A commitment to excellence drives these faculty members to support their students.

January 2014—The Faculty Excellence Award recognizes outstanding Walden University faculty members from each college who exemplify the university’s core values of quality, integrity, and student-centeredness.

The award recipients for 2014 are Dr. Karen Wiggins, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership; Dr. Angela Witt Prehn, College of Health Sciences; Dr. Yvette Ghormley, College of Management and Technology; Dr. Gary J. Burkholder, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Dr. Laurel Walsh, College of Undergraduate Studies.

The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership: Dr. Karen Wiggins

Karen Wiggins
Dr. Karen Wiggins

Dr. Barbara Weschke, a faculty member in The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership, nominated Dr. Karen Wiggins:

“There are not enough words to describe what Dr. Wiggins gives to Walden University. No one devotes more time and compassion than she does, and this includes both students and colleagues alike. For example, Dr. Wiggins has struck close professional relationships with her students where she has created in-person roundtable discussions for local students; in addition, Dr. Wiggins has guided her first-course students with their assignments to see they work at the graduate level. Many of these students continue to communicate with Dr. Wiggins, and their gratitude resonates throughout the college. In her new role as program director in the Division of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Wiggins’ affable, yet most professional, demeanor has won over her faculty.”

College of Health Sciences: Dr. Angela Witt Prehn

Angela Whitt Prehn
Dr. Angela Witt Prehn

Donna L. Sullivan, a Ph.D. in Public Health student, nominated Dr. Angela Witt Prehn:

“When Dr. Prehn was nominated by a group of her graduate students, they voluntarily submitted comments about her teaching and mentoring excellence. The phrases ‘adaptive and responsive to individual learning styles,’ ‘strong but individualized working relationships,’ and ‘encouragement, fast responses, and achievable timeliness’ were submitted. Dr. Prehn maintains high academic standards and expectations in student writing and critical-thinking skills. She creates social, constructivist learning by scaffolding skill challenges in an individualized, customized manner to align with specific learners’ needs. She is adaptable and flexible, but motivational and demanding in challenging students to achieve stretch goals. She fosters discussion and is highly accessible within the classroom, by email, phone, Skype, and LinkedIn.”

Yvette Ghomley
Dr. Yvette Ghomley

College of Management and Technology: Dr. Yvette Ghormley

Pedro J. Matos Garcia, a Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) student, nominated Dr. Yvette Ghormley:

“Dr. Ghormley is a key part of the Walden teaching and learning process. As an educator, she has a big desire to help her students, which helps us succeed. She celebrates students’ successes, revisions, and efforts we’ve made. Dr. Ghormley creates a true community of learning and achievement, which has motivated us to strengthen ourselves and give our best.”

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences: Dr. Gary J. Burkholder

Dr. Oleksiy Chadyuk ’13, a Ph.D. in Psychology graduate, nominated Dr. Gary J. Burkholder:

Gary Burkholder
Dr. Gary J. Burkholder

“Dr. Burkholder acted as my committee chair as I worked on my dissertation, and I came to appreciate his commitment to his students. The most important thing for me was his ability to provide support above and beyond what was expected. I set a very aggressive deadline for the completion of my dissertation to get a teaching job I dreamed of. We talked about the feasibility of completing my dissertation by September. When we scoped out all the problems that could stop me from reaching my goal, he reiterated his promise to do everything possible to support me in my progress. I must say that he did much more than I thought was possible. Whether I emailed him during the weekend or late at night, he always responded to my questions and drafts within one day. Now that I have completed my dissertation, got the job I wanted, and started mentoring graduate students of my own, I am beginning to appreciate how difficult it is to have the same level of focus and commitment to students’ goals that Dr. Burkholder had to mine. I must say that it has been an honor for me to have experienced such a standard of excellence, and I know I will have to work for many years to merely come close to it.”

College of Undergraduate Studies: Dr. Laurel Walsh

 Dr.Laurel Walsh
Dr. Laurel Walsh

Dr. Lianne Williamson, program director for Interdisciplinary Studies, and Keri VanOverschelde, faculty member in the College of Undergraduate Studies, nominated Dr. Laurel Walsh:

“Dr. Walsh is involved in every facet of mentoring undergraduate students as well as upholding the highest standards of teaching. Two of the biggest initiatives that she has undertaken, just within the last year, are creating the Academic Writing Expectations documents, which spell out what the writing expectations are for each level and give students and faculty tools to help them reach their potential as writers, and the Professional Academic Skills Refresher classroom, which allows students to have another chance at refreshing their academic skills prior to entering the official classroom. Both of these initiatives help students tremendously.”

About the Award
The Faculty Excellence Award is a college-level award, recognizing outstanding Walden University faculty members who exemplify the university’s core values of quality, integrity, and student-centeredness. Eligible nominees for the award must have two years of service to Walden University. Recipients demonstrate mentoring and teaching excellence, service to the university, service to the community and to organizations, and scholarly contribution to their disciplines.

Read more about the Faculty Excellence Award and past recipients.