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Excellence in Teaching

Nominations for Marylhurst University's Excellence in Academic Service and Teaching Award are submitted by students and colleagues. The Faculty Development Committee reviews nominations and makes recommendations to the provost.

The university received 27 nominations in support of 24 faculty members for the 2013 Excellence in Teaching awards.

Here are this year's award recipients, each of whom richly deserves this recognition:

Reiko Igarashi, Interior Design

Reiko Igarashi has been teaching for the Department of Art & Interior Design since 2008. She teaches first- and second-year interior design studios. The first-year studios address form and space in two and three dimensions while the second-year studio is a design-build studio.

Professor Igarashi has a professional practice that includes interiors, retail and branded environments, graphic design, and product design. She is a LEED-accredited professional and serves as a volunteer for the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

The nominating student says: Professor Igarashi "has been one of the most effective professors I have ever had in any of my academic experiences. She creates a safe environment where all ideas and questions are welcomed and appreciated. She is very observant and dedicated to both her careers. She is a true inspiration that will continually remind me of what is possible because of my actions and determination."

Jim Davis, Human Sciences

Dr. Jim Davis has been teaching in the Department of Human Sciences for over 10 years. Some of the courses he teaches are Community Psychology and Social Perspectives; Health Aspects of Aging; and Senior Power, Politics and Policy.

His areas of expertise are gerontology, social/community psychology and public policy. He is the chair of the National Coalition for Consumer Organizations and is president of the Oregon Consumer League. At Marylhurst, Dr. Davis is the vice chair of the University Faculty Council and co-chair of the Diversity Committee and the Fund for Faculty Excellence & Innovation Committee.

The nominating student says: Dr. Davis "has the ability to create safe learning and discussion in all of his courses. His students clearly have a respect for him. He is always willing to help his students in a variety of capacities. If it were not for Professor Davis, I do not believe that I would be graduating from Marylhurst. He is not only a professor, he is a mentor. His willingness to take the time out of his day to sit and discuss potential future opportunities with his students regardless of the student's disciplinary major is simply put, wonderful."

Patrick Balducci, School of Business

Patrick Balducci has been teaching in the School of Business since 2008. He teaches natural resource economics in the Sustainable MBA program and economics of sustainability in the undergraduate Business and Leadership department.

Professor Balducci is a senior economist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where he has been employed since 2001. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Northwest Regional Economics Conference.

The nominating student says: "I have yet to see a committed, dedicated professor as Mr. Balducci. I had absolutely no background in economics and was quite intimidated to take the course. It was very hard, but with the help of Professor Balducci, I worked on cost-benefit analysis of eco-roofs. He not only helped with the material but encouraged me to do a cost-benefit analysis from a private and a public perspective. If I know something in economics today, all the credit should go to him."

John Caruso, English Literature & Writing
Since 2003 John Caruso has been teaching in the departments of English Literature & Writing and Culture & Media. His Survey of American Literature that focuses on the American Gothic has been a perennial student favorite. He also regularly teaches Colonial and Post-Colonial Literature, Science Fiction, and Creative Writing: Genre Fiction.

As a creative writer, he frequently publishes short stories in the crime, horror, and western genres both online and in print magazines and anthologies. His scholarship focuses on early nineteenth-century American literature, especially the work of Edgar Allan Poe.

The nominating student says: "Professor Caruso is an incredibly gifted instructor. His online and on-ground classes are filled with vibrant, generous conversation. The literature and movies he presents to his classes represent the best in the genre. The one skill among many that Professor Caruso has is he always encourages his students to dig deeper below the surface of the text. We are the ones who make meaning of the work, and he helps us discover that meaning."

Past Recipients


Susan Carter, Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)
Greg Dardis, Science and Math
David Scott Arnold, Religious Studies


Christine Turner, Art Therapy Counseling
Louise Neilson, Communication Studies
Simeon Dreyfuss, Interdisciplinary Studies (BA)
Duane Gehlsen, Human Sciences


Eileen Mejia, Communications
Perrin Kerns, English Literature and Writing
Michael Hohn, Business
Lisa Jo Frech, Science and Math


Leon Abbott, Business & Management, Accelerated Online Program
Sheila O'Connell-Roussell, Religious Studies
Emily Ross, Music Therapy
Sarah Slayton, Art Therapy Counseling


Herb Long, Human Sciences
Jennifer Sasser, Chair, Human Sciences
Eileen Franzese Schiffer, MBA
Elizabeth Spurgeon, Interior Design


Elaine Bagley, Art Therapy
Jan Dabrowski, Science & Mathematics
John Haek, Music
Ger Killeen, Cultural & Historical Studies


Andy Job, Business & Leadership
Masoud Kheirabadi, Cultural & Historical Studies
Jay Ponteri, English Literature & Writing
Cheryl Schneidermann, Interior Design


Greg Crosby, Psychology
Libby Farr, Interior Design
Paul Gilbarg, Business & Leadership
Peter Whitmore, Music


Ann Hill, Math
Marian Pierce, English Literature & Writing
Margaret Shirley, Art


Faith Chalmers, Liberal Arts Core
Dennis Cunningham, Art
Annette Shore, Art Therapy


Sister Magdalen Fautch, SNJM, Music
Larry Hanson, Science & Mathematics


Lisa Davidson, Communication Studies
Sister Cecilia Ranger, SNJM, Religious Studies


Art Bridge, Religious Studies
Aliza Keddem, Human Sciences
Pierina Parise, Library Information Management
Susanne Stegmiller, Life Planning & Career Development


David Arnold, Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)
Herb Long, Human Studies
Patricia Meyers, Religious Studies
Rich Rollins, Art



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