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Faculty and staff recognized for achievements in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Celebrating the Faculty and Staff in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Several faculty and staff in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences have received prestigious awards and recognition. Today, and every day, we celebrate the excellence of our faculty and staff. Learn more about the awards and recipients below.

David Fee Memorial Lecturer - Maaz Gardezi, Ph.D.

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Dr. Maaz Gardezi is an assistant professor of Sociology & Rural Studies at South Dakota State University. His research focuses on how innovation in science and technology can be conducted responsibly. This means, for instance, anticipating the unintended consequences of innovation on people and the environment and exercising reflexivity and care in the design of new technologies. Gardezi’s current research focuses on the social and cultural development of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data, and machine learning algorithms. This is his fourth year as faculty at SDSU.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive this highly prestigious recognition. David Fee’s legacy of interdisciplinary research and education matters more today than ever, as we begin interrogating how emerging technologies are not only rapidly changing our lives, but also redefining what it means to be a human! To prepare for this lecture, I am exploring the benefits offered by artificial intelligence to society, in sectors such as medicine and environmental sustainability. However, I am also presenting a counter narrative, one that argues that these technologies are a double-edged sword and so we must proceed with care to ensure that no one is excluded or left behind from new innovations.”

Don Yoder Distinguished Faculty Award - Joshua Westwick, Ed.D.

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Dr. Joshua Westwick has held numerous roles throughout his tenure at South Dakota State University and his state, regional and national level service and scholarship. He began teaching the basic communication course as a graduate teaching assistant in 2001. In the 20 years since that time, he has served as a faculty member, a Basic Course Director (BCD), a leader in regional and national-level professional service organizations, and now as an administrator and representative for state-level general education policy-making. Westwick’s vitae is abundant with scholarship directly related to teaching and learning, especially in the basic communication course.

“I am honored to have been awarded the Don Yoder Distinguished Faculty Award for my work with the foundational communication course at SDSU. It’s been an incredible journey and one that I am exceptionally proud of.”

Edward Patrick Hogan Award - Rebecca A. Kuehl, Ph.D.

Arriving to SDSU in 2011, Dr. Rebecca A. Kuehl is currently associate professor in the School of Communication and Journalism and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies program coordinator at SDSU. Kuehl’s teaching philosophy focuses on instilling in students a value of lifelong learning and a desire to engage in social change. Articles based on her teaching have appeared in journals such as Communication Teacher and edited books such as Speech and Debate as Civic Education and Contemporary Rhetorical Citizenship. Her research focuses on intersections among rhetorical citizenship and public deliberation, civic rhetoric and education and women’s health discourses.

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“I am humbled and honored to receive the Edward Patrick Hogan Award. The 15-page nomination packet included Dr. Joshua Westwick’s nomination letter that provided specific examples of the exceptional nature of the quality of learning experience under my direction, a one-page curriculum vitae, my current academic year teaching log, six letters of support (two from current or former undergraduate students; two from campus colleagues, such as the nominator, president, faculty or academic deans and two from supporters on campus, in the community or in the candidate’s profession) and the three most recent semester summaries of my student evaluations.”

Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring - Sharon Smith, Ph.D.

Sharon Smith is an associate professor of English and has been at SDSU since 2009. Her area of specialization is restoration and eighteenth-century British literature with a particular focus on women’s poetry. As the graduate coordinator for the English M.A. program, Smith focused a great deal on working with the English graduate faculty to make the program as flexible and accessible as possible for students. This includes overseeing the implementation of the first and only online English M.A. program in South Dakota, a program that has been especially appealing to high school and community college English teachers in South Dakota whose schedules and locations make it difficult or impossible for them to pursue an English M.A. in person.

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“The most gratifying part of this role for me has been just getting to know all of our graduate students, supporting them as they pursue the degree, helping them through any challenges that arise along the way, and witnessing their growth and development as students and professionals. This will be my last year serving in this position, which—because I’ve been doing it for almost as long as I’ve been at SDSU—has contributed significantly to my sense of who I am professionally. This makes receiving this award especially meaningful to me.”

Excellence in Online Teaching - Marina Hendricks, Ph.D.

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Marina Hendricks, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of journalism in the School of Communication and Journalism. She teaches Social Media Strategies, Public Relations Writing and Integrated Marketing Communication Campaigns on the undergraduate level. In the online Master of Mass Communication program, she teaches Conducting Professional Research and Cross-Platform Campaigns. She also is coordinator of the South Dakota High School Press Association and faculty advisor of SDSU’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Hendricks earned a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, a master’s degree in journalism education from Kent State University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Marshall University. Her research focuses on student journalists, youth journalism, issues in journalism and media campaigns.

“I was honored to be nominated for this award by Dr. Rocky Dailey, a colleague in the School of Communication and Journalism. To receive it during a time when online instruction is playing such an important role in in the education of SDSU students is both gratifying and humbling. I appreciate the support I have received from COJO, CAHSS and Instructional Design Services to build my online toolkit. Most of all, I’m grateful for the undergraduate and graduate students who inspire me to continue learning, keep up with technology and trends and maintain an interactive, inclusive and welcoming educational space.”

F.O. Butler Award for Excellence in Community Service - Jim Wood, MFA

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W. James Wood is an associate professor of Theatre at SDSU where he teaches acting, directing, stage management, arts administration, stage combat and dialects. He has directed over eighty productions in the last 25 years and also acts and directs with Prairie Repertory Theatre. His original play, Chameleon Love, premiered at SDSU in 2014. Prior to coming to SDSU, Jim ran the Olde Towne Dinner Theatre, South Dakota’s only year-round dinner theatre, for 9 years. An actor, director, designer, manager and playwright, he prides himself on being a theatre generalist.

“I am honored to be considered for the prestigious Butler award. Service to students in the profession has always been a part of my teaching philosophy and I am happy to help create space for students to grapple with the many issues facing young artists ranging from COVID-19 to equity and representation. My hope is that this award can emphasize that exposure to the arts is critical. In the times of COVID-19, almost all of us were touched by the arts in some form, from reading a book to watching Netflix. Now is the time to uplift student artists – applaud them and thank them for their efforts. Knowing that they are supported is such a critical component of their future success.”

Dr. Evren Celik Wiltse, Associate Professor of Political Science from the School of American & Global Studies

Global Engagement Award - Evren Celick Wiltse, Ph.D.

Evren Wiltse is an associate professor of Political Science in the School of American in Global Studies. Her academic expertise is in development and democratization, Latin American politics, international political economy, G20, Turkey, Mexico, Cuba and Brazil. Additionally, Wiltse serves as the coordinator for the Political Science program and has received awards such as the 2019 Honors Teacher of the Year, 2019 Outstanding Research Award in Social Sciences and 2019 Academic Advisor of the Year. A current member of the Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Coalition, she joins two other coalition members, Rebecca Kuehl and Molly Enz, in receiving prestigious awards and recognition this year. 

Honors Teacher of the Year Nominee - Christine Stewart-Nuñez, Ph.D.

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Christine Stewart-Nuñez, South Dakota’s poet laureate, is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Untrussed (University of New Mexico Press 2016) and Bluewords Greening (Terrapin Books 2016), winner of the 2018 Whirling Prize. She’s written several award-winning essays and co-edited two books that feature both literary and scholarly contributions on their subject matter. As a professor at SDSU since 2007, Stewart’s teaching, creative work and service earned several awards, including the Dr. April Brooks Woman of Distinction Award (2020), the Outstanding Experiential Learning Educator (2019) and the F. O. Butler Award (2017). She released the poetry anthology, South Dakota in Poems, last October and looks forward to The Poet & The Architect, her book forthcoming from Terrapin Books in 2021. Find out more on Christine Stewart-Nuñez's website.

“I am honored to be a finalist for teacher of the year. I try to design courses that encourage creative inquiry and practice as well as push students out of their comfort zones to inspire transformational learning experiences. Teaching is a creative practice for me; sometimes I accomplish my goals, and sometimes I need more time to revise. I’m glad that students recognize my efforts.”

Marcus Boesen Memorial Award - Katie Grayson, M.S.

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Katie Grayson is a Brookings native and completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees at SDSU. During graduate school, she worked as a graduate assistant in the Journalism Department and the College of General Studies, helping students determine their major and also focusing on students on academic probation. Working in the Ness School since 2018 as a professional academic advisor, she currently advises 300 students across five majors: business economics, economics, agricultural business, agricultural and resource economics and entrepreneurial studies. Grayson serves as the liaison for the six Ness school student clubs and hosts their annual student leadership retreat. Additionally, she teaches ECON 119 First Year Seminar courses and helps with a variety of events.

“Receiving this award was a complete shock. I feel very lucky to be on a team that recognizes my efforts and nominated me for this award.”

Outstanding Researcher Award - Luz Angélica Kirschner, Ph.D.

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Luz Angélica Kirschner is an assistant professor in the School of American and Global Studies where she has been teaching in the programs of German, Spanish and global studies since the fall 2016. Her research is located at the intersection of critical race, gender, human rights and ethnic studies and focuses on comparative studies from Inter-American and Trans-Atlantic perspectives as it explores how identity formation and difference are mediated through literature and aesthetics as well as impacted by contemporary socio-economic manifestations such as neoliberalism and globalization. Her teaching areas include Latina/o literatures and studies, Latin American literatures and cultures, ethnic literatures, minority writing in Germany, decolonization, globalization, human rights, transatlantic studies, transnationalism, and Inter-American studies.

“I am very honored and grateful for the CAHSS Outstanding Researcher Award. It is one of the most significant events of my life as a scholar and I hope that my work continues to merit the prestigious recognition and generous support in my professional growth at SDSU.”

Patrick Merrigan Award for Distinguished Service - Kayte Haggerty, M.S.

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Originally from Minnesota, Kayte Haggerty received her undergraduate degree from SDSU in Spanish and sociology and her master’s degree from SDSU in counseling with a specialization in student affairs and school counseling. She started her work as a graduate student within the Student Union and fell in love with working in the college setting. After graduate school, Haggerty was hired as a retention advisor with the TRIO Student Support Services program at SDSU. She was with TRIO for 7 years before becoming a professional academic advisor, a role she has served in for the past 8 years.

“I serve on the SDHEA Executive Board and helped plan this conference, but I never saw this coming. When my name was announced as the recipient of this award, I was incredibly surprised and was speechless. I nearly cried with happiness!”

Sewrey Colloquium Presenters

Molly Enz, Ph.D., "Teaching Global Citizenship in Tense Times: The Importance of the Liberal Arts" 

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Dr. Molly Enz is professor of French and coordinator of Global Studies at SDSU. She teaches a broad range of courses in French language, Francophone literature and culture, global studies and intercultural competence. Her current research focuses on issues of gender, race, identity and social change in contemporary Francophone literature and cinema from the Caribbean and West Africa. Additionally, she is co-PI on a two-year Bush Foundation Community Innovation Grant project, the Brookings Inclusive Collaborative, which centers on enhancing diversity and inclusion in the Brookings community through focus groups and public deliberation.

“It is an honor to be selected as a presenter in the category of teaching/learning for the 2021 Sewrey Colloquium. I look forward to sharing about the design and impact of the course, Introduction to Global Citizenship and Diversity, with audience members. I hope to show the importance of this course and the liberal arts, which teach students to think critically, appreciate different perspectives and experiences and better understand the world around them. In these challenging times, the ability to listen to diverse opinions and bridge cultural differences is critical in order to build a more equitable and inclusive society.”

Michael Walsh, DMA, "The Development of a 'High School Honors Recital' to Enhance Recruiting Effectiveness in the Performing Arts" 

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Dr. Michael Walsh is an associate professor of Clarinet in the School of Performing Arts. Teaching at SDSU for 12 years, his creative activities and scholarship have allowed him to perform in national and international conferences for both solo and chamber music recitals. His areas of research have included clarinet pedagogy, music of Norway during German occupation in WWII and cross-studio collaboration in chamber music. Walsh loves teaching at SDSU because the students are eager and have an excellent work ethic. Working with other professors and students in the Honors College and collaborating/performing with colleagues is what he enjoys most as a professor.

“I am honored and humbled to be a presenter for the Sewrey Colloquium. I feel very fortunate to teach at a university that has given me enormous support both to become a better teacher and travel abroad for many performances. Today, I am presenting on successful recruiting in the High School Senior Honors Recital. I would like to give special thanks to all of my colleagues in the music department because the day of the event is truly a team effort and I am always grateful for their help when we finally have the students on campus for their scholarship audition.”

Jacob Wallace, DMA, & Laura Diddle, Ph.D., "Innovative Performance Strategies in a Time of Crisis" 

Jacob Wallace

Dr. Laura Diddle is professor of Music and director of Choral Activities where she conducts the Concert Choir, Madrigal Singers and Choralia (the Women’s Choir). Diddle began her career at SDSU in 2003 as assistant professor of Music and was promoted to director of Choral Activities in Fall 2012.

Dr. Jacob Wallace is currently associate professor of Music and serves as director of Concert Bands. In this capacity, he conducts and supervises instrumental ensembles, teaches coursework in conducting, literature and education and administrates the wind ensemble activities of the School of Performing Arts as a whole.

Laura Diddle

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected to speak, with my colleague Dr. Jacob Wallce, on the Charles L. Sewrey Faculty Colloquium. The project, Concert in the Gardens, that afforded me the opportunity to speak on this Colloquium can only be described as creating musical beauty out of adversity. Artist preparation for this creative event included appropriate repertoire selection, examination of safe vocal technique for students while singing outdoors with masks on, trust in beautiful student leadership and collaboration with Dr. Jacob Wallace.”


Congratulations on the outstanding accomplishments of our faculty and staff! 

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