2019 Distinguished and Emerging Scholars Award

Oct. 1, 2019

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) is honoring Dr. Nick Hanson, assistant professor in the Department of Human Performance and Health Education, and Dr. Susan Piazza, professor in the Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies, for their scholarly accomplishments and influence on their fields.


Formal headshot of Nick Hanson

Dr. Nick Hanson

Dr. Nick Hanson, the 2019 CEHD Emerging Scholar Award recipient, is an assistant professor of exercise science. Hanson came to WMU in 2014 and serves as the internship coordinator and undergraduate program coordinator for exercise science in addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses.

Dr. Hanson’s research interests include neurophysiology of exercise, environmental physiology and endurance performance, and exercise and healthy aging. Hanson has 29 publications, 20 of which occurred after coming to Western, and has given over 70 presentations. He has also been involved in 26 independent student research projects including master theses and honors college theses, served on department and university level committees, served as a reviewer for 16 academic journals, and is a member of three national organizations in his field.

The Emerging Scholar Award recognizes one individual with outstanding scholarly accomplishments and the potential for continued excellence. The recipient must be a full-time, board-appointed faculty member in CEHD at WMU. At time of nomination, faculty member must not be tenured.


Formal headshot of Susan Piazza

Dr. Susan Piazza

Dr. Susan Piazza, the 2019 CEHD Distinguished Scholar Award recipient, is a professor of literacy studies. Piazza has been at WMU since 2005 and is the Unit Coordinator for Literacy Studies and co-edits the international peer-reviewed journal Reading Horizons. She has contributed to the field of literacy research and teacher professional development through numerous publications, grant activities and service.

Dr. Piazza’s research interests include in-service professional learning at school and district levels, principles of culturally responsive/sustaining pedagogy, and critical issues related to literacy assessment and instruction. She has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on grants totaling $2.85 million that focus not only on research but school improvement and transformation and has provided service and leadership to the Literacy Studies Unit, WMU, the Literacy Research Association and the International Literacy Association. Piazza received the Teacher Educator of the Year Award from the Michigan Reading Association in 2016, was an Academic Leadership Program Fellow at WMU in 2018-19 and a Mid-American Conference Academic Leadership Development Program Fellow in 2019-2020.

The Distinguished Scholar Award recognizes one individual with a body of outstanding scholarly accomplishments that has had an impact on the field. The recipient must be a full-time, board-appointed, tenured faculty member with a minimum of seven years of service in CEHD at Western Michigan University (WMU).

In 2018 Dr. Brooks Applegate won the Distinguished Scholar Award, and Dr. Stephanie Burns won the Emerging Scholar Award.

For more information about the CEHD Distinguished and Emerging Scholar Awards, please visit the Tate Grant and Innovation Center Policies and Forms webpage.