Seven BW Professors Recognized for Excellence

May 1, 2014

Baldwin Wallace faculty members were singled out for special recognition May 1 at Ovation 2014. Although each award has a different focus, the honorees share a dedication to learning and personal growth of their students.

Strosacker Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Xudong Chen

Associate Professor of Economics

This award is the foremost recognition for outstanding teaching at BW. 

An inspiring scholar who excels in and out of the classroom, Chen recently took students to China as part of an ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Fellows grant. This experience as well as others have garnered him acclaim by students and colleagues alike.

One former student wrote in a nomination, “He asks students to think critically about the world around them, to strive to make it a better place, and to be informed and active global citizens."

Another student said he has an "ability to impart knowledge efficiently and create an open atmosphere conducive to learning."

Dr. Xudong Chen

Bechberger Award for Human Development

Dr. Sharon Kubasak

Associate Professor of English

The Bechberger award recognizes a faculty member who contributes in outstanding ways to student development and growth through leadership outside of the classroom.

Described as a catalyst for student development and success, Kubasak has been lauded as a professor who "embodies a passionate style of teaching and advising in which she measures her own success by that of her students."

A colleague wrote, "She stands in the background and puts her students in the limelight. But she is always there–mentoring, supporting and cheering."

Another student said she helped "immeasurably in the shaping of my identity and future."

Dr. Sharon Kubasak


The Gigax Faculty Scholarship Award

Dr. Jill Stephens Fleisher

Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of Sustainability Major

Named for former Board of Trustees chair Lester Gigax, the award recognizes a faculty member who, through effective scholarship, has enhanced the learning environment at BW. Nominations come from faculty colleagues.

Devoted to the pursuit of scholarship, she provides students with "support, structure, knowledge and encouragement."

One nominator said she "truly exemplifies the ideal in teaching our students to develop the skills, theory and methods" needed for success.

A colleague praised her for creating opportunities for students to experience the research process in its entirety through real-world projects.

Dr. Jill Stephens Fleisher

The Gigax Faculty Scholarship Award

Dr. Andrew Merolla

Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences

Named for former Board of Trustees chair Lester Gigax, the award recognizes a faculty member who, through effective scholarship, has enhanced the learning environment at BW. Nominations come from faculty colleagues.

Lauded for being a faculty member "deeply committed to both scholarly endeavors and teaching excellence," Merolla began his BW journey as an undergraduate student (Class of 2002).

As a professor, he is known for his ability to help students "overcome fears and find real joy in doing research," as noted by a nominator for this award.

Another said he has "fostered a keen ability to connect with students, inspire their curiosity and invigorate their academic lives."

Dr. Andrew Merolla

The Exemplary Teacher Award

Professor Randall Molmen

Associate Professor of Computer Science

Co-sponsored by The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, the award recognizes a faculty member who exhibits excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students and colleagues, commitment to value-centered education and service to students, the institution and the community.

Active on campus in a variety of academic initiatives, Molmen has served on numerous committees. Currently, he is chair of BW's Core Curriculum Committee and is faculty advisor to the University's Longboard Club.

His interest in languages has led him to study: German, Michif (Native American language), Kpelle (tribal language of Liberia), Mandarin and Arabic.

Dr. Randall Molmen

The Student Senate Faculty Excellence Award

Dr. Judy Krutky

Professor of Political Science and International Studies

BW's Student Senate annually presents this award to a faculty member. It recognizes outstanding classroom instruction, commitment to the academic and leadership development of students, and dedication to the campus community.

The past recipient of BW's Strosacker, Bechberger and Exemplary Teacher awards, Krutky has accrued a long and impressive list of scholarly successes. Her students and colleagues praise her for her passionate and ongoing commitment to student achievement both in and out of the classroom.

She is a champion of intercultural education and was instrumental in starting BW's Language Across the Curriculum program.

Dr. Judy Krutky

The Student Senate Staff/Administrator Excellence Award

Dr. Amy Story

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Honors Program Director

BW's Student Senate annually presents this award to a staff/administrator who embodies the values of Baldwin Wallace and who has taken an active role in the lives of students.

With focused attention on furthering the success of the Honors Program, Story has significantly increased its enrollment and leadership opportunities. She is in the process of restructuring its mission to create a "program of distinction."

Her scholarly studies–often centered on gender and related issues–have led her to numerous presentations. At BW, she led a year-long effort to design and secure approval for a gender studies minor. She served as its first director.

Dr. Amy Story