Showcase 2021 faculty honorees

Crouch, Parkhurst, Wack, Kiessling.Four CAS faculty were recognized with 2021 Showcase awards for their outstanding achievements

Faculty awards are given annually to honor excellence in the pursuit of the university’s mission and goals. These individuals share an unflagging commitment to the University community. By encouraging and challenging students to reach their highest potential, they have created a legacy of excellence that will endure for generations to come.

The CAS award recipients are:

Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Leadership

Greg Crouch
Career Track Professor, Chemistry

Greg Crouch’s service to WSU has been extensive. In 2020 he served on ten different University committees, councils, and task forces. He is the associate chair for undergraduate studies in the Department of Chemistry. He previously chaired the Academic Affairs Committee and represented the College of Arts and Sciences on the Faculty Senate, serving as Faculty Senate chair in the 2019-20 academic year.

Crouch revamped the Faculty Senate website to facilitate system-wide communication. He embraced Zoom, increasing participation and equity in Senate proceedings. He guided updates to the Faculty Manual. When COVID-19 struck, Crouch participated in developing online faculty and student surveys to gather information. He also helped modernize instructional delivery and course management. He helped pilot test technologies such as Canvas, which have been adopted systemwide. He has advanced options to help faculty transition to and manage online learning, as well as to help remove barriers to student success.

Faculty Diversity Award

Melissa Parkhurst
Assistant Professor, Music

Assistant Professor Parkhurst has brought cultural literacy and awareness to thousands of students across the University. She dismantles stereotypes, replacing them with more accurate understandings of Native and global peoples. Her courses provide ethnically diverse musical experiences, with performances and lectures from guest artists and hands-on workshops. Students in her World Music course conduct original ethnographic research. Her teaching enables students to think differently about diverse cultures and their roles as global citizens.

Parkhurst’s acclaimed book, To Win the Indian Heart: Music at Chemawa Indian School explains the power of music to connect families, tribes, and communities. In Nimiipuum We’nipt: Songs of the People, her anthologies of Nez Perce songs, teachings and essays build understanding of cultural traditions. Central to her work is the concept of “personhood”—that the people about whom she writes and teaches are complex human beings. Parkhurst serves as president-elect of the Association for Faculty Women.

Legacy of Excellence Award

Nicholas Kiessling
Professor Emeritus, English

Professor Emeritus Kiessling is an internationally recognized scholar of Medieval and Early Modern literature and culture. Since his retirement in 2000, he has shed new light on the lives and libraries of seventeenth-century antiquarian and biographer Anthony Wood and English writer Robert Burton. Kiessling’s 2002 The Library of Anthony Wood—a catalogue of 6,758 items—won praise as “a monumental and exemplary achievement.” His annotated edition of Wood’s autobiography adds detailed notes and a biography to Wood’s own life accounts. Kiessling’s research opened new perspectives on books printed surreptitiously by Catholics in England from about 1558 to 1800. His essay on the illegal transfer of some 20,000 such books out of England was awarded the UK CILIP’s History Essay Award for 2017.

Since retirement Kiessling has held a visiting appointment at Université de Haute Bretagne, Rennes, France, and a Fulbright Senior Scholar appointment in Casablanca, Morocco.

Watch Kiessling’s 2021 Legacy of Excellence lecture.

Smith Leadership Award

Mary Wack
Office of the Provost; Department of English

As vice provost for academic engagement and student achievement, Mary F. Wack has been a champion of women, undergraduate students, and underrepresented minorities by establishing programs that heighten student engagement and success. She spearheaded curriculum and programmatic changes that strive to close achievement gaps. Wack has shaped policies to boost faculty professional development, recast academic support services, has mentored others in leadership, and served as a powerful role model for women University-wide. Wack founded the Distinguished Scholarships Program, the Office of Undergraduate Research, and First-Year Programs, which have enabled thousands of students to engage in high-impact, education-enhancing activities.

For more than two decades, Wack’s vision has helped shepherd the University through leadership transitions, budget crises, accreditation reviews, policy implementations, and governmental shifts in priorities. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, she helped guide the University’s transition to remote instruction. She sits on state and regional committees focused on improving higher education outcomes.

See the full list of 13 faculty awardees at the Showcase website.

Top image, left to right: Crouch, Parkhurst, Wack, Kiessling