Regents Awards for Faculty and Staff Excellence

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa presented its Regents Awards for Faculty and Staff Excellence to eight Iowa State University faculty and staff members at the Feb. 24-25 Board meeting. Iowa State President Steven Leath joined Regents President Bruce Rastetter to present the awards.

Five faculty, listed below, were honored. Recipients must have been employed by Iowa State for a minimum of 15 years and achieved distinction in at least two of the following areas: Teaching, research or creative activity, extension/professional practice, and service.

Gregory Courtney, professor of entomology, director of the Insect Zoo, and curator of the Iowa State Insect Collection is one of the world’s authorities on insect systematics and aquatic entomology. Courtney serves on the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Diversity Committee and “is among the Entomology Department’s most valuable members,” according to his nominator.

Patricia Leigh, professor of education and director of the George Washington Carver Scholarship and Academy, is “a shining example of successful collaboration and transformative efforts between student affairs and academic affairs”, according to her nominator. Leigh, through her work with the Carver Academy, helps provide 100 scholarships each year to qualified minority freshmen, and currently is working with Parks Library on campus to establish a digital history of multicultural student experiences at Iowa State.

Christopher Tuggle, professor of animal science, is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and is internationally recognized for his work in porcine genomics. Tuggle has secured nearly $20 million in grants for Iowa State and serves as the USDA-National Swine Genome Coordinator. One of his nominators wrote “Dr. Tuggle is a world-class researcher with an exemplary and meaningful record of institutional and professional leadership and service.”

R. Dennis Vigil, professor of chemical and biological engineering, has played a vital role in enhancing the operation and reputation of the CBE Department. He helped lead the effort to modify the department’s accreditation process and strengthen the curriculum and is credited with reviving Iowa State’s international leadership in the Association for Crystallization Technology. His nominator noted: “Dennis is an outstanding citizen, a terrific teacher and a well-rounded scholar.”

Michael Yaeger, professor of veterinary pathology, provides diagnostic pathology services for the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center and veterinarians throughout the Midwest, in addition to teaching. He collaborates on a variety of research projects and serves as chair of the Department of Veterinary Pathology’s promotion and tenure committee and chairs the College of Veterinary Medicine’s student awards committee. “Dr. Yaeger’s calm and collegial nature combined with his interest and desire to see Iowa State be successful in training students and conducting research is an inspiration to others,” wrote his nominator.

In addition, three staff members were honored. Regents Awards for Staff Excellence recognize staff contributions and service to the university, community, and broader society. Awardees must have been members of the university staff for at least five years

James Coyle, director of high performance computing operations for Iowa State Information Technology Services, provides guidance to faculty using high performance computing resources for research. His efforts have made Iowa State’s super computing, data management, security and storage solutions more accessible and easier to use. “[James] has probably saved the university millions of dollars over the years and enabled millions more through the upkeep of super-computing machines…” said his nominator.

Garland Dahlke, assistant scientist with the Department of Animal Science’s Beef Center, is nationally recognized for his involvement in the creation of computer software for beef and swine production. Dahlke has developed or assisted with numerous programs, ranging from complex nutrition and production system modeling to simpler, time-saving tools. His nominator noted: “Dr. Dahlke’s [is] an outstanding mentor for both students and other faculty.” 

Desiree Gunning, program coordinator, has many roles in the Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology. She serves as a teaching lab coordinator, an undergraduate teaching adviser, and a learning community coordinator and has contributed to the 40-percent increase in department enrollment over the past 10 years. Her nominator notes that she “allows the department to maintain a high standard of undergraduate education especially in a time of limited resources.”

The Regents Awards for Faculty and Staff Excellence were established by the Board of Regents to recognize and promote excellence in the work of the faculty and staff at the Regents Institutions. Recipients earn Regents Awards for excellence in the performance of their duties in service to the university, the students, and the state of Iowa.