By TODD GOTTULA
KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney biology professor Julie Shaffer was presented the 2014 Leland Holdt/Security Mutual Life Distinguished Faculty Award during winter commencement ceremonies Friday.
Shaffer joined the UNK faculty in 1999 and is a previous recipient of the Pratt-Heins Faculty Award for Teaching.
“Her teaching evaluation summary scores are consistently top-level and are accompanied by many comments regarding her knowledge of subject and her caring disposition,” Chancellor Doug Kristensen said when presenting the award.
Kristensen noted that many past students credit Shaffer for the significant impact she made on both their college and post-college careers. “She is a highly sought after research mentor, and international students seek her out because of her well-earned reputation for being patient, caring and fun.”
UNK’s most prestigious faculty award, the Leland Holdt/Security Mutual Life award recognizes an outstanding teacher/scholar for achievements that bring substantial credit to the university. The activity areas considered include teaching, research and service, with preference given to candidates who demonstrate high accomplishments in all three areas.
The award honors alumnus Leland Holdt and commemorates his many years of leadership at Security Mutual Life. Shaffer received a $5,000 stipend.
In addition to her work in the classroom, Shaffer has been instrumental in revising her department’s undergraduate and graduate program curriculums while creating several courses in her area of expertise. In the area of research, her involvement with the Institutional Development Awards Network of Biomedical Research Excellence grant stands out, Kristensen said.
“She is described as a ‘pioneer of this program,’ and since its beginning it has resulted in more than $3.3 million in funding that has come to UNK to assist in training undergraduates in biomedical research,” he said.
Shaffer also was recognized for serving on hiring committees and Academic Program Review committees in other departments.
Kristensen called Shaffer the “go-to person for any task that her department wants to undertake. Service is part of who she is. Her colleagues say she never says ‘no’ – yet never fails to maintain the highest standards in the classroom and laboratory.”
PAST WINNERS – HOLDT/SECURITY MUTUAL LIFE AWARD
1998 – Charles Bicak, Biology; James Gilbert, Criminal Justice
1999 – Peter Longo, Political Science
2000 – Donald Envick, Industrial Technology
2001 – Ed Scantling, Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Leisure Studies
2002 – Susanne Bloomfield, English
2003 – Kathryn Benzel, English
2004 – Harold Nagel, Biology
2005 – Charles Peek, English
2006 – Richard Miller, Psychology; Max McFarland, Counseling and School Psychology
2007 – Don Kaufman, Chemistry
2008 – Ronald Crocker, Music and Performing Arts
2009 – Phyllis Markussen, Family Studies and Interior Design
2010 – Christopher Exstrom, Chemistry
2011 – Dennis Potthoff, Teacher Education
2012 – Linda Crowe, Communication Disorders
2013 – Valerie Cisler, Music and Performing Arts
Writer: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454, email@example.com