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Faculty honored, promoted, appointed professor emeriti

June 2, 2014

NOHL2Lisle, Illinois ~ Peter Sorensen, Ph.D., who established one of the most distinguished doctoral programs in Organization Development in the world, and Daniel Nohl, Ph.D., who helped to develop a system to mentor new faculty, have been named co-recipients of the Judith Ann Whinfrey Distinguished Faculty Award for Leadership by Benedictine University.

Whinfrey was a member of the Board of Directors of Hewitt Associates, chair of the Board of Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, a board member of S&C Electric Company of Chicago and a trustee of Benedictine University until her passing in 2010.

Sorensen, a Naperville resident,
has authored more than 300 articles, papers and books, including a number of best paper selections.He has consulted with more than 100 organizations including the U.S. Food and Drug Agency, U.S. Steel, the DuPage County Health Department, Commonwealth Edison, Abbott Laboratories and CNA Insurance.

"Over the decades, Peter has taught more than 10,000 master's level and doctoral students," said Donald Taylor, Ph.D., provost and assistant vice president of Academic Affairs at Benedictine. "He is truly an inspirational leader."

Nohl, a professor of Computer Science and Aurora resident, has served in a number of capacities at Benedictine, but is most noted for his contributions to the development of new faculty. He also worked with the task force that revised the Faculty Handbook.

"Dan has long been a professional, a reliable colleague, and an effective and trusted leader," Taylor said.

Also recognized among faculty were Alfred Martin, Ph.D. (Biological Sciences) and Peter Seely, M.A. (Communication Arts), who shared the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching; Luis Lubriel, D.M.A. (Music), who was awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award for Research; and Eileen Clark, M.S. (Computer Science), who was presented the Distinguished Faculty Award for Service.

Clark is one of six professors who are retiring after more than a collective 230 years of service. Each has been appointed Professor Emeritus.

Clark, an associate professor of Computer Science from Naperville, began her Benedictine career as an instructor of Mathematics in 1971 after earning a Master of Science in Statistics and Computer Science at Purdue University.

Clark was named the director of academic computing in 1981, coordinator of learning technologies in 1996 and professional development coordinator in 2000. During her Benedictine career, she taught everything from pre-calculus to web applications development.

She was considered the perfect person to teach other faculty how to utilize technology in the classroom.

"Eileen is calm, patient, caring, reassuring, encouraging, sympathetic and accessible … all traits that soothe those who become stressed out when it comes to technology," Taylor said.

Ralph Meeker, Ph.D., a Naperville resident, was the longest tenured professor to announce his retirement this year. The professor of Computer Science and former interim dean of the College of Science spent more than 44 years at Benedictine.

A 1967 graduate of St. Procopius College (now Benedictine University), Meeker earned a doctorate from Iowa State University in 1970. He joined the faculty at Benedictine the same year as an assistant professor of Physics. An interest in computers led him to become a professor of Computer Science in 1984.

Meeker was awarded the Benedictine Life Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003, the Distinguished Faculty Award for Service 2008, the Judith Ann Whinfrey Distinguished Faculty Award for Leadership in 2012 and the Kevin Doyle Faculty Award for Leadership in Mission and Catholic Identity in 2014.

"Ralph has been an outstanding teacher, an invaluable colleague, an effective leader, a supportive mentor, a fair-minded committee member, a consultant, a friend, a thoughtful administrator and the ultimate Benedictine historian," Taylor said.

Edward Winkler, Ph.D., earned a doctorate in Analytical Chemistry from Kansas State in 1973 and began teaching chemistry and biochemistry at Benedictine in 1979. As chair of the department, he initiated the implementation of micro-scale techniques in the organic chemistry labs to reduce waste streams.

Winkler also added a number of courses to the chemistry and biochemistry curriculum, including an introductory General Chemistry I course to assist students who were not prepared for the rigors of a general chemistry course during their first semester.

Winkler, a Naperville resident, plans to return to the classroom, but as a student, not as a teacher.

"I'd like to audit some college courses, but not in science," Winkler said. "I'd like to sit in on some courses in English and history. I've been away from them too long."

Bernard Toussaint, Ph.D., a professor of Philosophy, is retiring after teaching at Benedictine since 1971. The Aurora resident graduated from St. Procopius College (now Benedictine) in 1957 and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for several years before beginning his teaching career at St. Patrick High School in Chicago.

After earning a doctorate from DePaul University, Toussaint returned to his alma mater to teach philosophy. The current philosophy curriculum is attributable to Toussaint's leadership. He served as department chair, NCAA faculty representative and faculty senate officer during his time at Benedictine.

"During his 43 years of service to Benedictine and throughout his many roles, Bernard has fought for two things – academic integrity and making policy that facilitates student learning," Taylor said.

Soyon Lee, Ph.D., a professor of International Business and Economics, joined the Benedictine faculty in 1974. He earned a bachelor's and master's degree while still living in South Korea, a Master of Arts in Economics from New Mexico Highlands University and a doctorate in Economics from Northern Illinois University.

During his 40-year tenure at Benedictine, the Glenview resident has contributed in many ways. He supervised, observed and evaluated undergraduate business majors while they were student teaching at area high schools; and served on the Core Curriculum Committee, the Financial Aid Committee and the Library Committee.

Identifying a need at Benedictine in the early 1980s, Lee qualified as a Certified Public Accountant and taught Accounting I and II in addition to his classes in Business and Economics.

"Soyon has served the University with distinction, maintaining a high level of scholarship and academic standards," Taylor said.

Benedictine's Master of Clinical Psychology program was established at George Williams College of Downers Grove in 1967 under the leadership of Alexey Shukin, Ph.D. When George Williams closed its doors in 1985, Shukin brought the program, faculty and 90 percent of its students to Benedictine.

Shukin, a Clarendon Hills resident, trained under noted theorist Carl Rogers, Ph.D., at the University of Chicago, and grounded the Clinical Psychology program in a mode of treatmentRogers developed called "client centered counseling." The program continues to embrace those tenets today.

Ninety-five percent of Benedictine students who take the National Counselor's Examination pass it on their first attempts, and supervisors rated Benedictine students as excelling in empathy well beyond the skills of interns from other schools, a testament to Shukin's contributions.

"Shukin's vision and commitment to train students to have respect and empathy for clients reflect Benedictine values," Taylor said.

Benedictine also announced the promotion of nine faculty members. Promoted to associate professor were Brian Patterson, Ph.D. (Psychology-Sociology) and Georgeen Polyak, Ph.D. (Public Health), and promoted to professor were Peter Nelson, Ph.D. (Physics), Jack Thornburg, Ph.D. (Psychology-Sociology) and Alandra Weller-Clarke, Ph.D. (Teacher Education Preparation).

Vincent Gaddis, Ph.D. (History), Eileen Kolich, Ph.D. (Teacher Education Preparation), Monica Tischler, Ph.D. (Biological Sciences) and Beth Ransdell Vinkler, Ph.D. (Languages) were promoted within rank.



Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2001-2011 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit research institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the third consecutive year in 2013. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2013.


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