OGDEN, Utah – An English professor who is known as a leading thinker on state-of-the-art teaching strategies and an executive who has been instrumental in building the human resources department at Weber State University are the recipients of the school's 2007 H. Aldous Dixon Awards.
Professor Gary Dohrer and Associate Vice President for Human Resources K. Stan Greenhalgh will be formally honored at a luncheon hosted by the WSU Alumni Association, March 19 at noon in the Shepherd Union Gallery.
Teaching is Dohrer's passion. "I could never give up the classroom," he said. "It's where I love to be." As an English professor who primarily teaches English education, he looks for that same enthusiasm in his students.
"One of my biggest goals is that students leave here prepared to be excellent English teachers," he said. "Part of that is making sure they feel like they've chosen the correct career and are excited about teaching English."
Dohrer earned his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin in 1989 and joined the faculty of Weber State College that same year.
To his credit, he has a series of publications that have appeared in nationally renowned journals, earning him a reputation for pioneering state-of-the art teaching strategies.
Dohrer was one of the architects of an innovative site-based teacher program, which won him and five of his colleagues the WSU Exemplary Collaboration Award in 1995. Primarily for English education students, the program put WSU Department of English faculty in local schools every day and gave teachers a more active role in planning their student teachers' education.
Although the site-based program no longer exists, Dohrer has brought another cutting-edge resource—the National Writing Project—to campus. The newly created chapter, called the Wasatch Range Writing Project, has the potential of greatly improving writing instruction in local school districts.
Dohrer's academic contributions to WSU are considerable. In addition to serving on numerous campus-wide committees, he was chair of the Faculty Senate and provided outstanding service to the WSU Alumni Association as a member of the board of directors. He also served as chair of the English department for two terms, where he saw new courses, such as technical and creative writing, flourish.
Off campus, he leads a writing workshop for veterans at Hill Aerospace Museum. And recently he instituted another workshop, this time at an assisted living facility.
Greenhalgh was hired by Weber State College in 1977 as director of personnel. Today, as associate vice president of human resources, he doesn't hesitate when asked what his favorite part of the job is, "People," he said. "Absolutely the people."
Greenhalgh oversees several areas, including compensation management, employment, HR policies and procedures, and the university's training and development and wellness components.
Additionally, his staff maintains the university's legal employment status, and he serves as a consultant to employees and supervisors regarding human resources issues.
When Greenhalgh was hired in 1977, he was charged with creating processes and policies that would provide the growing institution with consistent HR methods.
"Because the personnel function at Weber State was a new entity, I had to get something going where very little formal process existed," explained the former adjutant general officer for the U.S. Army.
And he did just that, all while seeing Weber State double in students and increase its faculty and staff by significant numbers. He also saw the institution switch to computer technology and transition from a college to a university.
"I decided to get a computer programming degree because the technology was so new that I needed to know what was going on," he said.
So, Greenhalgh, who had received his master's degree in human resources management from the University of Utah, took data processing classes at WSU, earning a third bachelor's degree in 1981. Later, he and an information technology professor developed compensation software that was used by universities and private industries across the country.
In his opinion, however, his greatest accomplishment has been building a professional and innovative team that supports the campus.
"There's no way I could have succeeded in such a large task or maintained the great changes that have taken place in 30 years without an exceptional staff," he said.
Named in memory of the former Weber College president, the H. Aldous Dixon Awards have been presented by the WSU Alumni Association annually since 1970 to honor faculty and staff members who have demonstrated careers of excellence and gone above and beyond the call of duty to support students. Dixon served as president of Weber College from 1919 to 1920, and again from 1937 to 1953.
The public is welcome to attend the luncheon. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased online at alumni.weber.edu or by calling the Lindquist Alumni Center at (801) 626-7535 by March 14.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.