WMU News

Chase, Gambino recognized for teaching excellence

Jan. 21, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Alumni at Western Michigan University have recognized faculty experts in shoreline erosion and in food marketing for their outstanding teaching and their commitment to the success of their students.

Dr. Ronald B. Chase, professor of geosciences, and Dr. Frank M. Gambino, associate professor of marketing, are the recipients of 1999 Alumni Teaching Excellence Awards from the WMU Alumni Association. They will be honored Tuesday, Feb. 8, during WMU's annual Academic Convocation, scheduled for 3 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall.

Chase, who came to WMU in 1973, and Gambino, a faculty member since1984, join more than 125 other WMU faculty members who have received the award since it was established in 1966. An association committee selects recipients from nominations by alumni, students, former students and colleagues. Each recipient receives a plaque and a $2,000 cash award.

Nominators singled out both faculty members for their commitment to teaching and the success of their students as well as their professional expertise.

One former student described Chase's classes as "challenging" and "stimulating." Another declared that "he makes geology fun and interesting, in part because he is so interested in it himself." A third praised his "thorough knowledge of his field and his adept, bubbling interest in what he teaches."

A faculty colleague praised Chase for his involvement in his students' learning, adding that he exhibits "those ideals that mark an effective teacher." Another colleague noted that his courses "are exceptionally well orchestrated."

In recent years, Chase has concentrated his efforts on the prevention of shoreline erosion, a major issue throughout the Great Lakes and beyond. Working with a grant from the U.S. Army Research Office's terrestrial sciences program, he and a team of colleagues and graduate students have identified major erosion causes.

Chase, who has published widely in his field, also has served as a key member of a WMU team that developed science content courses for students in elementary education.

Chase earned his bachelor's degree at DePauw University and his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Montana.

Gambino's colleagues, students and former students are equally enthusiastic about his classroom contributions. "He is a professor that is sensitive to his students and their needs," one colleague said. "He listens and revises. He is stellar."

A former student wrote, "I have never met a professor who gives so tirelessly to his students. For him to be recognized as a teacher, friend and colleague would be an honor to him and to WMU."

Gambino coordinates an annual food marketing conference at WMU that attracts industry leaders from across the nation, including top executives from K-Mart, Meijer and Wal-Mart as speakers. He has published articles in several nationally recognized trade journals.

A former supermarket manager and executive, Gambino remains active in the industry, especially with sales and retail organizations and their use of technology. He speaks and consults regularly with such companies as Alliance Foods, Coca-Cola, Dial Soap and Kellogg.

Gambino is a food marketing graduate of WMU and he earned a master's degree from Central Michigan University. He earned his doctoral degree in human resources development at WMU.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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