Cameron University faculty members honored

Cameron University faculty members Dr. Gary Buckley, Dr. Edris Montalvo, Dr. Michelle Smith and Dr. Derik Steyn were honored tonight with awards recognizing their contributions to Cameron’s academic community. Buckley received the Award for Excellence and Innovation in Instructional Technology Integration, Montalvo received the Award for Excellence and Innovation in Scholarship and Artistic Endeavor in the Education Enterprise, Smith received the Award for Excellence and Innovation in University Service, and Steyn received the Bhattacharya Endowed Lectureship for Excellence in Research Award.

PHoto of Faculty Award presentation“The honorees of the 2014 faculty awards have demonstrated their commitment to providing a top-quality education to Cameron students,” says Dr. Ronna Vanderslice, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “They are truly representative of the dedicated educators who make up Cameron’s faculty. We are pleased to recognize Dr. Buckley, Dr. Montalvo, Dr. Smith and Dr. Steyn for their outstanding commitment and contributions to student learning.”

Members of the Cameron faculty nominated their colleagues for the awards. To be eligible, the award recipient must have been employed full-time at Cameron University for at least three years in a position with teaching as the primary responsibility.

Award for Excellence and Innovation in Instructional Technology Integration: Dr. Gary Buckley

The Award for Excellence and Innovation in Instructional Technology Integration recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions in the use of instructional technology to increase student learning. Dr. Gary Buckley, Professor in the Department of Physical Sciences, is the 2014 recipient. The nominator focused on Buckley’s instrumental role in obtaining LabQuest equipment for the department’s chemistry labs. “This equipment has positively impacted our freshman chemistry laboratories as well as the organic chemistry laboratories,” the nominator explained. “With this technology, the students spend less time gathering large amounts of data and much more time analyzing it.”

Buckley has presented workshops and provided individual instruction to ensure that both faculty and students understand how to best utilize the technology to their benefit.

“I’ve always had a natural interest in technology,” Buckley says. “I taught my first online course in 2011, and that was an eye-opening experience as far as learning what Blackboard can do for us and the possibilities that technology can provide. I’ve been involved in a big push in updating our chemistry and physics laboratories to reflect current technology. We want to increase student access to technology and to improve real-time data evaluation by students in a way in which they can obtain high quality data efficiently. This results in a way to provide more opportunities to introduce our students to the ideas of discovery and inquiry.”

Buckley earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with minors in math and biology from Northern Illinois University. He earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in physical chemistry from Texas A&M University. He joined the Cameron faculty in 1986.

Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Artistic Endeavor in the Educational Enterprise: Dr. Edris Montalvo

The Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Artistic Endeavor in the Educational Enterprise recognizes the role of academic scholarship in the educational process and is presented to a Cameron faculty member who has demonstrated leadership in research, scholarly, or artistic activities that are fundamentally a collaborative effort with undergraduate students. This award honors a CU faculty member for not only adding to the store of knowledge in their discipline, but also for doing so in a manner that engages CU undergraduate students in the scholarly process. Dr. Edris Montalvo, Assistant Professor of Geography in the Department of History and Government, is the 2014 recipient.  He was nominated in recognition of his intensive work with six students to prepare four research presentations for the Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in October 2012.

One nominator noted, “The work done by Dr. Montalvo in this particular case went above and beyond the typical faculty role.” After securing funds to underwrite the cost of attending the conference, Montalvo recruited students from across disciplines. “He worked with the students to identify their topics, formulate and test their hypotheses, and finally to put all of it together in poster form to present at the conference.” The nominator stated that Montalvo used his training and research expertise to construct 31 original maps which the students used in the presentations. “The projects were not part of a particular class or course work, so all of the collaboration between Dr. Montalvo and the students took place outside the classroom environment.” Each of the poster presentations was well-received at the conference.

A second nominator wrote, “What is particularly impressive about the overall performance of the students is how much they improved their research and writing skills…They improved quickly solely because of the countless hours Professor Montalvo spent tutoring and mentoring them in his office, in the computer lab and via e-mail. He was the constant amidst a group of diverse students from various majors and with widely divergent skill levels, and he successfully guided all of them through to a rewarding culmination of their efforts in Puerto Rico.”

“I am exceedingly proud of the six students who committed to their research,” Montalvo says. “I am happy that I was able to help provide an opportunity for our students that is not often available or accessible…The true success of this project is measured by the excellent performance of the Cameron University undergraduate researchers who not only exceeded every expectation, but also served as model ambassadors for Cameron University as a whole.”

Montalvo has been a member of the Cameron faculty since August 2010. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and English and a master’s degree in geography from Texas State University, where he also earned a doctorate in geography.

Award for Excellence and Innovation in University Service: Dr. Michelle Smith

The Award for Excellence and Innovation in University Service is recognition for outstanding and sustained contributions in the area of university service to the Cameron University community, the region of Southwest Oklahoma, the state of Oklahoma, and/or the field in which the recipient is active. Dr. Michelle Smith, Associate Professor of Education, is the 2014 recipient. The nominator wrote of Smith’s “demonstrated excellence in service in all areas – university, departmental, professional, and to our community and state.” The nomination stated that Smith is most known for the Kids Investigating and Discovering Science (KIDS) camp, which she has co-coordinated since 2003 and from which many parents and children in southwest Oklahoma have benefited.

Her service to the profession includes being a board member and Professional Development Chair of the Oklahoma Science Teachers’ Association. At the university level, the nominator spoke of Smith’s service on numerous faculty committees, including the Graduate Council and Faculty Senate. Her community involvement includes membership in Delta Kappa Gamma, a professional and service organization for which she has served as president. She has also coordinated judges and served as a judge for countless science fairs over the past 12 years.

Smith is dedicated to providing quality professional development for Cameron students, and she has been instrumental in obtaining grant funding that allows CU education students to attend numerous conferences and workshops.

Smith joined the Cameron faculty in 2000. She is a Cameron alumna, receiving a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She received a master’s degree in psychometry from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Oklahoma State University.

Bhattacharya Endowed Lectureship for Excellence in Research Award: Dr. Derik Steyn

The Bhattacharya Endowed Lectureship for Excellence in Research Award was established in January 2008 by Cameron alumnus Sanjit Bhattacharya to advance the quality of research and creative and scholarly activity at Cameron University and in Southwest Oklahoma. Dr. Derik Steyn was honored with this award in recognition of commitment to scholarly activity, which includes publication of 28 articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, nine invited publications in peer-reviewed/editor-reviewed scholarly journals, industry journals or anthologies; the reading of 64 papers at international, national and regional academic conferences; 15 chapters in editor-reviewed text books; and eight unpublished industry research reports.

“During my academic career, scholarly activity has always played an important role,” Steyn says.

According to Steyn, his research and creative/scholarly production can be categories in five areas: 1) originating from his master’s thesis on European integration; 2) originating from his doctoral dissertation dealing with relationship aspects in the South African manufacturing sector; 3) originating from his collaborative research with graduate students, which focuses primarily on aspects of relationship marketing and management; 4) originating from collaborative research with colleagues, which mainly addresses two areas: aspects of relationship marketing (and specifically relationship intention) in the financial services industry and managerial competencies for media newsroom management; and 5) originating from industry research and consultation activities resulting in published research reports, invited publications and conference papers, and text book contributions.

A member of the Cameron faculty since 2007, Steyn is a professor in the School of Business.  He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Potchefstroom University in South Africa, where he also earned his doctorate.


April 8, 2014