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2019 faculty awards

the work of our faculty makes possible the distinctive education in the liberal arts and sciences that our graduates attain. a ceremony recognizing faculty accomplishments – faculty awards and emeritus status – was held april 5, 2019. it is with pride that we recognize these faculty for their hard work and dedication to their students and to the college of arts and sciences.

joel pruce

outstanding teaching

faculty profile

jana bennett

outstanding scholarship

faculty profile

samuel wallace

outstanding service

faculty profile

andrea chenoweth wells

outstanding contribution, non-tenure track faculty

faculty profile

outstanding teaching

the 2019 faculty award for outstanding teaching in the college of arts and sciences is awarded to dr. joel pruce in the department of political science.

dr. pruce joined the university of dayton in 2014 as an assistant professor of political science. in that role he has taught a range of political science, human rights, and common academic program courses and developed a number of new courses that combine experiential and community-based learning. those include a new co-developed gateway course for human rights majors that connects research methods and human rights content to first-hand exposure to human rights issues in dayton. in the classroom, dr. pruce is known for his creative pedagogies, an unflinching willingness to challenge assumptions about content and student learning, and for modeling how he learns through his courses and students.

as a teacher-scholar, dr. pruce’s research focuses on how human rights claims secure or fail to secure mass appeal and how individuals and organizations can best advocate for change. in 2015 dr. pruce launched the moral courage project, an innovative student-driven project that highlights the stories of human rights activists who exemplify moral courage where they live and work. in telling the activists’ stories, the students learn about critical human rights issues, how to conduct human rights fieldwork effectively and ethically, and how human rights advocacy can affect change. for the dozen or so students who participate in each moral courage project, this is a two-year journey of study and discovery--first with a preparatory course on the topic in question, then a summer of fieldwork with dr. pruce and his faculty collaborators, and then a year of interview transcription and analysis to produce a multimedia exhibit of photographs and oral histories. ferguson, missouri was the first moral courage project site, which yielded an exhibit that’s toured around the country and opens this month at the national civil rights museum in memphis. the second project--named “america the borderland”--took students to el paso last summer to learn from advocates and citizens about the realities of immigration on the texas-mexico border. as a faculty collaborator put it, “this class and project shows again pruce’s willingness to take risk and to be bold.” it represents “what i consider to be a pioneering pathway to transdisciplinarity.”

dr. pruce also serves as an experiential learning fellow in the learning teaching center. in this role, he has led professional development workshops over the last two years focusing on experiential learning practices and vocational developments. he’s also organized and contributed to several university-wide teach-ins in recent years.

his department chair notes that dr. pruce is “a talented, creative, and passionate teacher in the classroom,” who “push the boundaries of transformative education in the traditional classroom setting.” he’s found a way to connect “teaching, research and advocacy in powerful ways.”

writing in support of his nomination, students were full-throated in their praise. said one student, “dr. pruce is single handedly one of the most impactful teachers i have ever had. …[h]e has a unique way of being able to connect with every student in a classroom and making sure that every voice is heard. ... dr. pruce has the ability to make his students passionate about a subject, and he always presents material in a way that makes students sit back and rethink everything you have previously known about the topic.”

another remarked, “it is not uncommon to hear students involved in political science or human rights studies to enthusiastically tell other students that they “simply have to take a class with dr. pruce before graduation” in order to fully experience all that the university of dayton has to offer. … succeeding in dr. pruce’s classes is a particular accomplishment; it means you have engaged in critical analysis, expressed your thoughts well, and contributed to a tangible deliverable. that is a rare and impressive feat in the classroom.”

still another observed, “human rights can be an immobilizing and traumatic thing to study. when we spend so much time learning about human atrocity, we look to our professors not just to teach us facts or theories, but to help us to understand and reconcile this world. while it can be easier to accept the world as it is, not only is dr. pruce vulnerable enough to keep searching for answers, he is courageous enough to invite his students along with him. over and over again, dr. pruce has been instrumental in restoring hope and humanity into my process of learning.” “dr. pruce is that professor that you cannot forget and no one wishes to.”

for these accomplishments, the college of arts and sciences is pleased to present the 2019 outstanding teaching award to dr. joel pruce.


outstanding scholarship

the college of arts and sciences is pleased to have the opportunity to honor professor jana bennett, our recipient of the 2019 outstanding scholarship award.

dr. bennett earned her ph.d. in theology and ethics in 2005 from duke university. additionally, she has a master’s of divinity from garrett-evangelical theological seminary. she joined the faculty in ud’s department of religious studies in 2008, became an associate professor in 2012, and a full professor in 2018. we are honoring her for the impact that her scholarship has had within her field, the roman catholic church, and within society.

dr. bennett has authored three books:

  • singleness and the church: toward a new theology of singleness. oxford university press, 2017.
  • aquinas on the web? doing theology in an internet age. t&t clark, 2012, which was reviewed in second nature journal; the journal of pastoral theology; journal of religion, media and digital culture;
  • water is thicker than blood: an augustinian theology of marriage and singleness. oxford university press, 2008, which was reviewed in the journal for the society of christian ethics; modern theology; religious studies review; ethical perspectives: journal of the european ethics network; anglican theological review; and theology today

she has co-authored free to stay, free to leave: fruits of the spirit and church choice with melissa musick nussbaum. eugene, or: cascade books, 2009. she co-edited the forthcoming book naming our sins: how recognizing the seven deadly vices can renew the sacrament of reconciliation with david cloutier. washington, dc: catholic university of america press, forthcoming 2019.

additionally, she’s published 9 articles, 9 book chapters, and been invited to give 29 lectures. while this list is certainly impressive in terms of the number of publications, i would also emphasize that her books are widely read, cited, and have been favorably reviewed in the leading journals for moral theology today.

her chair, dr. dan thompson characterizes the quality of her work in the following words, "in my judgment, the reason why dr. bennett’s work has garnered such a widespread and positive reception is that in it she not only receives and comprehends contemporary intellectual discourse in christian theology and ethics, she also shapes it at the highest level…her work often addresses areas where modern life and christian discipleship interact but without clear conceptual categories or without careful analysis. by looking into these new spaces and attempting to shape the intellectual discourse about them for the sake of the community, dr. bennett’s scholarship fulfills in an exemplary way the vocation of a professional theologian and ethicist meeting the demands of the academy, society and church."

the significance of dr. bennett’s contributions were also emphasized by one ud colleague in the following way, "as a non-catholic myself, i cannot imagine how difficult it is to be a moral theologian within a church that seems to be “struggling” (for lack of a better word). the forthcoming book naming our sins (co-edited with davide cloutier) is an attempt to address what jana sees as a broad crisis within the catholic church of the west. on this timely topic her perspective is both hopeful and insightful. she is hopeful in the sense that perhaps by addressing the problem that is both broader and deeper than the genuinely horrific tragedy of sexual abuse by priests. and by drawing attention to the broader problem, perhaps long-term course correction can emerge."

finally, i’d like to cite a colleague from another institution, who does not know dr. bennett personally, but did confess that they tried to lure her from ud. he describes her as “one of the leading moral theologians today.” because “[she] does theology that is simultaneously attentive to those at the margins, yet also firmly from the heart of the church.”

assistant editor, and frequent contributor to catholicmoraltheology.com a popular online blog platform in which leading catholic theologians debate, shape, and grow the catholic intellectual tradition so that it can be responsive to the world’s currents needs. it is critical of injustice and hopeful in ways to build just systems.

for these and many other contributions at ud, in news outlets, and throughout the internet, we awarding jana bennett the outstanding scholarship award for 2019.


outstanding service

the college of arts and sciences faculty award for outstanding service is presented to professor samuel wallace from the department of communication.

what you notice immediately upon looking at dr. wallace’s record is the sheer amount of his contributions. a list of his service activities goes on for pages, and is far more than we could list here. but, it is not the amount of service dr. wallace has done, but rather, three qualities of his work that make his contributions remarkable.

first, while it is common for faculty to find their niche in one or two areas of service, dr. wallace has contributed across all levels -- to the department, the college, the university, and his academic discipline. just to illustrate with a few examples, he has served:

  • the department -- as director of the introductory communication course (4 times for a total of 17 years), as director of undergraduate studies, director of the asi 150 program, and as member of a vast number of departmental committees.
  • the college -- on the academic affairs committee, college information technology team, and on a committee that performed an internal review of the computer science graduate program.
  • the university -- on the university promotion and tenure committee, cap oral communication working group, parking committee, academic computing committee, the basic skills subcommittee, and as a long-time facilitator for midterm instructional diagnoses.
  • the discipline -- as co-director of 2 national institutes; as a member of the national communication association’s legislative assembly, as chair of its basic course division, and as coordinator of its state journal indexing task force; on the editorial review board of 4 academic journals; as editor of the ohio speech journal; and as president of the ohio speech association.

second, it is not just the amount of service that he has done, but the quality with which he has done it. he has conducted his business in a way that elevates the people around him and makes his community a better place. perhaps this point is best expressed in the words of the department chair at the time of his promotion to professor: “throughout my time as chair, dr. wallace was the go-to person when i needed assistance getting something done…. the legacy of dr. wallace’s service has not been the amount of work he has done -- which is considerable -- but rather, the fact that he made the department a better place through the attitude and approach he had in doing it.”

the last important quality is the impact dr. wallace’s service has made. his contributions have significantly shaped the university and the profession. associate provost joe untener recalled the positive effects dr. wallace brought about while serving as a mediator for a number of difficult conflicts on campus. he said, “this is a person who is willing to sign up for cases yet unidentified, to meet with parties who are unhappy with one another, consider the principals involved, and look for resolution. you might imagine it is very difficult to find faculty to volunteer for this role. sam said ‘yes’ knowing it could be a challenge and could take some time. both turned out to be the case. sam took at least a couple of uncomfortable cases, fully engaged them, and had a very positive effect.” in instructional settings, david wright characterized him as “a highly effective faculty developer.” in the discipline, he was foundational in helping establish the basic communication course annual, a journal which is now the field’s leading periodical for scholarship on the introductory oral communication course. in short, dr. wallace has made positive contributions to those he encountered, and has changed his institution and profession for the better.

for his far-reaching and sustained efforts, and high impact results, it is a privilege to recognize dr. sam wallace with the 2019 college award for outstanding service.


outstanding contribution, non-tenure track faculty

the 2018 award for outstanding contributions by a full-time non-tenure-track faculty member in the college of arts and sciences is granted to dr. andrea chenoweth wells, artist in residence in the department of music.

andrea is a graduate of the university of dayton, having completed her bachelor of arts in both english and communication. she has a master of music from the cleveland institute of music and in 2010 she joined the department of music as an adjunct instructor. in 2012 she moved into her present full-time appointment as an artist in residence. her significant and multiple contributions have continued and increased throughout this entire time period. in 2017, andrea matriculated once again with a doctor of musical arts, from the university of cincinnati’s college conservatory of music.

when referencing andrea’s teaching, her department chair dr. julia randel, confirms that dr. wells is “a beloved and highly effective teacher in three very different areas: studio voice, aural skills for first-year music majors, and through a cap course she developed called music and faith on stage”. this last is a course that explores representations of religion in opera. she also notes that “in her first-year aural skills course, a core foundational requirement for all music majors, and one that many at ud and elsewhere find difficult and even traumatic, dr. wells is attentive to the wide variety of student backgrounds and learning styles. she creates a supportive atmosphere while ensuring that students develop the essential skills they need as musicians”.

during her time as a university of dayton faculty member andrea has performed six operatic roles, eight orchestral performances, eleven recitals, and has been highlighted in numerous broadcast recordings. dr. wells modestly lists career highlights which include a carnegie hall debut singing the soprano solos in verdi’s requiem, touring japan with maestro neal gittleman and the telemann chamber orchestra, and frequent performances in boston under the auspices of the shakespeare concerts. it is this continuing engagement in boston that takes her away from campus this afternoon. tonight she is singing at jordan hall and will be performing pieces with texts by shakespeare by joseph summer, adolphus hailstork, thomas schnauber (all living composers), and robert schumann. she will then spend two days in recording sessions at mechanics hall in worcester in preparation for an upcoming album release.

given her dedication to teaching and a busy performance schedule, it is difficult to imagine how dr. wells finds the time and energy to devote to service in the department and community. however, she is a valued member of the faculty development committee, student development committee, recital committee, and the recent music and tdp realignment committee. colleagues note that she also demonstrates her commitment to educating the whole student by volunteering her time to support student activities. she serves as program advisor to sigma alpha iota, the international women’s music fraternity, and as special interest housing advisor to a group focused on women’s health. she participates in campus governance, and is the non-tenure-track full-time representative on the faculty board.

as an artist in residence dr. wells makes extraordinary contributions to the department of music and the college, as well as to the university and dayton community. for her exceptional teaching, high level of artistry in performance, and dedicated service the college of arts and sciences is pleased to present the 2018 award for outstanding contribution by a full-time non-tenure-track faculty member to dr. andrea chenoweth wells.


recognition of promotion to emeritus status

the following faculty were promoted to the rank of professor emeritus:

  • patrick donnelly, department of sociology, anthropology and social work
  • john heitmann, department of history
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