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Three named recipients of faculty awards for exemplary teaching, research, service

July 13, 2012

RaglandLisle, Illinois ~Benedictine University students learn from an award-winning faculty and some of the best minds in their fields.

Three of those faculty members were recently named recipients of the 2012 Benedictine University Faculty Awards. These awards recognize significant achievements in the areas of teaching, research and service which serve as models for all faculty members.

Faculty members are nominated by members of the Benedictine University community (faculty, staff, administration and students). Each nomination includes at least three letters attesting to the exemplary teaching, research or service of the nominees. The academic deans recommend the award winners, and the provost makes the final decision regarding the award recipient.

Preston Aldrich, Ph.D., an associate professor of Biology from Woodridge, received the Faculty Award for Research.

Aldrich's work has been published in numerous journals including Molecular Ecology, Theoretical and Applied Genetics, Forest Service and Science. He also served as a National Science Foundation grant reviewer, chaired several conference sessions, served as peer reviewer for 16 journals and was recently named journal editor for the Journal of Systems Biology. To support all of this work at Benedictine, Aldrich secured more than $115,000 in grant money.

"I foresee Dr. Aldrich becoming a campus leader in computational research who pools the resources of our mathematicians, computer scientists, physical scientists, and even philosophers and theologians to tackle some of the most progressive problems in modern biology," said Timothy W. Marin, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Physics and Chemistry at Benedictine.

Thomas Wangler, Ph.D., professor of Mathematics from Bolingbrook, received the Faculty Award for Teaching.

Wangler is a pioneer in the use of technology in his classroom, including the University's Learning Management System and the Tegrity lecture capture system. He is continuously looking for new ways to make his teaching more effective, and participated in an initiative to incorporate the iPad and digital inking through a tablet PC into courses.

"Dr. Wangler has been very effective in creating an environment that encourages active learning in all of his classes, and has been most generous in sharing his work and insights into teaching with his colleagues," said Bart Ng, Ph.D., dean of the College of Science.

Lisle resident Ethel Ragland, Ed.D., professor of Nursing and Health and a Benedictine University faculty member for 30 years, was named the recipient of the Faculty Award for Internal Service.

Ragland served as chair of the Department of Nursing and Health for 13 of the last 26 years and resurrected the University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program from near extinction. She developed partnerships with several community colleges to expand the program and worked tirelessly to turn the program into the thriving, expanding program it is today.

"Dr. Ragland exemplifies the qualities of a true Benedictine," said Margaret Delaney, M.S., RN, instructor in the Department of Nursing and Health. "She encourages those around her to promote the common good and work together in harmony, advocates for the underrepresented minority nursing student, and consistently exhibits tremendous hospitality to others."

In other faculty news, Naperville resident Patrick Flynn, Ph.D. (Philosophy), was promoted to full professor, while Zubair Amir, Ph.D., (Language and Literature) of Wheaton, Jean-Marie Kauth (Language and Literature) of Warrenville and Luis Loubriel (Music) of Chicago were promoted to associate professor and granted tenure, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Taylor announced.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, admissions@ben.edu or visit ben.edu.

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