COMMENCEMENT: Outstanding Educator and Scholar of SUU NamedMay 05, 2004
Author: Renee Ballenger
Dr. David Rees has been named by his peers as the Outstanding Educator of Southern Utah University for 2004-05. Every year a committee of faculty deliberate and choose one of their colleagues for this honor based on several criteria, including student evaluations, scholarly work and teaching effectiveness. The endorsement is echoed and supported by administration as well.
Rees has been teaching at SUU for 19 years and he has been challenging students and shaping business leaders every step of the way. His courses are known by students to be tough; still, he consistently receives high student evaluations. He is deeply respected by his students, especially after they graduate and realize how well he prepared them for the career world. To Rees, the key to this kind of success is empowering students with the “chance to succeed.” His interpretation of this philosophy in the classroom means no compromises in the technical content of his courses, but a willingness to work with every student.
Rees came on board at SUU to help build the Master of Accountancy program. Today’s reputable success of the program is largely due to his mandate of caring about every student. Dr. Rees’ scholarly efforts only complement his teaching. He has just published a comprehensive, intermediate accounting textbook which has already been adopted at several universities. Another project of his, very worthwhile to the student and industry, entailed surveying employers to identify specific skills needed in applicants. One prominent finding was that communication skills in entry-level accountants are crucial. Since then, Rees has become a strong advocate of this principle, emphasizing communication skills in all of his accounting courses.
Rees serves in the demanding position of president-elect of the faculty senate—not his first time in this capacity—in which he scrutinizes with his colleagues such issues as student retention, student placement, and scholarships, all for the welfare of the students. His contributions in the classroom and across campus are extremely valued by all, because of his exceptional sincerity in providing meaningful service to the entire University community.
Dr. Gerald Calvasina has been named by his peers as the Outstanding Scholar of Southern Utah University for 2004-05. Every year a committee of faculty deliberate and choose one of their colleagues for this honor based on several criteria, including exceptional scholarly achievement. The endorsement is echoed and supported by administration as well.
Dr. Calvasina has accomplished so much during his tenure at SUU that it seems he has been on campus for much longer than just four years. With an overall rating of 93, he is considered an excellent teacher, only surpassed by the 95 score he received for his professional commitment. In the last academic year alone, he has published four refereed journal articles and five refereed conference proceedings publications. In total, he has authored or co-authored 23 journal articles and conference proceedings since arriving on campus in 2000.
This spring, Calvasina attended and presented at the Oxford Round Table in St. Anthony’s College at the University of Oxford. There are only 35 people from around the world invited to England to participate in the Roundtable to consider major issues in contemporary educational policy in the United States, the United Kingdom and other selected countries. The title of the paper he presented was, “Title VII and Third Party Sexual Harassment: The Customer’s Not Always Right.”
Among his many published articles is “Harassment in the Workplace: A Continuing Legal Dilemma for Employers,” which will appear in the next edition of the Journal of Business and Behavioral Sciences. Teaching, however, is Calvasina’s first love. He declares, “I try as much as possible to focus my research on issues that I can use in the classroom so that I can keep my students as current as possible on the issues.”
Calvasina has been active in the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) for years and was recently elected president of the local chapter for southern Utah. He founded a student SHRM chapter and in the first two years it has received Merit and Superior Merit awards from the national organization. This expert in Human Resource Management came to SUU after more than 22 years of teaching at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the University of Mississippi. He serves on numerous University committees, attends and presents at several national/international conferences each year and was recently approved to advance in rank to full professor and be granted tenure on July 1, 2004.
Both Rees and Calvasina will be further honored during the traditional President’s Breakfast, Commencement morning.