UAS 2016 Faculty Excellence Awards given out

Four University of Alaska Southeast faculty members were the recipients of annual Excellence Awards during a ceremony at the Auke Lake campus on May 2.

Juneau faculty Karen Mitchell (English), Jason Amundson (Environmental Science), Johanna Fagen (Biology) and Ketchikan faculty William Urquhart (Sociology) were selected by their peers and students for excellence in teaching, research, adjunct instruction and faculty advising. Winners were chosen through letters of support from UAS faculty, staff, research colleagues, students or community members, and based on accomplishments, published materials highlighting achievements and evidence of exceptional service to UAS or community.

Of the Juneau campus faculty, assistant professor of biology Johanna Fagen was nominated for her teaching ability. She has been teaching at UAS in the natural sciences department for over eight years teaching biology. Her students commonly use the words “enthusiastic, compassionate and approachable” to describe her as a teacher and as a person. In recognition of her retirement, her colleagues said that her stories, enthusiasm, kindness and boisterous laugh will be greatly missed.

Profesor Mitchell has been an adjunct instructor in English at the Juneau campus for more than 20 years. Mitchell is an active participant in Safe Zone training and is an ally for the LGBT community. All those who nominated her commented that she is a dependable presence in the Writing Center. She instituted a mentoring program for student tutors and created the studio pilot class which is a course designed to support composition students in their writing process by giving them an opportunity to look closer into their work.

Dr. Jason Amundson is known for his research record since arriving at UAS in the fall of 2011. In the last academic year he has secured more than $825,000 in external funding for his research. Much of this funding has come from highly competitive grant programs at the National Science Foundation. Recently, Amundson was awarded $500,000 from the Office of Polar Programs at National Science Foundation to study how subglacial discharge at LeConte Glacier affects the exchange of heat and mass between glaciers and the ocean. Other projects include UAS undergraduate students in data collection for locally based studies such as the NASA EPSCoR research that monitors the annual outburst floods from Suicide Basin on the Mendenhall Glacier. On top of his full-time teaching position he also co-authored four papers in the Journal of Glaciology and Geophysical Research Letters, and has two others currently in review.

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