Faculty Accolades

David Dial Receives 2020 Trumbo Award for Excellence in Teaching

The 2020 Marcus and Mark H. Trumbo Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s most prestigious faculty recognition, went to David Dial, associate professor and chair of criminal justice.

Dial was lauded as “an exceptional teacher, skilled department chair, powerful advocate for students, and enthusiastic campus citizen.” The adjectives that students and fellow faculty members invoked in the nomination process to describe Dial were “caring,” “passionate,” “dedicated,” and “knowledgeable.”

Dial arrived at Aurora University in 2012, after a career in law enforcement. He served as Naperville police chief for more than two decades, and before that was honored for distinguished service as a commissioned officer in Vietnam.

Since its inception in 1976, the Trumbo Award has served to recognize the finest work of full-time AU faculty in their roles as teachers, mentors, and scholars.

Faith Agostinone Wilson, professor of education, and Keith Herrmann, assistant professor of physical education, presented a development session to AU faculty titled “Student Engagement on the Ground and in Space.” They shared research data and anecdotal stories on how creating student rapport helps engagement and content delivery while teaching in a remote or a face-to-face environment.

Chris Bruhn, associate professor of social work, was appointed to the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation for a three-year term. She was instrumental in renewing AU’s partnership with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and is assisting with the evaluation of its Youth Engagement in Philanthropy program for a second year.

Carlos Estrada, assistant professor of exercise science, published “Does strict validation criteria for individual motor units alter population-based regression models of the motor unit pool?” in the publication Experimental Brain Research.

Kara Fenne, assistant professor of nursing, received the 2020 Meritorious Faculty Award from the Aurora University Students’ Association. Fenne was cited as an “outstanding professor” for her countless hours of dedicated work on behalf of nursing students and for her efforts to ensure that students are involved leaders in the community.

Lisa Fredenburgh, who is the Parolini distinguished professor of music, director of choral activities, and chair of the music department, was named the president-elect of the Illinois American Choral Directors Association. In her new role, Fredenburgh will work to foster excellence in choral conducting across the state while raising AU’s visibility among high school music programs and prospective AU music students.

Gregory Goalwin, assistant professor of sociology, had his book, “Borders of Belief: Religious Nationalism and the Formation of Identity in Ireland and Turkey,” accepted for publication by Rutgers University Press. The book is based on his dissertation. Goalwin received his PhD in sociology from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Ashley Harris, assistant professor of athletic training and clinical education coordinator, published “Patient perceptions in receiving LGBTQIA culturally competent healthcare” in the Oklahoma State Medical Proceedings, an online open-access peer-reviewed journal.

Denise Hatcher, professor of Spanish and chair of foreign languages, published the Spanish readers and teacher’s guides “El Primer Trabajo de Nayeli” (“Nayeli’s First Job”) and “La Quinceañera de Nayeli” (“Nayeli’s Quinceanera”) with Teacher’s Discovery, one of the largest suppliers of classroom teaching materials in the U.S.

Jessica Heybach, professor of education and chair of the EdD program, was awarded a 2021 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award for “Making Sense of Race in Education: Practices for Change in Difficult Times,” coauthored with Professor Sheron Fraser-Burgess of Ball State University. The book takes a fresh look at the issue of race in American schools.

James Kao, associate professor of art, exhibited his paintings and drawings in the show “A Mirror, A Dish, A Window” at Goldfinch gallery in Chicago this past fall. He was one of six artists exploring the intimate landscape of interior space.

John McCormack, assistant professor of religion, received a Racial Equity and Interfaith Cooperation Award from Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on religious diversity in higher education. He will use the grant to redesign the undergraduate religion course titled Jesus: Faith, Identity, and Power. His chapter, “Pinkman’s Progress: Allegory and Augustinianism from ABQ to Alaska,” was accepted for an edited volume, “Theology and Breaking Bad,” to appear in 2022.