Loyola University Chicago

Faculty Center for Ignatian Pedagogy

Spring 2016

Award Recipients

Faculty Awardee

Department

Award Name

Reuben Keller Institute of Environmental Sustainability Kolvenbach Award for Engaged Teaching
Susana Cavallo Modern Languages & Literatures Alice B. Hayes Award for Advising and Mentoring
Joseph Milanovich Biology Mary Therese Langerbeck Award
for Undergraduate Research Mentoring
Amy Wilkinson Fine and Performing Arts Mary Therese Langerbeck Award
for Undergraduate Research Mentoring

Reuben Keller

Assistant Professor, Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Kolvenbach Award for Engaged Teaching

Ever since joining Loyola University Chicago faculty in the Institute of Environmental Sustainability in 2011, Dr. Reuben Keller has been active in environmental issues from invasive species to economic factors relating to preservation of native environments.  Attempting to understand the economic reasons behind species invasion means that Keller often works with economic experts outside the scientific community. This extension of research has aided the professor in understanding the relationships among those who--often inadvertently—cause the threats to the ecological systems and those dedicated to preserving the environment. Additionally, Professor Keller provides support for groups working to forward national prevention policies.

In Keller’s own words, his goal “in research, teaching, and mentorship is to understand the links between basic science, local and global environmental issues, how those issues affect human welfare, and how negative impacts can be alleviated.” Involving both graduate and undergraduate students in this study influences how students approach the discipline and increases their global understanding of the interrelationship of issues. His students have presented at local and national scientific meetings, talked with policy makers, worked on fellowships involving both the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, and even presented a paper on the devastating impact of invasive species at a conference in India.

Students in Keller’s classes comment on the level of support he provides them, inside and outside the classroom. One student stated that Professor Keller is the most supportive teacher he has had as he was willing to be in constant contact and giving unselfishly of his time, resources and recommendations. His students recognize that faculty members who reach out to student and are truly helpful are concerned with more than just intellectual learning, but with Cura Personalis: student growth in mind, body and spirit. By using a variety of instructional techniques, Keller was able to engage students in course materials and help them understand the importance of the material as it relates to the discipline, their lives, and the world.

As one student explained, Dr. Keller “demonstrated a genuine interest and care for the work of his students.” The relevance of studying about Chicago and Lake Michigan made class content relatable and raised awareness that freshwater is a limited resource that we need to take care of. Through his personal involvement with each group’s project, Dr. Keller helped his students understand the global challenges of freshwater preservation and what each of us can do to help. 

Susana Cavallo

Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Alice B. Hayes Award for Advising and Mentoring

When asked, “How does one mentor?” Dr. Cavallo’s answer was precise: “very simple: love, love, and more love.”  She adds, “just like teaching, mentorship consists of two deep, abiding loves: love for learning and love for people. But that is not enough. Love without listening is not love but self-congratulation-or even worse, voyeurism. A good mentor must listen carefully, quietly, and imperceptibly to each turn of speech, each inflection, each quiet assertion of his or her students, not only when they are apparently fine, but when they are reaching out-sometimes at the most inopportune moment! Because without discernment, love is indulgence: indulgence of oneself and indulgence of others.”

The significant degree to which Dr. Cavallo demonstrates this essential ability to listen is evidenced in the comments of her students. As one student explains, “along with being available, Susana has the most caring heart and an excellent sense of what a person needs to hear. She is an inspiration to me as a woman, a Christian, and an academic. She is this shining example, but also one of the most humble and giving people when it comes to the time and energy it takes to be a good mentor. I see Susana as a lifelong friend, someone to whom I can turn at any point, who will delight in my success and set me back on my feet when I lose my way.”

Joseph Milanovich

Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Mary Therese Langerbeck Award for Undergraduate Research Mentoring

According to one of his undergraduate research students: “Dr. Milanovich provided me with resources I needed.  He would discuss larger ecological concepts with me and allowed me to use the lab resources to explore those ideas. He urged me to sign up for various conferences where I was able to network and present my work. For the past year I have been working on publishing my first manuscript, using the research I have done with Dr. Milanovich has worked tirelessly to guide me in the right direction to get my work published. He is always available to provide me with feedback, but also challenges me to find the answers myself. . . . he has helped me and other members of our lab find our passions. When I entered his lab as a sophomore, I did not know what I wanted to pursue or what my passions were, and now I am leaving as a confident researcher who is entering a Ph.D. program in the fall” 

 Upon reflection on his mentoring, Joseph stated: “My research program is comprised of colleagues – the only difference is their level of experience. Therefore, my mentorship philosophy is to help students create an “outline” for success and provide them with as many resources as possible to lead them to succeed in their passion. Often, that means mentoring students not only in research, but in life. To do this, in my lab I try to create an open atmosphere where students feel free to openly discuss ideas, scientific or other; this comradery is an important part of how my lab functions. . . . I view a mentorship relationship “successful” if a student becomes a step closer to realizing and accomplishing their goals. At times, that means their work culminates into publication, other times that may result in acceptance into a graduate or medical school program; while other times it may simply mean a student truly finds their path in life.”

Amy Wilkinson

Instructor, Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Dance

Mary Therese Langerbeck Award for Undergraduate Research Mentoring

As an undergraduate research student in dance explains: “Using dance and movement as a way of providing new knowledge is a new area of research, and Ms. Wilkinson is dedicated to expanding this. She has contributed a great amount of time and effort in this process, and she is always willing to help. Instead of just giving us the answers she helps us to find the answers ourselves, which has made all the difference in this research project. Ms. Wilkinson is constantly striving for excellence and living out Loyola’s mission with the tremendous amount of time, effort, and care she puts into her students and research.” 

 Upon her reflection of mentoring students, Amy notes:  Cognitive scientists have discovered compelling evidence that nearly all of our experiences are in some way grounded in the body. It therefore must follow that knowledge is connected to physical sensations and the way we move through space. As a dancemaker and mentor I encourage students to consider that an experiential approach to knowledge acquisition has at its nexus, personal history, action, and reflection. Dancemaking and performance are personal, in that the human body with all its strengths and frailties is the tool or medium used by artists to make the work. Dancemaking and performance spark dialogue about underlying myths, values, and traditions in our culture; . . . Dance is transformative for the body, the intellect, and the spirit . . . My work with undergraduate Dance Majors helps validate creative processes as research methodologies and opens students’ eyes to the performing arts’ capacity to generate knowledge alongside traditional modes of scholarship.”