Faculty Members Receive Commencement Awards

News Date: 
Thu. 05/13/2010

Each year, students at Friends University nominate full-time faculty members for the W.A. Young Award for Excellence in Teaching and adjunct faculty members for the Jan LaFever Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award.

Dr. Karyn Turla was presented with the W.A. Young Award, and Philip Wood received the Jan LaFever award at the 2010 commencement ceremony.

The W.A. Young Award began in 1963 in honor of Dr. Walter A. Young, who served as a faculty member, academic dean and then as president of Friends University from 1939 to 1946.

Dr. Karyn Turla, professor of biology in the College of Business, Arts, Sciences and Education, received a plaque, a cash award of $1,000 and will have her name inscribed on the permanent list of award winners displayed in the third-floor hall of the Davis Administration Building.

Dr. Turla has been on the Friends University faculty for 15 years. From her beginnings in a small town, she looms large in the role of mentor and teacher for the students who take her courses. While earning her Ph.D., Dr. Turla tried her hand at teaching and was hooked. The intellectual and emotional rewards from teaching continue to sustain her year after year.

Students who nominated Dr. Turla said she is always open to students who have questions, and that she really wants the class to learn the material for use in their future careers. That material is often difficult, but Dr. Turla is able to strike a balance.

“(Her) classroom style is a hybrid between laid-back and authoritative. She gives the information in a ‘matter-of-fact’ manner that is good for any science class. The laid back nature of the class comes from her funny anecdotes – which always have something to do with the subject matter,” one student said.

When she is not teaching, Dr. Turla enjoys spending time with her husband, two boys, and their extended family of three dogs, one snake, one lizard, one rat and one turtle.

The Jan LaFever Award for Adjunct Teaching honors an adjunct faculty member who has shown extraordinary service to Friends University’s mission and students. The LaFever award has been awarded annually since 1999 in honor of Jan LaFever, a long-time adjunct faculty member in the English Department. Students, faculty and staff are invited to nominate an adjunct professor who has taught for Friends University as an adjunct professor for at least one year.

Philip Wood, adjunct faculty in the Department of Religion and Philosophy in the College of Business, Arts, Sciences and Education, received a plaque, a cash award of $500 and his name will be inscribed on the permanent list of recipients in the third-floor hall of the Davis Administration Building.

Wood has been a member of the adjunct faculty for four years. In that relatively short time, he has had a major impact on the students in his classroom.

“He does everything in his power to help every student learn, not just the smart ones,” said one student who nominated him.

Not only do students learn in his class, but he makes it fun by telling stories and making course content exciting. His commitment to teaching extends outside of the classroom in his work as a pastor at Faith Community Church and as a father of two sons.

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