George Fox tabs its top professors for 2014-2015

Higher ed — Mock and O'Donnell receive undergraduate honors; Meszaros and DeKruyf earn top graduate accolades

George Fox University recognized its best professors last month, naming four as recipients of undergraduate and graduate teaching and research/scholarship awards for 2014-2015.

English professor Melanie Springer Mock received the Faculty Achievement Award for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship, while Sue O’Donnell, an associate professor of psychology, was honored with the Undergraduate Faculty Achievement Award for Teaching.

On the graduate side, physical therapy professor Andy Meszaros received the school’s annual award for teaching and school counseling professor Lori DeKruyf earned the research and scholarship award.

Springer Mock, an alumna of the university, teaches students how to write and publishes prolifically herself. She has written or edited three books, including “The Spirit of Adoption: Writers on Religion, Adoption, Faith, and More,” published in 2014 by Cascade Press, and is author of the forthcoming book “If Eve Only Knew: Freeing Yourself from Biblical Womanhood and Becoming all God Means for You to Be.”

Since 2010, she has challenged herself to write at least 250 words a day. All told, she has authored four books, 40 essays and 40 book reviews since 2001.

“In doing so, she models for students and colleagues the kind of disciplined, hard work that produces results,” said Laura Hartley, dean of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Not only that, but she is also a great encourager for colleagues and students alike. She is generous with her time in reading others’ work and providing helpful feedback, including suggesting venues for publication for those works.”

O’Donnell joined the psychology department in 2001, teaching a range of classes but specializing in human development courses, research methods and the history and systems of psychology. She is lauded for being an innovator looking for ways to bring the subject matter to students in new ways.

To her students, O’Donnell is a mentor and advocate, regularly inviting them into her home for events and study sessions. In the psychology department, she has led the way in adopting educational technology and given her time to train others.

“Most importantly, Sue is known for the concern she shows for her students,” said Jim Foster, dean of the school’s College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. “One of the students who nominated Sue noted that ‘Every single semester she goes above and beyond what is required of her to make sure her students not only learn the material but are equipped to apply it in their everyday lives.’”

Students describe Meszaros as organized, innovative, demanding and the kind of teacher who presents material in such a way that it triggers a “learning experience.” He also earned praise for his professionalism and ability to explain difficult material.

“George Fox physical therapy students are the best that I’ve ever encountered in 15-plus years of teaching,” Meszaros said. “Their hard work, curiosity and good humor make teaching a joy. We tell our DPT students that the best way to grow professionally is to surround yourself with people who are better than yourself. This award reflects the level of excellence found in the faculty that surround me in the physical therapy program.”

DeKruyf earned the honor for her scholarship and influence in the field of school counseling. Recently, she and two national collaborators edited a two-part edition of “Professional School Counseling,” the flagship journal of the American School Counselor Association, which maintains a membership of more than 20,000. It was her work in school counselor professional identity that positioned her to serve as co-editor for this special edition.

DeKruyf’s research interests are reflected in the topics she has published and presented on locally, regionally and nationally. These include school counseling site supervision and school counselor professional identity, cross-cultural mentorship, cultural sensitivity, narrative counseling and social justice advocacy.

“Lori is a consistent scholar whose work as school counselor identity is aligned well with her service agenda and with her teaching goals,” said Scot Headley, dean of the College of Education. “She has been consistent in scholarly engagement throughout her career at George Fox. The journals in which she has published her work are important and influential in her field. In fact, at the current time, Lori is gaining national influence in her professional field.”

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