Faculty, staff honored at convocation

Photos by Dan Levine.

Outstanding Faculty Leadership – KAREN HOELSCHER
Professor, Elementary Education, Woodring College of Education

Karen Hoelscher has committed herself to Western through teaching, scholarship and community service since 1992. She graduated from Bemidji State University in 1974 and Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 1989.

Since 2006 Karen has co-facilitated the WWU Faculty Research-Writing Series (FRWS), supporting 70 tenure track faculty in finding joy and productivity as academic writers. Through monthly meetings and regular contact with colleagues, faculty develop productive habits, set realistic goals, and find balance in their scholarly lives. This year the FRWS will be comprised entirely of first-year faculty, with mentorship provided by recently-tenured alumni of the research-writing series.

Hoelscher has taught in 11 areas at Western’s Woodring College of Education, including courses designed for college freshmen interested in becoming teachers and Woodring students who are in the K-8 certification program. She has dedicated herself to multicultural efforts, co-authoring a book on supporting student identity differences, assisting Western students at Village Books’ annual Martin Luther King Jr. “read-in,” and co-founding Woodring’s Diversity Committee.

The Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award includes a $1,500 stipend, made possible by the Western Foundation, for professional service-related activities.

Diversity Achievement Award – WILLY HART
Director, University Residences

Willy Hart said that he received this honor because of the good work of many people in University Residences and the support of colleagues across the campus. He has helped to grow the diversity of University Residences staff and supported Ethnic Student Center heritage dinners from funds available through the University Dining Contract.

Growing up, Hart lived in seven states and three countries because his family was in the military. After earning a bachelor’s degree in History and English at Webster College and a master’s degree in Human Services at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Hart worked in housing, campus planning, and human resources at the University of Oregon. He came to Western in 1991, taking the job of associate director of University Residences for facilities for 13 years. He became director eight years ago and will retire at the end of the year.

The Diversity Achievement Award recognizes outstanding contributions to enhancing multiculturalism on campus and beyond. The award comes with a $1,500 stipend for use in research, teaching or professional enhancement, made possible by the Western Foundation. 

Carl H. Simpson Bridging Award – ANDY BUNN
Associate Professor, Environmental Sciences

Andy Bunn, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences, teaches classes on climate and energy science, researches climate change in the modern era and over the history of the planet. Professor Bunn founded a cross-college initiative now in development, to integrate energy science, public policy, technology, economics and business at Western’s new Institute for Energy Studies. Before he came to Western, Bunn worked as a researcher at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, where he studied ecology and biogeochemistry. He did his undergraduate work at Evergreen State College, obtained his master’s degree at Duke University and received his doctorate from Montana State University.

He enjoys spending time outdoors, biking and being on the water.

The Carl H. Simpson Bridging Award recognizes efforts to create bridges and forge new paths that others may follow and build upon. The award recognizes a Western staff, faculty or student who demonstrates a remarkable ability or innovative approach to bridging some aspect of academic or campus life. It includes a $1,000 award.

Outstanding Classified Staff Award – KEVIN DIXEY
Information Technology Specialist 3, Academic Technology

Kevin Dixey earned a master’s degree in Environmental Education in 2010 from Huxley College of the Environment. Kevin helped to establish the Tech Tonic Tech Expo in 2007 as a graduate student at Western. In 2011 he created the ATUS instructional video website in

his current position. Kevin earned his bachelor’s degree in Theater from the University of California, San Diego. He started his technology career in Seattle where he managed his own media design firm, Spinwire. He and his wife moved to Bellingham in 2002 to pursue their graduate degrees.

Kevin believes in teaching skill; he specifically tailors his workshops and technology training to the academic needs of students, faculty and staff.

The Outstanding Classified Staff Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies a positive and creative approach to problem solving and innovation that significantly advances departmental goals and/or University Mission. With the support of the President, the two classified staff unions on campus (WFSE and PSE) together select one of their members to receive this award.

Professional Staff Award for Excellence – DANA EDWARD
Director, Certification & Accreditation, Woodring College of Education 

Dana Edward had more than 25 years of experience in the public sector before she came to Western. She worked for the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, the San Diego Housing Commission, and the San Diego County Department of Social Services. Edward graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and has been at Western since 1999.

During the academic year, she works with faculty and staff across campus dealing with curricular revisions and proposals, and advises on educator certification. For the last few years, her focus has been on the coordination of a concurrent state program approval and national accreditation site visit.

Edward enjoys walking the trails in Whatcom County with her husband, playing piano and visiting her daughter in San Diego.

The Professional Staff Organization Award for Excellence annually recognizes a professional staff employee for an assortment of exceptional efforts and contributions to Western.

Philip E. Sharpe, Jr. Community Engagement Award – JAMES LOUCKY
Professor, Anthropology

James Loucky began teaching at Western in 1989, and specializes in Latin American affairs, international migration and intercultural education. Since his graduate study at UCLA, he has been involved with the Maya of Guatemala, through expert testimony in asylum cases and helping to build community wellbeing across the diaspora that now encompasses Whatcom County and most of North America. He serves on the Bellingham Sister Cities Association and for ten years has co-organized the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival. Loucky is a vocal advocate for human rights, and frequent contributor to public awareness through presentations on immigration and social equity. He works closely with the Lummi community, public school teachers, refugees, and colleagues across campus to bring speakers on critical world issues. His international field courses have involved students in learning from small communities in Peru, India, Thailand, and Kenya.

The Philip E. Sharpe Community Engagement Award is given in recognition of a faculty or staff member or group of Western employees involved in outstanding community service, including outreach and engagement activities that benefit the well-being of the community or an individual(s) in the community.


Back2Bellingham Weekend is a collaborative event that brings together a large cross section of the University and showcases the best of Western for Alumni, students, prospective students, parents, volunteers and the community at large. B2B Weekend is jointly organized by the Alumni Association and New Student Services/ Family Outreach. They brought together over 260 individuals to participate in the event. 


Jo Akehurst, Admissions; Tonya Alexander, CST; Alumni Office Student Staff; AS Board; Mike Bahn, Alumnus; Chris Baker, University Communications; Sue Bakse, Alumni Office; Tamara Belts, Western Libraries; Jeniene Bengtsson, Alumni Office; Mackenzie Boetes, WWU Foundation; David Bover, CST; John Bower, Fairhaven; Rich Brown, Theatre Arts; Anna Carey, New Student Services Family Outreach; Wes Carlson, Financial Aid; Chemistry Club; Jennifer Childress, Athletics; Fred Collins, Student Activities; Clark Cripps, Campus Recreation; Jeff Davis, Student Activities; Dead Parrots Society;
Joanne DeMark, L.E.A.D.S./WLA; Deborah DeWees, Alumni Office;
John Dlouhy, Special Events; Mary Doherty, Alumni Office;
Tony Dominguez, Athletics; Mark Dudzinski; Engineering Technology; Steve Emory, Chemistry; Engineering Technology; Diane Flick, Athletics; Margaret Gegenhuber, VU Operations; Leigh Ann Giles, Bookstore; Peg Godwin, Bookstore; Stacia Green, Alumni Office;
Thor Hansen, Geology; Hui o' Hawai'i; Courtney Hiatt, CFPA;
David Hirsch, Geology; Sue Hoidal, CST; Bernie Housen, Geology; Zite Hutton, Accounting; Joshua Jirava, Student, Accounting;
Brad Johnson, Physics /Astronomy; Jake Jorgenson, Athletics;
Jill Jorgenson, Special Events; Jackie Kaplan-Auerbach, Geology;
Zeck Koa, Alumni Office; Dale Kraus, Facilities Management; KUGS; Janice Lapsansky, Biology; Lori Larkin, Admissions; Kevin Leonard, History; Pete Lockhart, Campus Recreation; Jim Lortz, Theatre Arts; George Mariz, History & Honors Program; Geoff Matthews, Computer Science; M.E.Ch.A; Luke Minor, Dining Services; MOTley Crew;
Jennifer Mott, CST; Zach Neuhaus, Admissions; Eric Nissen, Admissions; Caitlin O'Brien, CST; Greg O'Neil, Chemistry; Orientation Student Advisors/Coordinators, New Student Services/Family Outreach; Rick Osen, Western Libraries; Arunas Oslapas, Engineering Technology; Cheryl Perks, Bookstore; Jessie Philips; CFPA; John Purdie, University Residences; Dan Purdy, CBE; Fred Ramage, CFPA; Liz Raymond, Chemistry; Relay for Life of Western Washington University; Residence Life; Robotics Club;Chris Roselli, Alumni Office; Katie Rothenberg, Athletics; Shar Sarte Prince, Special Education; Dietmar Schwarz, Biology; Cyndie Shepard, Special Education; Nam Slu, Graduate Student, CST; Brad Snowder, Physics/Astronomy; Ruth Sofield, Environmental Sciences; Sara Stamey, English; Pete Stelling, Geology; Kate Stevenson, Student Activities; Karen Stout, Communications; Student Admissions Representatives; Student Marketing Club, CBE; Kelly Triplet, Dining Services; Joan Ullin, Student Outreach Services; Vehicle Research Institute; VU Operations; Chris White, WWU Alumnus; Jeannine Woelkers, New Student Services; Jeff Wright, CST; Stephanie Zee, Residence Life; Jianna Zhang, Computer Science; John Zuzarte, Central Stores

The Team Recognition Award recognizes a group or team of staff and faculty (and possibly students) who exemplify cooperation, collaboration and open communication. The group receiving the award must be comprised of supportive team players who worked in partnership on a project that significantly advanced departmental goals and/or University Mission.

Western Today staff