Five faculty honorees selected for top awards

Five faculty members have been named recipients of awards given out each spring by Washington State University in recognition of excellence in academic achievement. They will be honored publicly on Friday, March 23, as part of the annual World Class. Face to Face. Showcase, a day-long celebration of the achievements of faculty and staff.

Kimberlee Kidwell, professor and scientist in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, earned the 2006 Marian E. Smith Faculty Achievement Award. The $5,000 award recognizes unusually significant and meritorious achievement in teaching during the academic year, including successful and innovative performance in instruction.

Kidwell conducts basic and biotechnology research in wheat genetics and since 1998 has introduced eight spring wheat varieties that have had a major impact on Washington’s agriculture.

Her talents have also shown in another realm as she has volunteered to teach a course in the Department of Human Development (HD 205) called Communication in Human Relations. The course has soared in popularity, climbing from 93 students to more than 400 students in two years.

Three faculty members earned 2006-07 Sahlin Faculty Excellence Awards, which recognize excellence in instruction, public service, and research, scholarship and arts. Each will receive $3,000.

Duane W. DeTemple, professor in the Department of Mathematics and teacher in the Honors College, received the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction for 36 years of sharing his time and love of problem-solving with his students.

He has been eager to enhance learning by presenting mathematics in ways that engage students who have been “turned off” or told they could not succeed in understanding mathematics. His efforts to present concepts in new and interesting ways have reached a wide audience in the form of many scholarly papers, presentations at symposia, handbooks and textbooks. 

His contribution is richly reflected by the enthusiasm of many current and former students who attribute their own successes as teachers to his inspiration.

J. Daniel Dolan, professor of structural engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of codes and standards for the Wood Materials & Engineering Laboratory, earned the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Public Service for leading WSU’s efforts to improve building codes and design standards to make low-rise buildings safer to the public.

He helped write the U.S. residential building code and has been one of nine voting members of the technical update committee for this code since 2000. This code sets the performance standards for all single-family houses, duplexes and townhouses in the United States.

The extensive scope and excellence of his program is enhanced by his active work with Engineers Without Borders. He advised student teams as they designed replacements for two school buildings destroyed by the tsunami in Sri Lanka, a well as a water supply system in a remote area of the Yakama Nation and a hospital building in Sudan.

Lai-Sheng Wang, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Program in Materials Science, WSU Tri-Cities, received the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship and Arts.

He is a world leader in nanoclusters research. With his graduate students and colleagues, Wang created hollow nanoscale cages of gold atoms, the first known metallic equivalent of the buckyball.

He showed that the most stable form of gold clusters undergoes shape transformations, a finding that addresses a key issue in fundamental cluster science: understanding the structural evolution of clusters from a single atom/molecule towards the bulk solid. This work also has potential applications in energy science.

During his 20 years in research, Wang has written or co-written more than 250 publications. His work has been  featured in top journals, including Science and Nature, and has been recognized with several important awards.

Eugene A. Rosa, professor in the Department of Sociology, has been selected to deliver the 2007 Distinguished Faculty Address during the March 23 Showcase luncheon. The honor carries a $2,500 award and recognizes the work of a faculty member whose achievements in research, scholarship and teaching place that person in the front ranks of his or her discipline.

Rosa is a world-renowned environmental scholar and international leader in multidisciplinary work assessing how the U.S. and other countries contribute to environmental impacts and how they attempt to resolve social risk associated with environmental change.

Through his research, policy work and teaching, he has changed how people everywhere view environmental impacts and their consequences. His work warns of the risks emanating from various societal concerns ranging from nuclear power to global warming.

Environmental risk focus of address

Eugene A. Rosa, presenter of the 2007 Distinguished Faculty Address, will present “Characterizing Risk to Tame Uncertainty” at the Distinguished Faculty Address luncheon at 12:15 p.m. Friday, March 23, in the Kimbrough concert hall.

Rosa, a professor In the Department of Sociology, teaches courses on technology, risk and environment, and conducts research on environmental topics, particularly energy, technology, risk issues and global environmental change.

Abstract deadline Feb. 9
Creative and scientific projects are being sought for display at the 2007 Academic Showcase 9 a.m.-noon Friday, March 23, in Bohler Gym — part of WSU’s annual World Class. Face to Face. Showcase celebration of scholarship, research and the arts.

The deadline for submitting abstracts is Friday, Feb. 9. Submission guidelines and sample abstracts can be found ONLINE @

Showcase reservations open Feb. 9
Reservations for Showcase events, including the Celebrating Excellence recognition banquet and the Distinguished Faculty Address luncheon, may be made beginning Friday, Feb. 9, at the Showcase website.

Prices, other information and instructions for making reservations can be found ONLINE @

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