(Posted May 18, 2019)

Photo: Karis Cornelius '20

Photo: Karis Cornelius '20

Huntingdon, Pa. -- Three Juniata College faculty members were honored Tuesday, May 7, with distinguished teaching and service awards during the College’s Spring Awards Convocation in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. Honored for their work were Kathleen Biddle, professor of education; James Tuten, professor of history; and Ursula Williams, assistant professor of chemistry.

Biddle was named the recipient of the Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service, Tuten was honored with the Beachley Award for Distinguished Teaching and Williams received the Henry and Joan Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching, an award reserved for faculty members with fewer than six years of service.

Nominations for the awards are received from students, faculty, administrative personnel, alumni and trustees. The college president, the provost, the student government president and the three most recent recipients of the award make the final selections.

The last three Beachley Distinguished Teaching Award recipients were John Bukowski, professor of mathematics (2018); William Thomas, professor of information technology (2017); and Jay Hosler, professor of biology (2016). The first was presented in 1989 to the late Mary Ruth Linton, a Juniata music professor. Last year’s Beachley academic service award recipient was Cynthia Merriwether deVries, associate professor of sociology. The recipient of the 2018 Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching was Dan Dries, associate professor of chemistry.

“One of the things I appreciate most about being at Juniata and working with our fine faculty is that we model our commitment to asking interesting questions that are relevant and salient,” says Lauren Bowen, provost at Juniata. “This year’s recipients are all actively engaged with their communities–campus, local and national–in ways that demonstrate how and why their excellence as teachers and scholars has an impact on their students and colleagues as well as the broader communities in which they live. These awards celebrate our faculty’s commitment to teaching and serving in a rigorous learning environment.”

Biddle earned her doctorate degree in applied child development with an emphasis on developmental neuropsychology at the Eliot-Pearson School of Tufts University. She earned her bachelor of science degree in special education from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Biddle is a licensed Pennsylvania psychologist and developmental neuropsychologist who specializes in assessment and intervention for children with reading and other learning disabilities and acquired brain injuries. In this capacity she has consulted with numerous private and public schools in the central Pennsylvania area.

Biddle is a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, the International Dyslexia Association, the Pennsylvania Branch of International Dyslexia Association, the Learning Disabilities Association and the Council for Exceptional Children, as well as the Pennsylvania Psychological Association. She serves on the editorial board of the journal Social Neuroscience. Biddle serves as the neuropsychologist for the local Brainsteps Team with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11, a program that assists students with school reentry following acquired brain injury.

Biddle is co-author of Strategies for Success: Classroom Teaching Techniques for Children with Learning Differences, Second Edition, published by Pro-ed Publications. Her work has been published in Developmental Neuropsychology, Journal of Learning Disabilities, Journal of Communication Disorders, Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society and Developmental Neurorehabilitiation. She has contributed chapters to a variety of edited books.  Most recently she has presented her work nationally and internationally at the International Dyslexia Association Conference, the Learning Disabilities Conference, the Pennsylvania Association of College Teacher Educators Conference and the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading meeting.

Biddle serves as director of the Rural Outreach and Reading Clinic. This after-school program provides local elementary school children with free, evidence-based reading instruction two afternoons each week from September through May. Juniata College studying to become elementary and/or special education teachers work with the children in small groups under the supervision of Professor Biddle. 

Biddle is also the academic director of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty Studies. In that role she, along with Darwin Kysor, the director of career development at Juniata, select Juniata students who will complete eight-week summer internships serving in a variety of capacities in programs serving individuals experiencing poverty. The internships are in the fields of education and human services, legal services, business and healthcare. Biddle is an active member of the national Shepherd Consortium Program Committee.

Tuten earned his doctorate from Emory University, his master’s degree Wake Forest, and his bachelor’s degree in history and fine arts from the College of Charleston.

Tuten specializes in the history of the southern United States. His teaching interests include the Civil War and Reconstruction, the New South and the History of Food. His research interests include biographical examination of Confederate Brigadier General E. W. Gantt along with projects on assessing the impact of cultural events and summer reading programs on college students.

Tuten’s research on Atlantic Coast rice culture from the Civil War until the industry collapsed in the 1920s culminated in the book Lowcountry Time and Tide: The Fall of the Rice Kingdom, which was published by USC Press in 2010. In addition, he has published on southern planters' affinity for Madeira wine, and on the early recorded blues. Tuten has contributed book chapters, numerous book reviews, and encyclopedia entries to a range of publications. His editorials have appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Harrisburg Patriot News, Christian Science Monitor, the Providence Journal (RI), Inside Higher Ed, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Tuten is the Fulbright Program adviser for Juniata. He served as director of the Lakso Center for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in 2013-2014. He is the founder of an H-Net discussion list on the history and culture of South Carolina, H-SC. From 2000-2006 he served as Juniata's Assistant Provost.

Williams earned her doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry and English in 2009 from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. While at the University of Pennsylvania, she was awarded a fellowship from the university's Center for Teaching and Learning, and her excellence in teaching was recognized at the departmental, college, and university levels.

Her research interests include the coordination chemistry of the transition metal and rare earth elements. The primary focus of her graduate research was the synthesis and characterization of tetravalent cerium coordination compounds. Her current research explores the effects of coordination environment on the redox behavior of first row transition metal complexes.

Williams has published research findings in several professional journals including Nature Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Inorganic Chemistry, and Dalton Transactions, and she is a member of the American Chemical Society.

The convocation address was given by John Bukowski, professor of mathematics.


Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.