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

June 28, 2013

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

Five of those faculty members were recently named recipients of the 2013 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.

Jack Thornburg, Ph.D., associate professor of Anthropology from Naperville, received the Faculty Award for Teaching.

Thornburg has been facilitating short-term study abroad trips at Benedictine University since 2002. He has taken students to Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba and elsewhere. His preparation for these trips is unequalled, focusing on the relationships of the native people with their environment, local versus global economies, governments, ethics and social justice.  

“Students always speak highly of their experiences in Dr. Thornburg’s short-term student abroad courses,” said Jonathan Lewis, Ph.D., professor of Psychology and Sociology. “Some students are unaccustomed to the level of preparation he requires of them, but those who rise to the occasion invariably see him as one of the best faculty at Benedictine.”

Ovid Wong, Ph.D., (pictured above and left) an associate professor in the School of Education from Elk Grove Village, received the Faculty Award for Research.

Wong is a prolific author and feverish researcher with more than two dozen books to his credit. His current research focuses on teaching excellence in higher education and forms the basis for his latest book, “An Instructor Primer for Adjunct and New Faculty: Foundations for Career Success,” which will be published in the fall by Rowan & Littlefield Education.

“Dr. Wong works to change and improve professional practice,” said Alan Gorr, Ph.D., dean of the College of Education and Health Services. “He has made a substantial contribution to finding, developing, practicing, validating and promulgating innovation to the conduct of the teaching and learning experience.”

Wilson Chen, Ph.D., an associate professor of Language and Literature from Forest Park, and Martin Tracey, Ph.D., a professor of Philosophy from Chicago, shared the award for University Service. The two have co-chaired the University’s Task Force on General Education since 2009,

“Dr. Chen and Dr. Tracey have demonstrated an extraordinary level of commitment by leading a thorough assessment of the University’s general education model and guiding a robust, inclusive and transformational process resulting in the approval of a new set of education learning guidelines, a sound curricular proposal and a plan for the assessment and administration of the general education program,” said John Miller, associate dean of the Student Success Center.

The Judith Ann Whinfrey Distinguished Faculty Award for Leadership was presented to Allison K. Wilson, Ph.D., a professor and former department chair of Biological Sciences from Elmhurst. Wilson was the principal investigator who helped secure a $1.2 million Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support the training of more math and science teachers.


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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