Office of the Provost

Faculty Honors

Outstanding Educator Award


Mary Pearson

Mary Pearson Photo

For Mary Pearson, teaching is as much about the workplace as it is the classroom.  A practicing accountant since 1993, Pearson balances her roles as financial consultant and accounting professor to her students' benefit, bringing a current industry perspective into class discussion and theories.  Professor Pearson expects a lot from her students, and they appreciate the challenge and the opportunity to prove themselves to a seasoned professional.  Pearson's students consistently rise to the occasion and score in the top 20 percent in the nation on the accounting portion of the exit business exams.  In 2009, Pearson earned the Outstanding Professor Award within the accounting department, and, in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010 was nominated by her student for the Outstanding Teacher Award from Who's Who Among America's Teachers.  Among the glowing review, one of Pearson's recent students said, "She know what she is talking about, brings real like examples into her lectures, and is always helpful. You can tell she loves what she does."  This reputation is gaining international attention, and Pearson has been invited twice to teach budgeting courses at FH Wien, an international entrepreneurial school in Austria.


Joe G. Baker

Joe Baker

The 2012 Outstanding Educator award is not the first of its kind for Dr. Joe Baker, who once before received the honor, in 2000, for his exceptional contribution to SUU's Department of Economics. Dr. Baker is an accomplished economist who began teaching managerial economics and finance at SUU in 1997. Prior to his arrival on campus, Dr. Baker was a research economist at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. Before that, he was an economist for the National Research Council in Washington, D.C. He has published several peer-reviewed articles and has served as referee for the Journal of Economic Education. Baker is the director of SUU's Center for Economic Education and sits on the board of directors for the Utah Council on Economic Education. He plays a lead role in developing curricula and teaching materials for SUU's business department. While at SUU, Baker has also been named as the 2004 Outstanding Professor and was awarded the Grace A. Tanner Distinguished Faculty Lecture in 2009. He consistently receives high marks from his students and is a deserving recipient of the Outstanding Educator title. A native of the American Southwest, Dr. Baker is a well-traveled outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking and exploring Utah's national parks.

Past Recipients

Outstanding Scholar


Peter Sham

Peter Sham photo

Peter Sham has gained international acclaim in recent years for his hit production, Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical, which first marked its world premiere on the Utah Shakespeare Festival's stage in 2008.  Alongside co-creator Brad Carroll, who wrote the production's music, Sham, responsible for book and lyrics, took Tenor from Cedar City to the Gielgud Theatre on London's West End, into Europe, and in 2014, back to the states, to New York City for it's planned Broadway premiere.  This marks a crowing achievement in a storied career as a nationally-acclaimed playwright and performer on top of his work as professor and department chair for SUU's Theatre Arts Program.  For his success as an educator and ambassador for his craft, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival awarded Sham its prestigious 2013 Excellence in Education Award.  He was also awarded SUU's Board of Trustees Award of Excellence in 2012, as well as a Thunderbird Award for Professor of the Year.


David J. Berri

David J. Berri

Dr. David Berri has been named among the "30 authors with the largest number of attributed articles in sports economics literature" and is widely published in peer-reviewed journals, print news sources and online news media. He also co-authored the book Stumbling on Wins: Two Economists Expose the Pitfalls on the Road to Victory in Professional Sports. A professor of economics and finance at SUU by day, Berri is also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post and has recently been invited to join the guest writing staff at  Four papers authored by Dr. Berri have been accepted for publication in scholarly books, and he is past president of the North American Association of Sports Economics and remains active in the association and others related to the study of economics.  Dr. Berri was selected as the 2012 Outstanding Scholar for his steadfast commitment to the study of economics, his impressive scholarly output and the honorable standing that he enjoys among his peers.

Past Recipients

Distinguished Educators


John T. Ault

John Ault photo

Since becoming a psychologist in 1972, professor of psychology Dr. John Ault worked for close to 30 years providing therapy and consultation services to rehabilitation centers before becoming an educator. The help he gave to the mentally ill and developmentally disabled has given him a keen sense of what needs to be taught in the classroom, and he remains active in ongoing scholarly research, focusing his work on behavioral and role analysis. Professor Ault's students appreciate his perspective and recognize the great opportunity to learn from one of the field's very best. Said one pupil, "Dr. Ault is one of the most brilliant professors I have ever met."

John R. Taylor

John Taylor Photograph

Innovation Is key to education for Assistant Professor of Biology John Taylor. He aims to do the very best he can by utilizing the latest resources and teaching methodologies at his disposal, and his effective use of new technologies makes biology relevant to his students far beyond the subject matter. A champion of science education, Taylor is largely responsible for SUU's Voyager Mobile Science Laboratory, bringing new technologies and engaging lesson plans to local elementary and middle schools in rural areas that would not otherwise have access to this level of on-going innovation. No less engaged within his own field of study, Taylor is an active researcher of bat habitats and has published and presented his findings multiple times. From ongoing academic to community engagement, Dr. Taylor represents the great value in the SUU experience in every aspect of his work.

Ellen Treanor

Ellen Treanor photograph

Professional-in-Residence for SUU's business and communication department, Ellen Treanor views her role as an educator as a unique opportunity to give her students true-to-life professional experience.  Her enthusiasm for both teaching and for her field --marketing and communication -- has proven contagious for a majority of her students, who come to class each day not just ready to learn, but eager to join the discussion and developed their own ideas.  Treanor's students appreciate her upbeat, sincere demeanor, and she treats them with the respect of a colleague.  Said one student, "I have never had a teacher go out of their way like she did to help me learn.  She is a professor who cares that you succeed not only in class but in life."


Betsey A. Bancroft

Betsey Bancroft

While some educators teach students to memorize facts and pass tests, assistant professor of biology Betsy Bancroft focuses her time and energy on her students—always looking for new ways to connect the course material with their interests and goals. What's more, she does it with a relative ease and relatability that makes students feel welcome and comfortable, leaving room for conversation and even humor in every class discussion. She is positive and encouraging, and her students succeed not because they have to but simply because they want to make their professor proud. Even those students who may not do as well as they had hoped in one of Professor Bancroft's classes still laud her merits, explaining that though challenging, they have never learned more in any class than they did under Dr. Bancroft's tutelage.

 Randle J. Hart

Randle Hart

Nothing is off limits in assistant professor of sociology Randle Hart's classes. If it's  important to his students, it's important to him, and he is always willing to take extra time to give each student the help and attention they need. Professor Hart is passionate about his field of study, and he uses every available medium, from lectures and group discussions to hands-on activities and critical thinking exercises to ensure he is connecting with students in meaningful ways. Above all, Professor Hart simply wants to help students gain insight about themselves and the world around them, and he gives class time the appropriate weight and tone to carry learning into real world applications that students can understand and relate to. Though he demands a lot of his students, he is always willing to help, and his students again and again say they feel like they have left Professor Hart's class with not just a mentor, but a friend.

Lee Wood

Lee Wood

Associate professor of agriculture Lee Wood is patient and grounded—great traits .for someone who works with more than 60 young adults each semester as they care for and train horses.  His students appreciate his calm encouragement as they work through trial and error to apply the things they are learning.  They also notice and appreciate his broad working knowledge and put their complete trust in his advice, oftentimes well beyond the scope of any given in-class discussion.  Above all else, Professor Wood aims to get to know each of his students individually. Said one current student, “I have to take a class from Professor Wood every semester since I first came to SUU. I know he genuinely cares about me, and he has so much knowledge to share and interesting things to teach.  He is the kind of person who makes our work, even on the most stressful days, enjoyable.”

Past Recipients