Geluso, Luscher, Crow receive prestigious Pratt-Heins Awards

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney professors Keith Geluso, Robert Luscher and Sherry Crow received the prestigious Pratt-Heins Faculty Awards on Aug. 21 during the Faculty/Staff Convocation.

For more than 30 years, the Pratt-Heins Foundation has recognized UNK faculty members for their outstanding contributions in the categories of teaching, service and scholarship, and research.

Keith Geluso
Keith Geluso

Geluso, a biology professor, received the Pratt-Heins Foundation Scholarship and Research Award.

The award is based on evidence of the consistent production of original work in the nominee’s discipline. Each nominee submits a list of research documents and publications, evaluations from individuals qualified to evaluate the scholarship and research of the nominee, and administrative evaluations from the department chair and dean.

Geluso joined the UNK faculty in 2006. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of New Mexico, his master’s degree from the University of Nevada and his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico.

Since coming to UNK he has mentored over 20 undergraduate and four graduate students resulting in 77 publications. He has also secured almost $500,000 in research funding. He has averaged over six peer-reviewed publications per year and has served on numerous panels and as a peer-reviewer and editor for a number of journals.

Geluso has collaborated with researchers worldwide including Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Texas, Germany, France and the Netherlands. His research has been on mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and bats.

Robert Luscher
Robert Luscher

Luscher wins service award

Luscher, a professor of English, received the Pratt-Heins Foundation Service Award.

Selection for the award is based on evidence of consistent outstanding service to UNK students, the university and to education and peer evaluations.

Luscher joined the UNK faculty in 1995 and served as the chair of his department from 1995 to 2000.

Since 2008, he has served as the faculty director for the Thompson Scholars Learning Community. During that time the program has achieved high retention rates, above average student GPA, high student engagement, and enrollment is at an all-time high.

He has been an advisor to the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society since 1998 and was presented with its Distinguished Service Award at the national conference in 2012.

Luscher has served on UNK’s sustainability committee, commencement committee, UNK Education Association, First Year Program review team, strategic planning committee and graduate council committee.

He is an editorial board member for the John Updike Review, and he served on the boards for the Journal of the Short Story in English and Studies in Short Fiction. He has also served many years as a board member of the Kearney Area Arts Council, Kids Fine Arts Day, Uptown Arts Festival and many other local events and organizations.

Sherry Crow
Sherry Crow

Crow wins teaching award

Crow, a professor of teacher education, received the Pratt-Heins Foundation Teaching Award.

Crow came to UNK in 2006. She earned her bachelor of science degree from Fort Hays State University, her master’s degree from Brigham Young University and her Ph.D. from Emporia State University.

Selection for the award is based on peer evaluations from faculty, chair and dean of the nominee’s department and student comments from course evaluations.

During her teaching career, her student evaluations average 4.9 out of 5.0. She is an exceptional innovator in the classroom, creating rich learning environments especially with her online courses.

She was awarded the College of Education Outstanding Teaching Award in 2010-11. She also led the effort to seek and acquire national recognition for UNK’s school librarian graduate program in 2013.

Crow recently delivered 500 books to a school of orphans in Kampala, Uganda.

Don Wellensiek
Heidi Haussermann
Heidi Haussermann
Toby Badura
Toby Badura
Jeremy Dillon
Jeremy Dillon

SAFE Awards for Excellence

Staff Awards for Excellence (SAFE) were also presented at the convocation. SAFE Awards are presented annually to honor UNK staff members for outstanding service to students, UNK and education in general.

The awards are sponsored by Fidelity Investments.

Recipients of the SAFE Awards were Heidi Haussermann, assistant director of client services for Information Technology Services, and Toby Badura, utility operations manager.

A third SAFE Award, made possible by the Jim and Lynn Rundstrom Family Foundation Fund, was awarded to Don Wellensiek, event team leader for Facilities Management and Planning.

Each recipient is awarded a plaque and $1,000.

Faculty Senate also presented The David Stevenson Award to Jeremy Dillon in recognition of outstanding service to Faculty Senate. Dillon is professor of sociology, geography and earth sciences.


Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529,

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