2018 Awards in Teaching, Research, Community Engagement and Service

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Posted on: May 1, 2018
Posted by: 
Chancellor Mark A. Pagano

I am excited to announce the recipients of this year's awards in teaching, research, community engagement and service. 

Distinguished Teaching Award

Assistant Professor Danica Miller (School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences) is a pioneer in the development of American Indian curriculum at UW Tacoma, where she has created multiple courses that support the minor in American Indian Studies. Dr. Miller’s pedagogy emphasizes the Coast Salish approach to learning where experience, storytelling, repetition and application are elevated as critical and credible ways of knowing. She developed the Lushootseed Language Institute in partnership with the Puyallup Tribe, allowing students to engage with the their cultural heritage on ancestral land. Dr. Miller’s active learning approach challenges students while providing a safe place for them to speak and be heard. Her teaching not only highlights an underrepresented field of study but engages students in a search for deeper understanding of how their lives relate to their own and other cultures.

Distinguished Research Award

As a researcher and scholar, Associate Professor Eric Madfis (Social Work & Criminal Justice) has been exceptionally productive in conducting high quality research focused on violence. His 2014 book The Risk of School Rampage is referenced frequently and has affected policy debates in the field, including opening up discussion regarding over-reaction to the fear of school violence. Dr. Madfis’ numerous articles and book chapters reveal an interdisciplinary scholarly mind built on strong theoretical and empirical foundations. The policy implications of his work were recognized by an invitation to brief the U.S. Congress on school violence and safety, and his research is frequently cited in the news media. Dr. Madfis engages globally and with local nonprofits to use insights from his research to prevent school violence.

Distinguished Community Engagement Award

Lecturer Lauren Wugalter (School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences) has been a tremendous ally in building connections between Peace Community Center and UW Tacoma, and supporting their mission of college readiness for Hilltop youth. At McCarver Elementary, she led “Mad Science” enrichments with a group of 2nd through 5th graders, bringing in lab coats and goggles for a meaningful, exciting learning experience. She also brought together a group of UW Tacoma students and faculty members to work one-on-one or in small groups with McCarver students and collaborated with math faculty to lead a joint math-science enrichment activity. Lauren exudes positivity and an excitement about science that is infectious for young learners. She sees the bigger picture and how an excitement about science can inspire young students as they navigate a challenging school system.

Distinguished Service Awards

Jeff Fitzgerald (Teaching & Learning Center) far exceeds his job description in that he is far more than merely a writing consultant, which is why he has so many repeat students seeking his help and guidance. Students consider him a friend, a mentor, and counselor. Many consider him a strong influence in their lives, attributing their academic success to him. 

Josh Carper (Information Technology) provides inspirational service to the UW Tacoma community through his proactive approach to technology. He reaches out to the community on a regular basis to listen to their needs and find solutions. This approach is valued in a technological environment that is always changing.

I also want to take a moment to thank all of those who gave their time to serve on the selection committees for these awards along with everyone who submitted a nomination. Please join me in congratulating Danica, Eric, Lauren, Jeff and Josh on receiving these special honors. I hope you will join us to honor them at the Spring Recognition Event on Thursday, May 3, 2018 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. in Philip Hall.