2004 Sahlin Awards: Browse, Schlesinger, Casavant

Three Washington State University faculty members will be honored for excellence in instruction, public service, and in research, scholarship and arts during “Celebrating Excellence: An Evening Honoring Our Faculty and Staff” banquet, an open-to-the-public event to be held the evening of March 26 in Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. The 2003-2004 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award winners are John Browse, professor of biochemistry and plant physiology in the Institute of Biological Chemistry, for research, scholarship and arts; Roger Schlesinger, professor of history and chair, Department of History, for instruction; and Kenneth Casavant, professor and agricultural economist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, for public service.

Browse, at WSU since 1988, is “one of the world’s most highly recognized, respected and productive plant lipid biochemists,” according to WSU provost office officials. Browse has pioneered the understanding of lipid biosynthesis and fatty acid desaturation in plants. Officials say Browse’s discoveries have had a “major impact on understanding the roles of lipids in plant membranes and have provided new agricultural applications in the areas of hybrid breeding and crop production.” He is a graduate of New Zealand’s University of Auckland, where he earned his plant physiology doctoral degree.

Schlesinger, at WSU since 1968, has “established and maintained an incredible record of growth, excellence, and creativity as a teacher and scholar,” according to WSU provost office officials. In Schlesinger’s tenure at the university, he has taught 18 different courses ranging from Western civilization for undergraduates to Renaissance and Reformation in the upper-division. Officials say students who have taken Schlesinger’s courses undergo “life-transforming” experiences by “moving beyond memorizing dates, facts and names to learning new ways of thinking about and seeing the world.” He is a graduate of Hofstra University in New York and earned a master’s degree and doctoral degree, both in history, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Casavant came to WSU in 1967 as a graduate student and joined the faculty in 1970. WSU provost office officials say Casavant has “clearly demonstrated that he is ready to serve whenever and wherever he is needed…”Currently WSU’s Pacific-10 Conference and NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative and a former WSU Faculty Senate chair, he served on the Pullman City Council, Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport Board and the Pacific Northwest Power Planning Council. During Casavant’s WSU tenure, he has been an interim vice provost of both research and academic affairs. “His commitment to WSU and (the state of Washington) comes from the heart,” officials say. He is a graduate of North Dakota State University, where he earned bachelor and master’s degrees in agricultural economics. His agricultural economics doctoral degree is from WSU.

Reservations for the March 26 “Celebrating Excellence: An Evening Honoring Our Faculty and Staff” banquet are required and may be made through the WSU Conference and Professional Programs Web site at http://www.capps.wsu.edu/showcase. For those without Web access, Conferences and Professional Programs can be reached by telephone at (509) 335-3530 or (800) 942-4978.

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