WMU News

Gullickson and Havira win 2002 service awards

Feb. 6, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- An internationally known authority on evaluation issues and a historian whose championship of women's issues made a lasting mark on the campus have been selected to receive Western Michigan University's 2002 Distinguished Service Awards.

Dr. Arlen R. Gullickson, director of the Evaluation Center, and Dr. Barbara S. Havira, associate professor of history and women's studies, will receive their awards Thursday, Feb. 6, during the University's annual academic convocation. The event is set for 5 p.m. in the Fetzer Center's Kirsch Auditorium.

The two were chosen from among campuswide nominations based on the candidates' records in these areas: service through innovative and effective programs; service in areas that contribute to the growth and stature of the University; and service that extends the impact and presence of the University into the wider community. Gullickson and Havira will each receive a plaque and a $1,500 honorarium. Their awards will bring to 40 the number of campus faculty and staff members who have been honored through the program since its inception in 1980.

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Dr. Arlen R. Gullickson, who has been a staff member at the University since 1991, first came to WMU as the Evaluation Center chief of staff and associate director of the Center for Research on Educational Accountability and Teacher Evaluation. He was named director of the Evaluation Center in 2002. He enjoys a national reputation for evaluating science, mathematics and technology education programs as well as leadership in improving classroom assessment and educational evaluation.

Those supporting Gullickson's nomination for the award included campus colleagues as well as those around the nation familiar with his record of service to his discipline and his role as an ambassador for the University who helps further extend WMU's international reputation. Their letters documented his professional accomplishments in all three of the service categories recognized by the award program.

"He is the consummate professional and quite open about what he knows and what he doesn't know," wrote a federal executive who has worked with Gullickson. "He operates from a deep knowledge of the standards of evaluation, which he was instrumental in developing, but also with the understanding that evaluation of educational programs is very complex and not nearly as simple as some people in positions of power would lead you to believe."

Gullickson's role and demeanor in leading a number of national evaluation efforts were noted by several of his supporters. Many cited his current role as head of Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation, which has produced three groundbreaking sets of standards for assessing school programs, personnel and students. The student standards were unveiled to media and official policy makers in Washington, D.C., Feb. 4.

"He is thoughtful and deliberate in his actions, but more importantly, he is creative in his approach to addressing difficult issues and in working in a positive and collaborative manner with colleagues," said one. "He demands quality effort and results in his work and the work of others but, at the same time, I am not sure that I have met a more patient individual."

"Arlen, with his quiet manner and unwavering competence, is a consummate coach," said another professional from a national resource center, who noted that he had "discovered" WMU through his contact with Gullickson on one national project and now regards the University as the "go to" place for knowledge and best practices in evaluation. "He directs without telling, teaches without preaching and invariably produces stellar work locally and indirectly through those of us whose lives and work he has touched."

Another supporter drew from a favorite book on trends and social behavior to describe Gullickson's value to the profession.

"Malcolm Gladwell proposes in his book 'The Tipping Point' that certain people are connectors. Dr. Gullickson is just such a person. His exceptional efforts have strengthened professional connections with the evaluation community, helping to expand and shape the field of evaluation while simultaneously making WMU one of 'the' places to be for evaluation."

Gullickson earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Northern Iowa-Cedar Falls in 1963 and 1967, respectively. He earned a doctoral degree in educational research from the University of Colorado in 1971. Prior to coming to WMU, he served in a variety of capacities at the University of South Dakota, the University of Colorado, the University of Minnesota and the National Science Foundation.

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Dr. Barbara S. Havira has been a faculty member since 1969, serving in the social sciences area of the College of General Studies until 1989, and in the College of Arts and Sciences' Department of History and Women's Studies Program since then.

In her more than three decades on the campus, Havira has been extremely active in both the Faculty Senate and the WMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors. But the unanimous consensus of those supporting her nomination was that her greatest impact on the campus community was in the area of women's issues--both as an academic focus and in the expansion of women's rights and equal employment opportunities. Her supporters, both women and men, came from across the University and included emeriti faculty members who wrote in support of her years of service from locations around the country.

"If WMU today is a place where women can feel that their issues are addressed, that they are treated fairly, and that their place and dilemmas in history and culture are studied, the credit must go extensively to the persistent and unassuming work of Barbara Havira," wrote one longtime colleague, who noted Havira's early leadership of WMU's Commission on the Status of Women.

That commission, which no longer exists, was led by Havira from 1981 to 1983. It addressed a number of employment problems for women at WMU, including large discrepancies between men's and women's faculty salaries that were documented and publicized by the commission, resulting in raises for many faculty women.

"At that time, in the 1970s," noted another supporter, "the work of the commission was looked at skeptically, if not with outright hostility, by many faculty and administrators. It took gumption to speak out and to develop a profile as a women's rights advocate."

"Barbara repeatedly took the risks that paved the way for 'easier times' for women--faculty staff and students--at WMU," wrote another campus supporter.

Havira's efforts in establishing the Women's Studies Program at WMU and in raising awareness of women's studies in the larger community also were noted by many of her supporters. She helped develop the Women's Studies Program and served as its director during the program's formative years from 1987 to 1989. She also served as editor of a series of publications on "The History of Women in Education in Greater Kalamazoo," which had a wide impact both on and off the campus.

Nearly all who supported her nomination made note of Havira's steadfast service and unassuming manner--a quality that some said was the reason behind what they considered long-overdue public recognition. One supporter lamented that "willingness to perform the kind of longstanding, unassuming service that Barbara has done goes increasingly unrecognized," but is what keeps the University running smoothly. Another longtime colleague summed up the reasons why the University community should honor her.

"Barbara has 'labored' for women; she has been a 'pioneering woman' in the WMU 'experience;' she has consistently pursued the 'true goal of feminism;' she is a historian and social critic; and above all, she is a woman of impeccable character and integrity who always has put herself last and others, especially students, first."

Havira earned a bachelor's degree from Webster College, a master's degree from WMU and her doctoral degree from Michigan State University.

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Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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