George Fox selects top teachers, researchers for 2012-13

John Schmitt, a biology professor who leads students in breast cancer research, and Cliff Rosenbohm, a social work professor who handles both teaching and administrative duties for a nationally accredited program, were named recipients of George Fox University’s undergraduate research and teaching awards, respectively.

At the graduate level, the university selected education professor Ken Badley and the seminary's Laura Simmons as winners of the school’s graduate research and teaching awards, respectively.

Following are profiles on each.

Cliff RosenbohmCliff Rosenbohm: Top Undergraduate Teacher

Rosenbohm heads up the university's social work program and consistently receives high praise from his students. He manages to balance the duties of a professor and administrator, teaching classes while also serving as director of George Fox's nationally accredited social work program. He is lauded for being helpful and supportive. Student comments on his nomination say he is "ready to meet with students at a moment's notice" and that "he's easy to approach."

Another student noted that the social work program “prepares us for the real world, jobs and graduate school.” The program was recently reaffirmed for national accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education.

“The provost has said that we ‘teach, shape, and send.’ I like that saying,” Rosenbohm said. “The teaching, shaping and sending requires an interactive and reciprocal relationship where at times the role of teacher and student is fluid and interchangeable. Our teaching goes beyond the classroom. Our teaching takes root in our students, and they in turn impact whatever part of the world they end up in.

John SchmittJohn Schmitt: Top Undergraduate Researcher

Schmitt is the school's Holman Professor of Biology. He has led a dozen student researchers the past three years in a quest to find a cure for breast cancer. His students regularly present at prestigious scientific venues, including the Experimental Biology Meeting, which is sponsored in part by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In fact, he just returned in April from the Experimental Biology Meeting in Boston, where one of his biology students had the rare honor of presenting breast cancer research for world-renowned researchers and scientists.

All told, he's received more than $90,000 in grant money (primarily from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust) to fund a large portion of his research.

Schmitt said winning the award was “a testimony to the many great students that have worked in my research laboratory.” He added that, “I hope to continue our important research on uncovering the biological basis of cancer and potential therapeutic applications. I love being able to directly integrate my research into the classroom and make discoveries that will improve the human condition.”

Laura SimmonsLaura Simmons: Top Graduate Teacher

Simmons has taught at George Fox Evangelical Seminary for 12 years, specializing in classes that cover Christian ministry, reconciliation, discipleship and spiritual formation. An expert on pedagogy, she mixes lectures with hands-on activities, small-group discussions, and relevant video clips. One of her students said Simmons goes "above and beyond, flexing her curriculum to meet the needs and interests of the unique blend of students in each class she teaches."

“I've worked really hard to become a better teacher over the years, and it’s nice to have that recognized,” Simmons said. “I was nominated for this award by a student who was in my pedagogy class last fall, so to have someone recognize that I ‘practice what I preach’ is that much more meaningful.”

Ken BadleyKen Badley: Top Graduate Researcher   

Badley teaches in the university's School of Education, where he specializes in the integration of faith with teaching. He served this past year as editor of one scholarly volume and published four chapters in edited volumes of scholarly work. Also, working with Harro Van Brummelen, Badley published a volume on metaphors for teaching, bringing scholars from numerous traditions and disciplines together. He authored or coauthored several chapters in that volume, as well as a chapter in a scholarly work on faith-learning integration.

Badley was also a contributor at International Christian Community for Teacher Education conferences and mentored student colleagues in their presentations. He also serves as book review editor for the Journal of Education and Christian Belief.