Faculty Honors

2019-20 Award Recipients

Outstanding Educator Award

Scott Munro

scott munro

Scott, who’s been at SUU for five years, has manifested a rich background in aeronautics and aerospace applications for the benefit of SUU engineering students, and has been repeatedly honored for his contributions to the mission of the University and for his work in additional arenas. With a wealth of experience, including the development of new aerospace technologies, he is known for his ability to excite Thunderbirds about their studies and future careers. He points to SUU’s philosophies and structure as an outstanding base to help his students prepare for a career because he can get to know his students as well as teach them.

“I’ve always enjoyed seeing ‘the light bulb go on,’ or rather, the point where the student gets the concept, or solves the tough problem, or studies hard and aces the test,” he says. “I help students discover an excitement for science and engineering and give them the tools to discover more. It really is thrilling to see students start out, grow, get excited about what they do, and then go off and do it.”

The associate professor of engineering and SUU’s program director for mechanical engineering continues to serve as a consultant for aeroacoustic-related projects for the Department of Defense and government contractors and has brought some of this work into the classroom where possible. In particular, this work has benefited students through relationships with industry and sponsorship of senior capstone projects.

As faculty advisor for the SUU rocket club (the RocketBirds), he has led and inspired his students to compete in the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC) the last four years, and saw his RocketBirds place seventh among 107 teams in the 2019 competition in New Mexico.

Dr. Munro holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue University, and is a native of Missoula, Montana.

Outstanding Educator Past Recipients

Distinguished Educators

Rachel Bolus

Jason F. Kaiser

Rachel, who’s been at SUU for four years, hails from the South, and strives to awaken students’ consciousness to the enormity of both what we know and do not know, to inspire them to find what excites them intellectually, and then to teach them the analytical skills they need to explore and expand upon knowledge. As an assistant professor of biology and ecology, her greatest interest is ornithology, and she leads students on regular field trips across southern Utah to learn the different kinds of birds found in different habitats. Her research explores the evolution of migration and communication in birds. Rachel holds a Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Laura J. Davis

Kris G. Phillips

Laura, who specializes in mentoring for women in higher education, naval history, and U.S. gender history, has taught at SUU for four years. She is an assistant professor of history and the co-chair of Women’s Studies here, and her teaching and research both focus on American history through the 19th century. She is currently working on a manuscript that focuses on sabotage, irregular naval warfare, and masculinity during the Civil War. Her teaching philosophy centers on student engagement, promoting critical thinking, connecting the dots across time, and building connections with her students. She seeks to dissolve the thinking that “history is boring.” The Cherry Hill, New Jersey, native earned a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.

Hala Swearingen

Lynn H. White

An associate professor of illustration, Hala is an award-winning artist who seeks to empower her students to do what professional artists do, and active learning is a hallmark of her classes. In her five years at SUU, following a six-year stint at Cal State Fullerton, she has ever enjoyed watching her students grow and develop, maintaining that it will not be enough for them just to “know” information, but that they must be able to “do.” Her students must learn to work extremely hard, and she seeks to inspire them on a daily basis. She holds a BFA from BYU and an MFA from Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. She hails from Ronan, Montana.

Distinguished Educator Past Recipients

Outstanding Educator for Inclusion & Diversity

Junice Acosta

A.P.E.X. Events - Dr. Lynn Vartan, Director

Dr. Acosta has, in her six years at SUU, taught all lower division Spanish courses, as well as several upper division offerings. Her favorite class is Introduction to Hispanic Sociolinguistics, and says, “My favorite aspect of the class is when students discover how the way we speak is shaped by people and things in our environment.” She wants her students to acquire skills that are transferable to other areas and strives to show them how language is not only a tool to communicate with others but also a window into a whole different culture, providing them with a richer and wider perspective. A native of the Dominican Republic, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Outstanding Educator for Inclusion & Diversity Past Recipients

Distinguished Faculty for Inclusion & Diversity

Angela E. Pool-Funai

Silvia Kozlovska

An associate professor of political science and public administration, Dr. Pool-Funai teaches a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate courses here, including public sector economics and experiential learning classes, and says, “I am trying to train up the next generation of critically thinking, culturally competent, public service leaders. Our SUU MPA students are going to change the world.” She has interdisciplinary interests in the fields of experiential learning, public policy, philanthropy, virtual currency, and public administration. Her 2018 book, “Ethics in Fiscal Administration,” helped fill a gap in existing literature by addressing ethical management of public resources. Originally from Houston, she has taught at SUU for six years and earned her Doctor of Public Administration degree from Valdosta State University.

Distinguished Faculty for Inclusion & Diversity Past Recipients

Distinguished Service

Earl F. Mulderink, III

Earl Mulderink

Since 1995, Earl has ever surpassed the requisite and has made a decided difference well beyond his teaching of history. Instructing in a breadth of courses and pedagogy practices that include community engaged and experiential learning, he has encouraged students to think for themselves and to reach outside the classroom in connecting their academic pursuits with their own lives and communities. He was co-creator of and instructor in the highly lauded EDGE Program and led two successful drives for SUU to become a Carnegie Community Engaged Institution, while his labors as founding director of the Community Engagement Center have aided many thousands. A native of Chicago, Illinois, he holds a Ph.D. degree in U.S. history from the University of Wisconsin.

Distinguished Service Past Recipients

Distinguished Scholarly/Creative Activity

Please note, in 2015-16, the structure of this award changed from a single Outstanding Scholar Award to three Distinguished Scholarly/Creative Activity Awards

Andrew Misseldine

James M. Aton

In his six years at SUU, Andrew has taught Calculus, Geometry, and the Algebra Trifecta (College Algebra, Linear Algebra, and Abstract Algebra) and beyond asking his students to become masters of mathematics, he wants them to learn they can do hard things. His creativity has led to his Linear Algebra students contributing to the course’s open-source textbook, crafting refinement each year, thus adding to greater enrichment of his class members annually. He asks students, “How can you make the world a better place with your knowledge of mathematics?” and has been impressed by the quality and scope of the resultant responses and deeds. He has earned degrees from Boise State and a Ph.D. from BYU.

Kevin Stein

Sangho Bok

Kevin has taught a range of communication courses in his 15 years at SUU, his favorite being Pop Culture Messages, which allows him to talk about film, television, and music and persuade students that these messages of daily life have a profound impact on cultural ideologies across all areas of society. He encourages students to always look at underlying messages. His scholarly work is focused on the rhetoric used by individuals accused of wrongdoing to repair their image or reputation, and he also studies the attack discourse that often precedes these image repair strategies. Kevin, who holds a doctorate in communication from the University of Missouri, hails from Paso Robles, California. He is an SUU graduate.

Corey L. Twitchell

Matthew Eddy

Corey, who teaches the entire German curriculum of SUU, has been a faculty member for four years, and through an “effervescent engagement with course material and an energetic partnership with the students,” strives to provide a model for building a productive relationship both to the classroom community and German language and culture. His research lies at the intersections of German Studies, Jewish Studies, Holocaust Studies, and narrative theory, with his main focus on German Jewish writers who survived the Holocaust and wrote about their experiences after World War II, and he has published on German Jewish writers such as Ruth Klüger, Fred Wander, and Wolfgang Hildesheimer. He earned his Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis.

Distinguished Scholarly/Creative Activity Past Recipients