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Associate Dean Jeff Watt, Biology Senior Lecturer Robert Yost Honored with Irwin Award
Mar 11 2013
Eight IUPUI employees, including two from the School of Science, are recipients of the 2012 Glenn W. Irwin, Jr. M.D. Experience Excellence Recognition Award. IUPUI presents the annual award to full-time staff and faculty who have gone “above and beyond their call of duty at work.”
The award, named in honor of Dr. Glenn W. Irwin, IUPUI’s second chancellor, recognizes service that is non-reimbursed and not specifically job-related.
Chancellor Charles R. Bantz (L to R); Lee Stone, Staff Council president; and 2012 Irwin Award recipients
The award recipients, and their schools or departments, are: Lester Cook, Community Learning Network; Teodora Durbin, University Library; Zenophia Yvonne Fitzgerald, University College; Joan E. Kowolik, Podiatric Dentistry; Denise Scroggins, School of Public and Environmental Affairs; Joshua Sullivan, University Library; Robert Yost, Biology; and Jeffrey Xavier Watt, Mathematical Sciences.
The eight were honored for their service during the IUPUI Chancellor’s Employee Recognition Convocation on March 6.
Brief summaries of the winners' contributions follow:
Lester Cook is more than an accessible advisor, according to students. Cook is keenly aware of adult students’ needs and is willing to challenge, recommend, and encourage them without imposing his own thinking, his students said. In particular, because of his many years of military experience, he has been of invaluable service in meeting the needs of the campus’s military-affiliated students.
Teodora Durbin serves as co-chair of the Library’s Green Team, which is devoted to providing leadership in implementing conservation and sustainability projects. Durbin’s contributions include working to secure grants to install water bottle filling stations in the library and purchasing and installing native plants at the library entrance.
Zenophia Yvonne Fitzgerald's contributions lie in her understanding of and commitment to the fact that college success begins well before enrollment at IUPUI. She spends much of her time away from campus building the capacity of youth to succeed in post-secondary education by serving as a mentor, workshop facilitator, and program developer for young women involved in organizations such as the Center for Leadership Development and Girls, Inc. of Greater Indianapolis.
Joan E. Kowolik’s day-to-day job is working with children and teaching the dental students how to care for the oral health needs of the child patients. Kowolik has initiated and maintained numerous programs that take dental students beyond their clinical training into the realm of social activism and advocacy for the underserved, especially underserved children.
Denise Scroggins is intensely dedicated to the constant improvement of academic offerings at the School for Public and Environmental Affairs. Scroggins is constantly on the hunt for outstanding associate faculty members, and ways to help them improve educational outcomes.
Joshua Sullivan works as administrative assistant for University Library, but it is his work outside that unit, including projects with the School of Science’s Honors Convocation, IUPUI children’s sports summer camps, and student recruitment during the FFA National Convention Week that earned his recognition as an Irwin Experience Excellence Recognition Award recipient.
Robert Yost is recognized for his extraordinary efforts in science outreach throughout the state, He has held significant leadership roles in statewide organizations that promote student engagement with science, including the Science Education Foundation of Indiana and Celebrate Science Indiana. Yost’s work helps recruiting efforts by bringing students on campus, in contact with IUPUI faculty, staff, and students, as well as campus facilities.
Jeffrey Watt, the Bittinger Chair in Mathematics Education and associate dean for student affairs and outreach at the School of Science, is an advocate for faculty and their rights and responsibilities. He also was recently inducted into the High School Hockey Hall of Fame for his dedicated volunteering and guiding force in youth hockey for 35 years. Watt established an academic scholarship for high school athletes to major in STEM disciplines. He also created a unique math poster contest for high school students and has co-chaired the contest since its inception in 1998.
Jeffrey X. Watt, the Bittinger Chair in Mathematics Education and the associate dean for student affairs and outreach at the School of Science, has been honored with the Glenn W. Irwin, Jr., M.D., Experience Excellence Recognition Award. The award is named for the former IUPUI chancellor and designed to honor faculty or staff who go above and beyond the responsibilities of their job.
Watt specializes in math education at the secondary and post-secondary level. In addition to his teaching responsibilities at the School of Science, he also works to close the achievement gap between high school and college-level mathematics. He also advises the School on curriculum and instruction development at the undergraduate level. He holds degrees in geophysics, mathematics and math education, receiving his Ph.D. from Indiana University.
In 2010, Watt was honored as the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Indiana State Professor of the Year. He was invited to Washington D.C. to receive the award.
He also received the 2009 Distinguished University Teaching of Mathematics Award from the Indiana chapter of the Mathematics Association of America. The designation recognizes Watt's stellar record of teaching excellence and his contributions to promoting mathematics teaching and learning at IUPUI and across the state.
Yost is a board member of the Science Education Foundation of Indiana (SEFI). He has served with the Indiana Science Technology Engineering and Math (I-STEM) initiative and, at a national level, the Executive Committee of Advisory Council for the Society for Science and the Public, the parent organization for the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).