Promotion Recognition 2020

About Promotion to Full Professor

All faculty who achieve tenure and the rank of associate professor have demonstrated and documented a clear record of excellence in teaching and a record of at least high quality in either scholarship or service, with performance in the other category being, at a minimum, satisfactory. To be promoted to the rank of full professor, a faculty member must document and demonstrate a clear record of excellence in teaching, as well as a record of excellence in either scholarship or service, with performance in the other category being, at a minimum, high quality. This is a very challenging standard to meet, and the individuals being recommended for promotion from associate to full professor this year do, indeed, exemplify this level of achievement.

Thank you: Campus Promotions Committee

Sincere thanks to members of the Campus Promotions Committee for their significant review work this year:

  • Carrie Switzer, CPC Chair
  • Richard Gilman-Opalsky
  • Carol Jessup
  • Chung-wei Lee
  • Kathy Petitte Novak
  • Holly Thompson

The Deans invite you to join them in congratulating their faculty recommended for promotion to full professor. Faculty are listed by college, below.

Promotion recommendations are pending final approval by the Board of Trustees at the July 2020 meeting.

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

David Bertaina, History

David Bertaina earned a Ph.D. in Semitic Languages and Literature: Arabic & Syriac from The Catholic University of America in 2007.  Dr. Bertaina joined the UIS faculty in Fall 2007 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2013.

Professor Bertaina’s record of teaching excellence since earning tenure includes 20 distinct courses for the History Department, Freshman Seminar, and CAP Scholars Honors program, as well as high-impact study abroad courses in Rome and Malta. Dr. Bertaina’s students have reliably expressed their appreciation for the highly personal impact of his thoughtful, clear, and creative teaching. It is no surprise that Professor Bertaina has been nominated for the Pearson Teaching Award and granted the CLAS teaching and scholarship awards. An innovative and exemplary teacher, his teaching embodies and reflects his ambitious scholarly interests and research, which he has been able to translate effectively to classroom learning.

Professor Bertaina’s professional record documents consistent publishing of his research in scholarly journals, as book chapters, and in a new co-edited volume. Since his tenure in 2013, Dr. Bertaina has published four peer-reviewed journal articles, eight book chapters, and a co-edited volume, Heirs of the Apostles in 2019 for Brill, a renowned academic publisher in the social sciences. Also in this review period, Dr. Bertaina was named University Scholar in 2014, the highest recognition of scholarly excellence achievable at UIS.  Dr. Bertaina’s clear and active research agenda focuses primarily on the history of religion, Qur’anic studies, Muslim culture, and global inter-religious and inter-faith dialogues in long-historical perspective. Since tenure, Dr. Bertaina has presented at seven major conferences across the US, and also in Turkey and the UK. His current major study, Būluş Ibn Rajā’: Clarity in Truth, elaborates and expands upon his recently published work on Arab Christianity. A highlight of Dr. Bertaina’s scholarship is significant work in multiple languages and translation, which is distinct in contemporary North American scholarship.

Highlights of Professor Bertaina’s exemplary service include his role as Department Chair from 2017-2019, when he updated the chair’s duties for the program. He chaired three search committees, the CLAS Personnel Committee, and four Post-Tenure Review Committees for colleagues during the review period. He converted a passionate interest in athletics into substantial service as a member of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee (IAC), which he chaired from 2017-2019. To the profession, he contributed an impressive eight book reviews written and published since receiving tenure. The university and larger community have also benefitted from Dr. Bertaina’s programming in the ECCE Speaker Series, for which he has brought more than one major speaker to UIS per year.

Donna Bussell, English & Modern Languages

Donna Bussell earned a Ph.D. in Medieval Literature from Columbia University in 2006.  Dr. Bussell joined the UIS faculty in Spring 2006 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2012.

Professor Bussell teaches a broad selection of core and elective courses in the major and General Education and CAP Honors courses.  She teaches medieval and early modern content on a broad array of topics, from 100-level introductory and seminar courses to upper-level courses in Medieval Warcraft, The Story of Food, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Arthurian literature. Since receiving tenure, Professor Bussell has taught 17 different courses for her department and college. Dr. Bussell was awarded the Pearson Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2013-2014, and she also received the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award in 2012. Dr. Bussell views personalized feedback as key in making learning individually relevant to students. She is attentive to establishing her presence in online courses and creating a strong sense of space, or location, to spark student engagement. She focuses on student investment, ownership and active learning, and emphasizes respect for the wealth of experiences and different perspectives they bring to the classroom.

As a comparative literature scholar, Dr. Bussell reads in multiple languages that include Latin and a mix of Old, Middle and Modern English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German. Dr. Bussell studies medieval devotional literature and liturgy from England and France with an emphasis on the role of women as central figures in religious texts. She also actively pursues the potential uses of digital methodologies in the humanities for the conduct of research. Professor Bussell is active in publishing works in scholarly journals including four single-author articles, one collaborative work, and one journal article under review, and presenting at national and international conferences, including several roundtable discussions and eight peer-reviewed papers. Since tenure, she has completed two book reviews and has two works in progress.

Professor Bussell has a strong record of service to the university as interim department chair and as a member of department committees on curriculum, bylaws, and graduate education. She has served on CAP Honors faculty panels, General Education Council, Campus Senate, and the Tenure Review Committee. Dr. Bussell has also worked on numerous college and university committees and written grants that include the UIS SAIG AY 2013-14 English and History Departments’ initiative to create curriculum and prepare faculty for teaching in Digital Humanities. Among service to her discipline, she organized an international congress in medieval studies in Michigan.

Sharon Graf, Sociology/Anthropology

Sharon Graf earned a Ph.D. in Musicology/Ethnomusicology from Michigan State University in 1999.  Dr. Graf joined the UIS faculty in Fall 2001 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology/Anthropology and was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2007.

Professor Graf’s record of teaching excellence includes courses in Sociology/Anthropology; Art, Music, and Theatre; and also within the Capital Scholars Honors Program. A sampling of courses taught include: Fundamentals of Music Theory; Music and Identity; Jazz and Culture; Music and Culture; How Do You Know: Music and Sea Stories; and UIS Choral and Instrumental Ensembles. A dedicated and reflective teacher, Dr. Graf describes her identities as an Ethnomusicologist, Folklorist, Anthropologist and Musician.

Dr. Graf has published five pieces since attaining tenure, including: Yachties in Fatu Hiva: Theory and Ethnography by Leisure Sailors; seventeen Missouri fiddle tune transcriptions published in two seminal Missouri fiddle historical books; Preserving Old Time Fiddle Music in Weisener, Idaho; and Chordophones: Fiddles (of the World). In addition, Professor Graf has had over 30 professional presentations, both peer-reviewed and invited, and nine performances.  Her scholarship displays a pattern of interdisciplinary activities. For example, she was able to marry her love of music, sailing, and cultural curiosity during her sabbatical.

Professor Graf’s exemplary record of service includes building a music program at UIS. Through her dedication and diligence, she secured space and equipment for rehearsal and performance, developed curriculum, created and led ensembles, and constructed a physical and cultural space for music and the study of music. She spearheaded the creation of the Camerata Scholarship, a music technology lab, and a mechanism and team to provide music lessons to the community. As a result of her persistence and tenacity, UIS now offers a music minor and opportunities for students, and the larger university community, to participate in and enjoy music. Dr. Graf has also served as SOA-WGS Coordinator, SOA Department Chair, WGS Personnel Committee member, College Music Society Ethnomusicology Advisory Council Member, and College Music Society Academic Citizenship Committee member. Additionally, she has served on SOA faculty search committees, chaired faculty searches in Music, and served on college dean and U of I presidential search committees.  Dr. Graf clearly values mentoring others as they make their way through the tenure process, serving as AMT faculty mentor and peer reviewer. Dr. Graf has judged community and local school events, served on the National Board for Ethnomusicology, College Music Society from 2014-2017, and as a judge for fiddling competitions in Missouri and South Dakota.

Layne Morsch, Chemistry

Layne Morsch earned a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2002.  Dr. Morsch joined the UIS faculty in Fall 2008 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2014.

Professor Morsch’s teaching excellence has been recognized internal and external to the university. Awards include the UIS Pearson Faculty Award for excellence in teaching, Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award, the CLAS Excellence in Teaching Award, and Apple Distinguished Educator. He has also served as a COLRS Faculty Fellow and Senior Faculty Fellow. One of Professor Morsch’s innovative approaches is his use of flipped learning, where he has created and posted over 200 organic chemistry videos to YouTube and ITunes University for students at UIS and beyond. His commitment to Open Ed Resources, or OER, has resulted in an estimated cost savings to UIS students in excess of $120,000. Dr. Morsch emphasizes the importance of a “growth mindset” exemplified by his adage to convince students “it’s alright to be wrong.” Professor Morsch has mentored 10 students in research efforts showcased in a variety of venues.

Since his tenure, Dr. Morsch has published seven peer-reviewed journal articles (first author on three), three book chapters, and an astounding 32 peer-reviewed conference presentations. He has been an invited speaker, presenting at 15 local, regional, national, and webinar events. Professor Morsch focuses his attention on research topics for which he has a passion: chemistry education research, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, online collaboration assignments, and varied teaching technologies.

Professor Morsch’s exemplary service to UIS includes serving as department chair, when he helped enact a new degree in Biochemistry. He has served as a peer reviewer for the College’s Peer Review of Teaching Program, chaired and served on multiple faculty search committees, and founded and continues to facilitate the Excellence in Teaching and Learning Fellows. Dr. Morsch is also a founding leader of the Community for Innovation and Engaged Learning, or CIEL. He has served on the Tenure Review Committee and has chaired the Academic Technology Committee since 2018. He was a SCOPE working group co-chair to revitalize faculty development efforts, served as a member of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, and served as a co-founder and co-chair of the STARS Symposium from 2011 to 2016.  In 2017 and 2018, he served as an evaluator for the Capital Scholar Senior Symposium.

Dr. Morsch has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education on a nearly $5 million OER grant. He was also a pilot tester for Chemdraw, a chemistry software tool for iPads. Dr. Morsch’s review activities include books, abstracts, presentations, and manuscripts, including 10 reviews of articles between 2016 -2019 for the Journal of Chemistry Education. He helped organize a symposium for a national meeting in 2017 at Harvard and a biennial Chemistry Education meeting in 2018 in Canada. He has also continued to seek grant opportunities.

Kathy Petitte Novak, Communication

Kathy Novak earned a Ph.D. in Communications from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008.  Professor Novak joined the UIS faculty in Fall 2005 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication, and she was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2011.

Professor Novak’s teaching philosophy revolves around continuous engagement and actionable feedback. One of her teaching strategies is to have students express concepts they have learned in their own words, which allows her to pinpoint areas of weak understanding so that she can effectively clarify those areas. Her experience working abroad has also equipped her with novel perspectives on student learning, as evidenced by the multicultural components that she has weaved into her courses. Since joining UIS, Dr. Novak has taught 14 distinct courses. She integrates both theory and practical skills development into her journalism and media courses. She is also an affiliated faculty with the UIS Global Studies program.

Since tenure, Dr. Novak has published one article as first author, along with freelance articles for the Illinois Times. Her work on “Blurring Distinctions Between Taking vs. Making: Teaching Photography in a Digital Culture” was included in Exposure, a competitive bi-annual magazine.  Dr. Novak has participated in three juried photo exhibits and four invited exhibits, including the Rochester Contemporary Art 6×6, an international show in New York, and the Annex Art Society in Rhode Island. She also presented on her work titled “Professional Boundary Work in State News Media” at the International Communication Association Conference. Her multiple invited lectures include one at India’s Vellore Institute of Technology and another at Poland’s University of Rzeszow. Professor Novak received a CLAS Faculty Scholarship Enhancement Grant in 2012, Sabbatical in 2014, and the Public Voices Fellowship sponsored by the U of I system in 2019-2020.

Dr. Novak’s service includes a decade on the Campus Senate and service on the University Senates Conference.  Other notable service includes the College Level Personnel Committee and her 3-year service as Department Chair. She contributed to the development of a new major in digital media studies as well as the online bachelor’s degree. Dr. Novak served on the search committee for Provost in 2017, and in 2018 she served on the search committee for CBM Dean. She assisted with the recent reaccreditation process as a member of the HLC committee and promoted interaction between the university, business, and community through her work on the Discovery Partners Institute.  Dr. Novak’s contributions to her field include her service as a reviewer for the International Communication Association, the National Communication Association, and for journals such as Critical Studies in Media Communication.

Sheryl Reminger, Psychology

Sheryl Reminger earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Neuropsychology from the University of Arizona in 2001.  She joined the UIS faculty in Fall 2005 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2011.

Professor Reminger has established a record of excellent teaching at UIS. She has maintained a teaching load of seven distinct courses in regular rotation since receiving tenure, offering a range of 300- and 400-level courses for Psychology. Her teaching includes an ECCE: Applied Study Seminar, which focuses on practical experience and experiential learning.  Professor Reminger has also supervised 246 student internships since 2006, the vast majority post-tenure. She invests an extraordinary amount of time and energy in internships, which are an important part of student learning in Psychology. Professor Reminger is an exemplar of mentorship in teaching.  Several of her former students have gone on to Ph.D. programs, and have kept in touch.  Dr. Reminger has also supervised eleven independent studies, an average of 1-2 every year.

Dr. Reminger has been active in publishing her research in scholarly journals, and especially active in making scholarly presentations of her research at professional conferences. She co-authored three (3) peer-reviewed articles/chapters since earning tenure. Two of those were published in the Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology, and one was published in Neuropsychology of Cancer and Oncology. These Encyclopedia publications are not standard entries, but substantial pieces in a highly competitive series.  Dr. Reminger has also engaged in persistent high-level scholarly engagement with peer-reviewed abstracts and presentations at academic conferences, including 18 poster presentations and papers given at major disciplinary conferences across the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Spain. Four of these were major presentations where Dr. Reminger was first author.

With regard to service contributions, Dr. Reminger served as Department Chair of Psychology from 2016-2019, and in that capacity oversaw the implementation of the fully online Psychology BA program, conducted the department’s program review, and did substantial work as GA supervisor. She also served on the College Level Personnel Committee in 2018, on university-wide search committees, and in 2016, she served on Undergraduate Council. She was also a member of the planning committee for STARS. Dr. Reminger has served as a reviewer for six scholarly journals in her area of specialization. She has effectively connected her service to the community with her research interests, working for Psychological Services of Central Illinois and the Simmons Cancer Institute at the SIU School of Medicine. In 2018, Dr. Reminger began serving on the Board of Directors of the Prairie Center Against Sexual Assault. This service to the community embodies and reflects Dr. Reminger’s passionate interests and commitments.

Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson, Art, Music, & Theatre

Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson earned an M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1992.  He joined the UIS faculty in Fall 2002 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2008.  His appointment was transferred to the new Department of Art, Music, & Theatre in 2012.

Professor Thibodeaux-Thompson has established a record of excellence in teaching. He teaches one to two courses per semester in upper-level theatre, 100-level General Education and CAP Honors, and serves as the Director of Theatre. Course topics provide a rich diversity: Playing Shakespeare, Directing for Theatre, Script Analysis, Theatre History, Contemporary Drama, and Stage Combat. Professor Thibodeaux-Thompson views theatre students as “budding professionals and practitioners” and considers his classes part discussion, part “lab”, where he is more facilitator than lecturer.

Professor Thibodeaux-Thompson has directed 11 UIS Theatre productions since tenure. Each production is entered in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), and reviewed by peers in the national organization where members visit college productions and provide outside feedback. Professor Thibodeaux-Thompson also takes students to KCACTF festivals and workshops. Several of his students have been nominated for scholarship auditions, which speaks to student mentorship beyond the classroom. Students of UIS Theatre have gone on to teach, become a playwright, and direct and act.

Professor Thibodeaux-Thompson defines his work as the scholarship of teaching and engagement through creation and production. Since tenure, he directed community theatre in Bloomington, wrote a book review, and played the lead role in six regional productions including at the Shakespeare Festival in Indiana. Professor Thibodeaux-Thompson has performed at ATHE national conferences and at the Mid-America Theatre Conference national conferences across the U.S., as well as serving as a moderator for the MATC. Professor Thibodeaux-Thompson has additionally been active in local, state and regional venues including the Hoogland Center, New Salem Theatre in the Park and The Shawnee Summer Theatre. In 2015, he attended the Patsy Rodenburg Master Classes at Michael Howard Studios in NYC.

Professor Thibodeaux-Thompson’s strong record of service includes chairing the Art, Music and Theatre Department since 2018, and serving on the AMT Curriculum Committee since 2012. He served as Vice Chair of the Campus Senate, on the Tenure Review Committee, and on the Personnel Policies Committee. In his profession, he served on the Mid-America Theatre Conference Nominations and Appointments Committee. He won the Region Ill Faculty Service Award for Illinois and a Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Directing from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Professor Thibodeaux-Thompson won awards from the Illinois Theatre Association (ITA) for Excellence and for Outstanding Contributions to the Board of Directors, 2005-2007.

Lucia Vazquez, Biology

Lucia Vazquez earned a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Cornell University in 2001.  Dr. Vazquez joined the UIS faculty in Fall 2001 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2007.

Professor Vazquez has taught ten distinct courses at UIS: four undergraduate and four graduate Biology courses and two Capital Scholars Honors Program courses. Dr. Vazquez creates learning activities that develop critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills, such as the algae evolution puzzle piece activity for her BIO 351 – Organismal Botany course, where groups of students used the puzzle pieces to propose potential evolutionary pathways followed by a discussion about the most likely pathway.

From 2007 to the present, Dr. Vazquez has directly supervised 20 students in BIO 400 – Undergraduate Research, supervising and mentoring approximately 10 of these students while in her administrative role. Post-tenure Dr. Vazquez has been a member or director of 15 graduate student thesis committees; 3-5 after becoming Associate Dean. As Associate Dean, Dr. Vazquez has also organized and coordinated the CLAS Teaching Academy to help faculty improve their pedagogy.

Dr. Vazquez’ research (scholarship of discovery) focuses on the study of oak trees, including their genetic information, evolutionary process, and molecular characteristics. Her passion and commitment to engaging students in scholarly activities is evidenced in her strong record of student mentoring and supervision.

Since tenure, Dr. Vazquez has published five peer-reviewed journal articles; two as sole author and three as first or second author. In addition, she has 13 poster presentations and six invited presentations. Nine of Professor Vazquez’ ten grant applications from 2007 to 2019 were successfully funded; the latest, a $100,000 NSF grant to support academic program development for the academic success of underrepresented minority students in STEM fields. In this inspiring collaboration with other Illinois institutions, Dr. Vazquez demonstrated her capability in securing external funding, inter-collegial teamwork, promoting science, technology, engineering, mathematics education, and assisting students in need.

Since tenure, Professor Vazquez has served as Biology Department chair from 2007 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2013. In this leadership role, she developed and coordinated the implementation of an exam option for the Master of Science degree, established an annual review process to assess graduate student progress, and implemented a plan to recruit more graduate students from other Illinois institutions. In 2013, Dr. Vazquez was selected to serve as the Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She also served as Interim Dean in 2016-2017. Her accomplishments include coordinating the new faculty and new chair mentoring programs, developing a more efficient course schedule, translating relevant CLAS websites into Spanish, and working on student recruitment and retention.

In addition to her stellar service record as Biology Department Chair and CLAS Associate Dean, Dr. Vazquez has participated in more than 30 committees at the university, college, science division, and department levels. In service to the profession and community, she engaged as an article reviewer for professional journals (such as Molecular Ecology and American Journal of Botany) and proposal reviewer for the National Science Foundation.

College of Public Affairs & Administration

Deborah Anthony, Legal Studies

Deborah Anthony earned a J.D. in from Georgetown University Law Center in 2001 and an M.A. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006.  She joined the UIS faculty in Fall 2006 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Legal Studies and was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2012.

Professor Anthony has taught 11 different courses across modes at UIS: six core requirements and five electives. A cornerstone of her teaching, promoting active and cooperative learning, is showcased in her American Constitution course where students simulate a U.S. Supreme Court oral argument. She fosters critical thinking by challenging students to analyze facts, methodologies, and theories underlying policies, as evidenced in her Family Law course where students consider the institution of marriage. Professor Anthony engages students’ interest by relating academic topics to real-world experiences. For example, in her Civil Liberties course she uses current news stories for discussion topics, and application exercises in her Family Law course are drawn from actual cases. She provided a high-impact educational opportunity for students who spent a week with her at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, where they served as interpreters for attorneys and worked independently with clients.

Professor Anthony’s scholarship is primarily focused on employment discrimination law, constitutional law, and the development of women’s legal status and identity. She has presented at 14 peer-reviewed conferences; 10 post-tenure. In 2018, her presentation was nominated for Best Conference Paper at the Northeastern Political Science Association meeting.  Professor Anthony has published 11 articles in peer-reviewed academic and law journals (seven post-tenure), a book chapter, and several encyclopedia articles. In addition, presentations have been accepted for the Law & Society and Southern Political Science Association annual meetings.

Professor Anthony’s extensive service record post-tenure includes serving as chair of the Department of Legal Studies for two years, serving on 10 LES search committees and recently chairing two of the searches. She was lead writer for curricular revisions of the department’s bachelor’s degree and has been instrumental in expanding the department’s online master’s degree. Professor Anthony has served on the college Curriculum and Executive Committees, the Campus Senate, and the Tenure Review Committee. A most substantial service activity has been seven years as chair of the Campus Senate Personnel Policies Committee. She is a Higher Learning Commission Peer Review Corps member and has been a manuscript reviewer and panel chair and discussant at professional conferences. Professor Anthony has been a volunteer attorney at the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and Dilley Pro Bono Project (Immigration Justice Campaign). She was a volunteer tax preparer for the Center for Economic Progress and is currently a member of the Springfield Immigrant Advocacy Network.

Dennis Ruez, Environmental Studies

Dennis Ruez earned a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007.  Dr. Ruez joined the UIS faculty in Fall 2008 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2012.

Professor Ruez established a record of excellent teaching at UIS across modes and levels, and including advising students inside and outside his department. Since tenure, Dr. Ruez taught 18 different courses, served as a research advisor for 13 ENS theses/projects, and as a committee member for 23 theses/projects in ENS, BIO, and LIS.  He served as advisor for approximately 400 students in ENS since 2012.

Dr. Ruez cared deeply about the science and art of teaching. He recognized the importance of constructing a classroom grounded in professional etiquette, Socratic questioning, and an emphasis on deep thoughtful analysis. Professor Ruez invested significant effort, imagination, and commitment to set the stage for students to engage and challenge the course content and make real world connections. He was an innovative teacher who embodied the essence of excellence and had a significant impact on his students.

An active and engaged scholar, Dr. Ruez’ primary research interest was in understanding changes in the assemblages of fossil mammals, using paleontology to further an understanding of evolutionary theory. Since tenure, he had four peer-reviewed publications, three currently in press, and three submitted for review. Additionally, he had several publications that were not peer-reviewed and published abstracts. He had 18 peer-reviewed and invited presentations, and four manuscripts in preparation. Dr. Ruez was committed to making a difference rather than publication for mere prestige, and he focused on open accessibility. He was successful at procuring external funding from the USDA, Higher Education Challenge Grant Program, and Secondary Education Challenge Grant Program totaling $131,000. Dr. Ruez also successfully proposed grants to the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health which totaled approximately $600,000.

A recipient of the UIS Spencer Faculty Service Award in 2015, Dr. Ruez took pleasure in serving others. He served as ENS Department Chair, chaired graduate assistant and faculty search committees; and served as a committee member for numerous searches. He was a member of ENS Personnel and Executive Committees, and served the department extensively in recruitment efforts – including preparing many recruitment materials. Dr. Ruez served on the College Executive Committee, College Scholarship Committee, College Cabinet, and as a member and chair of the CPAA College Level Personnel Committee.  Since tenure, Dr. Ruez served the Campus Senate, and as a member of the Parking Review Committee, Conflict Review Committee, Conflict Management Plan Oversight Committee, Graduate Council, Lab Space Steering Committee, and Campus Awards and Sabbatical Committee. Further, Dr. Ruez chaired the General Education Council and was co-chair of the General Education Review Committee. He also served on several U of I taskforces, and as an advisor and institutional lead for the Discovery Partners Institute focus area of environment and water. Dr. Ruez was not afraid to take on difficult roles, and his service work had a profound impact across the spectrum. Dr. Ruez also made a significant difference as a STEM educator, and as a teacher/scholar who was interested in linking theory with practice to a more sustainable world.

Dr. Ruez is recognized as one of our university’s most outstanding professors who cared deeply about the learning process and was highly invested in student learning and mentoring.  Dr. Ruez was a model citizen at UIS and has made an indelible imprint on students, colleagues and the university. His work will not be forgotten.

Return to the Faculty Honors Celebration page to view another faculty recognition category