Outstanding faculty, staff members awarded WMU's highest honors

Contact: Erin Flynn
Award recipients pose for a picture with WMU President Edward Montgomery and Provost Jennifer Bott

President Edward Montgomery and Provost Jennifer Bott stand with award recipients. (Back row, from left) Montgomery, Dr. Elena Litvinova, Dr. Wei-Chiao Huang, Dr. Brian Wilson, Dr. Matthew Mingus, Bott, Dustin Skaggs, Dr. Willam Rantz (Front row, from left) Dr. Vun Doubblestein, Diana Hernández, Dr. Leah Omilion-Hodges, Shari Rose, Rebecca Huntley

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Eleven of Western Michigan University's most impressive faculty and staff members will be recognized for their work with students and contributions to the University during Fall Convocation. While furthering WMU's missions of education and innovation, these employees go above and beyond to ensure the success of students and colleagues, making campus a better place to work and learn.

The Distinguished Service, Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Distinguished Teaching, Emerging Scholar and Make a Difference awards will be presented during a ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 20, on the second floor of the Bernhard Center.

Distinguished Service Award

This year's recipients of the Distinguished Service Award will join 67 faculty and staff members who have received the accolade. Diana Hernández, Dr. Wei-Chiao Huang and Dr. William Rantz  were chosen from among nominees across campus who have demonstrated exceptional service in areas that reflect innovative and effective programming, increase WMU's stature or extend WMU's impact and presence into the larger community. Read the full story.

Headshot of Diana Hernandez

Diana Hernández

  During my time as a Western Michigan University student, I learned through my peers and various student organizations of the type of support that Diana Hernández provides for so many. She is highly respected and cared for among students, and staff as well. The impact that Diana Hernández makes on each student whose life is touched by her encouragement and persistence for excellence serves as a testament for the care of the faculty at Western Michigan University.  
Headshot of Dr. Wei-Chiao Huang.

Dr. Wei-Chiao Huang

  In his 33 years as a professor at Western Michigan University, he has long exemplified a high level of commitment and leadership to the University that can serve as a model, not just only for other professors, but for alumni like myself and others. Professor Wei-Chiao Huang's exemplary service to Western Michigan University and its students can be seen in the many innovative and effective programs he has helped create and flourish.   
Headshot of Dr. William Rantz.

Dr. William Rantz

  Bill's strength lies in his ability to maintain a steady hand; no matter how difficult the people and circumstances might be. Bill is recognized by his peers as someone who always takes the high road. In sum, Bill Rantz is the consummate professional.   

Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award

Established in 1978, the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award is the highest annual honor WMU bestows on faculty members. The award program recognizes those whose work constitutes a significant body of achievement, largely while a faculty member at WMU, that is widely recognized within the national and international academic communities. This year's recipient is Dr. Brian Wilson, professor of comparative religion. Read about his accomplishments.

headshot of dr. brian wilson

Dr. Brian Wilson

  As a colleague, he is thoughtful, generous and responsive; as a scholar, he is exemplary, careful and thorough in his research, creative and insightful in his analysis and interpretations, and notably lucid and accessible in his writing.   

Distinguished Teaching Award

Recognizing faculty members who are exceptional educators and mentors and who demonstrate outstanding dedication to their work, the Distinguished Teaching Award is the University's highest award recognizing faculty for their work with students. Dr. Matthew Mingus and Dr. Leah Omilion-Hodges received the honor this year. Read the full story.

Headshot of Dr. Matthew Mingus.

Dr. Matthew Mingus

  I appreciate the breadth of material he has offered, his facility with multiple delivery platforms, his willingness to move across related disciplines, the practical experience in the fields that inform his teaching, and his efforts to bring international perspectives to WMU.   
Headshot of Dr. Leah Omilion-Hodges

Dr. Leah Omilion-Hodges

  One of her hallmarks as a professor is how quickly students become comfortable sharing their perspectives and participating in high-level critical thinking during classroom discussion. She shows great attention to planning her course schedule, activities and projects in order to be challenging, thought provoking and clearly designed for students success.   

Emerging Scholar Award

It is designed to celebrate the contributions of faculty who are in the first decade of their careers at WMU and who, by virtue of their contributions to scholarship or creative activity, have achieved national recognition and demonstrated outstanding promise to achieve renown in their continuing work. Dr. Elena Litvinova, associate professor of physics, is this year's recipient. Read about her work.

Headshot of Dr. Elena Litvinova

Dr. Elena Litvinova

  I evaluate the scholarly work performed by professor Litvinova very highly and amongst the most impactful in the international theoretical nuclear science community. She conducts forefront science and makes important and unique contributions to the field, with applications in nuclear astrophysics and beyond.   

Make a Difference Award

First awarded in 1995, the annual Make a Difference Award is the highest accolade WMU bestows specifically on non-faculty employees for their service. Four recipients are chosen from each academic year's semiannual award winners—representing the best of the best. This year's honorees include Dr. Vun Doubblestein, Rebecca Huntley, Shari Rose and Dustin Skaggs. Read the full story.

Headshot of Dr. Vun Doubblestein

Dr. Vun Doubblestein

  She deserves this award because of her dedication, hard work, knowledge and caring attitude towards all individuals within the program she directs as well as Western Michigan University's campus as a whole.   
Headshot of Rebecca Huntley

Rebecca Huntley

  She is undoubtedly everybody's go-to person. Rebecca is reliable, helpful, consistent, proactive, intelligent, humorous, warm, kind, supportive, efficient, thoughtful and knowledgeable.   
Headshot of Shari Rose.

Shari Rose

  I'm not sure how she manages to be excellent and on-point 24/7, but she is. She goes above and beyond her duties as an enrollment assistant and always does it with the most positive attitude.   
Headshot of Dustin Skaggs.

Dustin Skaggs

  He exemplifies professionalism in all his actions. He cares about our students greatly and continues to work diligently to solve issues each and every day to ensure their experience on campus is excellent.   

For more WMU News, arts and events, visit WMU News online.