By Amy Everson
Senior Manager, Student and Alumni Affairs, APUS
Congratulations to our 2020 APUS faculty award winners! These awards recognize nine outstanding faculty members at the graduate and undergraduate levels who have demonstrated teaching excellence. They are American Public University System (APUS) leaders and scholars, dedicated to guiding our students into the future.
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Related link: Student and Alumni Awards
James P. Etter Creativity and Innovation Award
Established in 2004, the James P. Etter Creativity and Innovation Award is presented annually to a member of the university community in recognition of an innovative or creative contribution that has made a significant impact on their community, industry, or the world around us.
Dr. Chander Sekar is an associate professor of business analytics at APUS. He joined the University in 2016 and has taught analytics courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
Dr. Sekar played a crucial role in transforming some business analytics courses into Open Educational Resources (OER). He serves as a change agent in his classes to change the mindset of students about receiving learning in statistics and business analytics, enabling them to acquire more skill and broaden their professional horizon in applying learned knowledge.
Excellence in Teaching Awards
Dr. Kathryn Broyles, Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching, School of Arts & Humanities
Dr. Broyles is a passionate scholar in love with learning. The daughter of a U.S. Marine, she learned to embrace change, adventure and education at an early age. She began her tenure with APUS in 2000, working part-time and developing curriculum for two academic programs: the bachelor’s in English and the bachelor’s in religion.
Some of her accomplishments on behalf of APUS include serving as the inaugural program director of the general studies program and seeing the bachelor’s in general studies through its accreditation process. She also developed the master’s in humanities portfolio-focused capstone course.
Dr. Broyles regularly presents at national and international scholarly conferences. She is a founding member of a standing research group supporting veterans in academia associated with the National Conference on College Composition. In addition, Dr. Broyles assisted one of our master’s in humanities graduates in establishing a regular veterans’ studies panel as part of the Pacific, Ancient, and Modern Languages Association.
Dr. Broyles continues to support curriculum for both the master’s in humanities and the religion and philosophy programs. She serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Veterans’ Studies and is a peer reviewer for the Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
Ms. Marlene Weaver, Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching, School of Business
Marlene Weaver began her tenure with APUS in 2010 as a part-time instructor, after she retired from the Department of Defense (DoD) with over 35 years of DoD management and business experience. Marlene is passionate about her work and has been consistently recognized in the top 10% of faculty for engagement.
Ms. Weaver’s students say that she is dedicated to the mission of working with students and helping them achieve their full potential. She became a full-time instructor in 2012 and is now an assistant professor in the School of Business, where she dedicates her time to the management program. She has been the faculty advisor for the Sigma Beta Delta honor society since 2012.
Dr. Frank Russo, Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching, School of Health Sciences (Posthumous)
Dr. Frank Russo joined APUS in 2007. He was a valuable member of the APUS faculty for 13 years and taught in the School of Health Sciences for the last three years. Dr. Russo had an unmatched passion for exercise physiology, fitness, and nutrition, and was known by many of his students as “dedicated, fair, passionate, and supportive.”
Dr. Russo was a very involved faculty member and never hesitated to volunteer for extra initiatives. He was often present at Commencement, attended in-person events at the Charles Town campus, and joined our APUS multimedia team to create a video library of exercises that were filmed at Gold’s Gym in Charles Town.
To his friends, colleagues, training partners and teammates, Dr. Russo was one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry. His passion for education and the health and fitness industry seemed limitless.
Dr. Russo taught thousands of students over the years; his impact and legacy go well beyond his years. His life as an educator can be summed up with his own words: “If you make people think for themselves, they will never stop learning. You just need to encourage mastering the process rather than focusing on the goal.”
Dr. Kristin Drexler, Undergraduate Excellence in Teaching, School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
Dr. Kristin Drexler is an assistant professor of space studies and earth sciences for the School of STEM at APUS.
Dr. Drexler demonstrates excellence and has a positive impact on her students, both in and outside of the classroom. She maintains an active research program focusing on socio-ecological issues in Central America, and her work regularly takes her into the field.
In 2019, Dr. Drexler received funding for two APUS students to accompany her to Belize. One was unable to go, but the other participated in her research and conducted her own.
Dr. Drexler is a faculty advisor for the APUS chapters of Women in STEM (wSTEM) and the Association of Women in Science (AWIS).
Dr. Lauri Byerly, Graduate Excellence in Teaching, School of Health Sciences
Dr. Lauri O. Byerley has taught as a part-time and full-time faculty member with APUS for more than 12 years. She was recognized for her undergraduate teaching in 2015, receiving the School of Health Sciences Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award.
During her tenure, Dr. Byerly developed both undergraduate and graduate courses in nutrition and research, her passions. During the last several decades, she has been actively involved in nutrition research. Her focus has been nutrition metabolism and its role in cancer, obesity, and exercise, and she has published more than 35 peer-reviewed articles from this original scientific research.
Also, Dr. Byerly has written several non-technical nutrition-related publications and books. She has presented at more than 30 local, state, and national meetings that appeared on television and radio talk shows and chaired several national symposiums.
Dr. Byerley enjoys volunteering her time with several local community groups, such as the Special Olympics, and several professional dietetic groups, in which she has held elective offices at the national level. One of Dr. Byerley’s favorite activities is mentoring graduate and undergraduate students at APUS.
Outstanding Faculty Awards
Dr. Monica Galante, Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year, School of Business
Dr. Galante joined APUS as an adjunct in 2015 and became a full-time instructor in April 2019. She has been teaching since 2000, mostly online.
While her educational background is as a generalist, she has worked as a specialist in several areas: Human Resource Information System (HRIS), compensation, legal, employee development and training, operations management, and strategic planning. Currently, Dr. Galante also serves as a faculty advisor for two student organizations: AMU/APU’s Student Chapter for the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).
Dr. Galante’s research interests are in the areas of diversity, inclusion and employee engagement. Much of her work is intended to improve the relationships between managers and employees.
Dr. Galante is involved in both her community and professional organizations from major fundraising events to the certification process of human resource professionals. She has received both professional and community accolades for her contributions and efforts.
Dr. Lauren Jordan, Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Member of the Year, School of STEM
Dr. Jordan is a part-time faculty member in the School of STEM, teaching in the environmental science program. She has a passion for teaching and learning.
Dr. Jordan uses many different forms of media in her classes — including images, video and audio — to keep her students engaged; she strives to make genuine and lasting connections with her students. By taking an interest in her students and using email and LinkedIn to stay connected, she builds a rapport with them that extends beyond their time in the classroom. Her instructor reviews show not only how much her students enjoy her classes, but also how much they enjoy that she cares and challenges her students.
Dr. Jordan also serves as a volunteer chapter advisor for the Buddhism and Hinduism Club at APUS. She dedicates time and energy to ensuring that the club’s activities are a valuable extracurricular experience for students.
Ready When You Are
At American Public University, students are priority one. We are committed to providing quality education, superior student resources, and affordable tuition. In fact, while post-secondary tuition has risen sharply nationwide, the university continues to offer affordable tuition without sacrificing academic quality.