The Faculty Senate honored three faculty members at an April 4 luncheon for their contributions to their fields, the University and the community. Each received a $1,000 cash award and a plaque commemorating their achievements.
Lifetime Achievement Award
It is hard to capture Dr. Robert Boughton’s overall record of achievement “because of its breadth and length,” said Dr. John Laird, chair of the physics and astronomy department and one of Boughton’s nominators for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Strong in teaching, administration and research, Boughton has earned the respect of students and colleagues at BGSU and statewide. During the 20 years he was physics and astronomy chair, with excellent evaluations from faculty every year, he saw the number of undergraduate and graduate students each quadruple. He helped shape the research focus of the department, which led to an increase in external funding from near zero to over $1 million a year. He developed a cooperative Ph.D. program with the University of Toledo; directed the construction of the planetarium and other spaces in the Physical Sciences Building and Overman Hall, and redesigned the physics master of arts in teaching program, “which is directing commuter students from as far away as Cleveland and Columbus,” Laird wrote. “It is safe to say that Bob’s leadership has dramatically improved every area of the department’s activity.”
According to Dr. Lewis Fulcher, physics and astronomy, “It would be difficult to overstate his impact on the quality of instruction at both the graduate and undergraduate levels or to exaggerate the role he has played in creating an environment where the serious pursuit of research and scholarly knowledge is not only encouraged, but is expected.”
In conjunction with the curriculum committee, Boughton carried out an overhaul of the department’s introductory courses and, to insure that the lab component complemented the classroom curriculum, wrote three new lab manuals. He was instrumental in securing funding to implement computer-based data collection, “which is now the norm in most of our undergraduate laboratory experiments,” Fulcher said. Teaching the affected classes, he added, has become “much easier because of Bob’s careful attention to all the details required to move our introductory labs to computer-based experimentation and how much the students have benefited from their experience in these labs.”
Boughton’s service to the University is extensive, and includes his year as chair of Faculty Senate in 2005-06. He has also been president and a member of the executive committee of the Ohio Section of the American Physical Society, and a reviewer on National Science Foundation panels for materials research. The esteem in which he is held by his peers was demonstrated when he was elected, by participants that included six Ohio Eminent Scholars, as director of the Ohio Materials Network for 10 years.
“Since his arrival at Bowling Green, he has published 30 articles in first-tier refereed journals,” wrote Fulcher. “Ten of these have appeared in the last two years, attesting to his continued intellectual vitality. … In his capacity as director of the Center for Materials Research (here) and the director of the Materials Network (statewide), he has been a co-principal investigator for research equipment grants totaling more than $4 million from the National Science Foundation and the Ohio Board of Regents. These grants have strengthened research in the structure of materials and their applications at Bowling Green and throughout the state of Ohio.”
Of Boughton’s administrative abilities, Fulcher said, “Bob’s willingness to address tough issues has been an important element in his successful service as an administrator, and his tactful approach has helped him to be effective in many challenging situations where diplomacy was absolutely essential.” Dr. David Newman, an emeritus professor of chemistry, former Faculty Senate chair and a past collaborator of Boughton’s, wrote, “During his tenure as chair of Faculty Senate, I can say with great certainty that he did an exemplary job of representing the faculty’s interests while adhering to the tenets of University governance as spelled out in the Faculty Charter. This is not always easy to do.”
Recognition for Chair/School/Director Leadership
For re-energizing the Department of Journalism and for her dedication to quality in all aspects of the job, Dr. Terry Rentner was nominated by her faculty and chosen by the senate to receive the Recognition for Chair/School/Director Leadership.
Rentner, who began teaching at BGSU in 1987, became chair of the department in 2004, at a time when the School of Communication Studies was undergoing reorganization and change. Since then, she has undertaken a number of initiatives to elevate the department on several levels, benefiting students and faculty alike. In her first year as chair, she took the department from provisional to full accreditation with the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, pointed out nominator Dr. Nancy Brendlinger.
“Dr. Rentner performs extremely well at both the practical and visionary levels,” wrote nominator Dr. James Foust.
She has renewed ties with alumni and reinvigorated the alumni advisory board, which has resulted in, among other developments, a scholarship provided by a recent alumna and a five-week seminar on writing taught by a panel of alumni, as well as a sharp increase in donations from alumni. “The energy in this effort is palpable,” wrote nominator Dr. Victoria Ekstrand.
Through cultivating ties with the professional media, she has also arranged for additional opportunities for students and faculty, from attending conferences and other professional development activities to student internships and donations of classroom equipment. Bringing in guest speakers and arranging for professional television consultants to work with the student-run TV news program are other examples of her efforts to enhance the experience and education of students.
Rentner got high marks from faculty for her administrative abilities. “She is extremely efficient at ‘making trains run on time,’” wrote Foust, and knows when faculty input is important and when it is better to simply handle something without burdening faculty. “From the big projects—like working with me to get a grant to study media piracy issues on campus—to the small but critical aspects of academic life—such as reducing our advising load and working to control a smaller school’s burden of heavy service loads—Terry has been a true professional and a positive force in the department and the field,” wrote Ekstrand.
She also is an “unfailing ally” to faculty in their pursuit of tenure and promotion, wrote Dr. Katherine Bradshaw. “From the time she became chair, I believed that my tenure was at the top of her agenda.”
Rentner “provides a role model to her colleagues,” added Brendlinger, as an “excellent teacher at the graduate and undergraduate levels,” advising the BGSU chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, and continuing “full tilt” her research on binge drinking, which has been used by other schools nationwide.
Her nominators noted that she conducts her duties cheerfully and even-temperedly, providing support and encouragement to all. “I couldn’t ask for a better boss or a better colleague,” Brendlinger summed up.
Recognition for Community Involvement
From the Catholic Diocese of Toledo to the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio to the Dana Corp., Dr. Steven Cady, management, has helped people bring about change in their organizations. For his longtime commitment to outreach, Cady received the Recognition for Community Involvement.
Nominated by BGSU and community members, Cady was cited for the time and expertise he provides, often free of charge, helping organizations define their vision, identify and crystallize their goals, and devise an effective plan for meeting those goals. “Dedication,” “patience” and “enthusiasm” were words frequently used by his nominators to describe his personal qualities.
As an expert in large-scale change, his method always involves including as many of the stakeholders as possible. In that vein, Gus Franklin, former head of the board of regents for Dana Corp.’s in-house university and a member of Dana’s Policy Committee, with whom Cady worked on several projects, said “the number-one takeaway for me was how invaluable it is to involve as many of the key constituents as possible in the change process.
“What has always impressed me most about Steve is how inclusive and nonjudgmental he is regardless of the circumstances. His goal is always the team’s goal.”
Echoing that sentiment was Michael Kahle, director of planning and program development for the office on aging, which Cady guided through two processes. With the help of his students, Cady was able to work with a group of more than 100 stakeholders, “each with different missions and goals,” Kahle said, to arrive at shared decisions.
“Dr. Cady’s service to our agency and northwest Ohio’s burgeoning senior population is having a continuous, measurable impact on our day-to-day operations,” Kahle added. “It also keeps us mindful of the need to constantly reevaluate our products and methods and the direction and organization of our agency.”
Cady is interested in helping people worldwide achieve lasting, positive change. He is co-author of The Change Handbook, which evaluates more than 60 methods for creating large-scale change currently in use around the world, and recently organized an international conference at BGSU called Nexus for Change, attended by over 300 people, including the creators of many of the methods. The event served to “bring greater coherence” to the discipline of organization development, wrote Dr. James McFillen, director of the master of organization Development Program, and to “help focus that discipline on solving significant organizational and community problems.”