The College of Sciences and Humanities would like to congratulate the 2020-2021 calendar year retirees from the Sciences and Social Sciences departments. In this unusual year, their goodbyes have been without the fanfare retirement should foment, but we are thankful for their years of excellence and service to Ball State University and to our college.
Christopher Airriess, Professor, Department of Geography
Dr. Christopher Airriess’ research spanned the gamut from the development geographies of port networks in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and China, to social and cultural geographies ranging from ethnic-Vietnamese in New Orleans to refugee vegetable farmers and boat squatters in Hong Kong. Dr. Airriess also published on the social geographies of Indiana’s In God We Trust license plate and the Indiana Youth Group specialty license plate. His single and co-authored research publications include 41 journal articles and book chapters, and editor for two books. Dr. Airriess was also the recipient of a National Science Foundation Research Grant in 2005 to examine the evacuation and return mobilities of ethnic-Vietnamese and Blacks in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and a year-long Fulbright Teaching Award for Hong Kong in 1999. Professor Airriess regularly taught both undergraduate and graduate level courses that include two introductory human geography courses, two upper-level courses on Asia and contemporary U.S. immigration and ethnicities, and a graduate level course on the philosophical history of the discipline, as well as employing his considerable talents in college and departmental service activities.
William (Bart) Frye, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
“William (Bart) Frye is retiring after 40 years of teaching at Ball State. He received a bachelor’s degree from Ball State in 1969, and a Master’s degree in 1973 as part of the first class in Ball
State’s Master’s Program in Actuarial Science. He also obtained a master’s degree in mathematics from Indiana University in 1980 and became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 1992.
Mr. Frye has taught a wide variety of mathematics and actuarial science classes at Ball State. This includes twice teaching an honors colloquium on Social Security and being an advisor for some honors theses. During much of his time here he has administered actuarial exams on campus. He also served for five years on an actuarial exam writing committee.
Mr. Frye also served as a member of the Medicaid Work Group of the American Academy of Actuaries and did some actuarial consulting. Career highlights include seeing former actuarial students at actuarial meetings, especially when they are giving one of the talks. Another highlight was having two groups of students in the same year finish in the top six of an international case study competition for actuarial students sponsored by the Society of Actuaries.”
David Grosnick, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
I have been very fortunate to have had a 22-year career at Ball State University. My interaction with many, diverse students has been one of the highlights here at Ball State. While physics can be a challenging subject, it has been extremely rewarding to teach students and help them understand how the physical world works. I have especially enjoyed teaching experimental skills and techniques in both advanced and introductory labs. My involvement with the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC), a program set up by the American Institute of Physics to increase the number and preparation of pre-service physics teachers at BSU and other institutions, has also been a rewarding learning experience for me.
I have also enjoyed my experiences performing research in experimental particle physics while at Ball State. My research has been to investigate the effects of a property called spin in particle interactions and to discover the origin of spin in the proton. This has led to my work with very large “toys” (particle accelerators and detectors) at Brookhaven National Laboratory and elsewhere, and to my membership in a large international collaboration that performs these experiments in order to understand nature at a very fundamental level. This research has resulted in many publications and talks. I have also enjoyed working with both graduate and undergraduate students in guiding them to experience research first-hand, by taking them to Brookhaven and working with data taken from these experiments.
It has been a privilege working with my colleagues at all levels, departmental, college, and university, in making Ball State function as an institute of higher learning. I have contributed questions, ideas, and service in Senate, Faculty Council, Promotion and Tenure, and many other committees during my career at Ball State. I have also enjoyed having the opportunity to participate in science outreach to the public and serving as the faculty advisor for over 20 years to our Ball State chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and the associated honor society, SPS. It has been most gratifying to have been nominated by our students to be an Outstanding Faculty Advisor at the national level and to see our chapter recognized as an outstanding chapter many times at the national level.
My plans for retirement are to continue with particle physics research and my current collaboration. I also plan on enjoying some travel when safe to do so, especially to France, with my wife. I also hope to participate in several volunteer opportunities
Patricia Lang, Professor, Department of Chemistry
Dr. Patricia Lang joined the Ball State Chemistry Department in l987 after receiving her Ph.D.
from Miami University. Dr. Lang became the first tenured woman in that department and
quickly earned rank of Professor. She maintained an active research agenda and mentored over 70 students in the use of infrared spectroscopic techniques for the analysis of materials, including medieval pigments. Professor Lang served as Department Chair for six years and Associate Dean of the Honors College for two. She was the Ball State Director for the NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program for eight years. Patti is proud to have received the University Diversity Award in Fall 2019 and was awarded the BSU Excellence in Teaching Award that allowed her to teach her dream course, Artists’ Pigments.
In retirement Lang’s plans include playing competitive bridge, working on her mediocre game of golf, cooking, and enjoying the company of her husband Howard Hammer, family, and friends. Her backyard deck is open during warm weather for a beverage and conversation.
Guy Mittleman, Department Chair of Psychological Sciences, Professor Emeritus
Ball State University’s Department of Psychological Sciences wants to express our sincerest appreciation to Dr. Guy Mittleman who recently retired. Dr. Mittleman joined Ball State University to serve as chairperson in 2014. He had earned the rank of full at the University Memphis before joining Ball State. Dr. Mittleman has had a prolific research agenda with over 115 publications and an esteemed international reputation in his field of neuroscience. Faculty and students greatly appreciate his sense of humor, his generous spirit, and immense kindness. Guy brought much empathy to the role of chair and has been a phenomenal mentor, colleague, and peer. We wish you the best of luck in retirement.
Kay Roebuck, Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Kay Roebuck graduated with a Ph.D. in mathematics education in 1989 from The University of
Tennessee. She joined Ball State in the fall of 1989 and has been here ever since. While at Ball State, Kay has taught a wide range of graduate and undergraduate courses for pre-service and practicing teachers of grades K – 12.
Kay’s extensive publication record includes many co-authored papers, a textbook Algebra for Elementary and Middle School Teachers: An Inquiry Approach, and supplementary materials to accompany the text For All Practical Purposes(which was used for many years in our MATH 125 courses).
In addition, Kay has been an integral part of several funded grants, including five extended in-service projects that have impacted many teachers throughout Indiana. As an example, the goal of the Math and Science Partnership Grant w/ Washington Township was to develop and provide in-service training on STEM for teachers in grades K – 3. The combined funding on all of these grants totals more than $845,000.
Finally, Kay has served as the department’s Mathematics Placement Advisor for many years. In this role, Kay was responsible for working with freshman advisors at summer orientation. In recent years, Kay was instrumental in the transition to the new mathematics placement exam. The ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (PPL) mathematics placement assessment is a computer-based adaptive system that has been instrumental in more accurate placements of students into first-year mathematics courses.
William D. Rogers, Professor, Department of Biology
Bill Rogers earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Drake University and his doctorate in biology from Idaho State University. Dr. Rogers joined our faculty in 1988.
One of Dr. Rogers primary responsibilities was developing, teaching, and coordinating Biology
100, Biology for a Modern Society. Upon taking on these responsibilities he quickly redesigned to this course to include a hands-on, investigative laboratory component. Biology 100 was also one of the first courses to be taught using interactive television technology, being broadcast over the Indiana Higher Education Telecommunication System (IHETS). Dr. Rogers additionally developed and instructed this course in an online format. In addition to Biology 100, he has taught Biology 310 – Problems of Life Systems, Honors 299 – Food, Values, Politics, and Society, Biology 254 – Biology in the Social Context, and a few other courses. Dr. Rogers interactions with students was not limited to undergraduates, as he mentored well over one hundred graduate teaching assistants, and chaired eight doctoral student committees.
Dr. Rogers is a co-author of Glencoe Biology (five editions), one of the most widely used high school biology textbooks in the United States and several other countries. In addition to textbooks, scholarship has been published in The American Biology Teacher; The Journal of College Science Teaching; Bioscene: The Journal of College Biology Teaching; Educational Technology Research and Development; Learning, Media and Technology; The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, and Vizi Learning Systems.
Dr. Rogers is a past president of the National Association of Biology Teachers (college division), has served on over twenty-five university level committees and councils, and numerous college and departmental committees. One of his most rewarding service activities was being a founding facilitator of Ball State’s New Faculty Academy and he has continued as a facilitator since its inception.
Awards and recognitions include receiving the Lawhead Award in General Education from Ball State University, the 21st Century Educational Innovator Award from the Ball State Innovation Corporation, and being featured for Teaching with Technology on WRTV television in Indianapolis.
Dr. Donald G. Ruch, Professor, Department of Biology
Dr. Ruch holds a Ph.D. degree in Botany, with a minor in Mycology, from the University of
Maryland. He earned Biology B.S. and M.A. degrees in Biology from East Caroina University.
Don first held the rank of Assistant Professor of Biology at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and then at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky. He arrived at Ball State University in 1993. His fields of specialization include Botany (plant ecology and mycology), Electron Microscopy, and Cell/Molecular Biology. His general research interest is examining and analyzing the vascular flora and vegetational communities of East-Central Indiana and has conducted numerous floristic inventories on various federal, state, and private properties, especially wetlands.
Dr. Ruch has a passion for sharing his botanical expertise with BSU students and the broader community. His advanced botany courses are legendary both from their scope and the extraordinary opportunities to study the Indiana flora outside the classroom. During his time at Ball State University Don has led countless field trips for botany courses as well as local and regional conservation organizations.
Don’s long record of scholarly achievements is impressive. Don has published over 30 studies of the flora of Indiana. Don’s publications are well-researched documentations of Indiana flora. Comparing past records to his carefully detailed floristic inventories, he has done much to enhance our understanding of the flora of our state. Researchers in the field of botany use his reports regularly to form a basis of understanding of Indiana’s natural areas.
Don has a long and distinguished record of service with the Indiana Academy of Science. A few highlights include being section chair of two different sections (Botany, Plant Systematics and Biodiversity), a member of the Council, Chair of the Biodiversity and Natural Areas Committee for 16 years, Editor of the IAS Newsletter and Co-Editor of the Proceedings, organizer of several IAS Bioblitzes, and served as President in 2004. As a result of his devotion to the Academy, Don was named a Fellow in 1997, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award in 2008 and was awarded a distinguished scholar award in 2021.
In addition to awards received by IAS, Don has also received recognition for service as Editor of Inoculum, the journal of the Mycological Society of America, the 2018 Clyde W. Hibbs Envirnonmental Education Award from the Audobon Society, the 2014 Richard & Minnie Windler Award for best ecological botany paper of the year in the journal Castanea, and the 2018 Exemplar Award for Lifetime Acheivement from the Council on the Environment of Ball Sate University.
Don’s retirement from the classroom will allow him to shift his focus to a full-time effort of digitizing the BSU Herbarium specimens in order to make them broadly available through the portal of the Consortium of Midwest Herbaria.