Distinguished and University Professor Award Recipients Named

Distinguished and University Professor Award Recipients Named

January 3, 2002

January 3, 2002, Greencastle, Ind. - Six members of the DePauw University faculty are being honored for their sustained excellence in teaching, service and professional accomplishment. Neal B. Abraham, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at DePauw University, has announced that the recipients of the Distinguished Professor Awards for 2002-2004 are Victor A. DeCarlo Jr., professor of physics and astronomy; Marcia A. McKelligan, professor of philosophy; and Gloria Childress Townsend, professor of computer science. Dr. Abraham has also announced the appointment of University Professors for 2002-2006. They are Tom Chiarella, associate professor of English; Wade N. Hazel, professor of biology; and Mac R. Dixon-Fyle, professor of history.

The recipients were selected by a special review committee composed of Abraham, David Berque (University Professor 2001-2005), Françoise Coulont-Henderson (Distinguished Professor 2001-2003) and James Mannon (Tucker Award Winner May 2001). "We reviewed dossiers prepared by the nominees which were supplemented by letters contributed by members of the DePauw community," Dr. Abraham says. "We also reviewed confidential letters from external experts (selected from lists provided by the nominees) who were asked to assess the professional accomplishments of the nominees. The members of the review committee were impressed by the dossiers of all of the nominees considered this year. We concur on the strength which these dossiers reveal about our colleagues and we are proud to be associated with them," Abraham continued.

Previous recipients of Distinguished Professor Awards are Cynthia Cornell, James Rambo, Andrea Sununu, Gary Lemon, Charles Mays, O. Ralph Raymond, Meryl Altman and Francoise Coulont-Henderson. Prior University Professors are Nancy Davis, Underwood Dudley, Wayne Glausser, Arthur Evans, Carl Huffman, Robert Kingsley, David Berque, David Newman and Paul Watt. "The new recipients, and the earlier honorees they join, exemplify the enduring principles of effective teaching, dedicated service and continued professional growth and accomplishment which guide and inform all faculty members as we serve the educational mission of DePauw University," Abraham stated.

DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR AWARDS, 2002-2004: for sustained excellence in teaching and service.

VICTOR A. DeCARLO JR. joined the faculty as an instructor in physics in 1981; he was promoted to assistant professor in 1983, associate professor in 1988 and professor in 1996. He earned his B.A. in physics and mathematics from Southern Connecticut State College in 1974 and his Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in 1983. He has taught a wide range of courses, including practically every physics course offered by his department, as well as an honor scholar science seminar and an interdisciplinary course in cosmology with Marcia McKelligan in the philosophy department.

Students from his twenty years of teaching at DePauw, from those he taught in his first year to those he taught most recently, attest to his effective teaching which inspired them to continue and succeed. Their comments also frequently note his accessibility, his patient exposition, and his support for their growth and development both in and out of the classroom. One of his first students writes, "He provides clear explanations appropriate for his students, whether they are in introductory or upper level courses. His lectures are clearly organized, but he delivers them in a relaxed manner and with a sense of humor that encourages discussion and exchange." Another writes, "He presented material in an organized way that made it easy to take notes and understand difficult concepts. He helps his students relate the physics they are learning to their everyday lives." Among his many projects with students, he took several to work at FermiLab, the National Accelerator Laboratory, while he was doing his own research there.

Dr. DeCarlo has served two terms on the Committee on Faculty and currently serves as chair of that committee. He has also served a term as chair of the physics and astronomy Department. His other University service includes chairing Division III and membership on the Committee on Administration, the Science Scholarship Committee which he also chaired for two years, and the Fifth-Year Student Selection Committee. He has frequently served as a first-year student adviser and carries a heavy load of student advisees. His recent leadership for his department includes his spearheading of a recent change in the curriculum involving a modification of the introductory physics course from an encyclopedic survey of many topics to a focus on a smaller set of topics and organizing principles.

MARCIA A. McKELLIGAN joined the faculty as an instructor in philosophy and religion in 1976; she was promoted to assistant professor in philosophy and religion in 1979, to associate professor of philosophy and religion in 1987 and to professor of philosophy in 1995. She earned her A.B. in religion at Mount Holyoke College in 1971, her M.A. in philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1976, and her Ph.D. in philosophy at U. Mass., Amherst, in 1979. Her areas of specialty include early modern philosophy, philosophy of religion, ethical theory, applied ethics, business ethics, metaphysics, philosophical cosmology, and death.

Dr. McKelligan has taught and developed a wide range of courses for the philosophy curriculum and she has also taught interdisciplinary courses and seminars, often collaboratively, including Women's Issues in Philosophy and Literature; a first-year seminar: Body, Mind and Death; Cosmology with Vic DeCarlo in Physics; and Leadership and Responsibility with President Bottoms. She is noted by students as an especially effective and rigorous teacher, respecting each student's opinion yet challenging each student to understand and to question philosophical arguments at a high level. One wrote, "[She} is able to take the most complex philosophical arguments and present them in a way such that they are accessible to introductory level students. By allowing students to understand these arguments, [she] opens the door to the true work of philosophy: critical discussion." Another writes, "Her enthusiasm and preparation for the material was evident, encouraging students to participate in class. ... [S]he never hesitated to stay after class and discuss various matters with me." Many say she is the best teacher they have ever had.

In her service to her department and the university, McKelligan served three terms on the Committee on Faculty for a total of seven years, including two years as chair; she served twice as a member of the Resource Allocation Subcommittee for a total of four years; she served twice as a member of the COF Review Committee; she served in the inaugural year as a member of the Institutional Review Board on Research with Human Subjects; and she is currently in her second term on the Committee on Administration. She helped to plan the Winter Term Core and helped to design the S Program. She is now in her third term as chair of the department of philosophy and has served at all levels as an officer of Division II. She has been a senior mentor to junior faculty colleagues, a member of the selection committee for Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships since 1978, a member of the Media Fellows Governing Board for ten years, and a member of the Management Fellows Advisory Board for fifteen years. She has participated as a first-year adviser for many years and has been the major adviser to nearly half of the philosophy majors over the last 23 years. In recent years she has also helped to organize the DePauw University Team to participate in the Indiana Ethics Bowl.

GLORIA CHILDRESS TOWNSEND joined the faculty as an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science in 1980; she was promoted to associate professor of computer science in 1991 and professor of computer science in 1999. She earned her A.B. in mathematics from Indiana University in 1968, her M.S. in mathematics from Purdue University in 1972, her Ph.D. in mathematics education from I.U. in 1979 and her M.S. in computer science from I.U. in 1987.

Dr. Townsend is a dedicated teacher, supplementing traditional teaching techniques with original methods to reach students with a wide range of learning styles. She complements class presentations with group work, class discussions and writing assignments. She has also developed and sponsored a program for over a decade to encourage women to pursue coursework and careers in computer science. She is renowned among her students for her patient exposition, her enthusiastic encouragement, and her rigorous teaching. She is cited by many as being "both challenging and inspiring." Many students attribute their continued success in computer science to her recruiting and mentoring efforts.One student among many wrote, "It was because of her invitation to attend a "tryout" session, during which I met current majors and was able to walk through the first computer science lab, that I took CS1. After one semester with her, I was hooked." Her record of encouragement and mentoring has had a remarkable impact on the lives of her students, leading to an unusually high number of women majoring in computer science at DePauw.

Townsend maintains newsletters, Web sites and bulletin board displays and offers lunches and other meetings which build enthusiasm and confidence. She has worked to advance these goals through programs during the academic year and in the summer, working both with DePauw students and with colleagues and students at Purdue and Rose Hulman. She has taught and revised many courses at the behest of her department and she has developed new interdisciplinary courses such as Artificial Life which she taught with Wade Hazel. She also developed a text with Carl Singer, "More Problems, Algorithms, Programs: Fundamental Concepts in Computer Science" (first issued in 1998), which the department uses for teaching Computer Science II.

Dr. Townsend has also given time to the Committee on Faculty, the Hartman Center Steering Committee, the Science Research Fellows Program and the Commencement Speaker Committee. She served as chair of the mathematics and computer science department and as the first chair of the computer science department.

UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS, 2002-2006: for sustained excellence in teaching, service and professional accomplishments.

TOM CHIARELLA joined the faculty as an assistant professor of English in 1988; he was promoted to associate professor in 1995. He is currently the Richard W. Peck Professor in Creative Writing and is a contributing editor to Esquire magazine. He earned his B.A. in fine arts and English at St. Lawrence University in 1983 and his MFA in fiction writing at the University of Alabama in 1987.

Chiarella has taught a wide variety of courses in English, and developed a course on the Legacy of Anton Chekhov in contemporary American fiction and drama which was cross-listed for credit in theater and English. For nearly a decade he led an annual Winter Term trip to New York City which served as a powerful and enriching experience for hundreds of students. He has also been a frequent contributor to the New Play festival.

His students write of the powerful impression he has made on their thinking, their writing, and their careers. "My first college class was [his] Introduction to Poetry. It was the best entrée I could have had into academia, and it is no coincidence that, ten years later, I am pursuing my M.F.A. in creative writing." "He was able to excite students about literature. He also encouraged and cultivated that excitement." Others wrote, "[He] figured out how to launch a part of my brain that I didn't want to use," "He's careful with us. He leads us on. Gives us books by wonderful people.... meets with us whenever he can, pours over our fumbling attempts at stories and poems ... He tells us the most important thing is to keep living," and, "There were lessons, rules, ... Revise; revise from the beginning; never be clever; poems are not riddles. ... always carry a notebook."

In 1993, Tom Chiarella was the first recipient of the Exemplary Teacher award given jointly by DePauw University and the General Board of Higher Education of the United Methodist Church. He twice was selected by the senior class to address the graduating class on the night before Commencement.

A contributing editor of Esquire since 1997, Chiarella has written more than 40 articles for the magazine, including a cover story. He has published two books, Foley's Luck in 1992 and Writing Dialogue in 1998, which has since been reprinted in several international editions. Several years prior, a professional colleague recalls being approached to write a book called Writing Dialogue, which he declined, viewing the subject as too broad in scope and vague in design. "Imagine my chagrin when in 1998 [my editor] mailed me a copy of Chiarella's book with a note saying, '...I hope you like this guy's take on it.' Did I! Chiarella's pithy book is a marvel of clear writing, eclectic examples, and straightforward, practical advice. I have used it often in my classes and lent it so often to grad students I've now had to buy several copies." Chiarella has also been a contributor to Washington Golf Monthly, Links magazine and the New Yorker. He has served as managing editor and fiction editor for Black Warrior Review. His awards and honors for writing include a first-place award from the Short Story Journal in 1997, selections as "notable" in American Sports Writing ("Blown Away"), Best American Essays ("Vicodin, My Vicodin"), and Best American Travel Writing ("Walking to the Mall") in 2000. He was a National Magazine Award Nominee for "Vicodin, My Vicodin" in 2000 and received a 3rd place award in 2001 for "John Daly, Happy at Last," for Non-Daily Feature Writing by the Golf Writers' Association of America.

Now in his second term as chair of the English Department, Chiarella is also serving his second term on the Committee on Administration which he has chaired; and he served four years on the Committee on Faculty, which he also chaired. He filled all officer roles of his division and has served on many committees: four years on the International Education Committee, a member of the Board of Control of Student Publications for seven years (chairing it three separate years), the Management Fellows Advisory Board, the Media Fellows Advisory Board, and the Athletic Board. He has served for the last three years as one of DePauw's representatives to the GLCA Academic Council and twice served as adviser to The DePauw. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the New York Arts Program and was faculty advisor to The Midwestern Review for a decade. In 1992 he was the resident director of DePauw's overseas program in Athens, Greece. He has consistently carried one of the highest loads of advisees, both first-year students and majors.

MAC R. DIXON-FYLE joined the faculty in 1988 as associate professor of history. He was promoted to professor in 1996. He earned his B.A. with Honors in history at the University of Sierra Leone in 1972 and his Ph.D. in history in the School of Oriental and African Studies of London University in 1976.

At DePauw, Dr. Dixon-Fyle restarted a program in African history that had been dormant for ten years prior to his appointment. He has designed and taught courses in ancient and modern Africa, African nationalism, African cultures, South Africa, Slavery in African History, Economic Transformations in Africa, and Violence in African History. He notes that, "although he was raised in a system where 'the lecture' held supreme sway, and the weekly one-hour tutorial was often the student's sole opportunity of being heard, I soon learned from my senior colleagues in the department of the imperative for greater exchange between professor and student on a daily basis in the liberal arts milieu. Classes, I was counseled, went best where students believed themselves empowered to participate fully in the process of discovery, through debate and discussion, with the professor fulfilling the role more of facilitator, than ex-cathedra pontificator. This took some getting used to, and my first semester at DePauw was, arguably, my most difficult, due to the challenges of pedagogical adjustment that I faced. ... Progressively, I got into the mode of the introductory lecture, ievitably followed, on a daily basis, by some class discussion, with the last day of class being devoted fully to the latter. To combat the difficulty of the student who desired discussion but was reluctant to do the reading, I adopted the system of appointing weekly discussion leaders in all of my classes." Dixon-Fyle's students describe his classes as fascinating, his mastery of the material as vast, his willingness to provide help outside of class as inexhaustible, and the impact of courses with him as memorable. "He always sets up the big picture so that the students do not get lost in the details." His students describe him as opening a vast new range of topics and information, giving them a more worldly perspective, provoking life-long interest and curiosity about Africa and enriching their lives. He was twice voted Outstanding Professor by the Student Academic Council. Many faculty colleagues wrote in admiration of his high principles, his dedication to effective pedagogy, his carefully reasoned arguments, and his dedication to student learning.

Dr. Dixon-Fyle's record of service includes a term on the Committee on Faculty and a term on the Committee on Management of Academic Operations of which he is currently chair. He served as director of the Black Studies Program for eight years and continues to be active on its steering committee; he served as acting chair of the History Department. He served on the International Education Committee and the Faculty Appeals Committee. He is W certified, has taught first-year seminars, and carries a heavy load of advisees. He was an active participant in the Mellon-funded study group on Civic Responsibility and served as a panelist and commentator for the Crimmel lecture by Deborah Toler.

His research has concentrated on four ares of African historical review, namely, Southern Zambian nationalism, military politics in independent Africa, the African diaspora in the Niger delta, and a composite review of the history of Sierra Leone. He has published two books: A Saro Community in the Niger Delta, 1912-1984: The Potts-Johnsons of Port Harcourt and their Heirs in 1999 and, with Earl Conteh-Morgan, Sierra Leone at the End of the Twentieth Century: History, Politics, and Society, also in 1999. He has also published ten articles in leading scholarly journals and eleven book reviews.

Of Dixon-Fyle's published writings, one scholarly colleague professes, "It is a work of real scholarship detailing the rise and decline of the community against the changing fortunes of Nigeria, making it an important contribution to Nigerian history, as well as to the history of the Sierra Leone diaspora. He writes with the sympathy and understanding of someone writing about his own people, but is still detached enough from them to treat them critically." Of his co-authored work, a colleague writes, "[it] is a work of a different kind, and illustrates his versatility as an historian. Here he has broadened his field from the necessarily academic focus of a monograph to that of a popular history book..."

WADE HAZEL joined the faculty as an assistant professor of zoology in 1981; he was promoted to associate professor of zoology in 1987 and professor of genetics and evolutionary biology in 1995; he currently serves as professor of biology. He earned his B.S. in biology in 1974, his M.S. in zoology in 1976 and his Ph.D. in zoology in 1980, all from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

Dr. Hazel has taught a wide range of introductory, intermediate and advanced courses as well as an interdisciplinary course with Gloria Townsend entitled Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research in the Sciences: Artificial Life. His students consistently, over many years and many different courses, testify to his inspired teaching, his patient explanations, his devoted mentoring of their projects and research, and his high standards and expectations for their accomplishments. He is noted for encouraging questions, debates and discussions. "His enthusiasm for the subjects he teaches sparked discussion outside of the classroom. ... [he] encouraged all questions and an open dialogue among members of the class." Students respect his knowledge and admire him for the respect he shows them in return. His excellence in teaching has been recognized by many student groups, including the Academic Council, Student Congress and Mortar Board.

Author of twenty papers in refereed journals, frequently with student co-authors, he has studied models for selection and evolution among butterflies in field and laboratory experiments, and he has worked on theoretical models for his observations with students and with Rick Smock in the mathematics department. He has given twenty-nine presentations at international, national and regional meetings, including three invited symposium presentations. Thirty-five DePauw students have completed research projects with him resulting in eleven student presentations on their research at regional and national meetings. One student wrote, "I spent much of the summer feeding caterpillars and catching butterflies, but [he] made sure that all of his research students understood the science behind the project, taking time out from our work to explain concepts and to answer questions. After we gathered data and he helped us interpret it, he gave me the opportunity to write the rough draft of the research paper under his guidance." Another wrote, "My continued interest in research was sparked by my experience with Professor Hazel, who allowed me to see that I could form a question and discover an answer and push the limits of science." He is clearly a model colleague in the use of research endeavors as education for his students and in the the engagement of students in research leading to discoveries meriting publication.

Dr. Hazel is now in his fourth year of service as chair of the biology department (formerly the biological sciences department). He served on the COF subcommittee on Student Evaluations, the Scholastic Achievement Committee, the CAPP subcommittee on Admission and Financial Aid, the Task Force on Advising, the Student Conduct Board, the Science Research Fellows Steering Committee, the Faculty Development Committee (which he chaired for one year), the Scholastic Achievement Committee (which he chaired for one year), and the Committee on Administration (which he chaired for one year). He has also worked to improve science education in local schools through the Advisory Council for Science Education and the STeP Program for local science students and teachers.

Hazel has been a productive and thoughtful scholar for 20 years, his work appears year-in and year-out in scientific journals and professional conferences. His scholarly colleagues speak not only of the volume of his research productivity, but of the novelty and significance of his work in evolutionary biology. His most significant contributions are in the evolution of threshold traits, the means to understand and model such things as twinning in humans and animals, flowering in plants, survival, size and color dimorphism. His experimental work on butterflies and barnacles has helped to illustrate his arguments. His theoretical paper on a polygenic model for evolution of conditional strategies is described by one expert in the field as "a novel approach and a fundamental advance in the modeling of conditional strategies." His experimental and theoretical work is widely cited by others in the field.

(Photos of Professors Chiarella, Dixon-Fyle and Hazel by Marilyn E. Culler)