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Honors Professor of the Year

2013 Recipient - Dr. Ruth Owens

Ruth Owens Portrait

Dr. Ruth Owens is an Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages & Cultures, College of Humanities & Social Sciences. Dr. Owens teaches Honors Spanish courses.

Quotes from student nominations:

"I’ve taken three courses with this professor, only one of which was in a formal academic setting.  In serving as my advisor for Honors Independent Study and Honors Senior Thesis, this professor proved to be just as genial and conscientious outside the classroom.  Discussing my ever-evolving thesis, whether in an office, through email, or even at Petco, was truly a pleasure, not only because of this professor’s receptiveness to new ideas, but also because of this person’s subtle sense of humor that made this incredibly daunting task seem less austere.  The reality of college, I’ve discovered, is that one’s expectations are often challenged upon entering its environs; many professors exceed these expectations by furnishing a novel or exceptionally effective method of instruction.  Undoubtedly, this professor has exceeded my expectations.  From rescheduling committee meetings due to my slow writing process to digitizing films loaned from all over the United States, this professor displayed a commitment shared by few.  I feel certain the experience this professor facilitated in the course of my senior thesis must reflect that which was envisioned by the Honors College itself."

"Though I have only known this professor for a few short months, this person has proved to be an extremely intelligent, helpful, and concerned individual.  Not only is this professor very knowledgeable in their discipline, but is also a great mentor to many students.  This professor puts forth every effort to ensure everyone in the class has an equal opportunity to succeed.  In the classroom, this professor provides an active learning environment that caters to all learning styles, and is genuinely concerned that students learn beyond the required objectives of the class."

"I first met this professor at Honors Reception Day when I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go to college or what I wanted to do.  She ate lunch with my family and told about the Honors Class she was teaching in the Fall.  She was extremely nice and afterward I was determined to sign up for her class.  Now, a year later, I have had two Honors Spanish Classes.  You can tell from being in her class that she absolutely loves teaching Spanish and she has encouraged me to want to minor in Spanish.  This summer I am traveling to Costa Rica with this professor and 10 other ASU students for an entire month.  From responding to all of my mom’s questioning and worrisome emails about Costa Rica to encouraging her students to do their best every day, this professor is always there in support of her students."

"Dr. Owens deserves to be the Honors Professor of the Year because she is an amazing professor who truly cares about her students.  She knows all of her students by name and she wants them to learn.  Dr. Owens is the only professor I know that will bring her entire set of kitchen utensils and dishes to class so her students can pretend like they’re cooking Spanish food.  It shows how far she will go to help us learn our Spanish and have fun doing it.  She even brought a suitcase full of clothes for us during our shopping unit so we could practice using our Spanish for bartering.  I’ve had Dr. Owens for a full year now and I know she will do anything for her students.  She is most deserving of this award!"

Nominees for the 2013 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Alyson Gill (Art History), Dr. Glinda Hall (English), Dr. Joseph Key (History), Ms. Hanne Pardos (World Languages & Cultures), Dr. Melodie Philhours (Marketing), Dr. Thomas Risch (Biology), Dr. Rollin Tusalem (Politcal Science) 

2012 Recipient - Linda Clark

Linda Clark Portrait

Linda Clark is an Assistant Professor in the Deprtment of Commuications Studies, College of Communications. Ms. Clark teaches Honors Oral Communications every semester.

Quotes from student nominations:

"This professor was so enthusiastic and fun! She challenged my thinking."

"She's funny and knows how to make learning enjoyable. She's a great teacher."

"I loved being in this professor's class in the fall.  It has been one of my favorite classes throughout the year."

"Ms. Clark has been such an inspiration to me, even though I am now out of her class. She taught me how to speak in front of an audience, whether it is my peers or people I don’t know. She taught us in a way that was fun, not like other classes that are taught in a formal manner. She gave examples of how we should speak on certain topics by choosing and sharing information about her, letting us get to know the real Ms. Clark.  She always went over the time limit, setting a pretty bad example in that area, but she always made up for it with her humor and suspense. If it weren’t for her, I would not have been able to stand in front of over 450 guests at Honors Reception Day and speak. I truly appreciate her and her class, and she helped to make my first semester at ASU a blast!"

"Her class is the type of class you actually WANT to wake up early in the morning and go to.  I always found myself looking foward to Tuesday's and Thursday's.  She is willing to work with any student she has and even adjusts her teaching style along the way based on her students' suggestions and requests.  Also, in my situaiton as a quadriplegic, she adjusted the group projects so I wouldn't feel left out.  She edited the tests so I could take them with the class instead of being the "outcast" and having to take them at disability services.  She is the most down to earth teacher I've ever met. And she uses a teaching style I describe as a "headfake" of sorts.  She makes her class fun, and in the process, you learn everything she intends for you to learn without ever realizing it.  That, I believe, for a teacher, is the ultimate headfake.

Nominees for the 2012 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Eric Cave (Philosophy), Prof. Linda Clark (Communication Studies), Dr. Hans Hacker (Political Science),Dr. Cyndy Hendershot (English), Dr. Dixie Keyes (Teacher Education), Dr. Suzanne Melescue (Mathematics), Dr. Clint Relyea (Management), Dr. Paul Sikkel (Biology), Dr. Dale Thomas (Political Science), Dr. Steven Weimer (Philosophy), Dr. Jack Zibluk (Journalism)

 2011 Recipient - Dr. Allyn Ontko

Allyn Ontko Portrait

 Dr. Al Ontko is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Physics, College of Sciences & Mathematics.  Dr. Ontko has taught several different chemistry courses for the Honors College. 

Quotes from student nominations:

"He is an amazing professor. He cares immensely and he expects his students to care. He only wants us to succeed in anyway that we wish to grow. He is a one of a kind professor that deserves recognition for the encouragement he provides his students."

"He really goes out of his way to make sure that he does all he can for his students."

"He is an amazing teacher who honestly cares whether we pass or fail. He gives his whole heart to his job. That alone makes him, in my mind, Honors Professor of the Year 2011."

"He focuses on our careers and tries to help us be more prepared for what we will face in the future. Overall great man."

"Honors Chemistry was an amazing class. He really works with the students to help them out and I respect that a lot!  While I do not have an A in his class right now, I will gladly earn the B in his class over an A in another class that might not challenge me as much."

"Dr. Ontko elevated the lessons in class to a higher level of thinking that took us deeper into conversation and really spiked interest in the real world applications of this subject matter. He was always present and prepared for class, and also available by email or in his office during convenient times. He went to the trouble to bring in demonstrations of material in lab experiments, that explained the topics in a visual sense."

Nominees for the 2011 Honors Professor of the Year: Prof. Jason Causey (Computer Science), Dr. Cyndy Hendershot (English), Dr. George Horneker (English), Dr. Veena Kulkarni (Sociology), Dr. Mark Lewis (Business Law),Dr. Suzanne Melescue (Mathematics), Dr. Jie Miao (Mathematics), Dr. Allyn Ontko (Chemistry), Dr. Robert Schroer (Philosophy), Dr. Dale Thomas (Political Science), Dr. Marcus Tribbett (English)

 2010 Recipient - Dr. Joe Bonner

Joe Bonner Portrait

Joe Bonner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music, College of Fine Arts.  Dr. Bonner teaches Honors Fine Arts Musical.

Quotes from student nominations:

"I was a little nervous entering the class because I was not well-rounded in his subject, but he made it a great experience. I feel much more confident in discussing music and its form. He taught the class in such a way that the students learn without realizing it. That's amazing!"

"Great professor who challenges students to think about music in new ways along with the historical setting of the music."

"We learned a lot about music and how it has evolved over the years. It was very evident that he loves what he does as a teacher and musician."

"I absolutely loved this class. He did a wonderful job teaching and engaging the class in the topic discussions. The professor allowed us to learn without us realizing it; that takes talent."

"Professor Bonner is very enthusiastic and loves his students. He encourages discussion of different opinions, and he connects with the students unlike any other teacher on campus."

"Professor Joe Bonner is one of the most enlightening teachers I have ever come across. He really knows his subject and is a pleasure to be taught by."

"Professor Bonner is amazing. He made the class so interesting; the only thing I regret about Honors Fine Arts Musical is that I can't take it again. His knowledge of so many different areas of music is outstanding, and he knows how to keep us interested. My musical tastes have broadened thanks to him, and I listen to music in a totally different way than I used to."

"Professor Bonner makes learning an extraordinary journey. He deserves this award more so than any other professor I have been taught by.

Nominees for the 2010 Honors Professor of the Year: Dr. Ellis Benjamin (Chemistry), Dr. Joe Bonner (Music), Dr. Cyndy Hendershot (English)