Undergraduate Teacher of the Year: Nick Willis
Willis’ passion for math and solving problems inspires his students, who laud him not only for his dedication to the discipline but also for his willingness to provide guidance and structural explanations.
Willis, who earned a PhD from Texas Tech University, specializes in teaching calculus, algebraic structures and introduction to proofs, among other courses. His primary area of research is in algebraic geometry, for which he has spent many years researching and classifying singular points of real polynomial curves.
“Mathematics has always been a big part of my life,” he says. “I love the quiet joy solving a difficult problem brings me, and I love helping students find that same joy in my classes.”
Undergraduate Researcher of the Year: Brian Doak
Doak, a biblical studies professor who specializes in the Old Testament and Semitic languages, will publish a book with Fortress Press this fall titled Consider Leviathan: Narratives of Nature and the Self in Job. He was also invited to the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany, to deliver a paper at a conference based on his book The Last of the Rephaim: Conquest and Cataclysm in the Heroic Ages of Ancient Israel.
Doak joined the university in 2011 after teaching a range of courses on the Bible, Classics and Hebrew language at Harvard University and Missouri State University. He has conducted archaeological fieldwork with the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon (Israel) and served as an editorial assistant for Harvard Theological Review.
Graduate Teacher of the Year: Katy Turpen
As part of the university’s Master of Arts in Teaching program, Turpen has taught on topics ranging from language and literacy to human development, elementary mathematics and supervising. Previously, she taught American history at Duniway Middle School in McMinnville, Ore.
A student who nominated Turpen for the award said she “makes every minute of class count” and “keeps us working, moving, reading, sorting and doing.” Another said she “had a way of pointing us to the big picture without giving easy solutions. This kept my wheels turning, igniting more passion in me to make a change.” Turpen says she draws the most satisfaction from her job when students “come back and let me know that they were prepared to be great teachers – that makes my heart sing.”
Graduate Researcher of the Year: Rodger Bufford
Bufford’s work over the past year included securing, with fellow George Fox psychology professor Mark McMinn, a $200,000 research grant from the John Templeton Foundation to explore how positive psychology may impact church communities. The grant will be distributed over three years and support five dissertation projects at two universities.
Since his career began in the late 1960s, Bufford has prepared and/or written peer-reviewed journal articles, books, magazine articles, posters, seminars and more.
His nomination submission form stated that, while much of Bufford’s scholarship is focused on the integration of psychology and the Christian faith, “that description is much too limiting for a scholar who has published on Christian clinical supervision, evolutionary psychology, demonic influence and mental disorders, assertiveness, and philosophical foundations of clinical supervision.”