Professors Jennifer Switkes, Winny Dong and Richard Willson will receive the 2015 Provost’s Awards for Excellence.
The awards honor the faculty members’ efforts in teaching, service, and scholarly and creative activities, respectively. They will be honored at their respective college commencement ceremonies in June and will present at a symposium during winter quarter 2016.
“These faculty have dedicated their careers to their students and their disciplines and have very clearly earned recognition,” says Provost Marten denBoer. “All of them have made major contributions to the university and done truly innovative work. We are proud to have them as faculty at Cal Poly Pomona.”
Excellence in Teaching
Math Professor Jennifer Switkes abides by five values in teaching: “excellence, honor, integrity, love and purpose.” She has taught a wide range of classes, from lower-division service courses to master’s level courses, receiving excellent evaluations in all levels. Switkes has written numerous papers with undergraduate and graduate students that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. She also has given many presentations on the connection between math and teaching to high school teachers, student clubs at other universities and at national professional meetings. Her service extends beyond Cal Poly Pomona. For one semester, she taught differential equations to students at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. She recently finished an introductory calculus class at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco through the Prison Education Project. In 2012, Switkes received the College of Science Distinguished Teaching Award.
Excellence in Service
Winny Dong, chemical and materials engineering professor, has taken on a variety of roles during her tenure at Cal Poly Pomona. She is highly regarded for her knowledge, care for students and commitment to reduce the achievement gap for first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students. To this end, she has secured $13.2 million for scholarships and programs. Dong has led and/or founded several programs at Cal Poly Pomona that encourage student research, provide academic support and ease the path to graduate studies. The programs include the Office of Undergraduate Research, Achieve Scholars Program, Office of Projects and Research for the College of Engineering, Engineering Scholars Program and the McNair Scholars Program. In addition to student support programs, Dong led the development of the Innovation and Commercialization Lab in 2008, which brings together business, engineering, science and social science students to create novel products and introduce them to market. Dong has been named the Provost Teacher-Scholar on three occasions.
Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Activities
Richard Willson, professor of urban and regional planning, is a leading expert on transportation, land-use planning and parking policy. He has authored two books, “Parking Reform Made Easy” and “Parking Management for Smart Growth.” Frequently sought out by the media, Willson has commented on planning issues for NPR, the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal. His research has been used to increase livability, sustainability, and multimodal transportation in numerous communities in the United States and beyond. He has written dozens of grant-supported articles, monographs, and conference papers, and frequently collaborates with students in research projects. Willson is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and represents the university on the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. His on-campus leadership roles include three terms as department chair and interim dean, and he serves on the City of Los Angeles re:code LA zoning reform advisory committee.