Other Educator Units with 2021 #iteachmsu Educator Award Recipients

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Other Educator Units with 2021 #iteachmsu Educator Award Recipients

The following is a list of the educators receiving the #iteachmsu Educator Award from all other educator units. For more information on these awards, check out the article entitled "#iteachmsu Educator Awards".

Human Resources

Amanda Farrar: Amanda was THE integral component in helping me navigate onboarding to a new role at MSU. Though my transition was messy (from graduate student employee to full time employee) and Amanda wasn't always the "power person"; she helped me feel heard, gave great recommendations, and followed up promptly. At such a large organization and at such a complicated time, I felt overwhelmed and stuck in the lack of clarity I felt around my transition... Amanda helped me feel like (and see how) things were moving.


Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology

Jerry Rhead: Jerry is one of the kindest, down-to-earth people I've met in my multiple years at MSU. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise everywhere he goes, but shares it in a way that is always accessible and collegial. I've never felt a sense of competition around Jerry. He always lifts others up. What an amazing colleague, friend, and educator.


Breana  Yaklin: Bre deserves a huge shout out for her leadership of the SOIREE and ASPIRE efforts. Countless times across the past six months, I've heard rave reviews from instructors who had to pivot their courses last minute due to Covid19. Not only has Bre designed an experience that introduces other educators to online teaching and learning, but also helps those who have been working in the online space revisit their courses to ensure they're aligned with best practices. Breana Yaklin is a meta educator... teaching other educators in a way that helps them be better!


Summer Issawi: Thank you for your role as mentor for the 2020-2021 Hub Faculty Fellow Project, and I want to especially thank you for participating as a judge in the MSU/ISS Film Festival and for providing so many thoughtful comments on the individual student films. You might not always received feedback on your particular impact on actual students in our MSU classes, but I am here to publicly thank and acknowledge your very important and positive impact on instructors and students at MSU. You are appreciated!


Ashley Braman: I'm a learning designer working with faculty to design experiential, interdisciplinary courses at MSU. Ashley Braman is the project manager in our unit and this year her support, advice, and skills have made a huge difference in my work on these courses. In the last few months, she helped me build next year's budget, consulted on our quarterly reporting, and helped me strategize about future trajectories for this project. The latter especially was a huge help before presenting those plans to our director for his decision. As a project lead, I'm much better equipped for success being able to draw on Ashley's expertise. My work goes so much more smoothly now that I can reach out to a competent and insightful project manager with issues big and small. In addition, she has been a wonderful resource during work-from-home as we struggle with productivity under covid and work-life balance; she makes herself available to check-in and support her team and help us find solutions that are a good fit for our situations. Ashley's work definitely makes a difference to our academic projects, and that's why she deserves a big thank you.


Integrative Studies in Social Science

Alison Rautman: I love Dr. Rautman and I think she is handling the online teaching very well! She is always checking in on her students and making sure we are keeping up with our material!


Center for Statistical Training and Consulting (CSTAT)

Sanket Jantre: Sanket provides thorough and thoughtful advice on statistical methods for research projects at CSTAT. He is also a member for the student organization Statistics in the Community (STATCOM) that provides pro bono statistical consulting to local nonprofit, governmental, and community service organizations and was a team leader for a project in 2020 working on an interactive online tool designed for analyzing water pollution samples. Sanket was selected for a competitive internship position with the National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship program for summer 2021 to explore probabilistic deep learning methods at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Congratulations!


Sichao Wang: Sichao is very engaged in helping MSU graduate students and scholars in their research at CSTAT. She is president of the student organization Statistics in the Community (STATCOM) that provides pro bono statistical consulting to local nonprofit, governmental, and community service organizations. Sichao has a wide range of interest in statistical topics and takes every opportunity to learn new skills through seminars and workshops.


Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Office

Jim Lucas:

  1. Dr. Lucas has made an exceptional impact on my life as a professor, a mentor, and a friend. Throughout my time at MSU he has always offered a helping hand, and has been willing to go the extra distance to help me achieve my goals. MSU is truly lucky to have someone like Dr. Lucas.

  2. Dr. Lucas is the most influential instructor that I've ever had and having him in my life has helped me grow tremendously as a student at MSU. He gave me the support I needed to choose a path that is typically discouraged by society and encourages me to reach my full potential. I do best learning in an open environment, and Dr. Lucas creates this by making students feel as though their voice matters in the world. Dr. Lucas carries his variety of passions into the classroom and inspires me to be inventive, knowledgeable, and passionate. 

  3. I consider myself extremely blessed to have Dr. Lucas as one of my first professors during my academic career. When I came to MSU, I was apprehensive based on the horror stories I had heard about college instructors. From the get-go, Dr. Lucas had an extremely inviting classroom. Not only was the course content in UGS101 interesting, but he designed his classroom in a way where every student could feel at home. He stimulated interesting discussions each class period, and every week his course was the highlight of my busy schedule. He was not afraid to joke around with students, and I felt like I was able to connect with Dr. Lucas on a personal level.

    I was sad when the semester ended, as I thought it would also mean the end of my relationship with Dr. Lucas. Instead, Dr. Lucas went above and beyond his duty as an instructor, becoming not only a mentor but a friend. As I am set to graduate next semester, I look back and think of all the support Dr. Lucas has provided over the years, be it academic or personal. I am confident that as I move to medical school and beyond, Dr. Lucas will continue being an important figure in my life. While I have met some really great professors at Michigan State University, they all pale in comparison to the enormous positive impact Dr. Lucas has had on me.

  4. He was my professor at my study abroad 2 summers ago, and he has been like my second father type figure, helping me around throughout my freshman year at MSU

  5. Through two classes and a study abroad trip with Dr. Lucas over the years, he has not only showed his capability to reach various types of students on a wide variety of topics, but he has shown a true desire to raise important issues, for students as individuals as well as the world as a whole, and explore them in a meaningful way. Dr. Lucas has changed my views on topics I felt nihilistic towards or was misguided in my judgement on, from commercial whaling to minority representation in film, and everything in between. He takes it upon himself to prioritize such valuable discussion both in the classroom and outside of it, and I have come to know Dr. Lucas as an extraordinary professor as well as a great friend.


Technology at State

Nick Noel: Nick dedicated himself to supporting instructors with the transition to online. He worked tirelessly to lead hundreds through a course peer-review process through the summer, and has been working to provide workshops and training about key instructional technologies. He works hard to collaborate with others across campus and improve the teaching and learning experience for instructors and students.


Kevin Henley

  1. Kevin is always willing to help on projects, troubleshoot issues, or research solutions. He has a wide breadth of knowledge, but also understand things deeply, and can apply his experience across a broad spectrum of issues. Kevin isn't a member of my team, but he is still an invaluable part of it, and IT as a whole.

  2. Kevin is an excellent collaborator. He thinks through educator issues when the learning takes place virtually, knows a lot about platforms and how they do/not work for learners, and always has creative ideas on how to solve problems and make things better. He is endlessly patient, and helps everyone feel like their voices are heard.


Drew Beach: RCPD had a difficult issue we were trying to resolve that dealt with a students D2L exam and whether they received the correct testing accommodations. The student was very upset and the instructor was adamant they had provided the accommodations correctly. Drew Breach stepped in and took time to walk me through exactly what happened, explained how the instructor misunderstood the process to extend testing time. He then provided additional information about D2L settings for my knowledge, offered to work with the instructor on further training, and typed up a detailed email with screen shots and helpful information so we could better advise faculty in the future. I was very thankful for the extra effort Drew provided to help. The student was even more grateful as it made a substantial difference in his grade and success in the course. During these difficult times and having to navigate technology in new ways, it is great to have caring and supportive IT staff!!! Thank YOU!



Jessica Sender: Jessica worked through the summer and into the fall to support the transition to online. She jumped in to help develop and facilitate training and workshops to support instructors with the move to online. She is working to connect librarians across campus to support teaching and learning efforts in new ways.   


Susan Kendall: Susan has presented at many workshops and meeting with faculty to educate others about copyright law and how to adjust for copyright in the online environment. She's become active in the SOIREE workshop to teach others about copyright and answer questions. She volunteered to write a page for the ASPIRE workshop and has worked diligently to support and teach others about copyright in their courses. 


Julie Taylor: Julie is a gem in the landscape of MSU. I originally reached out to Julie in regards to a personal book printing project (which turned out beautifully, thanks to her). After having such a great experience working with her asynchronously, we scheduled a proactive meeting regarding formatting for another larger project. A short zoom call with her was not only pleasant (as far as company goes) but informative and will save me tons of time and headache as I begin a huge writing/formatting project. If only I had found her before I was trying to submit my dissertation - so much frustration could have been circumnavigated. I will be telling all my colleagues and friends still working on their dissertations to reach out to Julie! What a lifesaver (especially during covid-life which is already so stressful on the daily). Big love for Julie!


University Outreach and Engagement

Diane Doberneck: Diane is one of the most astounding people I've had the pleasure of getting to know during my time at MSU. Diane regards and value everyone she encounters for their knowledge and lived experience- and on top of that is a global leader in her field. Down to earth, kind, and collaborative- Diane is one of MSU's educators who truly lifts others up. She is a joy to work with, a wealth of knowledge, and to top it all off helps other educators at MSU utilize practices to engage in partnership with communities!


WorkLife Office

John Girdwood: John has been an exceptional example of flexibility and innovation in a rapidly changing landscape. He helped advance technology usage in the office prior to the pandemic. This allowed the office to quickly adjust to online educational and community connection events which helped the university faculty and staff populations adjust to the unknowns of the drastically shifting landscape of work and life. John is an incredible collaborator who shares ideas that continue to enhance the topics and audience reach for WorkLife Office programming. He's been a wonderful influence in my life and I've enjoyed working alongside him.

Tiana Carter: Tiana jumped into the deep end with a new role in the middle of a crisis situation and a quickly shifting landscape of work. She continues to adapt to her changing role while connecting with and inspiring the people that she meets along the way. I've seen the impact that she's had on educational and community connection events over the course of the past six months. She is a talented organizer who focuses on a commitment to follow thru and keeps the many variable pieces moving forward. She has been a delightful addition to the WorkLife team and I'm so grateful to have her as part of my life.

Jaimie Hutchison:
Jaimie has been an incredible force for good over the past year. I appreciate her answers and messages on Facebook. She helped me feel included even though I was isolated and gave the campus a friendly face for information and guidance! She definitely made a difference.


Barbara Roberts: Barbara and her team have made such a big impact over this past year. Knowing I have a place I can go to and ask questions during a time of such uncertainty has felt very comforting. I am grateful for what she does for MSU!

Anyone can recognize a fellow Spartan for their contributions to MSU's teaching and learning mission or for how they made a lasting impression on your experience. All you have to do is click "Thank an Educator" in the left panel of From there you'll see a short form where you can enter the name, netID, and a short story of the educator you'd like to recognize.
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Makena Neal #iteachmsu Educator Awards