S. Carpenter Award for Career Achievement from the Media Ecology Association (2021), and numerous Best Paper awards at professional conferences. In 2020, he was selected to deliver the Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture, an annual honor that highlights superstars in the field of general semantics. In summary, Anton is a highly respected scholar on the international stage. He embodies the highest accomplishments that one can expect in the academic world.

Bopi Biddanda

Distinguished Contribution in a Discipline Award

Bopi Biddanda, Ph.D.
Professor of Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2002


Bopi Biddanda is an internationally recognized expert in the field of microbial ecology and carbon biogeochemistry, particularly in the Great Lakes. In 2009, he was awarded the Chandler-Misener Award by the International Association for Great Lakes Research, for a GVSU-NOAA collaboration that elucidated the effects of river inflow and sediments on plankton in the Great Lakes. His publication record is remarkable and highly cited, including nearly 80 publications, with an average of almost 50 citations per article. The vast majority of his publications include student authors. Biddanda attracts significant and continuing external funding for his research (from e.g., the EPA, NSF, NOAA, and NASA) totaling 1.5 million in just the past 10 years. This year, he was awarded a Fulbright Senior Fellowship (Spain, 2022) to study “lakes as sentinels of change”. In addition, he serves on the board of two journals, operates the Muskegon Lake Observatory, and serves as the GVSU coordinator for the NASA Michigan Space Grant Program. Biddanda’s activities, attitude, and productivity have brought distinction and recognition to GVSU.

Barb Hooper

University Outstanding Teacher Award

Barbara Hooper, D.N.P.
Associate Professor of Nursing
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2008


Barbara Hooper’s portfolio is celebrated for many reasons by her faculty colleagues in the Kirkhof College of Nursing, but her work to create engaging inclusive curriculum is a central feature, impacting students and faculty alike. A reflective nursing educator and active scholar, other highlights within her work include a focus on leadership, including disciplinary knowledge, health policy, and evidence-based practices both clinically and in teaching. Using stories, technology, simulation, and purposeful instruction in her teaching and mentoring of GVSU students, nursing practice is elevated in West Michigan. Hooper serves as a role model providing support, guidance, and assistance in the classroom, as well as to struggling former students beginning their careers. “Hooper manifests success everywhere she goes and she truly is the gold standard,” said a GVSU nursing student.

Wendy Reffeor

Glenn A. Niemeyer Award

Wendy Reffeor, Ph.D.
Professor of Engineering
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2010


Need to keep your prime parking spot? Ask Wendy Reffeor’s students and they’ll design a catapult with the appropriate spring tension and proper release point to repel any parking invaders. A previous winner of the Pew Teaching Excellence Award, Reffeor has spent 26 years personalizing routine classroom exercises to engage her students in their education and make them better engineers. She infuses her industry experience in coursework through the design-model-build-test format of her class projects. Her decades of work with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers student design competition have been recognized with their Dedicated Service Award. She spearheaded diversity efforts that led to GVSU being part of an inaugural group recognized by the American Society of Engineering Educators’ Diversity Recognition Program. Reffeor serves as the mechanical engineering program chair, co-directed the first STEPS camp, and puts students first in all her teaching, research, and service activities.

Amy Schelling

Glenn A. Niemeyer Award

Amy Schelling, Ed.D.
Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2007


Amy Schelling’s colleagues share that she is a student advocate in every sense of the word. She is not only student-centered in her teaching and leadership; she is, first and foremost, relationship centered. Each student’s education, and every faculty member’s growth, matters to her. She has served on numerous university committees and as a student organization faculty advisor. Her professional service includes serving on two Michigan Department of Education advisory committees, as a auditor for the Council for Exceptional Children Program, and as Camp Sunshine board member. Schelling is published in the Field Experience Journal, Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, and the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities. In 2018, Schelling was selected by the university to attend the HERS Institute of Leadership Development for Women in Higher Education. She exemplifies servant leadership a commitment to student advocacy, and maintains a clear vision for the future of teacher preparation.

Medar Serrata

Glenn A. Niemeyer Award

Medar Serrata, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2009


Whether he is driving a van full of Spanish Club students to Chicago every year to meet Latinx communities, or teaching dozens of immigrants so they can pass their exams and become U.S. citizens, or leading the Oliver Wilson Freshman Academy’s Academic Success Institute, or having his poetry honored by a street being named after him in Santo Domingo International Book Fair 2014 by the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Culture, Serrata blends the teaching, engagement, and civic pride in a way that is quietly spectacular. His democratic approach to teaching may have been engendered by his important scholarship on dictatorship. His
colleagues call him beyond deserving of GVSU’s highest faculty honor, and his students note how much he cares for not only his subject matter but also his students. Not only is he passionate about Spanish language, literature, and culture, he also ignites that passion in his students.

Pew Awards for Excellence

Andrea Riley-Mukavetz

Burch, Jacobs, and Moore Diversity Teaching Excellence Award

Andrea Riley-Mukavetz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2017


Andrea Riley-Mukavetz lives the mission of creating equitable and antiracist educational opportunities for students. Likewise, her scholarship aims to both teach and disrupt the historic oppression of marginalized groups in academia. Embracing indigenous pedagogy, Riley-Muskavetz leads our campus, including students and faculty, to a reflective and honest re-education of history, indigenous ways of knowing, and guides learners to knowledge, skills, and values which embrace diverse practices. Among her many accomplishments is the planned Sustainable Agricultural Indigenous Space Project. This signature teaching lodge creation will serve as a teaching place, and it will increase indigenous visibility at GVSU.

Gerald Brown

Pew Teaching Excellence Award for Adjunct Faculty

Gerald Brown, M.A.
Adjunct Instructor of Literacy, Educational Foundations, and Technology
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2015


Gerald Brown consistently exemplifies a deep commitment to teaching excellence, throughout many courses taught at GVSU. In EDH - 182, for those on academic probation, student centered pedagogy creates the opportunity to grapple with factors that may have led to academic struggles. Employing a growth mindset, creating a supportive learning environment where students can share vulnerabilities, and coaching them to a sense of self-efficacy, students thrive in new ways. In the words of a student, “If it were not for him, I probably would not be back at school this semester; he believed in me, and he made me believe in myself.”

Beomkyu Choi

Pew Teaching with Technology Award

Beomkyu Choi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Literacy, Educational Foundations, and Technology
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2017


Beomkyu Choi, professor of educational technology, embraces and innovates with technology in his teaching. In his work, pedagogy drives the use of technology. Examples include scenario-based reasoning and harnessing communication and collaboration tools to better facilitate a practice team-based project. Likewise, Project Technologia transforms a discussion board into the basis for a narrative role-playing game, in which students manifest and practice what they have learned throughout the semester.

Jeroen Wagendorp

Pew Teaching with Technology Award

Jeroen Wagendorp, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Geography and Sustainable Planning
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2004


Jeroen Wagendorp has a long and well-developed skillset engaging students with evidence- based technology in teaching. Beyond historical creation of lecture content using Skype and Panopto for oral exams or connecting with students, he has developed a virtual study abroad course. This lengthy and creative body of work enables students to experience a rich landscape of educational activities, including a visit to the Netherlands, a lively opportunity given recent travel restrictions.

Brian Bowdle

Pew Teaching Excellence Award

Brian Bowdle, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2005


Brian Bowdle’s disciplinary teaching engages the application of complex psychological science. Recognition that students must possess deep knowledge to successfully engage in critical thinking undergirds his teaching success. Student feedback confirms Bowdle’s effectiveness in stimulating deep intellectual curiosity, honing cognitive skills, and guiding productive student-led class discussions. Recent instructional adaptations to online learning include a virtual discussion with Eli Steele, director of the documentary What Killed Michael Brown, a session targeting controversial issues in psychology. Bowdle’s structured online forums inspired colleagues to adopt the approach. Students value his compassion, authenticity, and inspirational teaching methods, which are instrumental to their success.

Meghan Cai

Pew Teaching Excellence Award

Meghan Cai, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2014


Meghan Cai creatively generated hundreds of East Asian studies educational materials freely accessible to students, including videos, games, guides, and educational activities for partner schools. A commitment to collaborative, community-building, and high-impact experiences is celebrated by students and colleagues alike. Cai’s embrace of “ungrading” — assessment emphasizing student ownership of learning — aligns with pedagogy focused on meta-cognition and student reflection. In a student’s words, “Thank you for always making it clear to everyone in your classes that we are the priority for you, not our grades or the work we put in front of you.”

Lauren Keough

Pew Teaching Excellence Award

Lauren Keough, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2016


Lauren Keough’s reflective, empathetic, and innovative mathematics pedagogy results in transformative learning for students, leaving a deep impression on their experience at GVSU. Centering agency, Keough revises traditional student assessment, embracing “ungrading.” This approach requires students to develop semester-long portfolios and receive in-depth feedback. They assign their own grade, guided by a rubric, yielding rich growth in student performance. Keough’s student feedback and collegial recognition glow with support for her as a teacher, colleague, and mentor. Lastly, we recognize her notable contribution to expanded access for women in mathematics.

Santos Ramos

Pew Teaching Excellence Award

Santos Ramos, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2018


In more than three years at GVSU, Santos Ramos taught an impressive and challenging range of courses and modalities across the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies. The breadth and depth of his consistently effective teaching has earned deep respect from his faculty colleagues, because of skillful adaptation of technology and talent for facilitating student-centered learning in a variety of settings and courses. In the words of a student, “I often times didn’t want the conversation to end. Ramos always supported his students whenever they needed assistance.” In his own words, “Stimulating intellectual curiosity in students helps them more thoroughly engage in their own education.”

Susan Strouse

Pew Teaching Excellence Award

Susan Strouse, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Nursing
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2013


Susan Strouse is a dedicated educator in the Kirkhof College of Nursing, who in her own words states, “To teach so that others learn is to change lives. That is how I view my role as a nurse educator.” Colleagues communicate high regard for her passion, drive, and innovative practices to vary and improve her teaching. Students benefit from her nationally recognized professional development work around nursing identity and culture. Lastly, Strouse’s co-coordinated study abroad trip to Ghana, while shortened due to COVID, was successful in providing GVSU students with international nursing perspectives.

Agnieszka Szarecka

Pew Teaching Excellence Award

Agnieszka Szarecka, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2009


Agnieszka Szarecka developed curriculum in two upper-division computational courses in bioinformatics and computer modeling. Combining research expertise and teaching interests, these courses are lauded for demonstrated student progress. A colleague states, “Agnieszka’s high-touch approach, coupled with her intellectual rigor, curiosity, and enthusiasm combine to provide our students with an optimal educational experience, as well as an excellent model of a successful professional.” A student commented, “Her expertise in computational biology is exceptional, and she strives to make her knowledge accessible to students, whether through additional recommended readings, office hours, or her personal comments on every lab and writing assignment.”

David Zwart

Pew Teaching Excellence Award

David Zwart, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2012


Reflective teaching characterizes the work of David Zwart as an excellent educator, well-recognized by his colleagues. Transparent pedagogy is centered in his continuous course improvement, team teaching with colleagues, and leadership in faculty learning communities. Curricular revision using backward course design strategies with his departmental colleagues in social studies and history reveals his invitational and thoughtful approach. An observation by a colleague states, “David Zwart teaches with grace and wisdom. Students ease into following his soothing lead in the classroom and seek his counsel outside of it.”

Maya Hobscheid

Pew Excellence Award for Teaching and Learning Enrichment

Maya Hobscheid, M.S.L.I.S.
Assistant Librarian, University Libraries
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2018


Maya Hobscheid demonstrates a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion as she integrates universal design for learning principles into library instruction. As the inaugural instructional design librarian, she incorporates multiple modes and formats into resource innovation. This work impacts liaison librarians, promoting changes in culture and skills, leading to accessible, intentional, and effective instruction. Additionally, she has made significant contributions in both information literacy program evaluation and assessment within the General Education Committee. Collaborations with E-learning facilitated continued growth among liaison librarians to refresh online skills in online and hybrid faculty learning communities.

CSCE Awards for Scholarly and Creative Excellence

Martin Burg

Distinguished Undergraduate Mentoring Award

Martin Burg, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Joined Grand Valley State University in 1999


Over his 20 years at Grand Valley, Burg has made significant contributions to advancing undergraduate research and scholarship through his commitment to student engagement on biological projects, in particular regarding Drosophila genomics. His philosophy of mentoring undergraduate students is focused on the development of the mentee with special attention to career preparation. But, as Burg states, “more important is the personal development that can occur as a result of a mentor-mentee relationship.” The impact of his mentorship has extended beyond his individual students by inspiring and guiding other faculty at GVSU to emulate his success.

Sok Kean Khoo

Distinguished Graduate Mentoring Award

Sok Kean Khoo, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2013


Since arriving at Grand Valley in 2013, Khoo has successfully mentored more than 15 master’s students in CMB and in the professional science in biotechnology program. Her approach to mentorship is understanding the value of one-on-one engagement with students, promoting inclusion, diversity, and empowerment, and providing support and professional enrichment to every graduate student, whether they are writing a master’s thesis, working in her research lab, or navigating postgraduation decisions. Each of her students has gone on to find success along academic or professional paths in the field. Khoo exemplifies the very best of GVSU through her investment in mentoring students in all areas of their lives and developing lifelong relationships with students as present and future colleagues.

Kuhelika De

Distinguished Early-Career Scholar Award

Kuhelika De, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Economics
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2017


De is an applied macroeconomist who studies the intersection of monetary and international economics, time-series econometrics, and development economics. Using a highly quantitative modeling approach, she focuses on understanding how large-scale macroeconomic issues (e.g., monetary shocks, income and racial inequality) affect the lives of individuals in areas as diverse as food consumption, personal debt, unemployment, and the price of consumer goods. In her most recent work, De considered the combined effect of recent recessions and COVID-19 on health care employment. Since joining GVSU in 2017, she has published five articles in top (A-level) journals, and has presented at a number of highly regarded national conferences.

Daisy Fredricks

Distinguished Early-Career Scholar Award

Daisy Fredricks, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2017


As a former bilingual elementary and middle school teacher in Michigan and elsewhere, Fredricks’ scholarship seeks to disrupt inequitable schooling experiences for multilingual students and improve teacher preparation though instruction grounded in research. Fredricks is a leader in the “Voices from the Field” research team, a working group of teacher educators and novice teachers who have identified a set of Core Practices for teaching multilingual students, and will publish a book on this work in 2022 (Teachers College Press). She maintains an active program of scholarship — often centered on teacher and student experiences, in an effort to humanize both research practice and classroom instruction — with 11 peer-reviewed publications, six since arriving at Grand Valley.

Laura Hawk

Distinguished Early-Career Scholar Award

Laura Hawk, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2017


Hawk’s research focuses on biological recognition, which concerns how biological compounds interact with one another and other important molecular compounds. Her work has significant implications for the fields of antibiotic resistance, aging, and Alzheimer’s disease. She has an impressive publication record, having placed a number of papers in top-rated peer-reviewed journals, and was awarded the Pew Teaching Excellence award in 2021. Soon after joining GVSU in 2017, Hawk led the effort to secure a National Science Foundation (NSF) Major Research Instrument Award to acquire a liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer. Given her standing in her field, she has been selected as a reviewer for both top journals and federal granting agencies, such as NSF.

Sanjivan Manoharan

Distinguished Early-Career Scholar Award

Sanjivan Manoharan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Engineering
Joined Grand Valley State University in 2016


Sanjivan Manoharan has quickly established himself in the field of engineering, developing projects on wind tunnel investigations of aircraft aerodynamics, computational fluid dynamics, airfoil configurations based on humpback whales to improve aircraft wing performance, and nucleation and bubble dynamics. His most notable contribution has been securing a large, multidisciplinary NSF grant to examine the barriers that prevent underrepresented students from pursuing graduate education, which will provide support for at least 30 students pursuing their master’s education. Manoharan has also been awarded several internal and external grants through his research that have acquired innovative engineering equipment for his department and student research projects.

Celebration of Milestones



Page last modified February 10, 2022