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Faculty honored for excellence in diversity, teaching, service

August 17, 2017

KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo honored faculty for distinction in community and campus service, teaching, and promoting diversity, at its annual Fall Convocation. 

Angela Heckman, clinical associate professor and assistant dean of nursing, received the Virgil Hunt Distinguished Service Award. J.R. Pico, senior lecturer in Spanish, was honored with the Chancellor’s Diversity Excellence Award. Sarah Heath, associate professor of history, received the Claude Rich Excellence in Teaching Award, the campus’ highest teaching honor.

Heckman was recognized for her leadership in the nursing profession, which includes serving as vice president of the Indiana State Nurses Association. She said she is grateful for the nomination from Linda Wallace, who recently retired as dean.

“I am honored to have received this recognition for doing what I love to do, serving my students, my community, IU, and my profession,” said Heckman, from Kokomo. 

For Heath, Kokomo, the reward of teaching is seeing the moment a student finally understands a difficult concept.

“I love to see students finally feel like they’re getting it. They’re frustrated at first, and then they realize they get it, and they want to know more,” she said. “I’m so privileged to work among the talented people at IU Kokomo, and honored to see they value the contributions I made as a teacher.” 

Pico understands the importance of diversity because of his own experiences as a world traveler and immigrant from Colombia, and he is committed to teaching about it.

“It’s incredibly important to recognize diversity efforts, because it demonstrates that IU Kokomo values all people and cultures,” the Kokomo resident said. “It shows that diversity is something we should promote, talk about, and educate the younger generation about. I do what I do because it is meaningful to me, and it’s nice to see it is appreciated.”

Trustees Teaching Award recipients were Chris Darr, associate professor of communication arts; Olga Korne, lecturer in accounting; Lance Mason, assistant professor of education, Hisako Masuda, assistant professor of biochemistry;  Alina Mihai, assistant professor of special education;  Gin Morgan, lecturer in psychology;  Joshua Mugg, lecturer in philosophy; and Niki Weller, assistant professor of sociology. 

Leda Casey, senior lecturer in geology, also was honored for her induction into the Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET), which has the goal of promoting and sustaining excellence in teaching among IU faculty. 

Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke congratulated all award recipients.

“I am proud to recognize the accomplishments of our world-class faculty, both in our classrooms and in our community,” she said. “These teachers are inspiring examples of service, research, and scholarship for our students.” 

 The Claude Rich Excellence in Teaching Award commemorates Howard County native Claude Rich, who retired from IU after 44 years of service. The Chancellor’s Diversity Excellence Award is given for endeavors that promote diversity at IU Kokomo. The Virgil Hunt Distinguished Service award honors outstanding service by faculty or staff.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

Last updated: 08/17/2017