The designation of Distinguished Professor is the highest award attainable at Central Washington University and represents the highest level of performance. Each year, nominations are sought in four categories—teaching, service, and research/creative expression for tenured professors, and a non-tenure track distinguished faculty award for teaching.
This year’s honors go to Matthew Altman, philosophy and religious studies, for research; Lila Harper, English, for non-tenure-track teaching; and Shari Stoddard, art, teaching. The award for service was not granted this year.
Altman has a passionate commitment to both teaching and research. Of the relation between the two, he says, “I entered this profession because I wanted to teach philosophy, so my research is never divorced from the work I am doing with students both in and out of the classroom.” He works primarily in applied ethics, Kant and nineteenth-century philosophy, and normative ethics, but he also teaches and publishes on social and political philosophy, the philosophy of law, and the philosophy of art. Despite his many duties as department chair (and recently as director of the Douglas Honors College), Altman is a prolific writer, and has published four books in the past six years, in addition to numerous articles, book chapters, reviews, and encyclopedia entries.
An expert in 19th-century British literature, Harper has broad interests within the field, contributing nine articles and book chapters on the relationships between natural history, mathematics, and science fiction, and publishing two books. As a teacher of writing, she has written instructional manuals for Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. She not only teaches first-year composition and Introduction to Literature, she also has taught classes on writing in the computer sciences for the computer science department. In addition, she taught classes for the Douglas Honors Colleges, from Ecological Imperialism and Women’s Travel Writing to Senior Thesis. Described as “exceptional” by students, Harper has been at CWU since 1989. In addition to being the graduate school’s thesis editor since 2002, she is also a past faculty advisor for the University Writing Center.
Stoddard, who joined the CWU art faculty in 2002, has taught art education at Indiana University, the University of South Carolina, and Ball State University. Stoddard's resume contains an extensive list of papers presented at international, national, regional, and local conferences on topics such as including aesthetics and art criticism in elementary school curricula, cooperative learning strategies, and reflective thinking. She is recognized as both an educator and as an artist. After fourteen years as Director of the Visual Art Teaching Program, Stoddard will retire at the end of this academic year.
There will be a recognition ceremony and reception to honor these and outstanding members of the CWU academic community at 5:00 p.m. on May 19 in the SURC Ballroom. Distinguished professors will also be recognized at the Honors Convocation on June 13.
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