2104 Provost & Faculty Senate
Spring Awards Ceremony



Photo Credit: Kramer Janders, University Communications

Paul J. Olscamp Research Award
Jeffrey Grimm, Department of Psychology

Jeff Grimm studied biology, psychology and chemistry as an undergraduate at Whitman College.  At Washington State University he earned a M.S. (1995) and then a Ph.D. (1999) in Experimental Psychology studying the neurochemical effects of antipsychotic drugs and also cocaine relapse in a rodent model of addiction. He continued to study addiction during a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, where he co-authored a study describing abstinence-related increases in drug craving (“incubation of craving”).  Since arriving at Western in 2001, Grimm has continued to examine this effect, including molecular events related to it, with a focus on sugar as the “drug” of choice.  His research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2003 and dozens of undergraduates and several graduate students have participated as research assistants.  Forty have been co-authors on published manuscripts and over 100 on presentations at professional meetings.  Grimm is happy to have been able to establish his research program at Western, partly because it is close to Bainbridge Island, where he grew up.


Photo Credit: Kramer Janders, University Communications

Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award
Joan Stevenson, Department of Anthropology

Joan Stevenson received her doctorate in biological anthropology from University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and taught briefly at three other institutions before coming to Western.   She has published in teams and often with students on the genetics of European immigrants, Mennonite demography, ADHD, growth and symmetry, digit ratios, Southwestern Pueblo pottery, the resilience of Inupiaq peoples, food allergies, and determining the sex of an individual by looking at the skull.  Her highest priorities are to be a good teacher by being current in the literature and expecting a professional-level performance from all.  She most enjoys the discussions in her office about current projects and life’s challenges.


Photo Credit: Kramer Janders, University Communications

Peter J. Elich Excellence in Teaching Award
Millie Johnson, Department of Mathematics

For the past 41 years, Millie Johnson has devoted herself to teaching Mathematics. Her passion is to engage and challenge students to stretch themselves; to set up an environment where students are encouraged to make sense of mathematics, to visualize, to dig in, play and explore, to develop intuition, to tweak the known and the unknown, to extend, generalize, and prove results, to awaken their drive for discovery, insights, and answers. Johnson says her teaching philosophy can be summed up in the words of her friend and mentor, Ruth Parker, CEO of the Mathematics Education Collaborative:  “My job is not to teach students to see what I see. My job is to teach them to see.”  Although teaching has been her main focus, Johnson is frequently asked to speak and consult on mathematical applications ranging from septic tank design to river flow management to DNA testing to minimal surfaces to animal physiology. 


Photo Credit: Kramer Janders, University Communications

Excellence in Teaching Award
Ruth Sofield, Department of Environmental Sciences

Ruth Sofield earned her doctorate from the Colorado School of Mines in 2002 and joined the faculty at Huxley College of the Environment the following year.  She and her students study environmental toxicology and chemistry in the classroom, in the field, and in the lab.  Numerous undergraduate students have worked in Sofield’s lab as student researchers, studying, among other things, the effects of light on nanoparticle toxicity, the use of fungi to remediate contaminated soils, and anthropogenic impacts on water quality in a Peruvian national park.   She doesn’t stop with classroom learning, though.  She arranges field trips to Hanford to understand clean-up activities and encourages students to attend scientific conferences, workshops and competitions. She arranges meet-and-greets with local professionals and volunteer opportunities.   Sofield’s connection with her students is often long-term -- many students stay in touch and become colleagues. It is the best reward she could ask for.


Photo Credit: Kramer Janders, University Communications

Ronald Kleinknecht Excellence in Teaching Award
Tristan Goldman, Department of History

Tristan Goldman earned his degrees at the University of Washington in Classics and Ancient History.  His two role models in developing himself as a teacher are professors Lawrence Bliquez and Carol Thomas, both of whom graciously invested the time and energy necessary to develop him as a scholar and a human being.  Goldman looks to do the same for his students. Goldman’s research area is the Ancient Mediterranean and draws parallels between the ancient world and modern society while using humor and historical fact. He’s known for having high expectations of his students and is committed to seeing them succeed as members of a broader social, political and economic community.

Page Updated 11.22.2017