Five Northern Michigan University faculty members were recognized at the annual Celebration of Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship. Recipients and their awards were: Antony Aumann of Philosophy and Amy Barnsley of Math and Computer Science, Excellence in Teaching; Josh Carlson of Psychological Science and William Tireman of Physics, Excellence in Scholarship; and Martin Achatz of English, Excellence in Part-Time Faculty Teaching.
Aumann regularly offers courses on logic, aesthetics, religion and existentialism, He also coordinates the religion studies minor. He is the author of articles on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Sartre, as well as various issues in contemporary philosophy of art. His forthcoming book with Rowman & Littlefield is titled On Art and Selfhood: A Kierkegaardian Account of Personal Identity. Aumann is currently on sabbatical as a visiting research scholar at Fordham University in New York City. He joined the NMU faculty in 2010.
"I'm thankful for my colleagues' influence as I attempt to hone my pedagological skills," he said. "I also owe a debt a gratitude to the amazing students at NMU who make me want to devote the energy to this work and inspire me to keep asking questions."
Barnsley has helped under-prepared students succeed in their math courses and in their overall college careers. She is a champion of online education, learning outcomes assessment and developmental mathematics curriculum. Barnsley is the leader of 16 part-time faculty and teaching assistants who are instrumental in increasing the pass rates in developmental math courses. She joined the NMU faculty in 2014.
"I don't just teach math; my goal is the big picture of getting our students to graduation," she said. "I thank the leadership for their financial support of the TA program. We have undergrads who are passionate about teaching math, and the students appreciate having someone closer to their age helping them."
Carlson recently received a $350,000 research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to study cognitive aspects of anxiety disorders. He has trained dozens of students in his laboratory, allowing them the opportunity to present research findings at national scientific conferences and serve as co-authors on journal publications. Carlson is a prolific writer, having published more than 40 articles in scientific journals, with more than 1,200 citations. He joined the NMU psychological science faculty in 2013.
"I want to thank the students who have been part of my research," he said. "Over 1,000 have participated in projects since I got here. Many have gone on to careers or graduate school and continue to collaborate. I also appreciate the mechanisms such as faculty research grants, PRIME awards and reassigned time, which help me provide the data we need to secure external funding."
Tireman’s area of research concerns the structure of the neutron, which is critical to maintaining the stability of atomic nuclei. This scholarship is complex and must be done in large collaborations, of which he is involved in several at the Jefferson National Lab in Virginia. Tireman’s simulation results determine how the experiments will be conducted. He has contributed to several peer-reviewed articles over the last five years that have been very important to the advancement of experts in nuclear physics. He joined the NMU physics faculty in 2005.
"I was attracted to NMU because of its smaller size and lack of PhD programs," he said. "Some see that as a negative, but I like the opportunity it presents to engage with undergrads. I want to thank my colleagues who fill in while I'm traveling to Jefferson National Lab. We work in a very collegial environment."
Achatz, an NMU alumnus, was selected as the Poet Laureate of the Upper Peninsula in February. He has served as poetry editor for NMU’s literary magazine, Passages North. In 2013, he was named outstanding adjunct/contingent by the English department. His collection of poems, The Mysteries of the Rosary, was published by Mayapple Press.
"I'm honored and humbled to be the first to receive this award," he said. "Part-time teaching is a misnomer because you're still putting in 40 or more hours a week. But you do it because you love what you do. It's all about the students."