HSU Announces Year’s Distinguished Faculty Awards - Humboldt State Now

HSU Announces Year’s Distinguished Faculty Awards

Humboldt State University President Rollin Richmond and the University Senate have selected Eugene Novotney, Jeffrey Black, Justus Ortega, Maral Attallah and Ken Fulgham as the Distinguished Faculty award recipients for 2013-14.

Novotney, of the Department of Music, has been named Outstanding Professor of the Year, and Jeffrey Black, Department of Wildlife, is Scholar of the Year. Justus Ortega, Department of Kinesiology, has received the award for Excellence in Teaching – Tenure-Line Faculty; Maral Attallah, Department of Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies, has received the award for Excellence in Teaching Award – Lecturer Faculty; and Ken Fulgham, Department of Forestry & Wildland Resources, has received the award for Outstanding Service Award.

The group will be honored during the annual Humboldt State Honors Dinner on April 25. They will also be honored by their colleagues at the University Senate reception on May 6 at Baywood Golf and Country Club. In addition, each recipient will be invited to deliver a public lecture during the 2014-15 academic year.

Following are brief summaries of the recipients’ accomplishments.

Maral Attallah, Department of Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Maral Attallah, Department of Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Excellence in Teaching Award – Lecturer Faculty

Passion, empathy and academic rigor are attributes that are often used by students and peers in describing Maral N. Attallah of the Department of Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies, this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award – Lecturer Faculty.

During the past 10 years, Attallah has taught 10 different courses, ranging from high enrollment general education subjects to small activity classes. Consistent in all of her efforts, according to her colleagues, is an “ability to teach highly controversial and challenging subject material while creating a classroom of respect, dialogue and community.” Those characteristics have helped Attallah effectively expose the perspectives and voices of marginalized groups in society through her teaching.

With academic expertise and specialization in the areas of race and ethnic relations, genocide studies and identity politics, Attallah incorporates recognition of genocide and genocide denial into her teaching. She has presented her research on Armenian Genocide denial at national conferences as well as in guest lectures, and is recognized by genocide scholars as an emerging expert on the Armenian Genocide.

Jeffrey Black, Department of Wildlife

Jeffrey Black, Department of Wildlife
Scholar of the Year

An extensive list of scholarly publications that document a rich body of knowledge and information support Jeffrey Black’s recognition.

Black most recently made news for his study of river otter populations, in which he enlisted students, hikers, fishermen and other members of the community in helping determine the health of the animals locally. He has employed the same inclusive strategy in studying eight other species, with a general focus on waterfowl. Black’s study of the Steller’s jays and their social relationships, ongoing for 16 years, has resulted in numerous publications.

Students praise Black for his teaching skills in a variety of classes, ranging from Introduction to Wildlife Conservation and Administration to Behavioral Ecology. His colleagues also appreciate Black’s dedication, calling him “a committed educator and tireless scholar.”

Black, who joined the Humboldt State faculty in 1998, has published more than 100 papers and books, and in the past decade he has secured multiple grants to support his research program. During his tenure at HSU, he as published an average of three to four peer-reviewed papers annually, most of which where coauthored with students.

Eugene Novotney, Department of Music

Eugene Novotney, Department of Music
Outstanding Professor

For nearly three decades, Eugene Novotney has continually mentored Humboldt State students by setting an example of excellence and actively passing along his rich repertoire of musical knowledge.

Novotney’s teaching incorporates his travels to India, China, Indonesia, Brazil and Ghana to study ethnomusicology. He incorporates those experiences into his instruction, greatly enriching his students’ education. Students consistently rate Novotney’s classes —including Music in World Culture, Studio Lessons in Percussion—as among the most effective they’ve taken. He also directs two musical ensembles—the Calypso Band and HSU Percussion Ensemble.

During his career, Novotney has frequently been recognized for his scholarly and creative activities, most recently advancing to the quarterfinals of the GRAMMY Foundation’s National Music Educator Award for 2013. In 2006 he received the Wang Family Excellence Award from the CSU Trustees for his “exemplary contributions and achievements in his academic discipline.”

As a performer, Novotney has contributed to several professionally released recordings by world-class steel bands. He has also composed 18 original works published by three music outlets.

Justus Ortega, Department of Kinesiology & Recreation Administration

Justus Ortega, Department of Kinesiology & Recreation Administration
Excellence in Teaching Award – Tenure-line Faculty

An ability to break down difficult and complex information into straightforward learning is just one of the reasons Justus Ortega has been honored.

Since joining the Department of Kinesiology and Recreation Administration in 2008, Ortega’s dedication and commitment has been repeatedly recognized by students and colleagues.

Recognized nationally for his head trauma studies, Ortega utilizes his ability as a researcher to dispense knowledge in a passionate, yet practical, manner. Students consistently relate how he fostered and instilled confidence that aided the development of their own research skills. Outside the classroom, Ortega makes himself available to students for advice and instruction on a wide variety of topics, from writing code for data analysis to learning how to network with professionals.

Director of HSU’s Biomechanics Lab, Ortega also teaches biomechanics and structural kinesiology. Student evaluations have ranked his teaching effectiveness at the top of the scale for five consecutive years.


Kenneth Fulgham, Department of Forestry & Wildland Resources

Kenneth Fulgham, Department of Forestry & Wildland Resources
Outstanding Service Award

For more than 30 years, Ken Fulgham has been an exemplary model of service to the university, providing thoughtful leadership that has evolved in step with the ever-changing challenges Humboldt State’s faculty has faced.

Chair of the Department of Forestry & Wildland Resources, Fulgham has held many prominent faculty leadership positions with the concerted focus of advocating for the academic community’s involvement in the operations of the university. His roles have included General Faculty President, Chair of the Academic Senate and President of the California Faculty Association.

Specific to his field of expertise, Fulgham has also served as president and treasurer of the California-Pacific (CALPAC) Section of the Society for Range Management, along with several of the parent organization’s committees and councils. He has been honored with the Society’s Fellow Award, CALPAC Section’s Rangeland Manager of the year Award, and is currently an elected member of the Board of Directors for Society for Range Management. He has also devoted critical time and effort in representing HSU with the Society of American Foresters and the National Association of University Forestry Research Programs.