Office of the Provost

Faculty Honors

Outstanding Educator Award

2016-2017

Brandon Wiggins

Brandon Wiggins

Brandon, in his own words, is a computational astrophysicist with a passion for researching difficult problems and communicating that science to others. As SUU's Outstanding Educator for 2017, he'll get little argument over that description. In his first year teaching here, primarily in physics-based courses, he has established himself as among the University's brightest stars.

Raised in nearby New Harmony, he is a 2012 graduate of SUU with a degree in pure mathematics, and took his Ph.D. from Brigham Young University in physics and astronomy. He holds dual affiliation with Los Alamos National Laboratory's Center for Theoretical Astrophysics, working as a faculty guest scientist on a number of initiatives, and frequently commutes to Los Alamos to engage in projects.

His current research involves his utilization of the supercomputing facilities at Los Alamos to simulate the supernova explosions of enormous stars and the growth of massive black holes in the early universe. He consults with global leaders in the field, both at Los Alamos and in other centers of research in the world.

He excels at explaining the broad spectrum of physical science to students of all levels and, he says, he enjoys providing the first exposure to physical science for many. His current students in introductory physics are largely pre-medicine majors, and he lauds them as driven, brilliant, curious, and fun.

He strives to inspire curiosity and fire the imagination of his students. His teaching motto is "Every lecture is an event," and he incorporates what he calls "over-the-top, large-scale" science demonstrations designed to keep students surprised, entertained and guessing.

In his thus far brief career, he has authored a vast number of papers and his book, Of Warping in Space and Time, was published in 2006, while he was yet a student at Cedar High School. A new edition of his 180-page summary of Einstein's Theory of Relativity for non-expert readers is currently being readied for publication.

He and his unwaveringly supportive wife Angela are parents to three young daughters and they enjoy traveling, running, hiking, and sushi. He also confirms the common stereotype of his discipline by listing Star Wars and Lord of the Rings as among his interests.

Outstanding Educator Past Recipients | Outstanding Educator Nomination Information


Distinguished Educators

2016-2017

John Belk

John Belk

Dr. John Belk, assistant professor of English and director of SUU's writing program, says he has the best job in the world. In the two years he has taught at SUU, he has been preparing students in 1010 and 2010 classes to exemplify Cato the Elder's definition of rhetoric, "The good person speaking well," by empowering them to write well and be good people, and he leads by example as an effective mentor to many students. A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, he earned his bachelor's degree in English and history from Texas A&M University, then went on to receive a Master's of Fine Arts in poetry and a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Belk's favorite part of teaching is having the opportunity to read new and engaging ways of thinking and helping his students to refine their expression of that thinking.

Kevan Jacobson

Kevan Jacobson

Col. Kevan Jacobson came to SUU in August of 2015, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge from more than 30 years practicing law and serving his country in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. As an assistant professor in the department of political science and criminal justice, Professor Jacobsen's goal is to build men and women of substance and character who possess the knowledge, skill, ability, and will to serve good and great causes far beyond themselves, and his students will attest that he is achieving that goal every day. A proud fifth-generation son of the Beehive State from Delta, Utah, he has dedicated his life to help secure the blessings of ordered liberty now and in the future for his community and his country. He holds degrees from Utah State University, BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law school, the Judge Advocate General's School, and the U.S. Army War College.

Janice Scarinci

Janice Scarinci

As a professor of hotel, resort, and hospitality management, Dr. Janice Scarinci's goal is to provide experiential learning opportunities for her students that will lead to personal growth, civic responsibility, and professional excellence. This goal combined with research outcomes that show the many benefits of international travel, has led her to develop and implement a study abroad program in Australia which has been an outstanding opportunity for her students to learn the ins and outs of international tourism and tourism management. Dr. Scarinci knows first-hand the benefits of an international education; after obtaining her bachelor's degree in recreation and tourism as well as a master's degree in administrative recreation from University of Florida, she obtained her Ph.D. in tourism at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. She has taught hospitality and tourism in five countries on three continents and has been teaching at SUU for two years.

Distinguished Educator Past Recipients | Distinguished Educator Nomination Information


Distinguished Scholarly/Creative Activity

Please note, in 2015-16, the structure of this award changed from a single Outstanding Scholar Award to three Distinguished Scholarly/Creative Activity Awards

2016-2017

Mark DeBeliso

Mark DeBeliso

Dr. Mark DeBeliso, a professor of kinesiology and outdoor recreation at SUU for the past seven years, holds a Ph.D. in biomechanics from Oregon State University and a BSc in mechanical engineering from Utah State University. His teaching efforts reach both graduate and undergraduate students as he strives to help students learn to solve problems by thinking critically, thinking pragmatically and doing so with integrity. Dr. DeBeliso's scholarly writings have appeared in numerous engineering, exercise science, health, medical, psychology, sports medicine, and sport technology journals, and his peer reviewed publications total more than 170. He has also traveled extensively presenting his research at more than 93 national and international conferences. With a firm belief that fruitful scholarly endeavors include faculty and students across multiple disciplines, 100 percent of his scholarly efforts over the last 15 months have included student participation and co-authorship.

Ravi Roy

Ravi Roy

Over the last decade and a half, Dr. Ravi Roy's research has focused on how ideas influence the decisions that we make and the actions we take. That emphasis has provided a unique perspective as this assistant professor of political science and criminal justice has helped his students explore how ideas shape political, social and economic behavior in society. A native of Calabasas, California, Dr. Roy holds a doctorate in political science and public policy from Claremont Graduate University, as well as a master's degree in public policy from Claremont, and a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. As a project-based focused instructor, Dr. Roy finds his reward in supporting his students as they experiment with course concepts, apply those concepts in a real world settings, and then reflect on what worked and what did not.

Dezhi Wu

Dezhi Wu

An associate professor of computer science and information systems, Dr. Dezhi Wu, a China native, holds Ph.D. and master's degrees in information systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and has been an SUU faculty member for the past 12 years. Among the many classes she teaches at SUU is CSIS 4540, Human Computer Interfaces, a course she created using her expertise in human-computer interaction. The objective of the course is to bridge the gap between computers and end-users in an effort to make today's computer systems easier, more usable and enjoyable. Further, her scholarly activity in human-computer interaction is innovative as it crosses multiple disciplines and involves cognitive and social psychology, and art design. Her passion is to create innovative and cutting-edge computer interfaces that allow users to more effectively use computers and smart devices.

Distinguished Scholarly/Creative Activity Past Recipients | Distinguished Scholarly/Creative Activity Nomination Information


Outstanding Educator for Inclusion & Diversity

2016-2017

Michelle Orihel

Michelle Orihel

In her seven years as an assistant professor of history, Dr. Michelle Orihel has become one of the driving forces for teaching the diverse experiences that have shaped American history. Her goal is to create historical awareness in her students, getting them to engage with and think critically about the variety of perspectives in the primary sources from which we construct the narrative of America's past. In addition to teaching diversity in her history courses, she has been instrumental in propelling SUU forward as a place of inclusion with her work on International Week, an event which fosters an understanding of transnational perspectives on current and historical events. Dr. Orihel obtained her bachelor's and master's degrees from Brock University & Queen's University in Ontario, Canada, and completed her Ph.D. from Syracuse University in New York.

Inclusion & Diversity Award Nomination Information


Distinguished Faculty for Inclusion & Diversity

2016-2017

Scott Knowles

Scott Knowles

Dr. Scott Knowles is an assistant professor of theatre arts and dance. He received a bachelor's degree in theatre arts from in 2007, and then went on to obtain an MA from Florida State University and a Ph.D. at the University of Kansas. For the past two years, Dr. Knowles has been teaching at his alma mater, and helping his students to see the world through the lens of underrepresented and often persecuted groups, in order to create empathy and understanding through meaningful theatrical experiences for all audiences. This year, he directed SUU's first production of The Laramie Project, a dramatization in the style of a documentary, which tells the story of the murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, and its impact on his local community as well as the LGBTQ+ community at large.

Inclusion & Diversity Award Nomination Information


Distinguished Service

2016-2017

Johnny MacLean

John MacLean

With the motto of "Don't let your education get in the way of your education," Dr. Johnny MacLean guides his students as they discover learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. The assistant professor of geology encourages his students to learn deeply by tying classroom and field education to everything they observe around them, which is impactful given that our area offers an authentic outdoor learning environment in some of the most spectacular settings in the world. Dr. MacLean serves as a provost faculty fellow in the Office of Academic Affairs, and is the academic coordinator for SUU's Semester in the Parks program that provides 18 credits of general education at Bryce Canyon National Park. Dr. MacLean is a native of Nashville, Tennessee, holds a Ph.D. in geosciences from the University of Montana, and degrees from Furman and Syracuse universities.

Distinguished Service Award Nomination Information