Posted June 24, 2020

Faculty awards celebrate outstanding teaching, service, research and creative achievement

Teachers and researchers from across Temple’s disciplines, from medicine to music and dance, were honored for the achievements.

The Temple flag flies in Philadelphia
Photography By: 
Betsy Manning
Temple University is proud to celebrate the 2020 faculty award winners.

Every year, Temple celebrates the achievements of its faculty in the areas of teaching, service, creativity and research with the faculty awards: the highest honors given to teachers and scholars at the university.

Awardees are nominated by current and former students, as well as by colleagues at Temple and other institutions.

Although the 2020 awards ceremony has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Temple is proud to celebrate this year’s winners. Quotes from each awardee’s nomination packet are included below.


(Photo courtesy of Eduard Schmieder)

Eduard Schmieder, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Instrumental Studies, Boyer College of Music and Dance
“My studies with Dr. Schmieder have truly shaped me as a violinist and a human being … (Because of his influence) I was competing against students from the most celebrated institutions in the world, and I brought back to Temple an award that no Temple student had won before.”

(Photo by Emily Kravet)

Ralph F. Young, professor of instruction, history, College of Liberal Arts
“Every time I attend Professor Young’s classes, I learn something new and exciting. And every time I reconfirm my impression that he is a stellar member of Temple’s teaching community, a true gift for students.”


Jesse Harrod

(Photo by Joseph V. Labolito)

Jesse Harrod, associate professor of fibers and materials studies, Tyler School of Art and Architecture
“Harrod’s projects stem from their inclusive and humane approach to artmaking. They demonstrate their impressive project management and resource building skills, which are above and beyond what many artists are capable of accomplishing. Harrod is having a profound impact at Temple and Tyler … We attract students from across the country that want to be a part of Harrod’s community.”


(Photo courtesy of John P. Perdew)

John P. Perdew, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Physics, College of Science and Technology
“At the core of Density Functional Theory there is the design of the so-called exchange and correlation functional. Perdew has dedicated most of his scientific life to the development of this key piece of theory. He has a deep understanding of the theory and an inexhaustible creativity … The whole of physical chemistry (our field worldwide) owes a debt to John’s work.” —colleague


Jennifer Orlet Fisher, professor of social and behavioral sciences, College of Public Health
“While pursuing three broad themes related to children’s eating behavior (environmental influences, obesogenic behaviors and caregiver influences), she also dives deeply into specific areas … As she did with portion sizes, she pursues answers that are critical for practitioners, policymakers, parents and public health. She is also personally exceptional. In my 30 years in the field, I haven’t seen anyone who has this unique combination of professional productivity and personal warmth.”


(Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Solow)

Jeffrey Solow, professor of instrumental studies, Boyer College of Music and Dance
“Professor Solow teaches me how to play music with intention. Every note, and the means of executing that note, has a purpose. He never stifles individual expression or interpretation, but he always makes you analyze the different ways of interpreting and executing a particular passage. Solow has taught me that every fingering, bowing, articulation, etc., I decide on must be the result of a thoughtful and analytical process, and not because of mere convenience or because I ‘heard someone else do it that way.’ Professor Solow is also an extremely kind and generous person. He is completely dedicated to his students.”

(Photo courtesy of Jane B. Baron)

Jane B. Baron, professor of law, Beasley School of Law
“Professor Baron would push me to dig deeper and gain an even greater understanding. She instilled confidence in me and helped me find my voice as an advocate through her mastery of the Socratic method.”
—former student

Alexandra Krull Davatzes

(Photo courtesy of Alexandra Krull Davatzes)

Alexandra Krull Davatzes, associate professor of earth and environmental science, College of Science and Technology
“Without Professor Davatzes’ early commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and improving our teaching, our field would not have much of the currently growing line of research on spatial thinking in the geosciences. Dr. Davatzes is engaged in understanding student learning at all levels.”

Dustin Kidd

(Photo courtesy of Dustin Kidd)

Dustin Kidd, associate professor of sociology, College of Liberal Arts
“Professor Kidd’s deep commitment to teaching exceeds the classroom. He has mentored undergraduate and graduate students, helping them, in substantive ways, to launch their careers, and he has taken the time and initiative to improve his teaching over the entire span of his teaching career here at Temple … What sets Professor Kidd apart is his innovative, risk-taking and self-reflective approach to pedagogy. As one committee member put it, Professor Kidd ‘walks the walk.’ One of the ways one walks the walk is by having the humility and flexibility to see oneself as a lifelong learner who must keep up with the times while also maintaining an ethical rudder. Professor Kidd is doing this.”

Steven N. Popoff

(Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg)

Steven N. Popoff, John Franklin Huber Chair and Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
“Dr. Popoff has always had an unwavering commitment to excellence in educating students in human anatomy. From digital interactive media to clinical vignette system workshops, Dr. Popoff explored all possibilities. He also tirelessly pursued ways to help students overcome personal limitations and disabilities to gain the most from his courses without sacrifice for integrity of the course…For him, excellence is a habit, not a goal.”
—former student

Michelle C. Scarpulla

(Photo courtesy of Michelle C. Scarpulla)

Michelle C. Scarpulla, instructor in social and behavioral sciences, College of Public Health
“She let me know she had faith in me, and it gave me the confidence to push through. Michelle was helping me with an assignment one day in her office and asked me something about my fish tank. I didn’t know she knew I even had a fish tank. Then I remembered that two months prior on the first day of class I wrote about it on a flash card. Most instructors ask these on the first day, but she read them and she remembered them, even though she has hundreds of students … She would simply look at me and ask how everything was going … To me, there is no one more deserving of the Lindback Award.”


Robert-Andre F. Rarig

(Photo courtesy of Robert-André F. Rarig)

Robert-André F. Rarig, assistant professor of instruction, chemistry, College of Science and Technology
“Robert Rarig embraces the challenge of overcoming the 'fear barrier' students face in chemistry courses … One of Rarig's favorite comments from a student is, ‘I knew from the very first day that if I didn't succeed in your class, it would be my fault.’ It opened his eyes to how important establishing an engaging classroom culture is and motivates him to find more ways to show a diverse audience that he, along with other professors, is a guide to academic success rather than an obstacle to it.”


Kevin C. Cannon

(Photo courtesy of Kevin C. Cannon)

Kevin C. Cannon, adjunct assistant professor of chemistry, College of Science and Technology
“Our primary student population in these courses was pre-nursing students or other allied health type majors. The course also included some CST majors along with some landscape, architecture and horticulture majors. Some of these students in this course did not have any high school chemistry background while other students had various amounts of high school chemistry including a few students that had AP chemistry in high school. Dr. Cannon was able to work with all of the students, from very diverse cultural, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and he has always done an excellent job.”

Jonathan A. Grode, adjunct professor of law, Beasley School of Law
“Under the guidance of Duncan Hollis, Jonathan created a class that is almost 100% practical in nature. By combining business concepts with the practice of law, the students are exposed to the various aspects of running a law firm. The students create an idea for a new practice and go through all of the motions of determining its place in the market as well as how it will function. This is one of a small handful of law classes of this nature being offered in the entire country.” —colleague

Ephraim Schafli

(Photo courtesy of Ephraim Schäfli)

Ephraim Schäfli, adjunct professor of music studies, Boyer College of Music and Dance
“Students love him and learn far, far more than they expected to in sections of his classes. I observed Mr. Schäfli teach these sections several times. What is remarkable about those observations is that students showed up on time, they were extremely attentive, and they participated fully in the classes. And, he is no push-over; it is clear that the students respect him and what he knows, and that they also genuinely like him as a human being. He is compassionate without being maudlin. Ephraim Schäfli is a superb teacher, one of the very best I have ever observed, and he is a remarkably engaging human being, too.”


Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon

(Photo courtesy of Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon)

Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon, associate professor of theater studies and playwriting, School of Theater, Film and Media Arts
“Kimmika truly embodies Temple’s mission of making the university accessible to everyone, no matter their background. She is a constant advocate for those whose voices can go unheard and a tireless defender of equality. Temple University would not be the same without her.”


Gerald Stahler

(Photo courtesy of Gerald Stahler)

Gerald Stahler, professor of environmental studies and geography and urban studies, College of Liberal Arts
“During his 35 years at Temple, Dr. Stahler has had a long-standing distinguished record of service to the community and university. His research and teaching career has focused on drug abuse and addiction and he has used this expertise and knowledge time and again to help address this major health problem in the city of Philadelphia.”

Ellen Walker

(Photo courtesy of Ellen Walker)

Ellen Walker, professor of pharmaceutical sciences, College of Pharmacy and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine
“I’ve presented a long list of the many ways that Dr. Walker has served the university and the community. What is not listed is the leadership that she brings to each place she serves. Her colleagues value her judgment, dedication and experience.”

Maurice Wright

(Photo courtesy of Maurice Wright)

Maurice Wright, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Music Composition, Boyer College of Music and Dance
“His service record exemplifies a life of extraordinary commitment to Temple University. Recently he stood up in our Collegial Assembly meeting and delivered an impassioned and impromptu lesson on the history of faculty service, exhorting our newer professors to embrace this important responsibility. In that moment, Professor Wright assured the continuity of the service tradition in our college.”

Paul S. LaFollette Jr.

(Photo courtesy of Paul S. LaFollette Jr.)

Paul S. LaFollette Jr., associate professor of computer and information sciences, College of Science and Technology

For his service to the Faculty Senate and university from 1982 to the present.