Find Out Who Won Faculty, Staff Awards of Excellence NLU presented awards for teaching, service and scholarship



Provost Alison Hilsabeck, from left, Board Chairman Scott Smith, Craig Cunningham, Virginia Jagla, Ursula Pawlowski, Roy Kaelin, Aggie Hanni, Joel Henshaw and President Nivine Megahed pose after awards were presented.

Hundreds of National Louis University faculty and staff waited with anticipation on Sept. 8 to learn who would win this year’s awards for faculty and staff excellence.

Prof. Dan Buckman, Ed.D., a past winner of the Teaching Award of Excellence, announced the winners at the Fall Connections gathering, a kickoff to the fall quarter.

The Faculty Awards of Excellence recognize NLU full-time and adjunct faculty in the areas of teaching, service, and research.

Excellence in Teaching Award

Elizabeth Grace, better known by her nickname “Ibby,” an Assistant Professor in the National College of Education, won the Excellence in Teaching Award for her personal approach, enthusiasm, innovative and engaging instructional strategies, mentoring of students and responsiveness to individual students’ needs.

Ibby Grace has developed and taught numerous courses in the Special Education program.  One former student noted that, “Professor Grace prepared me to be a change-maker in the education field through her passionate teaching and compassionate approach.”  Another student came into Elizabeth’s course convinced she (the student) was bad at math, and through Elizabeth’s instruction the student overcame her initial bias and became a math teacher. Grace also touches colleagues, one of whom noted, “I know I have learned so very much from her, especially in the areas of reimagining constructs of disability, universal design for instruction, and the importance of the arts in education.” One of her students described Grace as “a truly phenomenal and inspirational professor.”

Excellence in Service and Engagement Award


Virginia Jagla accepts her award.

Virginia Jagla, Ed.D., professor in the National College of Education, won the Excellence in Service and Engagement Award for leadership on university committees and in professional organizations, as well as for her  dedication to service learning and civic engagement.

Jagla serves on the Carnegie Classification Team, the NLU Office of Teaching and Learning Development Team, the NLU Institutional Promotion and Tenure Committee, the NLU Faculty Performance Review Task Force, the NCE Teacher Preparation Council, the Civic Engagement Team, the NCE Alternative Teacher Licensure Team, and the Middle Grades Program Development Team. She is the founding editor of the open access online journal i.e.: Inquiry in Education and in 2015 launched the open access online journal Student Perspectives About Civic Engagement (SPACE). A faculty colleague noted one of Virginia’s numerous accomplishments of working “tirelessly to bring NLU the very prestigious designation of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Community Engagement Classification.” Virginia’s dedication to civic engagement extends beyond NLU with her involvement in the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Consortium, which attempts to move civic education forward in  Chicago at the K-20 level.  One faculty colleague notes that “Ginny is a clear leader in the university when it comes to service learning.”

Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Inquiry Award


Dan Buckman, left, announces that Craig Cunningham has won the award for scholarship as Provost Alison Hilsabeck looks on.

Craig Cunningham, Ph.D., associate professor in the National College of Education, won the Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Inquiry Award for his research which explores the relationship between John Dewey’s naturalism and systems theory. One faculty colleague shared that “Craig has built an impressively consistent body of scholarship that unites his multiple examinations of John Dewey’s naturalism with his interests in systems theory and application of technological tools to personal development.” Craig has authored 29 publications, 24 refereed paper presentations, 15 invited presentations, two books, and three forthcoming chapters in publications related to philosophy, higher education, and technology. His book, Systems Theory for Pragmatic Schooling: Toward Principles of Democratic Education, had three glowing reviews published in a 2015 issue of Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education. One reviewer described Craig’s book at “a well‐written, thought provoking read that pushes educators and policy makers to consider their own beliefs about the current state of American public education.”

Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award 


Ursula Pawlowski accepted her award.

The winner of the Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award is Ursula Pawlowski ’10, M.S. Human Resource Management and Development, who is being honored for providing real world application of knowledge to her students, so they make clear connections to how what they are learning in the classroom can be applied in their profession. Pawlowski, an adjunct faculty member in the College of Professional Studies and Advancement since 2014, is Assistant Program Director of the Master of Human Resource Management and Development program. She also serves as the faculty Advisor for the NLU Chapter of the Society of Human Resources Management. One student noted that, “she transformed our class and cohort into a positive learning environment where we evolved, grew and bonded under her direction.” Another student described Pawlowski as “knowledgeable, insightful and real” noting that “she truly cares that the learning experience is meaningful for each and every student.”

Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Service and Engagement


Roy Kaelin, center, displays his award while Dan Buckman and Provost Alison Hilsabeck pose with him.

Roy Kaelin, adjunct faculty member in the College of Professional Studies and Advancement since 2011, has won the Excellence in Service and Engagement Award for his willingness to serve and his many contributions.  Roy has served  as Adjunct Council Secretary and Chair-Elect, Faculty Senator representing adjunct faculty, and representative on the University Assessment Council. Roy also serves on the HP3 Academic Advisory Group, Prior Learning Assessment Team, Rubric Task Force for the University Assessment Council and Connection Committee. He is a Quality Matters Peer Reviewer. In his role as Chair-Elect of the Adjunct Council, Roy assisted in launching the Adjunct Council’s quarterly newsletter, as well as helped to successfully update and re-draft the Council’s charter. Several colleagues praised Roy’s willingness to volunteer for special projects, as well as his highly skilled baking ability. One faculty colleague noted that she “was always impressed that he was not only someone who ‘stepped up to the plate’ but far exceeded what one would expect of an adjunct faculty.” Another wrote, “I’m in awe of all he has done to support University Governance and programming given that he’s an adjunct faculty member with a significant teaching load and other outside commitments.”

Staff Recognition Awards


Joel Henshaw, the Randy Brittman Service Excellence Award winner, and Provost Alison Hilsabeck pose with Agnieszka (Aggie) Hanni, who won the Staff Service Excellence Award.

Congratulations to Agnieszka (Aggie) Hanni, Ph.D. 2015, who won the Service Excellence Award, and Joel Hanshaw, who won the Randy Brittman Service Excellence Award.

One comment on “Find Out Who Won Faculty, Staff Awards of Excellence NLU presented awards for teaching, service and scholarship

  1. Congratulations to Professor Virginia Jagla on her Excellence in Service and Engagement Award.
    Thank you professor Jagla for being such a great leader and role model. Your passion for service learning and community engagement are a reflection of the wonderful human being you are.
    The Civic Engagement and the Carnegie Classification Team are fortunate to have you as their leader.

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