Four Receive Faculty Merit Awards

May 17, 2020

The honors are presented by the Faculty Professional Development Center for excellence in grants, research, teaching and service.

  • - Dr. Olaniyi Iyiola

  • - Dr. Sean Madden

  • - Dr. Kimberly Vanderlaan

  • - Dr. Sheri Boyle

Cal U’s Faculty Professional Development Center has recognized four professors for excellence in grants, research, teaching and service. 

The FPDC merit award recipients are chosen by faculty committees. The awards are meant to assist faculty in their efforts to provide high-quality education for Cal U students. 

Dr. Sheri Boyle, associate professor and chair in the Department of Social Work and MSW program director, received the FPDC Grants and Contracts Award, which placed greatest emphasis on grant activities over the past three years. 

Many of Boyle’s awarded grants incorporate a community service component, while providing new training or opportunities for Cal U students. 

The $1.9 million Health Resources & Services Administration Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program grant prepares Cal U students to work in rural and medically underserved communities with a focus on mental and behavioral health. 

The $1.3 million HRSA Opioid Workforce Expansion grant prepares students for careers in fields related to drug addiction policy, prevention and recovery. 

Both grants offer graduate students $10,000 stipends. 

Dr. Olaniyi Iyiola, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Information Systems, received the FPDC Research Award.

Iyiola is active in research related to fractional calculus and applications, optimization, partial differential equations, numerical methods and analysis, and operator theory (iterative schemes). 

He has presented research talks at regional, national and international conferences and has published many research articles in peer review journals. 

Iyiola is a member of many reputable organizations in his areas of research: Canadian Mathematical Society, the Society for Industrial and Applied Math, European Mathematical Society and the American Mathematical Society. 

One student commented that “Dr. Iyiola’s passion and meticulous knowledge of Numerical Analysis projects through his lectures and along with real life application experience provides a reasoning and enjoyment for the learning.” 

Dr. Sean Madden, professor in the Department of History, Politics, Society and Law, received the FPDC Teaching and Learning Award. 

He is also the director of International Studies, and his classes incorporate integration and application of salient topics — including a February assignment to track news stories about something called a “novel coronavirus.” 

Madden has led short-term study abroad trips with Cal U students to more than 40 countries. He has been awarded fellowships with the American Council on Higher Education (ACE), The Harvard Institute for Leadership in Higher Education and has served as a Fulbright Scholar Specialist at the National Research University of Russia in Perm Krai. 

Madden’s belief ] is that “education is a process of learning and teaching and the core of a successful and fruitful individual and society.”  

Dr. Kimberly Vanderlaan, an associate professor in the Department of English, received the FPDC Service Award. 

Her colleagues describe her as a committed, reliable colleague who volunteers her time on Faculty Senate, Cal U Academic Advising Committee, FPDC Research Subcommittee and the APSCUF Promotions and Tenure Committees. She has been a judge at the Strike a Spark Undergraduate Research Conference and a presenter at the Liberal Arts Festival. 

Vanderlaan also serves on a national committee of three to select participants for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program in the Netherlands. She also has served for the past two years as co-editor of Beyond Nebraska: Willa Cather’s Pittsburgh and Cather Studies Volume 13, and she is a reviewer of Willa Cather and the Arts (ed. Guy Reynolds) for American Literary Realism.  

She has planned many events on and off campus, including the appearance of short story writer T.C. Boyle at Cal U in 2018.