Ashland University Students Honor Their Mentors

Ashland University Students Honor Their Mentors

2/7/14 ASHLAND, Ohio - Eight Ashland University faculty and staff members were honored during the University’s 28th annual Academic Mentor Awards recognition ceremony held Jan. 31. The program recognizes faculty and staff whose academic leadership with regard to students extends beyond the classroom. The mentors, each nominated by an Ashland student were presented an engraved silver plate at the event held in John C. Myers Convocation Center.

This year’s Mentor Award recipients are Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts, publicity and events; Dr. Marla Butke, associate professor of music; Dr. Perry Corbin, associate professor of chemistry; Dr. Carla Edlefson, professor of leadership studies; Dr. David Kommer, chair and professor of curriculm and instruction; Dr. Dan Lehman, trustees’ distinguished professor of English; Dr. Sharleen Mondal, assistant professor of English; and Amy Pettigrew, academic advising.

Friends, colleagues and family members attended the luncheon, joined by members of Ashland’s administration and Board of Trustees. Provost Dr. Frank Pettigrew welcomed the guests and presided over the event, while President Dr. Frederick Finks commended the award recipients and the students who nominated them.

Dr. Dawn Weber, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. James Van Keuren, dean of the Schar College of Education; and Gary Courtright, academic affairs committee chair, presented the awards.

Students nominated faculty and staff members using the criteria of history of their relationship, how they benefited academically, how their personal development has been enhanced by their mentor and what impact the mentor has had on the student’s progress at the University. Selections were made by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Ashland University Board of Trustees from the information included in the nomination letters.

Students who submitted winning nominations included: Brandon Wurgess, a senior from Fremont, majoring in hospitality management, nominating Applegate; Alex VanScoy, a senior from Huron, majoring in education/instrumental music, nominating Butke; Anna Falls, a December graduate from Mansfield, majoring in biochemistry, nominating Corbin; Julie Blevins, a graduate student from Grove City, studying in doctor of education in leadership studies, nominating Edlefson; Hailey Sult, a senior from Powell, majoring in education/middle grades, nominating Kommer; Spencer Dolezal, a senior from Avon Lake, majoring in education/integrated language arts, nominating Lehman; David Mohn, a senior from Uniontown, majoring in education/integrated language arts, nominating Mondal; and Scott Ackerman, a senior from Bellevue, majoring in education/physical education, nominating Pettigrew.

Applegate has more than 25 years of arts administration experience including founder and former executive director of the Ashland Community Arts Center. She holds a B.A. in business administration and music from Heidelberg College, and studied for her M.A. in arts administration at the University of Akron. She is a graduate of the Arts Management in Community Institutions Institute (AMICI) through the National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts. Applegate also is certified by the Gordon Institute of Music Learning (GIML) in Mastership Level 1 with an early childhood emphasis from the University of South Carolina.

Butke is associate professor of music at Ashland University and serves as the coordinator of music education. She received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Miami University, a master’s degree in music education from Wright State University and a doctorate in music education from The Ohio State University. Butke has taught general and choral music in public and private schools in Dayton and served as the music education specialist at Ohio Wesleyan University. Butke is a member of OMEA’s Curriculum and Assessment Committee and was the general music co-chair for the 2012 state conference.

Corbin, associate professor of chemistry, joined the Ashland University faculty in 2001. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Kentucky Wesleyan College, a Ph.D. in chemistry with a specialization in organic chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he carried out post-doctoral research at the University of Virginia. At AU, Corbin enjoys teaching a variety of courses as well as working with students on research projects. Corbin and his students are currently interested in the chemical synthesis and study of polymers that have potential for use in biomedical applications.

Edlefson, professor of leadership studies, joined the Ashland University faculty in 1995. She is assigned full time to the doctoral program in leadership studies, and she has chaired or co-chaired 29 doctoral dissertations to completion. Her areas of expertise are educational policy and finance. She has experience in public school teaching, state government and non-profit organization management. She earned a Ph.D. in educational administration and policy analysis, as well as an M.A. in sociology, from Stanford University. Her B.A. in elementary education and religion was earned at Augustana College.

Kommer, chair and professor of curriculum and instruction, came to Ashland University in the fall of 1995 from the Los Angeles area where he was a middle school principal. Since 1975, he has served as a classroom teacher, instructional consultant and school administrator in both middle school and high school. His teaching area is history. In 1991 he received his doctor of education degree from Pepperdine University in institutional management. He currently serves as the department chair for curriculum and instruction in the Schar College of Education.

Lehman is trustees’ distinguished professor of English. He is author of “John Reed and the Writing of Revolution” and “Matters of Fact: Reading Nonfiction over the Edge”; co-editor of “The River Teeth Reader” and River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative”; and series co-editor of the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize series. In 2004-2005, Lehman was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, South Africa. He has a Ph.D. in English from The Ohio State University, an M.A. in English from Georgetown University and a B.A. in English from Eastern Mennonite University.

Mondal is assistant professor of English at Ashland University. She is an interdisciplinary scholar of gender and sexuality in Victorian Britain and colonial South Asia. Drawing on transnational and postcolonial feminist theory, her research explores how race, gender, sexuality, caste and class shaped narratives of national identity and political engagement for both British and Indian subjects who were socially marginalized. She is committed to studying literary texts alongside other relevant cultural texts and to that end, employs the methods of close reading and discourse analysis in her work.

Pettigrew taught elementary physical education and/or wellness for many years at the college and public school levels and then became an adjunct professor at AU in the sport sciences department. This evolved into her current position, which is mentoring conditionally admitted freshman student-athletes through the academic advising area. In this position she serves as a “bridge” between athletics and academics and works with the students, the professors and the coaches to achieve success.

In nominating the recipients of this year’s Mentor Awards, the students wrote one-page essays about their mentors. Passages from these essays were distributed at the luncheon.

Ashland University, which has been ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###