Firestone named President's Distinguished Scholar; Buffington, Barton also win FHSU faculty awards

HAYS, KS -- Dr. Ruth Firestone, professor of modern languages, was introduced this morning as the President's Distinguished Scholar for 2000-2001 during the annual General Meeting for Faculty and Administration at Fort Hays State University.
Firestone is also chair of the Department of Modern Languages.

University President Edward H. Hammond announced the award.

Also during this morning's program, Dr. Gavin Buffington, assistant professor of physics, was named Teacher/Scholar/Innovator of the Year and Sharon Barton, associate professor of teacher education, was named Faculty Advisor of the Year.

Firestone was a professor of German and chair of the Department of German and Slavic Studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia, before joining the FHSU faculty in 1986. She received her A.B. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1959. Her M.A., in 1965, and her Ph.D., 1965, were both in German and were both earned at the University of Colorado.

During her career she was an assistant professor at Otterbein College from 1969 to 1970 before moving to the University of Missouri. There, between 1970 and 1986, she moved up the academic ranks from assistant professor to associate professor and departmental chair.

Nominees for the President's Distinguished Scholar are evaluated for their performance in service and instruction, but the primary focus is placed on their research and creative activities.

Firestone's research is in medieval German literature, primarily secular narratives from about 1180 to 1600. Her work focuses on two areas -- the structure, style and history of the literature and the study of how the moral-philosophical works help give Christian moral sense to heroic epics and courtly romances.

The Distinguished Scholar Award, first given in 1989, carries a $1,000 prize and the recipient delivers a lecture at the Honors Convocation in October. The date for this year's convocation has not been set.

Buffington, named as the Teacher/Scholar/Innovator, won the December 1999 award as Outstanding Mediated Classroom Teacher. That award qualified him as a finalist for the annual Teacher/Scholar/Innovator Award. The finalists include the monthly winners of the Outstanding Teaching Innovation Award and the Mediated Classroom Teacher Award from the previous academic year.

The T/S/I award is given on the basis of outstanding ability in the classroom, continued progress and involvement in scholarly activities, integration of technology in teaching and scholarship, integration of research or scholarly activities, and effective involvement of students in scholarly activities. The award also carries a check for $200.

Buffington came to FHSU in 1997 from the University of Missouri-Rolla, where he earned his Ph.D. in physics. He also holds a B.S. and M.S. in physics, both from Pittsburg State University.

Among Buffington's innovations are web pages he has created for each of his classes. Each page includes links to the instructor and to other students in the class.

Barton, Faculty Advisor of the Year, came to FHSU in 1966. She earned her B.A. in business education from Wayne State College, NE, and a master's degree in secondary education from the University of Nebraska. She also taught business and German in high school in Arapahoe, NE.

The advisor award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of on- and off-campus students. Commerce Bank and the Office of the Provost sponsor the award, which carries a cash prize of $500.

Each of FHSU's four colleges -- Arts and Sciences, Business and Leadership, Education and Health and Life Sciences -- recognizes its own Advisor of the Year, and those four faculty members are finalists for the university-wide award. Besides Barton, from the College of Education, this year's finalists were Rose Arnhold, associate professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Sociology and Social Work, from the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Tom Johansen, associate professor of economics and finance, from the College of Business and Leadership; and Jo Ann Doan, assistant professor of nursing, from the College of Health and Life Sciences.

The advisor of the year will also be nominated for the National Academic Advising Association Award.

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