exterior of west side of Huff Hall

AHS Honors Faculty, Staff

AHS E-News April 2021

The College of Applied Health Sciences will recognize the accomplishments and contributions of the recipients of the 2021 AHS faculty and staff awards at its virtual Spring College Meeting in May. The 10 outstanding individuals were lauded by their nominators for their leadership, creativity, commitment to students, and support of the ongoing activities of college programs and instructional units. They are:

Academic Professional Excellence Award

head shot of April Carter

April Carter
Director, Mannie L. Jackson Illinois Academic Enrichment and Leadership Program (I-LEAP)

For more than five years, April has played a critical role in the success of AHS undergraduates in all five majors who are from underrepresented minority groups, first-generation college students, student athletes, and students who participate in the campus President Awards Program and Educational Opportunities Program. She serves on the AHS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the AHS Scholarship Selection Committee. One I-LEAP Scholar who transitioned to AHS from the military said, “I can’t imagine how much more difficult my transition to the university would have been without April as my advisor, mentor, and motivational leader.”

Staff Excellence Award

head shot of Andrea Paceley

Andrea Paceley
Graduate Secretary, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

Andrea has supported the master’s program in speech-language pathology and the Doctor of Audiology degree, which require her to stay on top of clinical certification and licensure requirements, as well as the PhD degree program for almost six years. During the renovation of the SHS Building, she coordinated the temporary relocation of laboratories and made sure that faculty who were in three different locations remained connected to the department and each other. She recently has overseen the creation of virtual versions of critical recruiting and welcome events. Her nominator said, “She is conscientious, diligent, unflappable, and quick to respond. There is no one more dependable than Andrea.”

Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising

head shot of Amy O'Neill

Amy O’Neill
Academic Advisor, Kinesiology, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

Over the course of a long and exemplary career with the Kinesiology program, Amy has touched the lives of thousands of our undergraduate students with compassion, caring, and commitment. One of her advisees said, “I always look forward to our meetings because I know she will put my anxiety at ease, and she also takes a genuine interest in my life.” Amy teaches the Introduction to Kinesiology course for new students and serves on important campus, department, and college committees, including chairing this year’s Scholarship Selection Committee. Long before the pandemic forced everything online, Amy had developed an advising website and weekly email that provides students with valuable resources and information.

Phyllis J. Hill James Scholar Faculty Award for Exemplary Mentoring

head shot of Robyn Deterding

Robyn Deterding
Adjunct Instructor, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

In both her mentoring and her classroom teaching, Robyn creates a professional, inclusive, and empowering learning environment for students. Her enthusiasm for the field is contagious, and she brings a wealth of practical experience to her mentoring that infuses her students’ James Scholar projects with a real-world perspective. Her deep commitment to inclusion and diversity inspires her students to tackle issues related to social justice, race, LGBTQ rights, and more, and prepares them to be global citizens who carry forth the values that AHS holds dear. One mentee said, “She is the type of instructor each student deserves, yet few are privileged enough to encounter. Robyn exemplifies to me the type of professional I want to be.”

Award for Excellence in Online Education and Distance Teaching

head shot of Laura Davies Brenier

Laura Davies Brenier
Lecturer, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

Dr. Davies Brenier joined SHS in 2016 to teach Language and Culture of Deaf Communities. She updated the content to address languages and cultures beyond mainstream American Deaf Culture, including Black and Plains Indian Deaf Communities. She took the course entirely online from a hybrid approach that limited enrollment to 200 students. Because of her efforts and her global knowledge of sign language, interest in ASL and Deaf culture has expanded across campus. Last fall, 500 students enrolled in the class. One student said, “Her use of lectures, videos, and readings meant that the needs of students, who differ in what works best for them, were met.” She also coordinates the American Sign Language program in SHS.

Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching—Teaching Assistant

head shot of Shraddha Shende

Shraddha Shende
Doctoral Student, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

Since joining SHS as a PhD student in 2016, Shraddha has been a teaching assistant for introductory, required, and advanced classes in the department. She applies her background as a clinician to her teaching in recognition of the fact that she is not just teaching students; she is mentoring future professionals. When the pandemic prompted an immediate shift to online teaching last spring, her innovative thinking resulted in the well-organized and effective transition of a class on sound and hearing science to the internet. One student said, “Shraddha developed recorded lectures that were still lively and engaging. She provided virtual resources for students to better understand the material in such a challenging setting.”

Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching—Specialized Faculty

head shot of Mike Raycraft

Michael Raycraft
Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

Dr. Raycraft has impacted thousands of students while teaching eight different courses, developing new courses, and revitalizing existing ones. As a former student, now sports marketing professional said, “Dr. Raycraft continues to innovate in teaching by challenging what constitutes a classroom.” His Professional Applications/Hall of Fame class culminates in a two-week tour of RST destinations where students learn about real-world issues from industry leaders. His careful and respectful nurturing of alumni relationships makes the annual Sapora Symposium, of which he is director, a standout event, and helped students complete required internships when COVID shut down the country. Little wonder he has been on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent every semester he’s taught.

Dr. Raycraft received both the college and campus awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching—Specialized Faculty.

Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching—Faculty

head shot of Laura Mattie

Laura Mattie
Assistant Professor, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

Shortly after joining AHS in 2015, Dr. Mattie developed a new course that made SHS one of the few top programs to offer undergraduate students in-depth training on neurodevelopmental disorders that are commonly found in clinical caseloads. She brought a clinical focus to a course on augmentative and alternative communication and made a class on evidence-based practice a cornerstone course. She mentors James Scholar projects, independent studies, and undergraduate honors theses and research presentations every semester. As one student said, “A great teacher not only educates students but also inspires and motivates them to succeed. Dr. Mattie always pushes me to work my hardest and has faith in me even when I am not confident in myself.”

Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching

head shot of Monika Stodolska

Monika Stodolska
Professor, Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism

Dr. Stodolska has been motivating her students to dig deeper into their studies for 21 years. She uses a unique style of story-based teaching to demonstrate how theoretical concepts can be applied to improve leisure services and people’s lives. Currently the director of graduate studies, she co-created a new symposium called Cutting Edge that brings RST graduate students and faculty together to discuss the most current research with prominent speakers in RST fields. One student said, “Monika created one of the healthiest classroom environments I have ever been part of. We were able to speak freely, ask questions, and have constructive debates, which resulted in what was likely the most substantial education of my academic career.”

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring

head shot of Cynthia Johnson

Cynthia Johnson
Associate Professor, Department of Speech and Hearing Science

Over the course of 39 years, Dr. Johnson has mentored students in all three graduate programs, directed 13 dissertations, 18 master’s theses or doctoral Early Research Projects, and served on countless PhD, ERP, qualifying exam, thesis, and capstone project committees. She guides students not only through their degree work, but also through publishing their research and applying for fellowships, scholarships, and grants. She bases her mentoring on a fundamental belief that students should know the joy and passion of learning and discovery. A former student who is now an assistant professor said of Dr. Johnson, “She provided me a role model of what I would like to become.”