TURLOCK – Theatre Professor Jerome (Jere) O’Donnell, who has directed and acted in many stage productions during his 23 years with the faculty, has been named recipient of the Outstanding Professor Award at California State University, Stanislaus. Joining him in the annual awards spotlight are Harold Stanislaw of Psychology/Child Development, Outstanding Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Professor; and Steven Filling of Acounting & Finance, Outstanding Community Service Professor.
Two other faculty award recipients have also been announced. Professor Mark Thompson, Chair of the English Department, is the winner of the first Outstanding Service in Faculty Governance Award, and Anthropology/Geography Professor Ellen Bell is the Elizabeth Anne B. Papageorge Faculty Development Award recipient.
All of the award recipients will receive their awards at the University’s Faculty Recognition Reception at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6 in the Faculty Development Center.
O’Donnell, who joined the faculty in 1986 after starting off his career as a professional actor, vocal coach, and director, said he is honored at being one of the first faculty members from the performing and fine arts to receive the award. O’Donnell and his wife, Patricia, who is also a member of the University’s Theatre faculty, are active members of the regional performing arts scene.
O’Donnell has directed more than 60 productions and performed in 10. Five of them have been selected as Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region Eight finalist productions. O’Donnell has twice received the Region Eight “Excellence in Theatre Education Award” and has also been a recipient of a Certificate of Honor for “Excellence in Performing Arts” from the Stanislaus County Arts Council.
More than 2,500 students have passed through O’Donnell’s classes and productions at CSU Stanislaus, motivated by his passion for theatre and ability to bring out their best performances. A number of his students have gone on to success in professional theatre careers all over the country while many others have become high school and community college teachers. Gifted with a rich baritone voice, O’Donnell has served as emcee at the University’s annual Fantastic Fourth celebration and has announced student names at commencement programs for many years.
A former aerospace engineer and consultant to various government agencies and utility companies, Stanislaw has a self-admitted love for research on a variety of topics. His research projects have attracted more than $700,000 in grant funding for CSU Stanislaus. That work has included co-authored nationally-acclaimed studies on medical research regarding diabetes detection in pregnant mothers and birth weight processes and a team study on autism treatment methods. Stanislaw’s other research has covered topics such as the skill levels and needs of California’s developmentally disabled population, preparing children for school, factors affecting traffic safety, mathematical issues underlying signal detection theory, and the effects of dividing attention between vision and hearing.
Stanislaw, who joined the University faculty in 1996, was one of three CSU Stanislaus faculty who conducted a three-day workshop in January at Phranakhon Rajabhat University in Bangkok, Thailand, on how to publish research. CSU Stanislaus has a professional development partnership relationship with the Thai university that allows for faculty exchange visits between the two campuses.
Filling, a member of the CSU Stanislaus faculty since 1994 and a former Speaker of the University’s Academic Senate, has been recognized for his commitment to developing students as engaged and compassionate citizens. By including community service in his class coursework, Filling gets them involved in projects and initiatives that address the plight of the homeless, income tax assistance for low-income individuals and families, and the United Samaritans’ efforts to feed the hungry.
Thompson, who came to CSU Stanislaus from the University of Oklahoma in 1986 and has served as Speaker of the Academic Senate twice, has been cited for his devotion to faculty involvement in the management of the University and the support of his faculty colleagues. Having served in a number of leadership positions at both the state and campus level, Thompson has spearheaded a number of key projects and initiatives. They include his work on academic standards, facilitating graduation, intellectual property rights, the lower division transfer program, and the role of remediation in the CSU system. Thompson has also demonstrated strong commitment to faculty topics such as retention, promotion, tenure, and the assessment of student learning.
Bell, in her second year at CSU Stanislaus, has been recognized for her outstanding achievement as a new faculty member. Having actively researched archeological Mayan sites in Honduras for nearly 20 years, Bell has brought an enthusiasm to the classroom and to her student club advisor role that has stirred interest in students. Her “On the Edge of the Maya World” project has involved CSU Stanislaus students, and she has pioneered a program involving local residents in archeological research.