The University of Dubuque inducted two new members into its Faculty Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 8, 2014. Ben Bartels, assistant professor of criminal justice, was recognized with the John Knox Coit Prize, and Dick Smith, associate professor of mathematics, was recognized with the William L. Lomax Award.
The “Excellence in Teaching and Advising Awards” at the University of Dubuque were established by Richard and Donna Svrluga in 1995-96 to recognize the contributions and impact of University faculty on the lives of students. Two of the three awards were named in honor of former distinguished faculty members – John Knox Coit and William Lomax.
John Knox Coit Prize:
An integral member of the Philosophy Department from 1955-65, Professor Coit was more than a teacher. He became a mentor and friend to his students. Known as a “man of wit,” he made a lasting impression on his students. Coit died in 1995 at the age of 79.
William L. Lomax Award:
Fondly remembered by his students who studied business, Professor Lomax was smart, tough, fair, no-nonsense, and fun. As a member of the Business Department from 1953-69, he influenced the lives of many students. Lomax died in 1986 at the age of 83.
Ben Bartels earned the bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Iowa, and the JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He served the University of Dubuque as an adjunct for two years before joining the faculty full time in 2010. In addition to his teaching duties, he serves as director of the honors program, coach of the mediation and moot court teams, prelaw advisor, and faculty advisor to the student Justice League. Under his guidance, the mediation team has been nationally ranked – finishing in the top-10 – since its inception; and the moot court team earned a bid to the national finals during its first year of competition.
“Coinciding with Professor Bartels’ charismatic teaching style and zeal for life-long learning is his ability to interact with each student according to his or her individual needs,” commented UD student, Anna Stoeffler. “Professor Bartels understands that each student learns and interacts differently. Likewise he knows how to engage each individual in classroom discussions in a manner that makes him or her feel comfortable and respected. Further, Professor Bartels knows how to critique students honestly in a way that motivates them to try harder, rather than feel defeated.”
Dick Smith earned both the bachelor of science and the master of arts degrees from Loras College, and continued on to do post-graduate work at the University of Iowa. He spent thirty-two years of his career as a mathematics teacher and as the gifted and talented coordinator at Western Dubuque Community Schools. He also has taught for the Belin Blank Center for Gifted Education at the University of Iowa. Professor Smith began serving the University of Dubuque as an adjunct professor of mathematics in 2004, and has been serving as a full-time faculty member since 2005. He has been a regular contributor to the journal Mathematics Teacher, and a frequent speaker at regional and national conventions of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics on the connections between geometry, probability, and number theory. In 1987, he was recognized as finalist for the Iowa Teacher of the Year Award. In 1998, Smith and his wife, Joyce, were among those receiving the 9 Who Care award by KCRG TV for their volunteer efforts in the community. Smith was also awarded a Gold Star Teacher award by KWWL TV in 2003. Next fall he will begin his 47th year of teaching.
“I took a class with Professor Smith as a first-year student at UD, and am now a senior; Professor Smith still calls me by name whenever I see him,” commented Evan Zurbuchen. “He is in the teaching field for all the right reasons – and it is evident by his selflessness and true care and concern for his students. He has a unique way of incorporating personal growth and guidance into his math lessons – a difficult subject to incorporate such ideas. Professor Smith is simply a person you want to be around.”