2018-19 Outstanding Faculty Honored - Humboldt State Now

2018-19 Outstanding Faculty Honored

Since 1964, Humboldt State has honored outstanding faculty. John O. Reiss, Department of Biological Sciences, Susan E. Marshall, Department of Forestry & Wildland Resources, Nicole Jean Hill, Department of Art, and Justus D. Ortega, Department of Kinesiology & Recreation Administration, are the recipients of the 2018-19 Distinguished Faculty Awards.

2018-0426-John-Reiss_SMALL.jpg
Professor John O. Reiss, Department of Biological Sciences, Outstanding Professor Award
Professor John O. Reiss, Department of Biological Sciences, Outstanding Professor Award recipient, has had a lasting effect on his students, his colleagues, and the University community through 21 years of excellence in teaching, sustained scholarly activities, and a consistent record of service.

During his tenure at HSU, Reiss has taught a myriad of courses, from Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates (ZOOL 370) to California Natural History (BIOL 306). Students consistently praise his accessibility, his dedication to his students’ success, and his outstanding teaching in the classroom. Reiss has been a graduate advisor to 15 graduate students and his research has resulted in approximately 25 peer-reviewed papers and a book, which has received excellent reviews by experts in the field.

Reiss has a long record of service to the University. He recently was chair of the Department of Biological Sciences Curriculum Committee, where he led the department through a set of curricular revisions for each of its three majors: Biology, Botany, and Zoology. Reiss has established himself as one of the most distinguished professors in the institution.

2019-0426-SusanMarshall_SMALL.jpg
Professor Susan E. Marshall, Department of Forestry & Wildland Resources, Excellence in Teaching Award
Professor Susan E. Marshall, Department of Forestry & Wildland Resources, Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, has been teaching in the Department of Forestry and Wildland Resources since 1996. Appreciated by her students, her peers, and the university community, she has established herself as one of the most distinguished teachers in the institution.

She has been dedicated to building and promoting the Rangeland Resource Sciences major. The only program of its kind in California, Rangeland Resource Sciences emphasizes authentic field experiences to train undergraduates to enter the profession upon graduation. “Our area of study is not well known to many incoming students, and it is a direct result of Susan’s dedicated efforts that prospective students are shown the widespread impact our course of study has,” says a colleague.

Her teaching philosophy reflects an acute awareness of the climate, practices, and learning environment necessary to engage students and cultivate their success. She has also motivated countless students, who describe her as an inspiring teacher who effectively engages students with the gentle guidance one looks for in a college professor but rarely finds. Many current and former students say she is the most influential professor they had had during their college education.

2018-0426-Nicole-Jean-Hill_SMALL.jpg
Nicole Jean Hill, Department of Art, Scholar of the Year
Nicole Jean Hill, Department of Art, Scholar of the Year recipient, has a record of scholarly achievement in the field of photography since joining Humboldt State University.

A widely acknowledged leader in her field, she is a prolific artist. She has presented her work in several solo and two-person exhibitions, more than 30 group exhibitions, in more than 10 publications, and has also been chosen for 13 awards, grants, or residencies. Her recent project, “So You Wanna Fight?,” features mixed martial artists, boxers, and spectators in amateur fights. In addition, Hill is co-curator of the Lora Webb Nichols collection at the American Heritage Center in Wyoming. This photography collection provides a rare glimpse into the lives of people living and working in rural Wyoming in the early 20th Century.

Hill excels as a teacher, as well. She has also guided hundreds of students at HSU who have had the privilege of studying under her guidance. According to an HSU colleague, “I most admire the fact that her practice is not only internationally recognized within the world of contemporary art photography, but that it engages deeply and immediately on the ground with our students here at HSU.”

2018-0426-Justus-Ortega_SMALL.jpg
Professor Justus D. Ortega, Department of Kinesiology & Recreation Administration, Outstanding Service Award
Professor Justus D. Ortega, Department of Kinesiology & Recreation Administration, Outstanding Service Award recipient, seamlessly integrates his research with his courses and his service with his research. In his 12-year tenure at HSU, Ortega has incorporated professional expertise with his service to benefit students and the academic and local communities.

He has implemented a balance, mobility, and fall risk assessment and exercise program for local seniors. His students, as part of the program, are trained to conduct and evaluate these assessments to guide seniors through exercises that minimize the risk of falls. Ortega also developed programs to work with local physical therapists and physicians to conduct clinical gait analyses for people with walking-related disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke.

Ortega directs the North Coast Concussion Program (NCCP) that provides concussion assessment and educational outreach to over 2,800 community members annually. The NCCP works with local schools to develop concussion policies and protocols with the assistance of his students. Recently the NCCP was tasked by the CSU Chancellor’s Office to develop concussion management policies, protocols, and programs across all CSU campuses. Ortega has served the institution and the community in a truly exceptional fashion over the years.