By Katy TerBerg
Each year, WMU’s College of Arts and Sciences presents Faculty Achievement Awards to its members who have made outstanding contributions to disciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching; research, scholarly and creative activity; and university, professional and community service.
The Achievement Award in Professional and Community Service
is given to individuals who have had a beneficial impact on WMU, a community organization, or a professional association.
Howard J. Dooley (Ph.D., Notre Dame) has been a member of WMU’s faculty since 1970 and is a professor of history. In 2002 he was selected by AMIDEAST for a team of U.S. higher education administrators who visited Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia with the U.S. Department of State. He chairs the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Committee of the Kalamazoo Rotary Club. Dooley led Western Michigan University’s “internationalization” as Executive Director of International Affairs from 1991-2004, and was Fulbright Program Adviser 1983-2004. He also has served as Chair of the Michigan Humanities Council, and project evaluator for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
John Jellies (Ph.D., University of Texas) is a biology professor and a neurobiologist whose classes are based largely on human and animal physiology. Jellies has worked closely with both undergraduate and graduate students and has opened up his lab to high school students looking to pursue a degree. Jellies studies the function and development of behaviors and their substrates, neurons and synapses to learn how circuits and synapses function, how they change with age and experience, and how they arise during development.
Sherine Obare (Ph.D., University of South Carolina) is an associate professor of inorganic chemistry. She serves as associate editor for the Journal of Nanomaterials and is part of the planning committee of the National Science Competition of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. Obare is the director of Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program at Western Michigan University (2009-present). Her research interest is in the fabrication of organic-inorganic hybrid materials at the nanoscale. Obare’s students work in nanoparticle fabrication, synthesis and characterization of organic and coordination compounds, fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy, time-resolved fluorescence, electrochemistry, photocatalysis, and electron microscopy.
The Achievement Award in Teaching is based on outstanding teaching, including graduate and undergraduate classroom instruction, mentoring, independent study, field work, laboratory work, thesis and dissertation advising, undergraduate and graduate advising, curriculum innovation or any other work in which the faculty interact with students to promote learning.
John Geiser (Ph.D., University of Washington) is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences whose areas of research include microbiology and molecular biology. Geiser oversees the progress of masters and doctoral candidates in his laboratory, where he works to identify the cellular targets of Yersinia pestis (plague) and generate novel drugs through engineering cyclic peptide-producing organisms. Geiser’s research is on identification of cellular targets of Yersinia pestis (plague) and generation of novel drugs through engineering of cyclic peptide producing organisms. Each project uses molecular biology and fungal genetics to reach the desired goal.
Michael Millar (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is a specialist in Central American cultures. He has published several works on the literature of Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and the Central American diaspora in the United States, including his book, “Spaces of Representation” (2005), which examines the role of literary, political and historical discourse in the struggle for social justice in Guatemala. His research investigates the relationship between current social conditions of the region and an emergent dystopian tendency in contemporary Central American literature. Millar also is a study abroad advisor.
Kathleen Propp (Ph.D., University of Iowa) joined the School of Communication faculty after serving as an associate professor at Northern Illinois University. Her areas of expertise include small-group decision-making, organizational communication and conflict management. Propp teaches several communication courses, including Communication Inquiry, Group Problem Solving, and Conflict Management. Propp was one of the first faculty members to teach Introduction to Organizational Communication online. Propp’s primary area of research is the study of decision-making in team settings, with the goal of uncovering communicative factors that have an impact on the quality of decisions. She examined how groups process information and how gender and status differences bias this process.
The Achievement Award in Research and Creative Activity is is an award that recognizes faculty contributions to disciplinary and interdisciplinary research and creative activity. These achievements may be philosophical, historical, literary, scientific, or technical and must constitute significant contributions to understanding and portraying the human condition or the natural world.
Robert Anemone (Ph.D., University of Washington) is a professor of biological anthropology whose research interests are vertebrate paleontology; primate and human evolution; functional morphology; primate locomotion; growth and development and race and human diversity, with a regional focus on Western North America, Wyoming and Africa. His courses include Race, Biology, and Culture; Primate Evolution; Growth and Development; Research Methods; Human Evolution; and a seminar in Biological Anthropology. Anemone offers his Race, Biology and Culture course as an online class each semester, including Summer I and Summer II.
Yirong Mo (Ph.D., Xiamen University, China) is an associate professor of chemistry whose research interests include theoretical and computational chemistry, computer simulation of enzymes, inter and intra-molecular electron transfer, and modeling and engineering of enzymes. The processes are based on the development and applications of novel theoretical methods of chemical and biological systems that Mo has implemented in his lab. Mo joined WMU faculty in 2002, and was named a University Emerging Scholar in 2010.
Eve Salisbury (Ph.D., University of Rochester) is a professor in the Department of English and the Medieval Institute. Salisbury’s research focuses on domesticity and the concept of the child in Chaucer’s work as well as intersections of poetry, legal fiction, and historical documentation. She has presented her work at more than 40 conferences both in the U.S. and abroad. She has served as senior editor of Comparative Drama since 2003. At Western Michigan University, she teaches the works of late medieval poets—Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Gower, Christine de Pizan, and Marie de France—Middle English and Arthurian literature, Medieval Literary Theory, British Literature I, and Medieval Drama.