Dr. Anil Shrestha, professor of Plant Science, was awarded the top teaching honor at Fresno State. Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, provost and vice president for academic affairs, named Shrestha as recipient of the 2015 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Provost’s Awards also honored the following individuals:

  • Dr. Kevin J. Ayotte, associate professor of Communication, and Dr. Kathryn Forbes, associate professor of Women’s Studies, for the Faculty Service Award
  • Dr. Kenneth D. Froelich, associate professor of Music, for the Research, Scholarship and Creative Accomplishment Award
  • Dr. Eric Person, associate professor of Chemistry, for the Innovation Award

Six other faculty members were selected for the Promising New Faculty category of the Provost’s Awards in recognition of achievements in teaching, research, creative activities and/or service among non-tenured, tenure-track faculty. Honorees are Dr. Monique L. Bell, assistant professor for Marketing; Dr. Mara Brady, assistant professor for Earth and Environmental Sciences; Dr. Lori Clune, assistant professor for History; Dr. Frederick L. Nelson, assistant professor for Curriculum and Instruction; Jes Therkelsen, assistant professor for Mass Communication and Journalism; and Dr. Pei Xu, assistant professor for Agricultural Business.

Provost’s Awards

Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Anil Shrestha (Plant Science) has been at Fresno State since 2008. A teacher who appreciates the value of hands-on learning, he engages and attracts students to agriculture, then retains them with humor and encouragement. His passion for student’s experiences extends outside the classroom and into the lives of his students. He encourages all his students to take advantage of workshops, writing labs and programs on campus. He also helps students apply for scholarships and internships. Shrestha has contributed two chapters to the book “Principles of Weed Control in California,” which is used as a textbook in most California institutions offering a course in weed science.

Faculty Service Award
Dr. Kevin J. Ayotte (Communication) has been at Fresno State since 2002. Notable among his accomplishments in faculty service is his work on the Accessible Technology Initiative overseeing the University’s compliance with disability laws. He also has been active in communications organizations, and as chair of the Academic Senate is heavily involved in shared governance and believes one of his key strengths is his knowledge of public argument and policy deliberation. As vice chair in 2011, he was responsible for planning the Critical and Cultural Studies Division’s portion of the program at the 2011 NCA Convention.

Faculty Service Award
Dr. Kathryn Forbes (Women’s Studies) has been at Fresno State since 2000. She parlays her anthropological expertise of institutional cultures into practical local applications. Her research publications range from topics like service-learning, sexual assault, West Fresno housing rights and university sexual harassment policies. She has built a foundation of service to help transform the University’s culture to be more responsive to contemporary human needs. At the core of all of her courses is an invitation to her students to take what they are learning and serve their own communities.

Research, Scholarship or Creative Accomplishment Award

Dr. Kenneth D. Froelich (Music) has been at Fresno State since 2005. He established an international reputation as a composer of contemporary classical concert music. He has crafted 32 creative works since he came to Fresno State, performed by artists such as the Empyrean Ensemble, Du046, the United States Air Force Brass in Blue, Brave New Works and Conundrum. His works have been presented in 13 countries at more than 93 concerts. In 2007 he was the recipient of the Percussive Arts Society Composers Competition. He also was chosen to participate in a program run by the League of American Orchestras. He was a semifinalist for the 2014 American Prize in Music Composition.

Innovation Award

Dr. Eric Person (Chemistry) has been at Fresno State since 2005. He led numerous initiatives that benefit hundreds of students every semester. He is credited with being responsible for two components of the Chemistry Department’s curriculum that are now established as signature, flagship elements — Chem 106 and Chem 106S. He also proposed, designed and implemented the department’s Honors Program, a two-year, four-course program that focuses on developing research skills and service-learning. He made innovations that led to two peer-reviewed journal articles in the “Journal of Chemical Education.”


Promising New Faculty Awards

Dr. Monique L. Bell (Marketing) has been at Fresno State since 2013. She incorporated service-learning into the entry-level marketing course, requiring students to apply marketing concepts to assist nonprofits in the community. She follows a teaching philosophy of collaborative and experiential learning in which students take an active “hands-on” role in their educational experience.

Dr. Mara Brady (Earth and Environmental Sciences) has been at Fresno State since 2012. She cultivates an active learning environment and has participated in three different faculty learning communities (Learner-Centered Teaching, Metacognition and Reading About Water) and has incorporated these learning experiences into her pedagogical and curricular decisions.

Dr. Lori Clune (History) has been at Fresno State since 2001. She has worked to build the University’s relationships with local school districts, especially regarding credentialing. She has presented papers at a number of education conferences and actively is involved with changing pedagogy strategies.

Dr. Frederick L. Nelson (Curriculum and Instruction) has been at Fresno State since 2012. His work in science education, teacher reflection and interdisciplinary teaching of science have led to five publications and submissions, 29 scholarly presentations, 18 other presentations and service contributions of significant impact.

Jes Therkelsen (Mass Communication and Journalism) has been at Fresno State since 2012. He is credited with revitalizing the photojournalism curriculum, and his documentaries are winning placement in peer-reviewed film festivals across the country. He successfully intersects teaching, research and service to community engagement.

Dr. Pei Xu (Agricultural Business) has been at Fresno State since 2012. She has explored a number of service opportunities that allow her students to have the best possible service-learning experience while giving her community partners the most from the students’ contributions. In the past four years, she has published 18 peer-reviewed research articles in well-respected journals.