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UNI faculty members honored for outstanding teaching, research and service

October 21, 2002

Aaron Podolefsky, provost and vice president for academic affairs, (319) 273-2517
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Three University of Northern Iowa faculty members were honored for outstanding teaching, research and public service earlier this fall.

Receiving awards were Michael Shott, professor of anthropology, the Class of 1943 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching; Sandra Alper, head of Special Education, Donald N. McKay Faculty Research Award; and Mark Grey, professor of anthropology, the Ross A. Nielsen Professional Service Award. Each received $2,000.

Aaron Podolefsky, UNI provost and vice president for academic affairs, presented the awards. He described Schott as a professor who stresses the process of learning and the development of critical thinking skills within and outside the classroom. 'He has earned the reputation among students and colleagues as an outstanding and productive scholar and a rigorous teacher. His students consistently describe him as an exciting professor who loves his job and helps everyone understand the material.'

Alper was one of the first in the special education field to address the importance of community-based instruction for individuals with disabilities. As the head of the Department of Special Education, she has directed or co-directed more than $4.5 million dollars in funding for research and demonstrations. According to Podolefsky, 'Her work has made a definitive difference, not only to the discipline of special education but, more importantly, to the lives of people whose value has been, for the most part, essentially discounted.'

Grey came to UNI in 1990 and is best known for his outstanding service to Midwest communities that have been undergoing rapid ethnic diversification as a result of the arrival of immigrant and refugee groups. As the director of UNI's New Iowans program, he has generated more than $1 million in state and federal funding. 'His enthusiasm for working in the field with people at the local level has led many, including Iowa's governor, Tom Vilsack, to seek his assistance,' said Podolefsky.