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Kent State University at Stark Announces Teaching Award Recipients

Posted Jul. 14, 2014
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Julie Cremeans-Smith, Ph.D.,
associate professor of psychology,
received Kent State University at Stark's
Distinguished Teaching Award, a tribute
that is presented to a full-time Kent State
Stark professor.

Kent State University at Stark recently announced the recipient and finalists of the 2013-2014 Distinguished Teaching Award and the recipient of the Award of Distinction. The faculty members were recognized during the Spring 2014 Commencement Ceremony at Umstattd Performing Arts Hall in Canton.

This year’s recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award, a tribute that is presented to a full-time Kent State Stark professor, is Julie Cremeans-Smith, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology. A resident of Canton, she has been a Kent State employee since 1998, when she worked as a research assistant at the Kent Campus. In 2004, she accepted a position as a research and evaluation coordinator for Kent State Stark’s Corporate University. Prior to her employment at Kent State, Cremeans-Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ohio Dominican University in Columbus. She later earned her master’s and doctorate degrees, both in experimental psychology, from Kent State.

In Fall Semester 2008, Cremeans-Smith joined the Department of Psychology as a Kent State Stark faculty member. She currently instructs the following courses: General Psychology, Health Psychology, Psychology of Motivation and Biopsychology. She is actively involved on campus and with her students, serving as advisor for the Kent State Stark Psychology-Sociology Club, on Kent State Stark’s Faculty Council, a member of the campus’s Undergraduate Student Research Travel Committee and on the Department of Psychology’s Faculty Advisory Committee.

Included in the nominations submitted for Cremeans-Smith, one student wrote, “She is as dedicated as they come and deserves to be recognized as a distinguished teacher! When you wake up in the morning and love what you do, it is obvious, and she has motivated me to not just get a degree, but to pursue a career that will make me just as happy in life. Dr. Cremeans-Smith sets a great example for Kent to promote success from its students. ”

Cremeans-Smith feels honored to receive the Distinguished Teaching Award.

“I am honored and humbled to be receiving this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award,” she says. “I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the students who submitted nominations and to those who served on the selection committee. It has been my privilege, over the past 10 years, to work with faculty and staff colleagues who all possess a passion for teaching and dedication to student success.”           

The finalists for the Distinguished Teaching Award are Douglas Henry, M.S., lecturer of mathematics, and Matthew Lehnert, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences. Henry, a resident of Canton, earned both his bachelor’s degree in integrated mathematics and his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Kent State. Lehnert, a resident of Kent, holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Central Michigan University. He earned both his master’s and doctorate degrees in entomology from the University of Florida. Lehnert also was a postdoctoral fellow in entomology at Clemson University.

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Frank Alexander, an adjunct professor
of marketing, received the Award of
Distinction, an honor presented to a
part-time Kent State Stark faculty member.

The recipient of the Award of Distinction, an honor presented to a part-time Kent State Stark faculty, is Frank Alexander, M.B.A., an adjunct professor of marketing and a member of the Kent State Stark faculty for the past two years. After retiring as the director of executive briefing programs at Diebold World Headquarters, where he worked for more than 18 years, Alexander followed the path of teaching. In addition to instructing courses at Kent State Stark, he teaches at Stark State College and Malone University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in secondary education from the University of Findlay and a master’s in business administration from Ashland University.

A student’s nomination for Alexander stated, “Professor Alexander is, by a long shot, the best teacher that I have had up until this point in my school career. From day one, he assures you that everyone will benefit and succeed, not only in his class, but life in general. His teaching abilities are incredible. He keeps us focused and interested for all of the two hours and 40 minutes of the class. You can tell that he truly cares about every single student that he teaches. His sense of confidence in his student body makes it easy to succeed in his class.”

“I’m both honored and humbled to receive the award,” Alexander says, in response to his selection for the award. “I’m very fortunate to share the ‘learning experiences’ with our students. They bring meaning and purpose to my retirement and I feel really good about giving back to the community that has been so good to me and my family.”

A selected committee, consisting of representatives of the Kent State Stark faculty and students, chose the recipients and finalists for these awards after thorough examination of the nominations submitted by members of the campus community. Each finalist met the needed criteria, which consisted of being an instructor at Kent State Stark, having comprehensive knowledge of his or her field, being effective in organizing and presenting classroom material, having the ability to stimulate thinking and develop students’ understanding, demonstrating resourcefulness, being able to arouse student interest and having concern for students.

For more information about the Kent State Stark Distinguished Teaching Award and Award of Distinction recipients and finalists, contact Cynthia Williams at 330-244-3262 or cdwillia@kent.edu