Congratulate the winners of National Louis University’s annual Excellence awards for faculty and staff. The University announced them Sept. 7.
Excellence in Teaching Award
Kristin Lems, Ph.D., professor of ESL/Bilingual Education in NLU’s National College of Education, won the Excellence in Teaching Award.
Lems has led two grant projects from the Office of English Language Acquisition, U.S. Department of Education. She is an English Language Specialist at the U.S. State Department and a two-time Fulbright Scholar, to Algeria and Mongolia. She is first author of a textbook about linguistics and reading in English, and co-editor of a book on reading fluency which was a finalist for the Literacy Research Association’s Fry Award. She has published with Scholastic and in distinguished journals including English Teaching Forum, The Reading Teacher, Reading in a Foreign Language, and Writing Systems Research. She earned her Ed.D. in Reading and Language at NLU, where she won the Rebecca Barr Award for outstanding performance. She has been with NLU for 25 years.
Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award
Jessica Gamba, Ph.D., who has helped shape course development and instruction in National Louis University’s new Applied Behavior Analysis program, won the Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching award. Gamba earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in applied behavior analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP). She conducted her thesis on the topic of behavior analytic college teaching, and a basic experimental dissertation on the topic of percentile schedules of reinforcement. As a member of the faculty and Associate Director of Applied Professional Practice at TCSPP, she served on the committees of more than 45 behavior-analytic theses and dissertations targeting a wide variety of experimental questions, and assisted in overseeing the practicum experience of the ABA program’s master’s students across more than 50 sites in the Chicagoland community.
Excellence in Service and Engagement Award
Gale Stam, Ph.D., professor of psychology in NLU’s College of Professional Studies and Advancement, won the Excellence in Service and Engagement Award. An internationally-respected researcher in gesture and communication and a founding member of the International Society of Gesture Studies, Stam has served at NLU for 33 years. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology (Cognition and Communication) from the University of Chicago.
Since 1986, Stam has served on and chaired NLU committees at both the college and university level. She served as Interim Dean of the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Business & Management. During her first term on the Faculty Welfare and Compensation Committee (1989-1992), she was instrumental in developing a Faculty Bereavement Policy that did not exist at the time.
Stam has twice served as Faculty Senate Chair. During her first stint (1993-1995), she chaired a Performance Review Task Force and worked on the Faculty Welfare Compensation Committee. She again became Faculty Senate Chair in June 2017.
In addition to her service at NLU, Stam is one of the founding members of the International Society for Gesture Studies and served on the Executive Board from 2002-2010; as treasurer (2002-2007) and Vice President (2007-2010). Additionally, she has served on the editorial boards of two journals, Gesture (2001-2018) and Language and Sociocultural Theory (2013-Present). She also regularly reviews articles for a number of journals.
Excellence in Research Scholarship and Inquiry Award
Suzette Fromm Reed, Ph.D., associate professor and founding director and chair of NLU’s Ph.D. program in Community Psychology, won the Excellence in Research Scholarship and Inquiry Award. Her leadership also resulted in the Ph.D. program receiving the 2017 Award for Excellence in Educational Programming granted by the American Psychological Association’s Society for Community Research and Action.
Recently, Fromm Reed has focused her research and publications on the buffering role of community resilience against Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) for children and non-traditional adult students. Adverse Childhood Experiences include a list of traumas experienced in childhood, such as abuse or the death or incarceration of a parent.
Prior to NLU, Fromm Reed led non-profit child welfare organizations at both the national and local level on research and evaluation. Her educational background includes a Ph.D. in Psychology in the Public interest. She draws from her community-engaged research related to children and families, with a focus on the community context, which began over two decades ago when she worked for Harvard University’s Project in Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods.
Staff Recognition Award
Jason Butler-Taylor, assistant director of enrollment, won the Staff Recognition Award. In presenting it, Jason Landrum, Staff Council chair, noted Butler-Taylor demonstrated a positive attitude, determination, and exemplary service to NLU students from the time he started in the Enrollment department six years ago. In his current role as assistant director, he coaches his team members to provide the same level of service.
Randy Brittman Service Award
Renee Judd, Ph.D, Instructional Designer and Learning Management Systems administrator, won the Randy Brittman Service Award. It is named after the late Randy Brittman, a longtime NLU employee who impressed many with his smile and spirit of service.
Judd builds courses, administers National Louis University’s D2L online learning platform and additional integrated learning systems, and assists users as second and third tier support to the NLU Help Desk. She transitioned to this role in 2012, after previously serving as a tenured assistant professor in Natural Sciences. Judd holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Chicago, and later earned a certificate in Distance Education from the University of Wisconsin.
“Renee makes sure what she does is the best possible,” said Mike Graham, chief information officer and vice president, in presenting the award.