The College of Arts & Letters honored its 2023 Faculty Award winners at the College’s Faculty and Staff Welcome Reception on Sept. 18 at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.
The four faculty members who received awards were recognized for their outstanding leadership, teaching, innovation, and community engagement as well as the impact they have had to enhance curriculum and student experiences.
The 2023 Faculty Award winners are:
Mohammad Khalil – Paul Varg Award
Morgan Shipley – Faculty Leadership Award
Mariko Kawaguchi – Fixed-Term Faculty & Academic Specialist Leadership Excellence Award
Jyotsna Singh – Legacy Lecture Award
Paul Varg Award
Mohammad Khalil, Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Muslim Studies Program, is this year’s recipient of the Paul Varg Award, which recognizes College of Arts & Letters faculty who challenge students intellectually; maintain a national reputation in their field; provide service to the college, university, and community; and is the consummate professional. The award is named after Paul Varg, the first dean of the college who was a respected teacher, researcher, and administrator.
Dr. Khalil was nominated by Amy DeRogatis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, who wrote: “Dr. Khalil is a transformative teacher and scholar who provides the highest quality of education for students at Michigan State University. He is an internationally recognized scholar in his field as well as an exceptional administrator. His commitment to teaching and service extends beyond the classroom to community engagement events inside and outside of the university. A deeply respected and highly inspirational educator, Dr. Khalil truly embodies the ideals of the Paul Varg Award.”
DeRogatis went on to write that “Dr. Khalil is one of the most talented and effective teachers I have ever seen. An award-winning professor, he is creative and extremely engaging and puts great effort into course construction…His teaching is legendary among MSU students and student demand for his classes remain well beyond course limits. Current and former students credit his courses with instilling in them a passion for learning. They often recognize that the knowledge gained in his classes extends to the rest of their lives.”
Faculty Leadership Award
Morgan Shipley, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Foglio Endowed Chair of Spirituality, is this year’s recipient of the Faculty Leadership Award, which rewards College of Arts & Letters faculty who demonstrate outstanding leadership — the kind who go beyond the performance of routine tasks, are generous in sharing insights, and provide the hard work and mentoring that creates vision and excellence in programs and departments.
Dr. Shipley was nominated by Amy DeRogatis, Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, who wrote: “I have watched Dr. Shipley grow into an exceptional leader of the past several years. He is an outstanding colleague, a phenomenal teacher, and a dedicated MSU-community member who tirelessly initiates and leads a wide spectrum of programs, committees, working groups, student opportunities, councils, and more. His leadership is inspiring, inclusive, and always focused on the greater good.”
Supporting Shipley’s nomination was Cara Cilano, Professor in the Department of English and former Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, who wrote that “Morgan is a valuable colleague and member of CAL’s community. He possesses a wealth of experience and insight into the college’s shared commitment to the artistic and humanistic lives of our students and colleagues. In the many roles Morgan’s occupied, he has consistently energized the work at hand… Morgan embodies so many — maybe all! — of the criteria for this Faculty Leadership Award. He is one of our finest community members.”
Fixed-Term Faculty/Academic Specialist Leadership Excellence Award
Mariko Kawaguchi, Instructor of Japanese in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures, is this year’s recipient of the Fixed-Term Faculty/Academic Specialist Leadership Excellence Award, which recognizes fixed-term faculty and academic specialists who demonstrate leadership excellence, making a substantive impact in their college unit. Award winners foster excellence, encourage others on their own path to intellectual leadership, and enhance diversity across the college.
David Humphrey, Assistant Professor of Japanese and Global Studies, nominated Kawaguchi for this award. He wrote: “In her 15 years of service at Michigan State University, Mariko has established a clear record of excellence in teaching, mentorship, and leadership…She has played a key role in establishing the Japanese Studies Program as one of the most popular language programs at MSU. Students in the program frequently cite her as one of the most significant figures in their Japanese Studies experience, noting that she sustained their progress in Japanese and deepened their appreciation for Japan and Japanese culture.
Supporting Kawaguchi’s nomination was Yen-Hwei Lin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures, who wrote: “Mariko exemplifies the best of a faculty member who not only is dedicated to teaching, but also goes way above and beyond to serve her program and department and the broader campus and local communities. The fact that she has done so much and yet has never had any official leadership or administrative titles speaks to her selfless commitment to the education mission and to the common good. Mariko, therefore, is truly a faculty leader.”
Legacy Lecture Award
Jyotsna Singh, Professor of English, is this year’s Legacy Lecture Award recipient. Established in 2021 by the College of Arts & Letters Culture of Care Retirement Subcommittee, the Legacy Lecture Award recognizes one faculty member each year for their contributions to the College of Arts & Letters, Michigan State University, and the community. Honorees deliver a 60-minute lecture they have always wanted to give that focuses on their creative work and research.
Dr. Singh was nominated for this award by Rob Roznowski, Professor of Theatre and Head of Acting and Directing in the Department of Theatre, who wrote: “I have known Dr. Singh for over a decade and she is always the first call whenever I need advice or a collaborator…Her impact on my academic life has been great considering we are in different departments.”
Roznowski added that Singh’s work as an international scholar is “overwhelming” with 17 international grants and awards, seven books with three more in progress, 25 book chapters, and dozens of guest lectures at the world’s best academic institutions and theatres.
“Not only has Jyotsna served the majority of her academic career at Michigan State University — since 1998 — she has also served the university heroically in numerous service positions,” Roznowski stated. “She is well-known by the university faculty and administration and would be offering decades of student and faculty connections to English and MSU for this Legacy Lecture. Another reason for this recognition is her pioneering as a woman of color in a predominantly white and male academic world when she first started here at MSU.”