Awards for excellence in teaching, scholarship and faculty service granted at Convocation
Muskingum University's Convocation, held August 30 on the campus, three
faculty members were recognized for excellence in teaching, scholarship
and service. The awards were presented by Vice President for Academic
Affairs Dr. James E. Callaghan.
The William Oxley Thompson Award for Excellence
in Teaching was awarded to Dr. William T. Kerrigan, who is the
university’s Arthur G. Cole and Eloise Barnes Cole Distinguished
Professor of American History. This award is named in honor of an
alumnus whose career combined teaching, ministry and service as
president of Miami University and The Ohio State University.
Dr. Callaghan said of Dr. Kerrigan, “His
dedication to teaching and – especially – to his students is
well-substantiated, and he has developed ways to not only better connect
with students, but to better enable them to master skills and to
improve their scores. He has been an early adopter of innovative
classroom technologies, but also engages students in what some might
call “old-school” – but no less valuable – ways, engaging students in
historical projects that not only advance knowledge, but also have given
students practical, “hands-on,” experience translatable into skills and
opportunities in the workforce.”
Dr. Kerrigan joined the faculty in 1997. He
earned his bachelor’s degree from Austin College, his master’s degree
from Texas Christian University and his doctoral degree from the
University of Michigan.
The William Rainey Harper Award for Outstanding
Scholarship was granted to Associate Professor of English Dr. Jane
Varley. This award is named for an alumnus who was a renowned scholar,
educator and the founder and first president of the University of
Dr. Callaghan said, “Dr. Varley is an inspiring
teacher and an extraordinary writer, with a strong sense of not only
narrative, but of place and of the inner essence of things, people, and
experience. Dr. Varley’s greatest recent achievement was her work with
our late softball coach, Donna Newberry, on the autobiography, You Must Play to Win. Her latest publication of poetry– Sketches at the Naesti Bar – impressively places the reader alongside her during recent visits to Iceland.”
Dr. Varley joined the faculty in 2000. She earned
both her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Idaho
and her doctoral degree from the University of North Dakota. \The Cora
I. Orr Faculty Service Award was bestowed upon Professor of Music Dr.
Joyce Alesandrini. It is named in honor of a Muskingum faculty member
and administrator who served the university with devotion and
distinction for four decades.
Of Dr. Alesandrini’s achievements at the
university, Dr. Callaghan said, “Dr. Alesandrini embodies the essence of
collegiality, possesses an inspiring ability to lead from within, as a
team player, while also providing tremendous service to the institution
as a whole. In 2009, she took on the task of chair of the Music
Department, successfully orchestrating the move of the department into
the new Otto and Fran Walter Hall and overseeing the building’s
Dr. Alesandrini joined the faculty in 1990. She
earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming, her
master’s degree from Northwestern University and her doctoral degree
from The Ohio State University.
IN THE PHOTO: From left to right: Dr. Jane Varley, Dr. James Callaghan, Dr. Bil Kerrigan and Dr. Joyce Alesandrini.