Faculty and Staff Awards 2014

2014 recipients

Faculty Excellence


Ava Chamberlain
Religion, Philosophy, and Classics

Ava Chamberlain, Ph.D., is the very model of the engaged teacher-scholar. Her students appreciate both her high standards and her willingness to help students achieve them. She shepherded many students through the Master of Humanities program while acting as its director and supervised many interdisciplinary master’s degree projects. As a scholar, she is known as an expert in early American religion. Her recent book, The Notorious Elizabeth Tuttle: Marriage, Murder, and Madness in the Family of Jonathan Edwards, won the admiration of many critics, including one who said the book is “one of the best social histories of Colonial New England that I have ever read.” But her book is just one portion of a distinguished publishing history that includes numerous articles, book reviews, and anthology chapters in some of the most prestigious journals in her field.
What is perhaps most remarkable about Dr. Chamberlain is that she maintains high standards in scholarship and teaching while serving the university and her field. She is an engaged and thoughtful committee member and a dedicated mentor. She works hard in everything she does because she values good work.

Outstanding Teaching

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Teressa McWilliams
Theatre, Dance, and Motion Pictures

Teressa Wylie McWilliams embodies the very best qualities of an outstanding teacher in the arts because of the quality of her instruction, her high student expectations (and outcomes), the respect she offers students and peers, and the exceptionally strong and diverse creative scholarship she presents on our stages.
McWilliams teaches every dance major and all musical theatre majors. She is a master teacher of multiple dance forms. She also mentors students through their capstone choreography projects. This involves working with students whose interests cross the disciplines of ballet, jazz, modern, and theatre dance, helping students refine their ideas, develop their techniques, apply the tools she teaches in choreography classes, and find their artistic voice. The quality of this student work is consistently high and has improved since McWilliams’ arrival at Wright State.
Students have described her as a “once-in-a-lifetime teacher” and praise her ability to help spark a student’s potential, fuel passion and ambition, and build a self-confident and self-sufficient artist.

Outstanding Research


Paul Lockhart

Paul Lockhart, Ph.D., initially distinguished himself as one of the world’s leading experts on Scandinavian history, then began to research American military history. He has written traditional scholarly history texts and books targeted to a wider, less specialized audience. These books have led to more than 35 radio interviews, multiple television appearances and book signings, and an Independence Day Oration at Faneuil Hall in Boston on July 4, 2011.
At a time when top scholars produce three books in a lifetime, Dr. Lockhart has already published six. His current book project concerns the four children of President Theodore Roosevelt who served in World War I. And, as a Wright State University CELIA fellow, he is organizing a series of events commemorating the centennial of World War I. These events will include a visit by Keith Lockhart, conductor of the Boston Pops orchestra, to conduct performances of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, a Great War exhibition at Carillon Park, lectures, readings, and other interdisciplinary events. A documentary film on Dayton as a microcosm of national experiences in World War I is also in the works.

Also received the Brage Golding Distinguished Professor of Research Award.

Outstanding Professional Service


Carol Loranger
English Language and Literatures

Carol Loranger, Ph.D., provides an exemplary model of rich and varied community engagement that serves the university and the community. Her involvement in faculty governance has touched every corner of our campus, and she regularly accepts leadership roles in important special projects such as semester transition, HLC accreditation, and commencement, where she has served as university orator since 2010. As chair of the English department, she has fostered collaborative projects such as the annual Music and Poetry Concert and the new online journal The Best of Wright State Integrated Writing.
Dr. Loranger’s external service includes helping to shape the fine arts and humanities curricula for the Dayton Regional STEM School, where she served on the initial steering committee. She has also been a key player in the creation and evolution of the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize. She has served on the board of Dayton Opera and transitioned to a role on the advisory committee of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance.
Carol Loranger is guided by a vision of the liberal arts as an essential part of the educational experience of our students and of the life of a community. Her service activity is an expression of that humanistic vision.

Early Career Achievement


Shreya Bhandari
Social Work

Shreya Bhandari, Ph.D., has established herself as an internationally known researcher, an innovative teacher, and an advocate for student service- learning during her four years at Wright State. She has published nine peer-reviewed scholarly articles on topics relating to intimate partner violence since 2010 and presented her research at seven national and international conferences. She serves on the board of four international journals.
Dr. Bhandari teaches throughout the graduate and undergraduate social work curriculum. She takes a service-learning approach to teaching cultural competency, pairing students in the class with international students in the LEAP program. This approach was recognized for its excellence by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Civic Engagement and by students who took the course.
Dr. Bhandari is also an active participant in department, college, university, and disciplinary service. She is the faculty liaison to the very active Social Work Club, serves on the university Peace Lecture Committee, and consults with local agencies providing services to victims of domestic violence. In her time at Wright State, she has achieved an impressive series of accomplishments in all three areas of faculty responsbility.

Also received the Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence: Early Career Achievement.

Outstanding Community Engagement


Alpana Sharma

Alpana Sharma, Ph.D., personifies a well-integrated approach to community outreach, teaching, and research. As a member of Dayton’s South Asian community, she has worked to facilitate exchanges between South Asian scholars at Wright State and the greater Dayton community by designing and speaking at forums accessible to academics and non-academics alike. These discussions, with topics ranging from violence to democracy and the future of India, helped familiarize non-Asian audiences with critical issues impacting the Indian subcontinent.
Dr. Sharma has also worked to share her scholarly expertise on non-Western literature, both at Wright State and with local high school teachers. She teaches a high school English class at Bellbrook High School once each year on the subject of world literature to ensure that students receive an early exposure to non-Western culture. She has been a longtime member and advisor for the India Foundation, which promotes the arts in the greater Dayton area. She has advised organizers of local film festivals on Indian films, providing audiences with access to Indian cinema. The India Foundation has hosted events at Wright State as a result of Dr. Sharma’s involvement.

Outstanding Lecturer/Instructor Award


Frank Eguaroje
Sociology and Anthropology

Frank Eguaroje, Ph.D., is an exemplar of a truly outstanding lecturer, a favorite of students in Art and Art History as well as Sociology and Anthropology. Dr. Eguaroje regularly teaches general education courses on Africa under the Regional Studies designation and the art appreciation course. He has also taught the introductory African and African American Studies course. He thus instructs large audiences of students early in their Wright State careers, providing access to important disciplines and regions of the world. He has generously created and taught upper-level courses for both departments.
Dr. Eguaroje’s patience with students is legendary. They praise him for his passion for his subject, for bringing Africa to life, and for his dedication to helping them achieve success. His high expectations for students help them become active and eager learners. His interdisciplinary approach helps students understand the value of asking the right questions, evaluating data, reading critically, and writing well.

Outstanding Adjunct Award


Paula Kraus
Art and Art History

Paula Kraus has been a tremendous asset as an adjunct for the photography program within the Art and Art History department. She has taught a variety of courses, made improvements to the photo facilities, and initiated curriculum improvements to courses. Students find her to be an engaged, respectful, and knowledgeable professor. They appreciate the depth of her knowledge about photography, her patience, and her ability to provide helpful criticism and direction when discussing their work. As an active artist who explores various subject matter and techniques in her own work, she brings authenticity and meticulous craftsmanship to her teaching.
Kraus has utilized her connections with Stivers School for the Arts to create exciting opportunities for students. She organized a workshop at Wright State for 40 Stivers photography students, then curated a joint exhibition of Stivers and Wright State students at the Stivers Art Gallery. This activity made the Stivers community aware of all Wright State has to offer. She also mentored a college student intern at Stivers. Both institutions will reap long-term benefits from the partnerships she has established.

CoLA Outstanding Staff Award


April Coppess
School of Music

April Coppess is the reason the Department of Music has an efficient, friendly, and smooth-running office. Reports and paperwork are done on time and with professional accuracy. All assignments are carried out with efficiency. She works and interacts with the public, and is unfailingly friendly and polite. In short, she does everything that could be expected, and then goes beyond expectations.
The Music Department must actively recruit and retain talented students and faculty to maintain the high quality of the program. Coppess goes the extra mile in making everyone feel appreciated and respected, connecting them firmly with the department. She deals with student advisory issues, and also handles the very complex department budget with aplomb. She is often asked for advice by other department administrative specialists and the dean’s office, and always has great ideas for improving the work we do. Her professionalism and integrity are a model for us all.