Faculty Members Recognized With Outstanding Achievement Awards

The College of Arts & Letters is pleased to honor this year’s Faculty Award winners for their outstanding leadership, teaching, innovation, and community engagement. The six awards presented by the College recognize these impactful leaders for the work that they do to enhance curriculum and student experiences.

2022 Faculty Award Winners:

  • Faculty Leadership Award – Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
  • Fixed-Term Faculty/Academic Specialist Leadership Excellence Award – Casey McArdle, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
  • Paul Varg Alumni Award for Faculty – Julie Lindquist, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
  • College of Arts & Letters Community Partner Award – Matthew Rossi, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
  • Faculty Award for Innovation and Leadership – Ben Lauren, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
  • College of Arts & Letters Legacy Lecture Award ­– Susan J. Bandes, Department of Art, Art History, and Design

Faculty Leadership Award

Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Interim Chairperson of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC), received the Faculty Leadership Award for her outstanding leadership within the WRAC Department, the College, at the university level, and in the field of rhetoric and writing studies.

“[Dànielle] consistently goes far beyond the performance of routine tasks, is unfailingly generous in sharing her insights and providing mentorship to graduate students and fellow faculty alike, and contributes much of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ hard work and mentoring that engenders vision and excellence at MSU and beyond,” said Jackie Rhodes, former Chairperson of the WRAC Department, who nominated DeVoss for the award.

Headshot of a woman with blonde hair in a ponytail wearing a black shirt.
Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Interim Chairperson of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures

DeVoss exemplifies the College of Arts & Letters’ culture of care through the support and mentorship she lends colleagues, her willingness to share teaching materials, and her involvement on a multitude of College of Arts & Letters initiatives and committees. Since fall 2001, she has served on 32 M.A. committees and 58 Ph.D. committees.

For the past two years, DeVoss chaired the College Advisory Council (CAC), in which she worked to ensure that all staff and faculty across all College of Arts & Letters’ departments and programs were represented and their concerns and goals heard. One of the significant initiatives of the CAC was the creation of the College of Arts & Letters COVID Relief Fund, which provided support to staff and faculty so they could best continue their professional work during the changes brought on by the pandemic. DeVoss currently serves as a College of Arts & Letters Faculty Senator on University Governance.

“I am honored to receive the recognition of my colleagues and the college, and to work with the devoted, engaged, and fantastic people that I do.”

Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Interim Chairperson of the WRAC Department

In addition to her exemplary leadership within WRAC, DeVoss also is an esteemed leader in the field of digital and visual rhetorics. She has authored numerous articles, edited award-winning books, and is a manuscript reviewer for major publications in her field, such as College English, Technical Communication Quarterly, College Composition and Communication, and Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition and Culture.

“I am honored to receive the recognition of my colleagues and the college, and to work with the devoted, engaged, and fantastic people that I do,” DeVoss said. “I am excited to dedicate the monetary component of the Faculty Leadership Award to host an end-of-academic-year picnic for my colleagues in WRAC, without whom, I would not be doing the work that I do.”

The Faculty Leadership Award is designed to reward faculty who demonstrate outstanding leadership and recognize faculty leaders 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. 

Fixed-Term Faculty/Academic Specialist Leadership Excellence Award

Casey McArdle, Academic Specialist and Director of Undergraduate Programs in WRAC, received the Fixed-Term Faculty/Academic Specialist Leadership Excellence Award for his work to enhance digital accessibility, online pedagogies, and his support of undergraduate students in WRAC and the College of Arts & Letters.

“Casey’s scholarly advocacy for students and faculty members’ digital accessibility and his leadership and support of P2W and XA undergraduates represent his beliefs in inclusive program practices,” said Denise Acevedo, Assistant Professor in WRAC, who nominated McArdle for the award. “Casey truly represents excellence in leadership.”

Man with red hair wearing a blue and white shirt. Behind him is a whiteboard filled with blue, green, and pink sticky notes with numbers written on them.
Casey McArdle, Academic Specialist and Director of Undergraduate Programs in WRAC

In his current role of Director of Undergraduate Programs, McArdle is responsible for locating, scheduling, and mentoring faculty who teach in undergraduate programs. He also has secured funding that supports an array of speakers and special events, especially in the fields of digital accessibility and inclusivity.

McArdle has been involved in developing and promoting ELI Review, an online peer review system that has generated significant scholarship in the field of rhetoric and composition. More recently, he co-authored Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors, which received the 2020 Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award and which was subsequently published by the Writing Across the Curriculum Clearinghouse, an open educational resource. The book’s publication led to a series of multiple workshops and webinars that McArdle and co-author Jessie Borgman designed and facilitated over summer and fall 2020 for the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Lewis University, University of Miami, St. Mary’s College, and the Council for Writing Program Administrators. The book was followed by an edited collection published in 2021 entitled, “PARS In Practice: More Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors,” a collection of 20 chapters written by educators who put PARS into practice in their online classrooms.

“Casey’s scholarly advocacy for students and faculty members’ digital accessibility and his leadership and support of P2W and XA undergraduates represent his beliefs in inclusive program practices. Casey truly represents excellence in leadership.”

Denise Acevedo, Assistant Professor in WRAC

“I am extremely honored and humbled to win this award,” McArdle said. “The success of our undergrad programs is due to the hard work of our amazing students, our WRAC undergrad admin team, our faculty, and our staff. The effort that Dr. Borgman and I have put into developing the OWI Community and writing and editing the books, is our attempt to support contingent faculty and every student taking an online class. Thank you to WRAC, CAL, our students, our faculty, and the Awards Committee. This achievement will be shared by everyone involved in our undergrad programs!”

The Fixed-Term Faculty/Academic Specialist Leadership Excellence Award recognizes fixed-term faculty and academic specialists who demonstrate leadership excellence. Leadership excellence is exhibited by those who enhance the programmatic excellence of their college unit. Award winners make a substantive impact in their area of expertise and often mark the difference between a good program and an excellent one. 

Paul Varg Alumni Award for Faculty

Julie Lindquist, Professor and Director of the First-Year Writing program in WRAC, received the Paul Varg Alumni Award for Faculty for the impactful work she has done to shape the First-Year Writing program and for her contributions to the field of writing and rhetoric on a university and national level.

“Julie has not only shaped the words and frameworks that our first-year writing teachers use in their courses but has also contributed substantially to the national discourse of our field,” said Jackie Rhodes, former Chairperson of the WRAC Department, who nominated Lindquist for the award. “Julie is indeed the consummate professional — one who is engaged and engaging, astute yet accessible, and solidly committed to first-year students and their teachers — the many of us who are thus enriched.”

Woman with blonde hair and glasses
Julie Lindquist, Professor and Director of the First-Year Writing program in WRAC

As Director of the First-Year Writing program, Lindquist leads a three-pronged, anti-racist initiative that examines the commonplaces of the program and how these commonplaces can impact inclusive teaching approaches. As the Chair of the 2020 Conference on College Composition and Communication, Lindquist expanded on this work by inviting participants to examine commonplaces and assumptions they made about students and learning through their own teaching, scholarship, and administrative work. Both her work within WRAC and on a national level have shaped discourse about writing and pedagogy.

Lindquist has served as chair or member of 15 graduate student dissertation committees over the past three years. She also has directed the Critical Studies in Literacy Pedagogy Program, and in that role, served as liaison to English Teacher Education. From 2003-2008, Lindquist also was co-leader of a funded Carnegie Teachers for a New Era project, where she helped facilitate the creation of new cross-disciplinary standards and curricula for pre-education teachers in both the College of Arts & Letters and across the university.

“Julie has not only shaped the words and frameworks that our first-year writing teachers use in their courses but has also contributed substantially to the national discourse of our field.”

Jackie Rhodes, former Chairperson of the WRAC Department

“I’m completely honored to be chosen for this award and to have my work on behalf of literacy education, within and beyond MSU, recognized in this way,” Lindquist said. “And I know who my colleagues in WRAC and in CAL are, so it’s especially meaningful to be honored with the Varg in that company.”

The Paul Varg Alumni Award for Faculty recognizes faculty members who challenge students intellectually, maintain a national reputation in their field, and provide service to the college, university, and community.

College of Arts & Letters Community Partner Award

Matthew Rossi, Assistant Professor in WRAC, was awarded the College of Arts & Letters Community Partner Award for his inclusive community outreach, which creates space for participants to engage in artistic and scientific explorations.

“Matt’s projects integrate community members, multimodality, and the sciences in creative and highly original ways,” said Jackie Rhodes, former Chairperson of the WRAC Department, who nominated Rossi for the award. “Bringing town and gown together through highly original, well-designed, and inclusive programming, [Matt] has contributed much to community life both on and off campus.”

Man with black hair wearing a brown jacket and teal shirt.
Assistant Professor Matthew Rossi

Rossi founded and curates the REO Town Reading Series, which operates online and allows creative writers from around the country to participate. He also works as a faculty advisor for Spartan Speech, an event that brings hundreds of high school students to MSU each year to give and listen to oral presentations. He is involved with Lansing Makers Network as well, a Lansing organization dedicated to community collaboration, through which he developed a partnership with the Capital Area District Libraries.

Contributing his skills in project management, Rossi helps implement the twice-yearly WRAC Faculty Symposium. Each semester, he also contributes to the First-Year Writing Conference, a robust event that brings together more than 700 first-year students to share, celebrate, and reflect on the multimodal projects they have made in class.

“To me, the work I do in the community is intimately tied to my teaching and my creative output. It feels good to know I’m part of a college and a department that recognizes that our mission extends beyond campus.”

Matthew Rossi, Assistant Professor in WRAC

“To me, the work I do in the community is intimately tied to my teaching and my creative output,” Rossi said. “It feels good to know I’m part of a college and a department that recognizes that our mission extends beyond campus. WRAC is a department full of extraordinary scholars and teachers and it feels wonderful to be recognized among them.”

The Community Partner Award recognizes a faculty member’s community contributions at the local, state, national, and/or global levels. The award recognizes participation, student mentorship, and overall leadership.

Faculty Award for Innovation and Leadership

Ben Lauren, Associate Professor in WRAC, received the Faculty Award for Innovation and Leadership for his innovative pedagogical classroom practices that link design, rhetorical analysis, social justice, spoken word, and music composition.

“It is extraordinarily rare to find a teacher so committed to surfacing the material needs of MSU’s students, and who takes such collaborative, innovative approaches to help resolve them,” said Jackie Rhodes, former Chairperson of the WRAC Department, who nominated Lauren for the award. “Ben’s creative classroom practices combine opportunities for experiential learning that responds to real-life problems, with creative and intellectual rigor.”

Man with brown-grey hair wearing a green sweater.
Associate Professor Ben Lauren

Recently, Lauren has been examining the material needs of MSU’s students. With the help of undergraduate and graduate students, he developed a prototype for a university-wide trauma-informed basic needs portal that allows MSU students to access essential needs resources. Lauren and the team have given multiple related presentations to MSU stakeholders, provided relevant reports for the provost’s office, and served as consultants for other groups doing similar work.

A second major innovation involved Lauren’s collaboration with the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness. Joined by multiple colleagues in the College of Arts & Letters, Lauren led the design and implementation of the MI Homeless Voice project, a collection of spoken-word stories about Michigan’s homeless population that incorporates original music. He also shepherded a team of graduate students in the editing of a special issue of Kairos, a flagship journal in his field, on Sound and Social Change.

“Ben’s creative classroom practices combine opportunities for experiential learning that responds to real-life problems, with creative and intellectual rigor.”

Jackie Rhodes, former Chairperson of the WRAC Department

“I’m so thankful to the college and my colleagues in WRAC for this recognition,” Lauren said. “I’m especially grateful to all the excellent MSU students I’ve been fortunate enough to work with over the years.”

The Faculty Award for Innovation and Leadership rewards a faculty member who utilizes innovative practices in the classroom, finds engaging ways to integrate scholarship and teaching, and provides rich opportunities for experiential learning beyond the classroom setting.

College of Arts & Letters Legacy Lecture Award

Susan J. Bandes, retired Professor of Art History and Visual Culture and former Director of the Kresge Art Museum, received the College of Arts & Letters Legacy Lecture Award in recognition of her 35 years of service to Michigan State University and the Department of Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD).

“Susan’s tireless work as museum director, scholar, curator, teacher, and mentor has elevated the national profile of Michigan State University,” said Candace Keller, Associate Professor in AAHD, who nominated Bandes for the award. “Guided by her ambitious creative vision, vast art historical knowledge, and professional expertise, her efforts have helped to amass and promote the university’s impressive collections of international art and material culture, develop its undergraduate and graduate programs in Museum Studies and the History of Art, and extend its networks and outreach among local, state, and national communities.”

Susan J. Bandes, former Professor of Art History and Visual Culture

Bandes, who retired this past May, began working at Michigan State University in 1986 as the Director of the Kresge Art Museum. Under her leadership, the museum’s holdings were greatly expanded and diversified to include globally significant artworks by European, American, Native American, African, and African American artists. She cultivated and sustained relationships with the public through the Friends of Kresge Art Museum group and enhanced local K-12 public programming. Her initial vision and networking efforts also were instrumental in the establishment of MSU’s Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

During her tenure at MSU, Bandes made important contributions as a popular and effective teacher. She taught numerous art history courses as well as the first Museum Studies courses offered at MSU, helping to develop the minor and graduate programs in Museum Studies and serving as the program’s Director/Co-Director. She also developed and taught the capstone Curatorial Practices course and, more recently, helped develop and launch the HA499 professional development seminar for the History of Art major and facilitated the associated Art History Symposium.

“Susan’s tireless work as museum director, scholar, curator, teacher, and mentor has elevated the national profile of Michigan State University.”

Candace Keller, Associate Professor in AAHD

“Her approaches to teaching are always innovative and engaging, connected to important contemporary issues and conversations, and incorporate new, digital technologies and campus resources,” Keller said. “For example, she was the first among History of Art faculty to partner with the Planetarium to develop immersive learning opportunities for students using 360-degree projections to experience and appreciate global architectural monuments. Her courses often incorporated field trips and other experiential learning opportunities, such as behind-the-scenes tours with the conservation, works-on-paper, and curatorial areas of the Detroit Institute of Arts.”

Her research and publication areas are vast, ranging from Italian and Dutch Baroque art, works on paper to WPA art, Frank Lloyd Wright, and modernist architecture. In the past decade, Bandes’ scholarship has centered on Mid-Michigan Modern architecture, and her latest book, Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie, illustrates the significant role Michigan has played in the development of modern architecture and design. Attesting to its overwhelming success, MSU Press recently reprinted the book as an extended edition in paperback, with an added chapter on waterfront properties by architects working between 1940s-70s who were not included in the original. It is this expanded work that Bandes intends to speak during the Legacy Lecture, which will be scheduled later this year.

The College of Arts & Letters Legacy Lecture was established in 2021 to recognize one outstanding individual each year for their contributions to the College of Arts & Letters, Michigan State University, and the community post-retirement. The honoree will deliver a 60-minute lecture that they have always wished they could give focused on their creative work and research. Bandes is the inaugural Legacy Lecturer.