Published: Jan. 24, 2016

2016 William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Awards

Danielle DeVoss
College of Arts and Letters

Since joining the faculty in 2001, Danielle Nicole DeVoss has achieved national and international prominence in the field of rhetoric and composition, particularly for her contributions in the areas of digital rhetoric, multimedia composing and assessing digital writing. To date, she has published seven books and edited collections, with an eighth edited collection in press. Several of her works have been recognized for their innovative contributions to the field; she has won four national publication-related awards, including the Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award in 2007 for her co-edited collection on research methods for studying digital writing, titled "Digital Writing Research." Additionally, DeVoss is recognized nationally as an early and important voice in intellectual property issues and digital copyright. The breadth and depth of her scholarship has made DeVoss a popular speaker at national conferences and other universities; she has been invited to give 23 lectures and keynote addresses.

Students at every level regard DeVoss 
as an outstanding teacher and speak about a class with her as transformative. She has taught 19 different courses while at MSU, having been a core faculty in developing the nationally recognized and ranked undergraduate program in professional writing and the three graduate degree programs in rhetoric and writing. DeVoss is much sought after as an advisor and committee member by M.A. and Ph.D. students. She has served on 28 master’s-level committees and 32 doctoral committees; she has directed six dissertations to completion with four others currently in progress. As a researcher and writer, Danielle DeVoss is deeply committed to collaborative work with colleagues, and helps prepare her graduate students for their entry to the field by publishing with them.

DeVoss has served successfully in several administrative roles. For five years she helped develop and expand the Professional Writing Program. Additionally, she developed the Creativity Exploratory in the College of Arts and Letters and directs the Digital Humanities specialization. DeVoss also offers annual workshops, designs and creates recruiting materials, and participates in recruiting students at events sponsored by the MSU Office of Admissions and other units around the university.

Steve W.J. Kozlowski
College of Social Science

Steve W. J. Kozlowski, an authority on learning, team effectiveness, and multilevel theory in organizational psychology, adopts 
a metatheoretical perspective that views organizations as dynamic systems of cross-level and multilevel processes unfolding over time to direct his research, which focuses on the design of active learning systems to train adaptive skills, the development of systems
to enhance team learning and team effectiveness, and the critical role of team leaders in the development of adaptive teams. His early work focused on factors influencing organizational change (technological innovation, organizational downsizing), processes of individual adaptation (newcomer socialization, organizational climate) and judgment (knowledge structures, judgment accuracy). His more recent work has centered on developing theory and conducting research
to integrate learning processes across the individual, team, and organizational levels.
The goal of his programmatic research is to generate actionable theory, research-based principles, and deployable tools to develop adaptive individuals, teams, and organizations.

Kozlowski has excelled in the instruction and mentoring of graduate students, who frequently identify him as the person who has contributed most to their graduate education. In class, Kozlowski challenges students in ways that develop rigorous and logical thinking. Many of his courses regularly serve as the basis for significant publications among graduate students because under
his guidance they learn to demand significantly more of themselves in their research projects—attributes that are not only critical for research publication but remain with them throughout their research careers. Many of his students have had productive and prominent research careers and are recognized leaders in organizational psychology.

Professionally, Kozlowski has served as associate editor and editor of the ‘Journal
of Applied Psychology’ for 12 years. He is president of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and serves on the advisory boards for the National Academy
of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the Army Research Institute. Kozlowski is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the International Association for Applied Psychology, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He is president-elect of SIOP.

Punya Mishra
College of Education

Punya Mishra is the most rare type of scholar, one that simultaneously leads his peers in research, teaching, service, outreach, and creative output. He is internationally recognized for his scholarship aimed at understanding how teachers effectively integrate technology into instruction. He co-created the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework, 
a framework that identifies the knowledge teachers need to teach effectively with technology and which has been called the “the most significant advancement in the 
area of technology integration in the past 25 years.” The TPACK framework has encouraged researchers nationally and internationally to move beyond just using technology as a tool to studying the intersection of technology, pedagogy, and content. The TPACK framework has also changed how teacher educator programs develop tomorrow’s educators, and how teachers think about effective uses of technology in their classrooms, both within the United States and across the world.

Mishra has published more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings and delivered more than 40 keynote and invited presentations. Overall, his work has been cited nearly 10,000 times, with his 2006 paper introducing the TPACK frame cited more than 3,200 times. Mishra also maintains a rich creative output in visual wordplay, poetry, and mathematics. His creative work has been published in books and magazines worldwide and his creative work at the intersection of mathematics and art was the focus of an exhibition at the MSU Museum.

Mishra excels as a mentor and leader. As director of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program, he helped transform it into a flexible, award winning, and practitioner-based asset. As a teacher and mentor, Mishra’s advisees and students feel fortunate to have interacted with him. As one student wrote, “he truly believes that we are capable of excellent work and that we can do great things. When you know you have the confidence of someone that is in a high position, it makes one more willing to take risks and be creative.” It is this passion for his students’ learning that has brought Mishra numerous accolades for his teaching, including winning the AT&T-MSU award for Instructional Technology twice, winning the College of Education’s Teaching Excellence Award, the MSU Lilly Faculty Fellowship and the MSU Teacher–Scholar Award.

Brian Pentland
Eli Broad College of Business

Brian Pentland is recognized internationally for his scholarship on organizational routines, a ubiquitous aspect of social and organizational life that has often been overlooked as a topic 
of scholarly inquiry. His research interests are focused on the relationship between work and technology, especially in the context of organizational routines. He has developed innovative concepts and methods for identifying and comparing patterns of action and has demonstrated those methods in a wide range of phenomena, from engineering design processes to social media. Supported by the National Science Foundation, Pentland’s research has helped bring organizational routines into focus as a critical aspect of technology and organization.

Pentland’s focus on action patterns provides a novel perspective on such foundational issues in organizational theory as interdependence, coordination, and complexity. His publications are in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, such as ‘Academy of Management Review,’ ‘Accounting, Organizations and Society,’ ‘Journal of Management Studies,’ ‘Management Science,’ ‘Organization Science,’ and others. Pentland is an Association for Information Systems Senior Scholar and serves on the editorial
board of ‘Organization Science,’ ‘Information and Organization,’ ‘Journal of the Association for Information Systems,’ and the ‘European Journal
of Information Systems.’ His 2003 paper with Martha Feldman, which won the Scholarly Contribution Award from ‘Administrative Science Quarterly,’ has transformed the way organizational scholars think about organizational routines. In granting that award, reviewers commented that, “It is rare to find articles that take on core issues in a discipline and are able to say something fundamentally new—the article is truly original and a theoretical breakthrough. It will shape fundamental lines of research for years to come.”

Pentland has been active in graduate education throughout his career, serving as the director of the Information Systems PhD Program and teaching in the Executive MBA Program. In the EMBA Program, he has been active in initiating the Social Impact Project, in which teams of business students serve as consultants to nonprofits. For his outstanding achievements in research and teaching, Pentland was awarded the John D. and Dortha J. Withrow Teacher–Scholar Award in 2013. On YouTube and Twitter, Pentland is best known as Doctor Decade, performing humorous original songs about technology, academia, and social media. During the football season, he performs as Doctor Decade at the Eli Broad College of Business Alumni Tailgate Tent, raising money for local charities.

Hayder Radha
College of Engineering

Hayder Radha is an international leader in the broad field of signal processing and data communications, including video, image, and network processing. He invented video communications solutions that are now widely used international standards and are currently supported by virtually all video broadcast and video streaming services and platforms. Radha continues to make significant contributions in these areas, including an ongoing collaboration between his oratory lab at MSU and Google engineers to enhance the Google video communication platform used by YouTube.

One of Radha’s key early contributions was 
a progressive video communication technique, which was the first comprehensive solution to the challenge of streaming videos over the Internet under restricted bandwidth. This work, completed at Philips Research Laboratories before he joined MSU, resulted in numerous patents and papers.
 He was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he represented them in popular global standard bodies, including the international Moving Picture Experts Group. He also made significant contributions to the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ standards to enable the rollout of new digital video services in the United States.

Since joining MSU, Radha has developed new wireless network protocols, especially for wireless video transmission. This body of work will have significant impact on new and emerging wireless networks and on future Internet platforms and services. His recent, innovative work on image processing and social networks has the potential to impact ongoing and future research in these two fields. Finally, in a significant departure from traditional research, Radha has applied his expertise in data processing to address problems with a more direct societal impact; these include analysis of social networks formed by millions of users of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and analysis of data relating to aquatic system pollutants, water sustainability, and global climate change issues.

Radha has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters and has 38 patents to date. He has been the principal advisor to 30 graduate students and has supervised 18 doctoral dissertations over the past eight years. Several of his students are leaders in both industry and academia. The National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of State, and several companies, including Google and Microsoft, have funded his research. For his contributions to signal processing and data communications, Radha has received numerous awards, including the highly competitive Google Faculty Research Award in both 2014 and 2015. He was elected fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 2009.

Milton Smith
College of Natural Science

A creative chemist, Milton “Mitch” Smith’s research addresses a broad array of basic and applied problems in science, ranging from how to synthesize molecules more efficiently to the development of cost-effective methods
 for energy conversion and storage. His most significant contribution to date is his work in catalytic transformations of carbon–hydrogen bonds, which are present in virtually every organic molecule. The significance of this work cannot be overstated. The activation of most compounds in organic chemistry invariably confronts the activation of C–H bonds because it is the most common bond in organic compounds. Because the C–H bond is inert, organic chemists typically use rather drastic and expensive measures to activate the bond. Smith’s work allows the direct activation of the C–H bond with boron functionality, using iridium complexes as the catalyst. Consequently, the C–H bond is directly activated and the boron reagent is inexpensive and renders the carbon extremely active to subsequent functions. The reaction is now widely used in organic synthesis. This catalytic method has greatly expedited the production of boronic esters, an important class of compounds widely utilized in chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

More recently, to address the imminent world energy crisis, Dr. Smith has begun to investigate new strategies for ammonia production as a means for energy storage and transportation.

His research has been continuously supported by federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation. For his outstanding ongoing contributions to science, he was awarded the prestigious Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2008.

As a teacher, Smith engages students in active learning. He has taught both large undergraduate courses and specialized graduate-level classes and received excellent student evaluations. Believing firmly that research is an essential component of a well-rounded university education, he regularly mentors undergraduate researchers in his
 laboratory. He is a popular choice among graduate students in chemistry, with 27 graduate students completing their degrees under his tutelage. Additionally, he has served on more than 100 Ph.D. and M.S. committees.

Smith has also dedicated extensive time serving the community. He served on a variety of review panels and organized several conferences, most notably the Boron in the Americas, an international meeting focused on the chemistry of boron containing compounds.

Sandra Snow
College of Music 

Snow is a brilliant musician, an elegant teacher, and one of the most gifted choral conductors of her generation. A natural, intuitive leader, collaborator, and consensus-builder, Snow is recognized by her colleagues and her peers throughout the profession as a visionary and groundbreaking innovator in multiple areas.

Snow’s list of guest conducting appearances is exhaustive; she has been invited to conduct honor choirs in virtually every state in the United States, in Canada, and abroad. From her work as music director of the acclaimed Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus in Chicago to her current position as conductor of the Michigan State University Women’s Chamber Ensemble, Snow has exhibited a stunning ability to not only produce outstanding performances but to craft interesting, exciting, and provocative programs that, in the words of one writer, “have both elevated the status of women’s choruses in our field and provided fresh and innovative performance models for feminine strength and creative artistry in vocal music.”

As a teacher, Professor Snow excels at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and
 has contributed to the development of a generation of gifted choral teachers/conductors now working at all levels of music education. Snow’s work as a teacher was recognized with the Michigan State University Teacher– Scholar Award in 2006, and she is a valued role model and advisor to a cohort of new choral music professors at such respected institutions as Texas Tech University, the University of Colorado, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Illinois.

It is, however, at the nexus of teaching and conducting that Snow has made her most valuable contributions to the profession. Her research on nonhierarchical planning and preparation for teaching has become a model in the field for ensemble leaders committed to developing a deeper sense of musical understanding and artistry in their student musicians. Snow has developed a new paradigm for how choral conductors/teachers might think about their practice, suggesting that ensemble leaders are more facilitative than directive; her paradigm requires a more interactive, reactive, and improvisational stance than has previously been the practice. Her 2009 choral textbook and accompanying DVD, ‘Choral Conducting/ Teaching: Real World Strategies for Success,’ is recognized as a seminal work in the teaching of choral music and has been adopted in colleges and universities across the country.

Patricia Soranno
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Patricia Soranno is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of landscape limnology and macrosystems ecology, two recent sub fields in ecology that her work is helping to define. Macrosystems ecology
 is the study of diverse ecological phenomena at the scale of small regions and their interactions with phenomena at other scales. To be more specific and to explain the nature of Soranno’s research work in these emerging fields, consider that problems with far-reaching impact, such as global climate change, need solutions and methods of study that are equally far-reaching. However, because most scientists’ knowledge of the inner workings of nature come from studying individual systems such as a lake or a field, it is hard to apply this fine-scaled knowledge to understand how the many diverse systems within a region or a continent will respond to global change. Soranno’s research and leadership in the emerging field of macrosystems ecology is filling this gap.

Soranno studies the causes and consequences of excess nutrients in freshwater systems at broad scales. She has published key articles that describe the conceptual basis and methods for, as well as the challenges inherent in, studying ecological systems at these less-studied scales. For example, one of her publications describes how the practice of sharing data needs to become the norm to not only move science forward but as an ethical imperative. Soranno’s research is typically collaborative and interdisciplinary, which is needed to tackle such complex environmental challenges. In recognition of her scholarly contributions, she recently was selected to serve as the founding editor-in-chief of her professional society’s new high profile journal, Limnology and Oceanography Letters, and to lead her peers through the many changes in both science and scientific publishing that are occurring today—and are necessary to conduct ecological research relevant to today’s challenges.

Soranno takes a similar approach to her teaching and departmental service. She
uses the best available pedagogy in her classrooms, tailors it to course-learning goals, and, when there is a gap in available approaches, develops new ones. Additionally, she provides extensive leadership within her department to improve transparency in procedures and operations, particularly for reappointment, promotion and tenure.

George Sundin
College Agriculture and Natural Resources

Since joining MSU in 2002, George Sundin has developed an internationally recognized basic and applied research program as well as an extension program that has gained international recognition. His lab conducts pioneering research on plant diseases and then provides information to growers on how to protect their fruit trees against devastating losses. His work helps protect Michigan’s multibillion-dollar fruit tree industry.

Sundin is globally recognized for his basic research program that explores the development of important plant diseases, such as fire blight. His work on the biofilm formation in fire blight helped explain how the disease spreads through individual trees and orchards. Further, his DNA repair research helped explain the biology
and evolution of plant pathogens. Sundin’s review article in the recent ‘Annual Review of Phytopathology’ highlights his research on plasmids in phytopathogenic bacteria. His combining of fundamental molecular genetics and biochemical studies with his ecological research on ultraviolet radiation is widely recognized for its innovation. He has published 93 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Sundin teaches the graduate-level course “Prokaryotic Diseases of Plants,” which examines the prokaryotic genera associated with plant diseases. In addition to teaching graduate students in the classroom, he has trained 10 postdocs, 10 doctoral candidates, and 11 M.S. students, while also serving on 40 thesis and dissertation committees. Students at MSU and around the world admire his expertise in both basic and applied research. In January 2015, he was invited to present a seminar to the Department of Plant Pathology and then named the 2014–15 Calavan Lecturer at the University of California, Riverside.

Sundin has served as associate, senior
and editor-in-chief of the prestigious journal ‘Phytopathology.’ In addition to editorships, 
he has reviewed 285 research papers for 58 journals, reviewed 176 different grants and programs, and served on 10 different national, international, and professional society committees in addition to 16 different University and department committees. Sundin has an unparalleled service record within MSU Extension. Each year he updates the ‘Michigan Fruit Management Guide’ that lists all the fungicides that are labeled in Michigan for disease control and rates the fungicides from the trials that he conducts each year. He has produced 28 Extension videos for YouTube, has presented 308 talks to growers, and published 73 Extension bulletins and 165 newsletters and online articles.

Mark Voit
College of Natural Science

Mark Voit’s research falls within the broad and vibrant area of astronomy that seeks to understand the formation and evolution of the large-scale building blocks of the universe. In particular, his work on the thermodynamic properties of the hot (X-ray emitting) gas in groups and clusters of galaxies has led to a very influential conceptual picture demonstrating the diagnostic power of mapping the spatial distribution of the entropy of this gas. His work has shown that many of the otherwise puzzling properties of the intergalactic medium can be explained by the short cooling times (much less than the age of the universe) in the central regions of many groups, clusters, and massive galaxies. He and his coworkers have gone on to show that these rapidly cooling regions are associated with unusually high rates of star formation and black hole activity. His work has also been pivotal in developing the concept that energetic outflows driven by supermassive black holes can prevent or reduce the amount of cooling and accretion of the intergalactic medium onto galaxies that would otherwise occur.

Voit and his colleagues have developed a new conceptual model in which the regions
of the IGM where the cooling time is less than about 10 times the dynamical (sound-crossing time), thermal instabilities will develop, leading to the formation of dense, cool clouds that can rain down onto the galaxy to fuel star formation and feed black holes. These ideas are generating extensive interest within the astronomical community.

As well as being an outstanding and innovative teacher at both the introductory and graduate levels, Voit is co-author of the leading introductory textbook in astronomy and astrophysics, ‘The Essential Cosmic Perspective (sixth edition),’ which has been praised for its structure in starting at the
Big Bang and working forward in time and downward in scale, a “top-down” view considered well timed with the growth of cosmology into a precise science. At the advanced educational level, Voit’s review of galaxy cluster formation and evolution, published in the 2005 ‘Physics Reports,’ is now mandatory reading for graduate students in the subject.

Finally, Voit is very engaged in public outreach, including inclusion and diversity programs, and has served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Natural Science.