Rivas named Hedrick Award winner

Dr. Zelideth Rivas, professor of Japanese at Marshall University, has been selected as the university’s Dr. Charles E. Hedrick Outstanding Faculty Award winner for 2021-2022.

Rivas will receive $5,000 through a grant from Charles B. and Mary Jo Locke Hedrick. The award is named in honor of Charles Hedrick’s father, Charles E. Hedrick, a former history professor and later chair of the Graduate Council, and one of the founders of Marshall’s graduate program.

Marshall’s Center for Teaching and Learning today announced the Hedrick Award and three others honoring five faculty members. They are:

  • Marshall & Shirley Reynolds Outstanding Teacher Award: Dr. E. Del Chrol, a professor of classics in the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Pickens-Queen Teacher Award: Bill Gardner, assistant professor of forensic sciences, College of Science; Dr. Pamela Puppo, assistant professor of biological sciences, College of Science; Dr. Stephen Young, assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology, College of Science.
  • The Council of Chairs Award for Excellence in Teaching: Ryan Lidster, instructor of modern languages, College of Liberal Arts.

Here is a look at the awards and the winners:

Charles E. Hedrick Outstanding Faculty Award

This award recognizes a full-time tenured faculty member who has a minimum of seven years teaching experience at Marshall and has a record of outstanding classroom teaching, scholarship, research and /or creative activities.

Dr. Zelideth Rivas has been teaching at Marshall since 2012, when she joined the modern languages department teaching Japanese. She has also worked with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (a partner of Marshall) as a director and faculty member, leading educational trips to Japan.

“Dr. Rivas is an inspiring professor, who links theory to practice and provides real-world examples of how the course material relates to current events in the U.S. and the world,” said Dr. Natsuki Anderson, chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Marshall. “Students can relate to her … She establishes a positive yet challenging classroom climate and teaches students the skills necessary to voice, listen to and deeply understand each other’s points of view.”

“This is a woman who knows what she’s doing and how to do it effectively,” said one of her students who has been in several of her classes. “…she is always willing to go the extra mile for those who are making an effort and doing their best.”

“Dr. Zelideth Rivas is one of my favorite professors,” another student said. “She is a helpful person and easy to get along with.”

“[Her] classroom rigor is extraordinary,” said Dr. Jeffrey Ruff, professor of religious studies at Marshall. “She demands a lot of her students, but more importantly, she mentors and nurtures the students so they can meet those high expectations.”

Rivas received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

Marshall and Shirley Reynolds Outstanding Teacher Award

This award includes a $3,000 stipend, and all tenured faculty members who have completed six or more years of service at Marshall are eligible.

Dr. E. Del Chrol has been teaching at Marshall since 2006. He began as an assistant professor of classics, then became an associate professor in 2012 and a full professor in 2019. He also serves as chair of the humanities department, of which classics is a part.

“Dr. Chrol has an impressive record of teaching in the college,” said Dr. R.B. Bookwalter, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Marshall. “He covers courses in Classics, Latin, and Greek. While these subjects are challenging for students, he is well-liked and earns positive feedback. His creative approach to connecting the themes and topics in classic literature to modern-day issues is key to his teaching effectiveness with current students … [He] is an energetic and creative teacher, admired by his students and respected by his colleagues.”

“My favorite professor,” one student said. “ Extremely helpful, very kind, his intelligence and love for Greek made it so much more captivating.”

“Generally speaking, Del is an excellent colleague and teacher and very supportive,” said Dr. Christina Franzen, associate professor of classics at Marshall. “He’s extremely friendly and helpful to all students who come into our hallway, whether or not they’re our majors. I’ve seen him make calls to help them find a faculty member or escort them to another department on another floor. He’s always in his office, and his door is always open. Students love talking to him, and he clearly loves talking to students about Latin and Greek grammar, Roman history, philosophy or anything that may interest either party.”

Chrol earned his B.A. in Greek and Latin from Rutgers University, his M.A. from the University of Maryland, and his Ph.D. in classics from the University of Southern California.

Pickens-Queen Teacher Award

Each of these three award winners receives a $1,000 stipend. The award honors outstanding junior faculty. All faculty members teaching on a full-time, tenure-track appointment who have completed one to five years of service at Marshall are eligible.

Bill Gardner has been at Marshall since 2013, when he was hired as an assistant professor of forensics in the College of Science.

“Bill is a dependable colleague who works very well with others in the department and the College of Science, and his students speak highly of him,” said John Sammons, chair of forensic sciences at Marshall. “Bill’s approach to teaching is student centered, and he has written a number of recommendations for graduates seeking employment or seeking admission to graduate schools around the county. He has taught a full load since his first semester here at MU (which began in 2013), and has volunteered to be overloaded in multiple semesters just so that the department could meet its teaching mission.”

Gardner has B.A. and M.A.J. degrees from Marshall and expects to complete his Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Marshall next year.

Dr. Pamela Puppo, assistant professor of biological sciences, has taught at Marshall since January 2020. She also serves as the curator of the university’s herbarium.

“I have watched Dr. Puppo lecture, and I have heard stories from many students,” said Dr. Brian Antonsen, chair of the department of biological sciences at Marshall. “We are all in strong agreement that she makes her classes engaging while maintaining the rigor and breadth of content needed to help students progress towards a scientific career. She uses a variety of techniques to keep the students’ attention while ensuring that they retain information they will need. She thinks about every aspect of her lectures from content to slide design to relevant stories to [the] use of assessments in making her lectures relevant and interesting.”

Puppo earned her B.Sci. in biology from La Molina National Agrarian University in Lima, Peru, her M.Sc. in biology from the University of Missouri in St. Louis, and her Ph.D. in biodiversity, genetics, and evolution from the University of Porto and University of Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Stephen Young has taught at Marshall as an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology since 2017. He also teaches in the WV Rocks Collaborative Knowledge System.

“[In] his course evaluations, over 90% of Dr. Young’s student comments included positive feedback … These comments speak to his enthusiasm for the subject, his desire to engage students in conversations and his ability to make the material interesting,” said Dr. Druba J. Bora, chair of Marshall’s department of criminal justice and criminology. “One important takeaway when reading these comments is that students feel ‘empowered’ to offer an opinion in his courses. I think this is an indication that he has fostered a supportive learning environment, which means he is successfully achieving his teaching goals.”

Young received his B.A. in criminal justice and psychology from Marshall, his M.S. in criminal justice from Marshall, and his Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from Old Dominion University.

Council of Chairs Award for Excellence in Teaching

The Council of Chairs Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes teaching excellence in Marshall’s full-time term and temporary faculty. Each fall, members of the Council of Chairs (excepting the School of Medicine) are permitted to nominate up to two candidates from a given department. A $1,000 cash award is presented each year. Full-time term or full-time temporary faculty with at least two years’ full-time teaching at Marshall University are eligible.

Ryan Lidster, who teaches Japanese in the Marshall Department of Modern Languages, is the recipient for 2021-2022.

“Mr. Lidster excels at using technology in language teaching and assessment,“ said Dr. Natsuki Anderson, chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Marshall. “His research background of linguistic and second language learning have direct connection with all the classes he teaches. His classes are challenging since he has high expectations, but he offers a lot of help whenever students need [it].”