Alma College’s top awards for faculty excellence recognize superior teaching in the areas of business administration, biochemistry, music education and public policy.
Henry Balfanz and Brian Doyle are the 2018 recipients of the Andison Awards for Excellence in Teaching, while Murray Gross and Ed Lorenz have received this year’s Barlow Awards for Faculty Excellence.
The Andison Awards for Excellence in Teaching
The Andison Awards, supported by a gift from trustee Thomas Andison, recognize excellence in teaching through pedagogical innovation, creative activities with students, and superior teaching. Faculty members nominate their colleagues for the award, and the president selects the recipients, who each receive a $1,000 cash grant to support their scholarship.
Balfanz, assistant professor of business administration, was nominated for his teaching effectiveness and service record. He has taught at Alma since 2013.
He is described as “a dynamic and innovative teacher in our business programs, making excellent use of service learning projects enabling marketing students to develop promotional campaigns for local non-profits.” He also contributes to the college’s enrollment efforts, speaking with prospective students at both on- and off-campus events.
Balfanz teaches courses in marketing, advertising, entrepreneurship, sales management and logistics/supply chain management. He has an MBA from Bradley University.
Doyle, associate professor of biology and biochemistry, was nominated for providing impactful research experiences for his students and developing innovative courses, such as “Superfoods,” which examines food content and the health risks and benefits they bring, and “Medical Ethnobotany of the Amazon.” He joined the Alma faculty in 2010.
“His work with undergraduates has been exemplary,” wrote his nominator. “He develops research partnerships with his students that require their intellectual involvement in designing, executing and analyzing results.”
Doyle teaches courses in medical botany, cell biology, biochemistry and biotechnology and researches the medicinal properties of plants in both mid-Michigan and the South American rainforest. He has a Ph.D. in pharmacognosy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
The Barlow Awards for Faculty Excellence
The Barlow Awards, made possible by a gift from Joel Barlow, a 1929 Alma graduate, recognize faculty members for excellence in teaching, scholarly or creative work, and college and community service. Recipients are nominated by faculty, administrators, alumni and student Barlow Trophy nominees. The president selects the awardees, who receive $1,000 cash grants.
Gross, assistant professor of music and director of the Alma Symphony Orchestra, was nominated for his contributions in the areas of music performance, teaching innovation, service and community governance.
“Murray has consistently gone above and beyond the minimum requirements of his job,” wrote his nominator. “His work at Alma is crucial for our external constituencies, through the symphony, as well as with students, his admissions work, department administration and various committees.”
A member of the Alma faculty since 2004, Gross teaches courses in contemporary music theory, composition and world music and has composed numerous works that have been performed in concerts at venues across the country. He has a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University.
Lorenz, the Reid-Knox Professor of History, professor of political science and public affairs director, was nominated for his commitment to students.
“Professor Lorenz has been a long-standing supporter of the Alternative Break program, leading groups of students to the U.S./Mexico border to better understand the paramount issue of immigration and refugees,” wrote one of his nominators. “In a similar vein, he routinely has led students on a spring term course to study immigration, human rights and social justice in Europe, again showing deep passion, commitment and academic understanding of the issues at hand.”
A member of the Alma faculty since 1989, Lorenz was awarded faculty emeritus status this spring. He is an authority on the history of public policy, especially in the areas of environmental, health and human rights. In addition, he is the author of an award-winning book, “Civic Empowerment in an Age of Corporate Excess,” (2012) and numerous other publications. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.