TU announces 2010-11 awards

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Faculty, student, staff awards to be recognized during spring commencement.

The University of Tulsa has announced awards recognizing faculty teaching excellence, commitment to community service, and inspirational secondary school teachers. The award winners will be recognized during spring commencement exercises held May 7, 2011 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.

The Outstanding Teacher Award is among the highest honors TU bestows, and a faculty member can win it only once. Past winners have set a high standard for the award, in large measure because nominations must come from the students. The awards are selected by the teaching awards committee of the TU Faculty Senate.

Award recipients for the 2010 – 2011 academic year are:

  • Tracy Manly, Associate Professor of Accounting/ONEOK Endowed Professor in Business, Collins College of Business;
  • Jamie Rhudy, Associate Professor of Psychology, Henry Kendall College of Arts & Sciences.; and
  • Robert Spoo, Associate Professor of Law, College of Law.

Tracy ManlyTracy Manly has previously received teaching honors including the Outstanding Accounting Educator by the Oklahoma Society of CPAs, the Innovation in Teaching Learning Award from the Oklahoma Higher Education Teaching and Learning Conference, and the Mayo Teaching Excellence Award from the TU College of Business Administration. Her areas of research focus include tax policy, tax compliance, and international accounting policy. Her research has been published in the Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, Tax Notes and State Tax Notes, as well as those listed above. A Certified Public Accountant, Manly earned a bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University, and master’s and doctoral degrees, both from The University of Arkansas.

Jamie RhudyJamie Rhudy’s research broadly spans the area of affective neuroscience (studying physiological processes associated with emotional processing), with a specific focus on the interface of emotion and pain processing. The eventual goal of this research is to identify mechanisms that contribute to and/or maintain chronic pain conditions, and to develop non-invasive methods for assessing individuals at risk for developing chronic pain. His current research in the laboratory examines pain processing across the menstrual cycle, and in a variety of chronic pain conditions, including fibromyalgia, migraine headache, chronic tension-type headache, and rheumatoid arthritis. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Austin College, master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, both from Texas A&M University, and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi.

Robert SpooRobert Spoo earned his J.D. from the Yale Law School, where he was Executive Editor of the Yale Law Journal and received the Michael Egger Prize for best student publication on current social problems. After graduating, he served as law clerk for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and practiced for several years with law firms in New York, Oklahoma, and San Francisco, providing litigation services and advice in the areas of copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property. His litigation work has included serving as co-counsel, with the Stanford Center for Internet & Society, for Professor Carol Shloss of Stanford against the Estate of James Joyce. Prior to his legal career, Professor Spoo received his M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Princeton University and taught for more than ten years as a tenured faculty member in the English Department at The University of Tulsa, where he was also Editor of the James Joyce Quarterly. His recent research has focused on the intersection of intellectual property, modernist literature, and the copyright-related needs of scholars. He is a member of the Modernist Studies Association Task Force on Fair Use, serves as copyright advisor to numerous academic journals and projects, and acts as general counsel for the International James Joyce Foundation.  

Also to be recognized during commencement are winners of the Medicine Wheel, which honors faculty, staff, students, or organizations that have provided meritorious contributions toward the well-being of our citizens and community. Award recipients for the 2010 – 2011 academic year are:

  • John Wood, associate director of the physical plant (staff winner);
  • Sandra Wright, assistant professor of speech-language disorders, Henry Kendall College of Arts and Sciences (faculty winner); and
  • Kelsey Klein, a biology senior from Glendale, Arizona.

John WoodJohn Wood’s résumé of service is extensive, including his coordinating TU’s activites in the Tulsa Corporate Challenge and the United Way’s Day of Caring. He has also been instrumental in assisting with the coordination of various neighborhood work projects as part of the university’s True Blue Neighbor Initiative. For the past 10 years, Wood has served in various capacities with International Community Outreach, a program on campus through International Student Ministries (ISM), where works with others to assist international students with purchasing and maintaining automobiles, as well as obtaining and moving furniture for their apartments through ISM’s “Furniture Fest.” Since 2001, he has participated in short-term mission projects to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the Philippines, assisting with construction projects and community outreach to impoverished families.

Sandra WrightSandra Wright provides the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) of Oklahoma City with her expertise in the area of augmentative and alternative communication for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gherig’s Disease). Through the MDA, Wright has provided free training on communication systems and ALS for patients with the disease. She conducts assessments to determine if patients with ALS will benefit from an augmentative or alternative communication system and has offered her services free during the week, evenings and on weekends. She also has provided graduate students in speech-language pathology at TU a unique opportunity to obtain experience interacting with people with ALS.In addition to her collaboration with the MDA clinic in Oklahoma City, Wright also has provided free training seminars for Tulsa Public Schools, Bixby Public Schools, and Owasso Public Schools on the integration of augmentative and alternative communication for students with complex communication needs in the classroom setting.

Kelsey KleinKelsey Klein has been involved in service to the Tulsa community since coming to TU as a freshman. A dedicated athlete who holds several school records in track and field, she also regularly volunteers for track meets, marathons, and community runs. Since November 2009, she has been a weekly volunteer in the emergency room of St. John Medical Center, providing material and emotional support to patients and their families. For the past three years, Klein has been a member of Up ’til Dawn, a student organization that raises funds for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. She is also a member of the TU chapter of Habitat for Humanity, serving as events chair this year where she coordinated and implemented the group’s two largest fundraisers. She also organized and led the Habitat team on its largest awareness event, “Shackathon.” Klein has volunteered more than 120 hours as an animal caretaker and public educator at the Oklahoma Aquarium. She regularly tutors her teammates and acquaintances and reaches out to international classmates to assist them with the challenges of living and studying in a foreign location.

During commencement exercises, TU recognizes secondary school teachers who contributed significantly to the intellectual and personal growth of a TU graduating senior while the student was in high school. TU students may nominate a secondary school teacher for TU’s Secondary School Teacher Prize for Inspiration, which awards a $2,000 cash prize to the teacher and $1,000 to the teacher’s high school to be used in a way the teacher specifies. The recipients of the Secondary School Teacher Prize for Inspiration for 2010 – 2011 are:

  • Kirby Whitehead, Ronald Reagan High School, San Antonio, Texas, nominated by Jordan Seidl, Candidate, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Henry Kendall College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Amanda M. Byrd, Tuttle High School, Tuttle, Oklahoma, nominated by Tiffany Foster, Candidate, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Collins College of Business.
  • Bruce Esser, Marian High School, Omaha, Nebraska nominated by Anne Gambrel, Candidate, Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics, College of Engineering & Natural Sciences.

Kirby Whitehead teaches Model UN, World History AP, European History AP, and Modern East Asian Studies at Ronald Reagan High School, and he has been with the school since it opened in 1999. Whitehead is described by his principal Bill Boyd as “a leader in the innovative use of technology, a core member of the school’s pre-AP/AP team, and the sponsor of what is arguably the best Model UN program in the region.”

When current TU senior Jordan Seidl was a high school sophomore, she was in the unenviable position of transferring from the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in a small school in Johannesburg, South Africa, to the Advanced Placement program in the 3,500-students-strong Ronald Reagan High School. Suffering from what she describes as “intense culture shock,” Seidl enrolled in Kirby Whitehead’s Model UN class. “Mr. Whitehead saw the shell shocked look on my face,” Seidl wrote, “[but] instead of continuing with class, he placed me with a group of students who would eventually become my close friends, and told me to get to work because we had a conference coming up in three weeks that he expected me to attend." Seidl noted that Whitehead treated her and all his students “with the respect due an adult, the guidance of a teacher and the compassion of a father. . . . I could have survived high school without him, but I certainly would not have thrived.”

Tuttle High School mathematics teacher Amanda Byrd embodies the qualities that endear a teacher to students — friend, teacher and mentor. In nominating Byrd, Tiffany Foster wrote, “She always believed in my ability to achieve things, no matter how daunting they sounded to a small town girl.”

In her more than 20 years of teaching mathematics, Byrd raised the 8th grade test scores for students in the Chickasha Middle School as well as the Algebra I End of Instruction scores for Tuttle High School. Outside the classroom at Tuttle, she served as cheerleading and student council sponsor. Pat Ragsdale, Tuttle High School principal, notes: “Mandy Byrd has superlative work ethics, and has been known to go beyond the role of instructor to effectively coach students and staff in the areas of best practices to ensure that all is done to achieve student success.” Ragsdale further says that under Byrd’s tutelage, students who would otherwise “fade into the woodwork” develop a purpose for learning and a strong desire to emulate the standards that Byrd established through her teaching. “The students know that she genuinely cares for their well-being.”

In her nomination of her high school physics teacher Bruce Esser, TU senior Anne Gambrel said that “going into physics my junior year, I had low expectations. Though I excelled at other math and science classes, I thought my passion was journalism. With plans to simply get through this required class, you can imagine my shock when I was enamored with the subject after the first day ... [Esser] instantly convinced us all of the great beauty that was a subject with the power to explain with simple laws all the complexities of the universe.”

Gambrel, who this this spring was named a National Science Foundation Fellowship winner, recalls Esser “worked hard to empower us as women to pursue engineering and science, while also encouraging those with other dreams, so long as we settled for nothing less than our passion.”

Susan M. Toohey, who is the head of Marian High School, wrote that “due in no small part to the program that Esser has developed over the past 19 years, Marian now requires physics for all students.” The all-girls Catholic high school boasts more female engineering college students than any other school in the state of Nebraska.

David Hamby