Seven UT employees were honored last week for their exceptional contributions to the campus community at the 27th annual Outstanding Women’s Award ceremony.
About 80 people attended the University Women’s Commission program, which was held Wednesday in the Savage Arena Joe Grogan Room.Receiving the Dr. Alice Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were:
• Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy. She joined the UT faculty in 1996 and regularly gives educational talks in the community. The co-founder of the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Association for Women in Science has received several honors, including the Cottrell Scholar Award, UT Outstanding Teacher Award and the Ohio Excellence in Education Award.
“I have interacted with Dr. Bjorkman during my tenure here at UT through many different avenues,” one nominator wrote. “She is always positive about the future of the institution and the future of women in science, and has been inspirational for me in my own career as well as the careers of other faculty women who have had the pleasure to work with her.”
• Joan Easler, equity and diversity resource specialist in the Office of Equity, Diversity and Community Engagement. She has worked at the University since 2007, first in the College of Education and then in the College of Law before her current position. She facilitates diversity workshops on campus, serves as chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Committee, and is a member of the United Pastor’s for Social Empowerment Community Board and the UT Culture Ambassadors.
“Through her fine efforts, the very successful Black History Month kickoff was held in the Student Union,” one nominator wrote. “Joan was the liaison who secured attendance of the Buffalo Soldiers. Her efforts also provided numerous activities on campus, including urban ballroom dancing, to help celebrate African-American culture.”
• Roberta Edgecombe, student experience coordinator in the Office for the Student Experience. For more than 20 years, the UT graduate has worked at her alma mater, where she has held several secretarial positions for college deans and vice presidents for student affairs. She also served as a program coordinator in the Office of the Dean of Students to provide support for the Office of Multicultural Student Success. Edgecombe is a committee member for the President’s Lecture Series on Diversity.
“It was an honor to serve on the Black History Month Committee during the spring semester. This service opportunity provided me a chance to meet several wonderful women whom I might otherwise never have had the chance to work with. Roberta develops programs and implements outreach activities essential for the success of UT students,” one nominator wrote.
• Dr. Mary Ellen Edwards, professor of foundations of education. Nearly two decades ago, she came to campus to be dean of the former Community and Technical College. Over the years, she has been very involved at the University, serving on the Graduate Council, Committee on Academic Personnel, Student Grievance Committee, College Prioritization Committee and the University Diversity Task Force, among others.
“It could be said truly that Dr. Edwards exhibits a feminist ethic of care or a feminist pedagogy of relationships,” a nominator noted. “However, I think it is more basic than that; Dr. Edwards thinks and acts from a commitment to helping others and contributing to a society that protects the rights of all to feel secure in their work and living situations and to be respected as individuals.”
• Marie Janes, associate lecturer in health and recreation professions. She has been a UT faculty member since 2002. Janes was hired to build the health information administration program, which was accredited in 2005. She received the College of Health Science and Human Service Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 2010 and the UT Outstanding Teacher Award in 2011. She actively recruits University Women’s Commission members in efforts to provide scholarships to students.
“Her enthusiasm and dedication to the University Women’s Commission is contagious,” a nominator wrote. “I know that she has spent many, many hours to make sure that all the events are attended and enjoyed. I also have attended a couple of the presentations that Marie has done for commission programming and have enjoyed her knowledge of the medical records world.”
• Dr. Susan Telljohann, professor of health education. She joined the UT faculty in 1987. During her more than 30 years in health education, Telljohann has conducted research and published more than 60 papers and co-wrote Health Education: Elementary and Middle Level School Applications. She has received several honors, including the Howe Award from the American School Health Association, the Scholar Award from the American Association of Health Education and the UT Outstanding Teacher Award.
“Some of the attributes that Dr. Telljohann are most known for are her positive attitude, exceptional teaching, student centeredness and the countless hours she dedicates to mentoring undergraduate students and modeling what it takes to be a health educator,” one nominator wrote. “She actively engages students to attend national conferences, assists with leadership development, and advises research projects.”• Kathleen Walsh, director of web development in the Center for Creative Instruction. In her position, she provides leadership, management and coordination of strategic online initiatives. Walsh joined the former MCO staff in 2000. She is involved in the American Cancer Society, Victory Center, Special Spaces Toledo and All Saints Catholic School. In addition, the UT alumna serves on the Jefferson Awards Committee.
“Kathleen Walsh has done so much for the University Women’s Commission, especially at our fall membership drive, where she gave a motivational presentation to the attendees. Her spirit for life is contagious,” one nominator wrote. “She’s a woman you think you’ve known for your whole life, even if it’s your very first time meeting her.”
The University Women’s Commission also presented $1,000 scholarships to two students. Receiving awards based on academic achievement, support of women’s and gender issues, and campus and community involvement were Alissa Ciacelli, a student in the Judith Herb College of Education, Health Science and Human Service, and Kayla Wrasman, a student in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.