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Hanson Named DTA Winner; Ransom Finalist

Posted Oct. 25, 2011

By Anne Dudley
Gary HansonMore than 560 faculty members were nominated for this year’s Kent State University Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA). Ten finalists were chosen, two of which represent CCI.

JMC Professor Gary Hanson and VCD Associate Professor Chris Ransom were chosen as finalists. Hanson learned last week that he is one of the three university-wide winners.

According to the Alumni Association website, the Distinguished Teaching Award “is Chris Ransomthe university’s most prestigious honor in teaching. The award is presented annually to three full-time faculty members who demonstrate extraordinary teaching in the classroom and a devotion to touching the lives of students.”

“I was pleasantly surprised to be included in the list,” Hanson said. “In terms of JMC, we’ve had three DTA winners including our dean, Stanley Wearden, Ph.D., and professors Barb Hipsman and Tim Smith, so I’m joining good company. I’m honored to be in that company, as I am to be in the company of fellow CCI nominee Chris Ransom.”

Five CCI faculty members have been recognized in the Distinguished Teaching Awards in recent years. In addition to the three JMC faculty, VCD’s Jerry Kalback received the award in 2001 as well as SLIS Professor Carolyn Brodie, Ph.D., in 2005.

Hanson has been a part of the JMC faculty since 1999. Prior to joining JMC, he worked in television news management.

“This [award] is a testament to the school’s tradition and basic mission,” Hanson said. “That tradition carries over to the college where CCI has a very strong teaching tradition in addition to the research and scholarly activities we do here.”

Hanson continued, “JMC is a professional school so we teach in an informed way. We recognize that fact in CCI and [the award] is a testament to how much value we place in working with students and helping them develop. It is really an honor.”

Ransom joined the VCD faculty in 1996. He has been a part of CCI since its inception in 2002.

“When I received the email from Nancy Schiappa, (Associate Director of Kent State’s Alumni Association), I was very touched and, of course, quite honored,” Ransom said. “It has been such a pleasure to work with so many creative and appreciative students over the years. I feel very fortunate. Our mutual search, in the name of truth, has been extremely rewarding.”

Upon learning that two of the finalists were from the CCI, Ransom responded: “That is fantastic! Gary’s candidacy as a finalist does not surprise me in the least, and I wish him the best. When you stop and consider what has happened, it is remarkable: 562 nominations, 10 finalists and two of these hail from the CCI team! That’s pretty satisfying and quite a ‘hat tip’ to innovative curriculum design.”

CCI recently developed college-wide awards that are similar to the Alumni Association’s DTA. The CCI awards honor a distinguished scholar, distinguished teaching, outstanding teaching, service and advising. Six faculty, staff and advisers were recognized at the fall 2011 faculty retreat.

“The new college awards program is a very positive endeavor,” Ransom said. “The fact that this is now part of the initial ceremonies that introduce a fresh academic year is a great idea. In my view, insightful advising and teaching are more important than ever, especially given the recent dynamic increase in enrollment. The creation of a college-level awards program that recognizes the unique service, efforts and contributions of dedicated individuals, all working within the context of communication, I think is terrific.”

Three of the 10 finalists will be honored at the University Teaching Council Conference luncheon on Friday, Oct. 28. Hanson is among this group.