By Christine Coffin
The conclusion of the academic year at Oregon State University – Cascades brought awards to four faculty and staff members for teaching, research, staff support and community outreach. The awards are an annual tradition at the branch campus and recognize excellence in employee performance across the university.
Robin Feuerbacher, an assistant professor and lead for the energy systems engineering degree program, was awarded the 2015 Teaching Excellence Award. The award recognizes academic faculty who have excelled in teaching through innovation, curriculum and impact on student success. Feuerbacher’ s work as an advocate for students and for their professional development opportunities, and his mentoring of alumni has ensured a nearly 100 percent job or graduate school placement rate for graduates of the program. Feuerbacher was named the Tykeson Endowed Faculty Scholar in 2011.
Sara Freedman, the web communications specialist for the branch campus received the 2015 Outstanding Staff Award. The award recognizes a staff member who has excelled in providing support to students, faculty or staff through innovative and solution-driven actions. Freedman’s work has measurably increased the branch campus’s online presence, website traffic and social media activity and supported student recruitment and community relations.
Chris Hagen, an assistant professor in the energy systems engineering degree program, was awarded the 2015 Scholarship and Creativity Award. The award recognizes academic faculty who have excelled in intellectual work, communicated the benefits of that work broadly, and whose work has been validated by peers. Hagen, who also directs the Energy Systems Lab, leads research primarily focusing on technology that can convert vehicle engines to act as natural-gas compressors which could then be fueled by using natural gas lines found in homes. Since 2012, Hagen’s research has attracted more than $5 million in funding and resulted in a spin-off company, OnBoard Dynamics.
Meredith Mason, a program assistant in the graduate counseling and undergraduate human development and family science programs, was awarded the 2015 Outreach Award. The award honors staff and faculty who have excelled in developing programs that connect the branch campus with the local community. Mason works with nonprofits, government agencies and schools districts throughout Central Oregon to create educational field experiences that benefit students and the community organizations.