Top Fresno State teaching award goes to professor Gregory Kriehn

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Top Fresno State teaching award goes to professor Gregory Kriehn

Dr. Gregory Kriehn, professor of electrical and computer engineering, was selected for Fresno State’s 2019 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, announced Dr. Robert Harper, Fresno State’s interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

The Provost’s Awards also honored the following faculty:

  • Emma Hughes, professor of criminology — Faculty Service Award
  • Steven Church, professor of English, and Dr. Youngwook Kim, professor of electrical and computer engineering — Research, Scholarship and Creative Accomplishment Award
  • Wei Wu, associate professor of construction management — Innovation Award
  • Lisa Anderson, Department of Anthropology — Outstanding Lecturer Award

Seven faculty members were selected for the Promising New Faculty category of the Provost’s Awards in recognition of their exemplary achievements in teaching, research, creative activities and/or service among non-tenured, tenure-track faculty. The honorees are:

  • Lisa Bryant, assistant professor of political science
  • Dermot Donnelly, assistant professor of chemistry
  • Melanie Hernandez, assistant professor of English
  • Jessica McKenzie, assistant professor of child and family science
  • Faith Sidlow, assistant professor of media, communications and journalism
  • Juliet Wahleithner, assistant professor of literacy, early, bilingual and special education
  • Emily Walter, assistant professor of biology

In addition, the Office of Institutional Effectivenessreceived a Special Award for Exemplary Service, which recognized its innovative use of technology to help the University community.

The Provost’s Awards were established in 1993 to recognize the outstanding teaching, research and service that is central to the mission of Fresno State.

Honorees provide students with a stimulating environment that fosters learning and affirms the University as an intellectual and cultural leader in the Central Valley.

The awardees will be celebrated at a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at the North Gym(Room 118) on campus. For more information about the reception, contact Randy Aoki at 559.278.2636.

Honorees provide students with a stimulating environment that fosters learning and affirms the University as an intellectual and cultural leader in the Central Valley.

The awardees will be celebrated at a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at the North Gym (Room 118) on campus. For more information about the reception, contact Randy Aoki at 559.278.2636.

Excellence in Teaching Award


Gregory Kriehn

Dr. Gregory Kriehn (engineering) joined the Fresno State faculty in 2003. Since then, he has taught over 20 courses from freshman orientation to advanced graduate-level courses, developed new courses and written or upgraded laboratory manuals. He is the founding director of the Lyles College of Engineering’s Honors Program and has taken on the responsibility of mentoring 38 students every year. Kriehn has also led research and development work of unmanned aerial systems for about 10 years, mentoring at least 20 students a year on various aspects of unmanned flight and applications in agriculture and other areas.

Faculty Service Award


Emma Hughes

Emma Hughes (criminology) started at Fresno State in 2007 as a lecturer in the Department of Criminology and is now a professor and chair of the department. Hughes is the founder

and principal investigator of the Project Rebound Initiative, launched in 2016 to expand support programs for formerly incarcerated students at Fresno State. She has also made efforts to improve the college work environment by checking in with faculty members, facilitating research ideas and sharing in joy and empathy with colleagues.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Accomplishment Award


Steven Church

Steven Church (English) joined Fresno State’s faculty in 2006 and has become one of the nation’s most influential, innovative and acclaimed voices in literary nonfiction as well as a sought-after speaker. He published seven full-length books and dozens of essays in juried journals and anthologies. Church also served as editor in chief for The Normal School, a literary magazine published at Fresno State. His work attracts national and international praise and his essays and books are reprinted and translated widely.


Youngwook Kim

Youngwook Kim (engineering) joined Fresno State in 2008. His research and teaching encompasses the area of electromagnetics, specifically target detection and classification, bio-sending and machine learning. He has expanded his work to include deep learning, image classification, drone signatures and more. Kim is a prolific researcher, having received about $1.06 million in research grants. He has published 83 articles and presented his research on drone detection to two deputy undersecretaries of defense.

Innovation Award

Wei Wu

Wei Wu

Wei Wu (construction management) joined Fresno State’s faculty in 2013 and has transformed student learning on campus. In recent years, he used virtual- and mixed-reality to enhance teaching and learning to develop leaders who will be ready to face the challenges of the rapidly changing and technologically-advanced construction industry. That work led Wu to develop a new augmented reality laboratory in the Lyles College of Engineering, giving Fresno State students a competitive edge over students at other institutions.

Outstanding Lecturer


Lisa Anderson

Lisa Anderson (anthropology) came to Fresno State in 2003 with a decade of experience as an anthropology instructor at Oxford University and Leeward Community College. She is trained as a Pacific Island, northwest coast anthropologist. She quickly became one of the most versatile instructors teaching general education classes, courses in her area of expertise and became certified as a distance education instructor so she could build a number of classes into online courses. Anderson launched “The Anthro Social,” a monthly meeting of the anthropology departments at Fresno City College and Fresno State to expand the influence of the department and to recruit students.

Promising New Faculty Awards

lisa bryant

Lisa Bryant

Lisa Bryant (political science) joined the Fresno State faculty in 2014 and has emerged as a national expert on state and national elections as well as the role gender plays in the U.S. House of Representatives. She has authored and co-authored many peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters, presented at conferences and received grants for research. Bryant sits on several committees and for years served on the Academic Senate as one of three University-wide senators. She also spends considerable time mentoring students.

Dermot Donnelly

Dermot Donnelly

Dermot Donnelly (chemistry) came to Fresno State in 2015 and has become a department leader in using evidence-based learning practices, technology and affordable learning solutions in his teaching. Donnelly led course redesign initiatives that have positively impacted student success. He served as lead of the University’s DISCOVERe mobile technology program, has recorded more than 800 hours of service and service leadership and has published multiple journal and conference papers.

Melanie Hernandez

Melanie Hernandez

Melanie Hernandez (English) became a member of the faculty at Fresno State in 2015. She designed and taught two new courses that are now part of the English undergraduate program: African American and Chicanx Literatures. She is also skilled in online education, having redesigned and taught a general education course and helping to redesign a new, online bachelor of arts completion program. Her study of race theories allows her to help students engage, learn and critically analyze literature. Hernandez has received four research fellowships while on campus, served on various committees, mentored graduate students and helped create and run a writing contest for youth.

Jessica McKenzie

Jessica McKenzie

Jessica McKenzie (child and family science) joined the Fresno State faculty in 2014 with a passion for making cultural connections after conducting research on the development of adolescents and young adults in rural Thailand. She makes sure that her course work is culturally sensitive and inclusive while encouraging her students to consider how childhood is structured by cultural goals. Students become creative scholars in her class, and they are engaged in discovery through her lab. McKenzie has published multiple journal articles, chaired panel discussions and has a record 15 conference publications, many with students as co-presenters.


Faith Sidlow (media, communications and journalism) came to Fresno State in 2015 with more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning reporter, producer and news anchor. She has submitted and received more than $135,000 in grants to help students present and attend conferences and workshops and to buy broadcast equipment. Sidlow spearheaded The Global News Relay, a live, four-and-a-half hour newscast produced and aired by students that brings together educators, professionals and students from across the world. It started with a dozen universities and now includes more than 25 and is growing. Under her guidance, many students have won journalism awards, fellowships and other honors.

Juliet Wahleithner

Juliet Wahleithner

Juliet Wahleithner (literacy, early, bilingual and special education) joined Fresno State’s faculty in 2015, and she is active in leadership. In her first semester, Wahleithner taught the academic reading course in the school’s First Year Experience program for first-generation students and developed a research study to track student outcome. Wahleithner was also instrumental in re-establishing the work of the San Joaquin Valley Writing Project by inviting faculty to present in workshops and participating in monthly activities. She is now director of the project.

Emily Walter

Emily Walter

Emily Walter (biology) joined the Fresno State faculty in 2015. She helped revitalize the Biology Department’s general biology course for non-majors to make it more accessible and relevant to students of all backgrounds. Walter also developed a new graduate class, College Science Teaching, to introduce basic teaching practices to teaching assistants who handle much of the general education lab instruction. She has received $1.3 million in grant funding and project work, including an initiative to improve diversity and inclusion in the professoriate and a USAID project to change how science, technology, engineering and mathematics are taught at five Egyptian universities. Walter is also leading a campus initiative to increase high-impact practices in all courses.

Special Award for Exemplary Service

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness received praise for its use of innovative technology, particularly development of Tableau Dashboards that have greatly influenced how data is accessed, interpreted and used on campus. The work has made an impact on data-driven decision-making that is critical to many stakeholders within the University community.