CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will honor top faculty and staff on Tuesday, Sept. 16, during the annual University Day commemoration, which unofficially kicks off the 1997-98 academic year for OSU.

Awards for teaching, service, and achievement will be given during the event that will include speeches by OSU President Paul Risser; Chancellor Joseph Cox; Faculty Senate President Anthony Wilcox; and Jan Mosley, president-elect of the Office Personnel Association.

There will also be displays detailing university services. Displays open in OSU's LaSells Stewart Center at 10 a.m.; the program begins at 1:15 p.m.

A reception will immediately follow the program in OSU's new CH2M-Hill Alumni Center.

Award recipients include:

- Susan G. Stafford, professor of forest science, will receive the OSU Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Award. Stafford's scholarship and teaching are at the interface between statistics, ecology and research information management. She founded a group that provides computing, statistical consulting, data analysis and information management services for the Department of Forest Science and associated units. Methods she developed are used in many long-term ecological studies nationally as well as at sites in China.

- Joseph W. Nibler, professor of chemistry, the Elizabeth P. Ritchie Distinguished Professor Award, which honors undergraduate teaching. Nibler blends teaching and research and has won several other teaching awards for his skill in interesting students and introducing new experiments into lab courses. He is internationally recognized as a research chemist.

- James H. Krueger, professor of chemistry, the Richard M. Bressler Senior Faculty Teaching Award. Krueger routinely teaches 300 to 500 undergraduates a term, as well as an Honors College chemistry course that has enabled him to experiment with techniques he can use in the larger courses. A student wrote, "James Krueger is an absolutely fantastic teacher and a supremely decent human being. He has touched the lives of each of his students and fostered within them a love for learning."

- Patricia S. Muir, associate professor of botany and plant pathology and director of the Undergraduate Environmental Sciences Program, the Dar Reese Excellence in Advising Award. Students appreciate Muir's "open-door, drop-by" policy and accurate, friendly, caring advising, they wrote in support of her nomination.

- Lynda M. Ciuffetti, assistant professor of botany and plant pathology, the OSU Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. Ciuffetti creates a positive atmosphere in her introductory courses through effective presentation and innovation. She includes undergraduate students in her research group, and incorporates results of her work in class and labs, setting high standards for excellence. She is credited with helping students get the most meaningful opportunities for intellectual growth.

- John M. Hart, associate professor of crop and soil science and a soil science specialist with the OSU Extension Service, is the first recipient of the OSU Extended Education Faculty Achievement Award. Described as an "unsung leader of the agricultural community, Hart can take scientific and technical findings on soil fertility and crop production and translate it into useable, understandable forms for many clientele groups. His work has aided growers of wheat, grass seed, peppermint and cranberries, among others.

- Leslie Davis Burns, director of undergraduate academic programs and professor of apparel, interiors, housing and merchandising, the D. Curtis Mumford Faculty Service Award. Burns, past Faculty Senate president, has in the past four years chaired the university's Promotion and Tenure Committee, Faculty Productivity and Workload Task Force, Graduate Council and Faculty Women's Network.

- Kathy Merrifield, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, the Outstanding Faculty Research Assistant Award. Merrifield researches the dynamics of crop-parasitic nematodes. She is recognized as an outstanding teacher in graduate and undergraduate labs, advises an undergraduate club and participates in outreach activities for students in grades K-6.

- Erica L. Wildy, doctoral student in zoology, the Herbert F. Frolander Graduate Teaching Assistant Award. Wildy caught the excitement of teaching early and has excelled as a teaching assistant for courses in genetics, anatomy and physiology, herpetology, vertebrate biology and other disciplines. Her ability to present difficult concepts in an easily understood manner, and her love of teaching, have led to satisfied students and excellent teaching evaluations.

- James R. Coakley, assistant professor of business, the OSU Award for Service to Persons with Disabilities. Coakley is noted for working with various offices and committees on campus to ensure that students with disabilities had full access to the technical world of business computer systems. He found tutors, modified course materials, made lecture notes available on e-mail and modified assignments as necessary. One student, who is blind, said he could not have completed one series of courses without Coakley's understanding.

- Ann Schauber, staff chair for the Yamhill County Extension Office, the University Professional Development Award. Schauber is described as a "tireless advocate" for those she supervises, and is always looking for professional development opportunities for others. Schauber allows room for employee innovation and personal growth, and cultivates individual potential with each team.

- Steve Billings, a grounds maintenance worker, and David Garcia, coordinator of the Campus Recycling and Waste Management Program, share the OSU Exemplary Employee Award, which recognizes outstanding employee performance. Billings monitors campus trees for hazards and health problems, and has become certified as both a landscape technician and as an arborist. Garcia also has expanded the recycling program to include students, and has been instrumental in securing new disposal and recycling contracts that have saved the university more than $100,000 a year during his tenure.

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Vickie Nunnemaker, 541-737-4344