Office of the Provost

Faculty Honors

Outstanding Educator Award


Betsy A. Bancroft

Betsy Bancroft photo

In a field with much to learn and even more to memorize - according to students eager to pass her biology tests - assistant professor of biology Betsy Bancroft sets a high bar and then does everything she can to help her student meet those lofty expectations.  Since she first joined the SUU community in 2010, Dr. Bancroft has mentored 22 students in undergraduate research, with topics spanning the ecosystem.  She works hard to ensure her students have meaningful lab experiences that relate to each individual's goal and interests.  Many of the University's biology students have dubbed themselves "Betsy Groupies," eager to work alongside Dr. Bancroft in research endeavors.  Though known for her rigorous coursework, Dr. Bancroft fosters an encouraging, collaborative classroom environment in which students thrive year after year.  Even those students who may not do as well as they had hoped in one of Dr. Bancroft's classes still laud her merits, explaining that, thought challenging, they never learned more in any class than they did under Dr. Bancroft's tutelage.

Past Recipients

Outstanding Scholar


Dezhi Wu

Dezhi Wu photo

Dr. Dezhi Wu, associate professor of information systems, began teaching at SUU in 2005: her passion for scholarly work and academic rigor obvious right from the start.  In addition to 16 published research articles, she has presented five papers at profession conferences, building a name for herself and Southern Utah University.  Her work is now heavily referenced by others in her field, and she currently chairs the Association for Information Systems special interest group committee on human-computer interaction and also serves as an advisory board member for that organization.  Dr. Wu mentors student in the information systems doctoral program at McMaster University and serves as an associate editor/referee for several journal publications in her field.  As if this weren't enough,  Dr. Wu received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation to participate in its Science & Technology Research Program at the University of California, Berkeley during the summer of 2012 and was recognized with a Technology Challenge Award by the Association for Information Systems at its 2012 International Conference on Information Systems in Shanghai.

Past Recipients

Distinguished Educators


Kay Andersen

Kay Andersen photo

For Kay Andersen, dance education is about more than technique; it's about the nuances and emotions that, together, bring technique to life.  For the 17 years he has taught dance at SUU, Professor Andersen has merged his academic and storied professional experience to foster student creativity and dedication in a field that is both emotionally and physically draining in the face of stiff competition and constant critique.  Well versed in the challenges of the craft, Andersen has performed worldwide for the renowned Nikolais & Murray Louis Dance Company as a soloist for 11 years.  He is also a gifted choreographer, and Professor Andersen's dance students now follow in his footsteps toward international stages, in both New York City and Wuhan, China.  Beyond a keen eye and creative choreography, Andersen maintains a positive energy and sincere commitment to his students that allows him to connect with them and help them reach their full potential.

Elise Leahy

Elise Leahy Photograph

Whether teaching in English or French, Elise Leahy is an incredibly dynamic professor with the ability to immerse students in foreign concepts so wholly that the new becomes rapidly familiar.  As associate professor and department chair of foreign languages and philosophy, Dr. Leahy instructs multiple foreign languages with an expertise in French.  And though learning a new language, culture and history can be a difficult task; Dr. Leahy creates unique learning opportunities by bringing cultures together in everyday experiences. She has created many opportunities for such immersion on campus, including bringing the International French Film Festival to campus, open to all, and improving study abroad trips for SUU students to France.  Through such experiences, Dr. Leahy's students come to see both foreign languages and ideas through the eyes of a native, instead of just a textbook.

Jean Lopour

Jean Lopour photograph

It may seem obvious that a physical education course would be interactive, but Professor Jean Lopour takes the hands-on collaboration in her physical education and coaching courses to a heightened level.  Always open to discussion and eager to learn of her students' goals and interests, Dr. Lopour questions everything and encourages her students to do the same - building upon past learning experiences as they find new solutions and answers.  Her dedication to her students goes beyond their success in any one class, and she works hard to ensure their future success as educators, not just students.  Lopour models such success in her own teaching and her students respond, eager to learn and grow under her thoughtful instruction.

Past Recipients