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Jan. 25, 2013

2013 Distinguished Academic Staff Awards

L. Charles Bokemeier
Department of Accounting and Information Systems
Eli Broad College of Business

Every day, L. Charles Bokemeier brings a passion for accounting to the classroom. His early experiences as a public accountant with clients lacking an understanding of how their business was doing or what their financial statements meant led him to a lifetime commitment to educate students at all levels about the magic of financial numbers. Bokemeier requires his students to perform at the highest level. He does not want or ask them to just memorize formulas; instead, he expects them to work toward understanding the economics behind business transactions and how such transactions are represented in financial statements. To ensure that his students see the people and the businesses behind the numbers, Bokemeier brings news clippings related to business events to class to illustrate accounting points.

In addition to teaching, Bokemeier serves as an advisor to the Accounting Student Association and students in the Honors College who declare accounting as their major. His practical accounting experiences as well as his understanding of accounting principles provide him with a depth of information that he readily shares. He works with each student to help create a background in sync with their interests, helping them achieve their short- and long-term goals.

His exceptional skills in the classroom have not gone unnoticed. One of his Weekend MBA students thanked him in great detail, “Thank you for ensuring I understood the material. Your evening review sessions and ready availability have helped me tremendously. Your accounting class is already helping me in my job and will positively influence my career.” This student’s praise is shared by many. His department, a class of undergraduate accounting majors, two Weekend MBA graduating classes, and the Michigan Association of CPAs honored Bokemeier as Teacher of the Year. Students in the Honors College recognized him as the faculty member making “Distinguished Contributions to Honors Students.”

Debra Dotterer
Dean’s Office
College of Natural Science

Debra Dotterer exemplifies sustained excellence in comprehensive service to students. Dotterer’s career at MSU follows a progression in responsibility through which she has helped improve academic services to students, individually and collectively. She has distinguished herself within the college, across the university, and nationally within the advising profession. Faculty laud Dotterer, asserting that she “is the first and best resource that faculty turn to.” Natural Science Dean James Kirkpatrick stated that “Ms. Dotterer is the most deserving of any person I have ever written for.” Further, Dotterer is regularly called upon to participate in campus-wide advising initiatives, most recently the Academic Pillar of the Neighborhoods and the early warning system for students in academic difficulty.

Despite extensive administrative responsibilities, Dotterer continues to advise individual students—and it is in this capacity that the impact of Dotterer’s work is most heartfelt. She advises Honors College students as well as students who find themselves in academic difficulties, and is able to customize her advising work for each student. Her skill and sensitivity help reduce the confusion and uncertainty of course selection and career choice. Associate Provost Douglas Estry notes that “Ms. Dotterer works sensitively and compassionately to help students work through challenges while upholding the academic standards and integrity of an MSU degree.” One of her advisees said, “She believed I could do it when others suggested I quit and find a new path.”

Dotterer’s passion for excellence has reached beyond Michigan State University. As the founding president of the Michigan Academic Advisors Association, Dotterer has left a positive mark on the entire advising community in Michigan. Nationally, she has been appointed as a mentor to junior advisors, a testimony to the high regard she holds among her peers.

Jane Herbert
Extension Greening Michigan, MSU Extension
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Jane Herbert, a senior extension educator for MSU Extension, is nationally recognized as an expert on inland lake management, with an emphasis on natural shoreline landscaping and bioengineered shoreline erosion control. Her ability to create strong multiagency/organization partnerships has been a hallmark of her career. She assumed a leadership role in the creation of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership, bringing together academia, industry representatives, regulatory agencies, and nonprofits to develop and deliver innovative natural shoreline education. She led the effort to develop a technical, certified training program for professional landscape and marine contractors that focused on more lake-friendly shoreline designs that promote erosion control while integrating native plants and engineering techniques in aesthetically pleasing designs attractive to lake residents.

Herbert’s commitment to sustainably managing Michigan’s water resources lies at the center of her work. She brings together scientific knowledge and educational expertise to help waterfront contractors, lake residents, state agencies, and local officials work together to protect Michigan’s water resources for everyone’s benefit. A fisheries biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources describes Herbert’s role in the success of the MNSP, “Ms. Herbert’s unceasing passion for restoring and protecting aquatic resources has been instrumental in the overwhelming success of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership. Her technical skills and dedication to the education and outreach goals of the partnership have resulted in true progress toward restoring Michigan’s inland lakes.”

Through grants totaling more than $1 million, Herbert has developed curricula, educational materials and demonstration areas to teach, develop, and deliver water resource management programming to Michigan residents. In particular, she has worked with dozens of lake associations to protect and restore their inland lakes. The Glen Lake Association acknowledges Ms. Herbert as the person “who educated us as to the importance of the naturalization of shorelines along lakes and streams.” Many other associations have indicated that Ms. Herbert’s work has added value to their lives by protecting their lake.

Arlene Sierra
Department of Radiology
College of Human Medicine and College of Osteopathic Medicine

For more than three and a half decades, Arlene Sierra has been a prominent, productive and decisive educator at MSU. While many university employees contribute substantially to their own fields, few contribute to nearly every aspect of the university’s mission; Sierra is an exception to that generalization. Her career has encompassed every aspect of the university’s mission: teaching, research, service and administration.

With teaching appointments in three different colleges, Sierra has taken full advantage of opportunities to mentor undergraduate and graduate students. Having taught a variety of classes, from senior and freshman seminars to problem-based learning modules to medical students, Sierra has had the pleasure of guiding students just beginning college and those embarking on professional careers. Many of her former students regularly return to campus to thank her for her guidance, crediting her for enhancing their educational experiences and lives.

Sierra engagement in research in radiology and health care continued throughout her career. Her study of the benefits of electronic health records significantly impacted the medical informatics community and has been cited by the chief economist of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology as providing important evidence of the critical success factors for electronic health record implementation.

As the director of Clinical Services in the Department of Radiology, Sierra’s commitment to administrative excellence blended with her commitment to service as she skillfully facilitated bringing the latest cross-sectional imaging equipment technology to MSU’s clinical center. Beginning with computer tomography and progressing to magnetic resonance imaging, Sierra helped assemble the state’s preeminent medical imaging operations at MSU. Her dedication to medical advancement and service extended beyond Michigan’s borders. She worked tirelessly to improve medical access for women in the United Arab Emirates and to provide allied healthcare to Mayan children in Mexico.