Ann Tillery

The Pratt-Heins Foundation Faculty Awards were announced at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Faculty/Staff Opening Convocation on Aug. 22 by Tom Tye, trustee of the Pratt-Heins Foundation.  Since 1981, the Pratt-Heins Foundation has recognized outstanding members of the university faculty based on their contributions in the areas of Scholarship and Research, Service and Teaching.  This years awards did not include a recipient in the category for service.

For the third time in the history of the awards, two faculty members were chosen for the Scholarship and Research award.  Dr. Wyatt Hoback, assistant professor of biology was the first recipient of the Pratt-Heins Scholarship and Research Award.  According to Tye, Hoback “has made tremendous contributions to UNK and distinguished himself with an incredible volume and caliber of scholarly works.”

Hoback was recognized during the awards event for his 27 peer-reviewed publications, 20 international research publications, over 200 reprint requests and invitations to present nationally and in Brazil and Russia.  Another major accomplishment is Hoback’s accumulation of over $350,000 in grant acquisitions to further the scholarly mission of the Biology Department, its faculty and students.  The greatest achievement Tye spoke of was Dr. Hoback’s graduate faculty fellow status.  “The University of Nebraska system, it its entire history, has only had one other fellow in biology,” Tye said.

Charles Fort, distinguished professor of English, also received the Scholarship and Research Award.   Fort currently holds the Reynolds Chair in Poetry at UNK and has received several major literary awards from the Poetry Society of America, Writer’s Choice, The Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize, The Mary Carolyn Davis Memorial Award and the Writer’s Voice Poetry Award. Fort has had over 100 of his poems published and has been named a Macdowell Fellow.

“He has been described as a true ‘visiting artist’ in that he brings his scholarly and creative work in such a way so as to engage his students as well as exposing them to numerous nationally and internationally known poets, playwrights and screenwriters,” Tye said.

The final award, the Pratt-Heins Foundation Teaching Award, was presented to Dr. Michael Mosher, associate professor of chemistry.  Dr. Mosher is a past recipient of the Scholarship and Research Awards and is now one of only a selected few honorees to have been selected in two categories.

Dr. Mosher has taught over 14 different courses during his tenure at UNK and has received many honors and awards.  He has coordinated the development of the first general capstone course titled “Water Use on the Platte River.”  Dr. Mosher also leads a team from the biology, chemistry, psychology and political science departments in developing interdisciplinary courses using advanced models advocated by the American Association of Colleges and Universities.

According to Tye, “Mosher describes his teaching philosophy as ‘an ongoing negotiation of small changes…it requires someone who talks a little, sets an example, lets others be creative and keeps on prodding and pulling.'”