The College of Sciences and Humanities boasts an outstanding faculty whose teaching and research ensure that Ball State students receive a world-class education. President Mearns recognized several members of our faculty with prestigious awards during the Fall Opening Convocation.


Sarah Vitale—Lawhead Award for Core Curriculum

Sarah Vitale, Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, received the Lawhead Award for Core Curriculum. This award recognizes contributions to the core curriculum and excellence in teaching. One nominator said, “Dr. Vitale excels in all aspects of teaching. She is an astute course designer with a rich background in learning theory. Her course artifacts are clear, and her communication is welcoming, efficient, and meaningful.” A student further praised Sarah, saying, “Dr. Vitale’s biggest strength is her ability to engage students in the learning process. She comes to class with a tremendous amount of energy every day, and it shows. You can tell she loves what she does and is passionate about helping students learn.”

Congratulations, Dr. Vitale!


Dr. Jason Ribblett—Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Jason Ribblett, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award. Nominated by students, the Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes recipients who are working to make existing courses more engaging and enriching. Nominated for his class, Chemistry 457: Exploration of Selected Topics in Chemistry- Periodic Law, Dr. Ribblett is working to create more innovative teaching opportunities in his classroom and empowering students to examine chemistry beyond their perceived limits. He is particularly focused on shifting from a lecture-based format to a more engaging investigation of the periodic elements and periodic table.

Congratulation, Dr. Ribblett!


Dr. Dorshele Stewart—Excellence in Teaching Award

Dr. Dorshele Stewart, Associate Teaching Professor of History, received the Excellence in Teaching Award, a university-wide competition that celebrates innovation in student-chosen faculty. Dr. Stewart will apply her award to SS 397:Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary School. She plans to maximize her community based and culturally relevant social studies teaching methods in the online teaching environment. Her students enjoy an engaging, tiered learning experience through multiple technologies as she expertly crafts the online experience.

Congratulations, Dr. Stewart!


Dr. Richard Petts—Outstanding Research Award

Professor of Sociology, Dr. Richard Petts, received the Outstanding Research Award for his dedication to scholarship examining factors that contribute to family inequality and more importantly how social institutions and policies reduce the consequences of inequality. His research specifically asks, “How does religion alleviate or exacerbate family inequality?” and “How do gender norms, public policies, and workplace practices influence gender and socioeconomic inequalities within families?” One peer praised Dr. Petts’s work as “courageous, rigorous, and balanced.” Dr. Petts has published or has forthcoming a total of 28 peer-reviewed articles, two book chapters, and seven additional works under review. The quality and quantity of his research is influencing other scholars, with his work cited over 1,000 times.

Congratulations, Dr. Petts!


Dr. Douglas Bernstein—Outstanding Junior Faculty Award

Dr. Douglas Bernstein of the Biology department received the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award for his dedication to teaching and scholarly research. A nominator said, “Dr. Bernstein has transformed courses with innovative topics and laboratory techniques as well as used is expertise to create and important scholarly course on medical mycology. He has been a true team player not only in service for the biology department…but also in the scientific community for the state of Indiana and the local Muncie community.”

Congratulations, Dr. Bernstein!