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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Six faculty awarded for dedication inside and outside of the classroom

Six faculty members were honored in fall 2023 for their teaching, projects and scholarships.
Brian Krupp, winner of the Gigax Faculty Scholarship Award, sits in his office in the Knowlton Center. Krupp works on various research projects for computer science including Campus Plate and air quality sensors for the Cleveland area.

Each fall, Baldwin Wallace University honors six faculty members with various awards for their work in teaching, extracurriculars, study abroad and scholarships for programs within the University.  

Laura Hopkins, assistant professor of public health and prevention science, won the Strosacker Award for Excellence in Teaching, an award given for a faculty member’s impact within the classroom. 

“First of all, I was very humbled to have received the award and very honored. This is the first faculty position that I’ve held,” Hopkins said. “I had set up my career to be at a research focused institution. But along the way, I realized that I just have such a passion for teaching, advising and mentoring students. I kind of built off that passion and I let it inspire me.” 

Hopkins said that she aims to bring practical experience to her classroom, focusing less on lecturing and more on creating activities that students can then discuss and learn through their own discoveries.  

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“I’m always striving for constructive feedback from students on where I can take my course,” Hopkins said. “I expect my courses to change every semester as new technologies come out and even new knowledge. I think my biggest thing is I never want my courses to become dull or in the past. I want to keep it fresh and relevant.”  

Andy Dohanos, an associate professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, won the Bechberger Award for Human Development, an award given to a faculty member who is involved and makes an impact outside of the classroom. Dohanos is involved in a variety of activities including Habitat for Humanity, alternative break trips, athletics and study abroad. 

“I tell students that ultimately studying abroad was more important than what my major was, it was more important than who my advisor was and all of those kinds of things,” Dohanos said. “It really shifted my mindset about who I was and what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be in my life.”  

In December, Dohanos was able to combine both of his loves with a trip to the Dominican Republic with the BW baseball team. He has also been involved in the faculty-led trips to Germany and Japan throughout his time at BW.  

Also involved in study abroad is Rachelle Hippler, professor and coordinator of software engineering, who won the Faculty Leadership in Study Abroad Award for her work with the faculty-led trip Computing in Guatemala. 

The program occurs in two parts in partnership with Mission Guatemala, first as the senior capstone project for software engineering students, then as a study-abroad trip where the software is implemented. Starting in 2019, students in the software engineering capstone began creating a medical records database for Mission Guatemala’s clinic. Mission Guatemala is an organization that aims to help people meet their basic needs, including medical care.  

Hippler said that she hopes to see the program continue to grow and flourish, along with finding more ways to create practical experiences for her students.  

“These opportunities to travel abroad have broadened my horizons and given me this feeling that what I do is worthwhile in computer science. A lot of times in the sciences, we focus so much on the skill part, that it’s sometimes hard to realize that the work that you’re doing has an impact,” Hippler said. “These projects continue to do that for me, and I know that they do that for my students.” 

Andrew Watkins, associate professor and chair of the computer science department, won the Research and Sponsored Program Impact Award after securing almost $2 million from the National Science Foundation, to expand transfer pathways from two-year to four-year institutions for computer science students. One of Watkin’s goals with the grant is to increase the number of women in computing. 

“Computing, like many STEM disciplines, is not as diverse as we would like it to be. We worry that we are missing opinions and solutions by not hearing from voices across the entire social spectrum,” Watkins said. “And so, there is a lot of emphasis in this grant work on attracting and retaining women in computer science. One of those ways is looking at building out women and computing at institutions as well each of our partner consortium institutions.” 

BW was one of five institutions that secured a grant from the NSF. Watkins encourages students and faculty to apply for external grant money on any project they are working on and see what they can do with their projects. 

“I would say to my colleagues and students to just look for these opportunities and see if you can carve out some time to work together and create a grant application because you never know what’s going to happen,” Watkins said. 

Brian Krupp, associate professor of computer science, won the Gigax Faculty Scholarship Award, given to a faculty member that involves students in their contribution to research. 

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve always been involved in research and trying to bring students into it because I think it’s a great learning experience for students,” Krupp said. “They build a lot of skills. I think they get a kick out of it, and I get a kick out of it too, like when they see their names like on news articles and in conference proceedings and things like that.”  

Krupp is involved in two major projects currently, Campus Plate and building an air quality sensor for residents in the Cleveland area.  

Campus Plate has been ongoing, but tweaks are still being made. The air quality sensor is being funded by the NSF and is still in the planning stages. Krupp hopes that the project will continue for a few more years and eventually expand out into other states that struggle with air quality on the East Coast.  

“I just really enjoy what I do and working with students. If I had a message for students, I would say, regardless of whether they’re thinking about going to grad school or not, check out the research opportunities at BW,” Krupp said. “There’s a lot of cool accessible research projects that happen on campus for undergrads.” 

The final award winner, Duane Battle, associate professor of Communication Arts and Sciences, won the Excellence in Community Engagement Award for his work in engaging and connecting students with different people in many different communities. 

“I’ve always tried to do things that are different and innovative and connect to different people, populations that you don’t normally connect with, whether that’s working with prisoners or doing a study abroad trip to Zambia or doing stuff on campus to populations that don’t necessarily have a voice. I try to put positive spins on different things,” Battle said. 

Battle led a faculty-led trip to Zambia in an outreach with therapy theatre, where students created a performance and then performed it to hundreds of kids while they were there. Currently, Battle is on sabbatical working on a behind the scenes project with dining services, in a positive light that people on campus may not often see.  

Battle hopes that students learn how to communicate and interact out in the world and encourages his students to talk to all types of populations, on and off campus.  

“Once you graduate from BW, you’re going to have to communicate with all the different people out in the world,” Battle said. “So that’s my main thing. I want to get students off campus and communicate and talk to people who are out there, because those are the real populations that they’re going to interact with.”  

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