WMU honors two for teaching excellence

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KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University is honoring Dr. Jon Adams, associate professor of English, and Dr. Richard Malott, professor of psychology, for being exceptional educators and mentors and demonstrating outstanding dedication in their work.

The pair will be recognized as recipients of Distinguished Teaching Awards during WMU's Academic Convocation at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The annual event includes WMU President John M. Dunn's State of the University address along with the presentation of other campuswide awards honoring this year's Emerging Scholars and the recipients of the Distinguished Service and Make a Difference awards.

Initiated in 2006, the Distinguished Teaching Award is the highest honor given by the University to recognize faculty members for their work with. Adams and Malott join 14 other faculty members who have been honored since the start of the award program. A similar program, the WMU Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award, was conducted between 1966 and 2001 and honored 131 faculty members.

Photo of Jon .

Adams

Dr. Jon Adams

Adams joined the faculty in 2003. A published author, he studies the cultural meanings of manhood and heroism as they inform American national identity. He is an Honorary Faculty Inductee to Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society.

His former students praised him for being generous with his time and being an engaged mentor.

"He makes the classroom an exciting space of possibilities, and I felt as his student that he was always challenging me to reach my very best and come into my own as a scholar," wrote a former graduate student.

His reputation among students is that, "he's tough, and he's the best," according to another former student who said his name on a class listing is big draw for students to sign up for a class. He challenges students to reflect on their work and dig deep into topics, the student continued.

"I was encouraged, specifically and with helpful direction, to develop my analyses beyond the scope of my original response."

Adams is the author of the book "Male Armor: The Soldier-Hero in Contemporary American Culture," and his work has appeared in Studies in American Culture, Harrington's Gay Men's Fiction Quarterly and Gender Forum.

Photo of Richard .

Malott

Dr. Richard Malott

Malott has been a member of the WMU faculty since 1966 when he co-founded the University's behavior-analysis program.

In the classroom, Malott believes it is important for students to be actively engaged in the learning and connect what he is teaching to real-world experiences, according to a former student.

"In his books, teaching, presentation and stories about his everyday life, it was always clear as a student that Dr. Malott not only taught content about psychology, he applied it in his life and was passionate about explaining the ways others could do so to improve their own lives or society at large."

Other former students have referred to Malott as a "perfect example of educational excellence," and "not only a pioneer, but an innovator," in that he takes students under his wing as a mentor inside and outside of the classroom.

"Dr. Malott invests in every single one of his students, and that investment continues to grow and mature even after graduation."

An example of his activism for students outside of the classroom was in 2002-03 during a behavioral conference. At that time, he designed and paid for about 250 anti-mentalism T-shirts, distributed them at the conference for $10 to $15 donations each, and gave all of the proceeds to the Student Fund of the Association for Behavior Analysis.

He has received two Fulbright Senior Scholar Awards and helped start the Association for Behavior Analysis International. Malott has presented in 13 countries and co-authored "Principles of Behavior," a book previously known as "Elementary Principles of Behavior." Malott received ABAI' s 2002 Award for Public Service in Behavior Analysis—now called the Award for Scientific Translation—and was elected ABAI president in 2010.

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