Presidential Awards for Excellence in Teaching
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Russell Lang is an associate professor of Special Education. He earned his Ph.D. in Special Education from The University of Texas at Austin and completed a post-doctoral appointment at The University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Lang, who came to Texas State University in 2010, teaches graduate classes related to the treatment of autism and other developmental and intellectual disabilities. His students become clinicians, teachers, and researchers. Outside the classroom, he directs the Clinic for Autism Research Evaluation and Support (CARES), an organized student activity that empowers students to work with disabled children in the campus clinic and in public schools. He mentors students in research, and his students have published dozens of peer-reviewed articles and chapters. Many of his students have received prestigious research awards and scholarships to pursue doctorates.
Department of Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology
Barry Aidman is an assistant professor of Educational Leadership. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin as part of the Cooperative Superintendency Program. Before joining the Texas State University faculty in 2013, Dr. Aidman worked for more than 30 years as a teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent, and non-profit executive director. Dr. Aidman teaches graduate classes focused on leadership, change, and school improvement and serves as the advisor for the superintendent certification program. Many of his students now serve in leadership positions in educational organizations throughout Texas. Dr. Aidman is a member of the Texas Association of School Administrators Higher Education Committee and on the Advisory Council for Breakthrough Austin.
Department of Theatre and Dance
Kaitlin Hopkins is a senior lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Ms. Hopkins redesigned the B.F.A. in Musical Theatre into one of the top programs in the nation. She teaches musical theatre performance, audition technique, singing for the actor, and directs musical productions. Ms. Hopkins seeks to create a nationally recognized, pre-professional training program by recruiting the top students and providing them with distinctive experiences that promote personal character and overall wellbeing. Combining in a single program music training and music theory, dancing techniques and acting, she has created a program that uniquely serves students in Musical Theatre by providing a holistic approach, a safe environment for her students who can “fail forward” as they progress, unique skills in communication and collaboration, and training from an acting perspective in dance, song, or scene. One former student described her as “tough as nails, but with heart of a teddy bear.” Her students’ attainment of these skills has resulted in regional and national recognitions, which include awards from the Austin Critics’ Table, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and the Central Texas Excellence in Theatre Award.
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activities
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Alexander Kornienko joined Texas State University as associate professor of Chemistry in 2012. He received his Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from Tufts University. Dr. Kornienko was born in the small arctic town of Vorkuta, Russia, studied at Mendeleev University in Moscow, and then moved to North America. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Montreal working on the synthesis of novel aminoglycoside antibiotics, he moved to New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, where he was promoted to associate professor with tenure and served as department chair. Throughout his career he has published 80 refereed research papers, received five research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the principal investigator, and trained numerous students in research disciplines on the chemistry-biology interface. Dr. Kornienko has served on the National Science Foundation and NIH review panels, and is currently an associate editor of two and a reviewer of 31 international journals.
Department of Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education, and School Psychology
Melissa Martinez is an assistant professor in the College of Education at Texas State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010. Her research focuses on equity and access issues along the P-20 education pipeline, particularly in relation to college access, college readiness, and developing college cultures for underserved communities, equity-oriented school leaders/leadership, and the experiences of faculty of color. Dr. Martinez has written 19 peer-reviewed journal articles, six book chapters, and has presented 24 papers at national conferences. In August of 2013, she was awarded a three-year $90,000 grant as a part of the Greater Texas Foundation’s Faculty Fellows Program to support her work related to student postsecondary readiness. Dr. Martinez was also awarded the 2016 American Educational Research Association Division A Early Career Award.
Presidential Awards for Excellence in Service
Professor/Associate Professor Rank
Department of Health and Human Performance
Lyn Litchke, associate professor of Therapeutic Recreation, holds a Ph.D. in Adult, Professional, and Community Education from Texas State University. Her institutional service includes chairmanship of the Health and Human Performance Scholarship Committee for seven years, member of the Dementia and Aging Studies Facility Planning committee, the Center for Interdisciplinary Research Group, REP grant review committee, CARES Autism Summer Camp Research team, and a Women’s Golf Yoga Instructor. Dr. Litchke was awarded the Texas Department of Parks and Recreation Achievement Award for an adaptive skateboarding event. Her present efforts include increasing recreation opportunities for student veterans by chairing a new VETREC on H20 initiative. Dr. Litchke has been actively involved for 12 years in providing recreation and yoga therapy for persons with dementia at assisted living facilities. Recently, she formed the first inclusive recreation program for disabled youth with the San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department.
School of Music
Daris Hale, a senior lecturer in the School of Music, earned a Master of Music degree in Bassoon Performance from The University of Texas in Austin. Passionate about music education, she has performed for over a half-million central Texas schoolchildren, commissioned and recorded 14 new children’s pieces, produced children’s classical music albums, and worked with Emmy award winning, national TV projects to promote classical music. Ms. Hale is a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador for the Council of International Exchange Scholars, as well as the Fulbright Campus Liaison for Texas State University. After her Fulbright Scholar Award to Tanzania, she helped envision and create a multimillion-dollar sustainable facility to collect, archive, preserve, and display the endangered cultural heritage of East Africa. She is working on a podcast series to highlight the experiences and research of Texas State’s own Fulbrighters.
Presidential Seminar Award
Department of Communication Studies
Sean Horan holds a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from West Virginia University and is an associate professor of Communication Studies. Dr. Horan’s research interests primarily include affection, deception, sexual communication, deceptive affection, and workplace romance. For the years 2007-2011, he was identified as the 15th most published researcher in his field and the 21st most central researcher to his discipline. He has published 35 research articles and presented 50+ papers at conferences. Dr. Horan has been quoted in, and/or had his research serve as the topic for, pieces in outlets including CNN, Wall Street Journal, Yahoo!, ABC, Fox, Men’s Health, Shape, Mic, Washington Post, Astro Awani (Malaysia), New York Post, Business Insider (Australia), Huffington Post (UK), Times of India, and Chicago Tribune. Much of this coverage is international, with outlets in Australia, India, Malaysia, Greece, the UK, Spain, Mexico, and Canada. He writes monthly for Psychology Today.