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Jan. 25, 2013

2013 Teacher-Scholar Awards

Rebecca Jacobsen
Department of Teacher Education
College of Education

Rebecca Jacobsen is passionate about engaging her students in serious inquiry into the purposes and challenges of public education. Her commitment to public schools as democratic institutions becomes infectious as she invites her students to explore how they can best create equitable educational opportunities for all their students. In exploring how broader social, political, and economic forces shape educational experiences, her students describe her classes as “eye-opening.” Jacobsen is highly respected for nurturing both graduate and undergraduate students through the research opportunities she provides them beyond the classroom. One of her undergraduate students notes, “Dr. Jacobsen’s passion and commitment to our learning and professional development has been incredible.”

Jacobsen has established herself as a rigorous and innovative scholar in the fields of educational policy and politics. Her research has been nationally recognized for the important questions it raises about the public purposes of educational policy. She has been invited to speak with educators and citizens groups throughout the country on how to design educational accountability policies that address both excellence and equity. Jacobsen’s research on the public’s use of educational data is especially groundbreaking for its use of experimental design to test the effects of school performance reports on citizen’s views of the nation’s schools.

Jacobsen has extended her teaching and scholarship through engagement with schools, parents, and citizen groups. She and her students in her teacher preparation courses have worked closely with local educators to develop school–family partnerships. She has also worked with foundations to help citizens learn how to interpret educational accountability data and to foster their participation in educational reform.

Derek Kealii Polischuk
College of Music

Derek Kealii Polischuk is an outstanding teacher, scholar and performer who is impacting the teaching and learning of piano at a national level. Although his appointment is Director of Piano Pedagogy, Polischuk is involved in every aspect of music making. He performs regularly and with acclaim as a soloist, collaborative artist, and soloist with orchestra. He commissions music, guest lectures, writes grants, publishes articles, and organizes conferences—all with energy, engagement and expertise.

In addition to embracing these varied and numerous responsibilities, Polischuk teaches. A gifted instructor, he inspires and motivates all his students, who range from doctoral piano performance majors to children with Asperger’s Syndrome. In addition to the classroom and private music studio, he uses a blog to keep his students abreast of news and posts videos to efficiently share examples of his own classroom experiences. A graduate student in his studio who holds an undergraduate performance degree from Juilliard states, “I am confident that Dr. Polischuk’s performing and teaching equal that of world-renowned pianists and distinguished professors. Instead of imposing his ideas on students, he helps them become autonomous pianists, encouraging and guiding them to think and experiment beyond their perceived limitations.” His pedagogy students benefit from exposure to diverse teaching situations, including group piano lessons, private instruction, and the teaching of multiple age groups.

Polischuk is deeply involved in the Lansing and Detroit communities through his class work at the Community Music School and at Cornerstone Schools in Detroit. He models integrated scholarship, with his research informing his work in the classroom and his community engagement informing his research. He explores this integration of research concepts and engagement in real-life music education in his published case study about successfully working with a young piano student with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Cary Roseth
Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, Special Education
College of Education

Cary Roseth is a rising star of the highest magnitude, having amassed an impressive record in all three domains of the college mission—research, teaching and service. He is a prolific scholar, having produced twenty-seven publications in just six years. His research in preschools suggests that allowing young children to resolve their disputes may lead to greater levels of affiliation and less frequent aggressive conflict. His research further suggests that such situations may be necessary experiences for children to develop social competencies and an understanding of fairness and cooperation. Roseth’ s work has been profiled in the book “Nurture Shock” by Po Brosnan and publicized through interviews with the Miami Herald as on National Public Radio. His research has appeared in prestigious journals, including “Psychological Bulletin,” “Journal of Educational Psychology,” “Journal of Comparative Psychology,” “Social Development,” “Applied Developmental Psychology,” “Journal of Applied Social Psychology,” “Journal of Experimental Child Psychology” and “Journal of School Psychology.”

Roseth brings his college classes to life by fully integrating his research methods and findings into his teaching. He designs his classes using cooperative goal structures that further students’ knowledge and mastery of the concepts through discussion, explanation, elaboration, questioning, and instruction. In this way, Roseth not only studies the effects of cooperation, competition, and individualistic goal structures on students’ academic achievement and peer relations, he also incorporates those methods to further his adult students’ learning. Students report that his teaching methods help them think critically about the subject, while developing a deeper understanding of the concepts. Uniformly, his students rate him at the top of the scale in the department, and senior faculty often turn to Roseth for a better understanding of how they can transform and energize their courses.

In 2012, Roseth was awarded the AT&T Teaching Award for Best Blended Course. He designed a unique course management platform as the course’s common meeting area to replace the face-to-face classroom, providing both a synchronous and asynchronous space where all class members worked together wherever their geographic location.

Jeff Sakamoto
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
College of Engineering

Before coming to MSU, Jeff Sakamoto spent six years as a senior staff engineer at the California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory, conducting research on materials for energy conversion, energy storage, and biomedicine. As part of the Mars Exploration Rover program, Sakamoto’s efforts helped the lithium ion batteries in the Mars Rovers survive the harsh climate of Mars and successfully survey the surface of that planet for several years.

Sakamoto’s experience at JPL helped him establish a solid foundation in fundamental materials research, device technology, and engineering, bridging the gap between basic science and applied research. In addition to his thermoelectrics and battery research, Sakamoto’s is also conducting research on porous biomaterials. While at JPL, he began working with Professor Mark Tuszynski, a neuroscientist interested in integrating NASA microfabrication technology into scaffolds for spinal cord repair. Sakamoto offered a few ideas and made a few prototypes related to the hierarchical, porous electrodes he had developed for his dissertation. The prototypes demonstrated considerable promise as a viable technology to cure spinal cord injuries. Over the past ten years, Sakamoto has had numerous grants funded—and five papers published—to continue this research.

At MSU, Sakamoto uses his research experience to inspire undergraduate and graduate students in the classroom and in the laboratory. In his five years at MSU, 20 undergraduate students have worked on research projects in Sakamoto’s laboratory. He also excels in hands-on activities to educate K–12 students about materials for energy and biomedicine. Sakamoto’s outreach efforts include the NSF sponsored Wireless Integrated MicroSystems for Teens, the Society for Women in Engineering-sponsored programs for high school girls, and the High School Enrichment Institute outreach programs.

Tobias Schoenherr
Department of Supply Chain Management
Broad College of Business

Tobias Schoenherr exemplifies an exceptional business educator—passionate and dedicated. As a new professor in 2008, he developed an academic service-learning component for his undergraduate procurement course, in which students are assigned a course-related project in a nonprofit organization and are tasked to apply course content to execute the project. This innovative initiative has become a standard component of Schoenherr undergraduate courses and has yielded more than half a million dollars in savings for nonprofit organizations in addition to providing his students with hands-on experience in problem solving in a real business organization. The projects have been described by students as “the best and most worthwhile classroom project at MSU,” and recruiters have lauded them as “among the most innovative and valuable projects.” His achievements have been honored with the Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award and the Lewis Quality of Excellence Award, the latter in recognition for one of the best and most innovative quality improvement projects in the Broad College.

Schoenherr has distinguished himself as a prominent and internationally renowned researcher. His work in strategic supply management is redefining industry practice and has received significant funding from industry associations. His research record includes a total of 31 peer-reviewed articles. Most of his current projects include near-shoring initiatives of U.S. manufacturers and analysis of the lessons learned from the recent economic downturn.

Schoenherr has established himself as a leader in several international, national and regional professional associations. He is an associate editor for one of the premier journals in his discipline, the “Journal of Operations Management,” and sits on several editorial review boards.

Alexander Shingleton
Department of Zoology
College of Natural Science

Alexander Shingleton embodies the attributes of the teacher–scholar at MSU, combining his enthusiasm for teaching with a highly successful research program in integrative developmental biology. Indeed, in Shingleton’s world, there is no clear line between teaching and research; the two endeavors feed each other and integrate the classroom and laboratory experiences such that students learn to think like scientists in the classroom while becoming a part of the research environment of the laboratory. As part of his prestigious Career Grant from the National Science Foundation, Shingleton established the MSU Program for Undergraduate Research in Life Sciences. The PURL program takes freshmen students with little idea of what research involves and sets them on a path to becoming scientists well prepared to pursue a graduate research degree. Since 2007, PURL has exposed more than 60 students to research through a seminar series, short research rotations in participating faculty laboratories, and two-year research internships in faculty laboratories. This immersion into scientific research has been especially successful at bringing underserved populations of students into the research arena, providing them a track towards an advanced degree in biology.

Shingleton also developed and teaches Evolutionary Biology for Non-Biologists, a core graduate course in MSU’s recently established BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. This innovative course takes first-year computer science graduate students and exposes them to the latest ideas in evolutionary biology in a highly interactive format, providing them with a strong foundation from which to build their own integrative research.

Shingleton’s internationally recognized research program in evolutionary developmental biology integrates undergraduate and graduate students as an important facet of the program; many are even co-authors on his published papers. As one of Shingleton’s undergraduate students writes, “Dr. Shingleton is an amazing teacher. He encourages his students to think critically, which is an especially important skill for those pursuing the biological sciences.”