WSU Recognizes Distinguished Professors

OGDEN, Utah – Three Weber State University professors, each acclaimed nationally for professional, academic and civic contributions, have been named the 2013 Brady Presidential Distinguished Professors.

English professor Hal Crimmel, physics professor Adam Johnston and business administration professor Shane Schvaneveldt were selected by WSU’s Board of Trustees for this prestigious honor, which will be awarded at the university’s spring commencement exercises April 26.

Each professor will receive a cash prize of $16,000, payable over four years that may be used to further professional academic goals. Honorees also will retain the Presidential Distinguished Professor title throughout their tenure with the university. Upon retirement from WSU, “Emeritus” will be added to the end of the title. The professors also will be featured on the Honor Wall for Presidential Distinguished Professors located on the second floor of the Stewart Library in the west atrium.

Funding for the annual recognition program was made possible by a generous gift from Rodney and Carolyn Brady. Brady served as president of WSU from 1978-85.

The honor was established in 2006 as a way to recognize outstanding WSU faculty members who demonstrate the highest quality of teaching, scholarship, research and community service.

“Students, faculty and the community are all enhanced when distinguished professors of this caliber share their passion, dedication and scholarship,” said WSU President Charles Wight. “The university is pleased to honor all three and acknowledge their rich and profound contributions.”

Provost MichaelVaughan also acknowledged the generosity of the Bradys in supporting academic excellence. “We are very grateful for this opportunity to recognize the important role faculty play in the lives of our students and the vitality of our university,” Vaughan said. “These scholars come from disciplines across campus, but their individual contributions have combined to add great depth to the entire institution.”

Hal Crimmel

Since arriving at Weber State in 2001, English professor Hal Crimmel has blended his love of literature with his love of nature. For example, during a Fulbright Lectureship at the University of Salzburg in Austria in 2004, Crimmel taught a course in environmental literary criticism when that area of study was relatively new, particularly in Europe.

Crimmel has developed a number of dynamic field-based classes that take students into the wilds of Utah, Montana and Colorado. In fall 2013, he will teach a new Environmental Ambassadors course in the Honors Program, which will discuss the theory and practice of sustainability. Crimmel has also been involved in numerous ongoing faculty-student collaborations as chair of WSU’s Environmental Issues Committee. 

His record of creative and scholarly achievement includes serving as the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities Endowed Scholar from 2006-09 and publication of such well-respected books as “Teaching in the Field: Working with Students in the Outdoor Classroom” and “Dinosaur: Four Seasons on the Green and Yampa Rivers.” His book, “Desert Water: The Future of Utah’s Water Resources,” will be published soon.

Crimmel taught internationally as an exchange professor to Shanghai Normal University in China in 2009 and at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, in 2011. He also has served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist Peer Reviewer and as chair of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Peer Review Committee for the Rocky Mountain Region.

He holds a bachelor’s from Colby College in Maine and a master’s and doctoral degree from the State University of New York at Albany.

Adam T. Johnston

Physics professor Adam Johnston is esteemed by students and faculty for his teaching excellence, public service and contributions to research. In the past decade, he has been cited for influencing numerous WSU students to pursue careers in science and science teaching. As one of his former students who now teaches science said, “Too often in teaching we think that teaching is telling. I remember being amazed by learning so much from Dr. Johnston while he spent so little of the time telling us things.”

For the past six years, Johnston has also made science fun for thousands of children with his engaging Science in the Parks summer series.   

Johnston is the associate director for Science Teacher Education in WSU’s Center for Science & Mathematics Education. His personal research reveals misconceptions and learning strategies for teaching science.

Johnston has an extensive list of peer-reviewed publications, invited presentations and other scholarly achievements, including co-founding “Science Education at the Crossroads,” an annual interactive national conference that has advocated for scholarly reform in science teaching methodologies since 2005. He also works closely with other Utah educators to develop professional learning opportunities for teachers and science curricula appropriate for all levels of instruction.

Among his many awards are the Outstanding University Science Educator Award from the Utah Science Teachers Association (2011) and the Medal for Science and Technology from the governor of Utah (2012).

He is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Oregon and holds advanced degrees in physics and science education from the University of Utah.

Shane J. Schvaneveldt

Business administration professor Shane Schvaneveldt has been connecting Weber State University with the global world of business since arriving in 1992. As part of a multimillion-dollar federal grant program he co-directed, Schvaneveldt contributed to a national initiative for researching Japanese industry and providing related educational opportunities to American students. In that effort, WSU’s John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics joined a network of 12 centers nationwide including from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan and Stanford University.

As a Fulbright Scholar in 1999, Schvaneveldt spent one year in Japan collaborating with Japanese businesses that considered environmental sustainability an economically sound practice five to 10 years before the idea received mainstream attention in the United States. After returning, he developed Managing for Environmental Sustainability as a course in the Master of Business Administration program – a first for any university in the state. He later was honored by Utah Business Magazine with the Green Pioneer Award. 

In the realm of public service, the U.S. Department of Commerce selected Schvaneveldt as a member of the Board of Examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. He also served as president of the Association of Japanese Business Studies.

During his tenure at WSU, Schvaneveldt played an instrumental role in the creation of the MBA and in the development of Supply Chain Management as a flagship program in the business school. His teaching and research focus on quality management, operations/supply chain management, environmental sustainability and experiential learning methods.

Schvaneveldt holds a bachelor’s from Utah State University and a master’s and doctoral degree from the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

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Michael Vaughan, provost
801-626-6006 •
Allison Barlow Hess, director of Public Relations
801-626-7948 •

Brady Presidential Distinguished Professors


Craig Oberg
Gene Sessions
Sam Zeveloff

Eric Amsel
Yasmen Simonian
Michael Wutz

Bradley W. Carroll
Brian Davis

Jim Christian
Brenda Marsteller Kowalewski
Susan Matt
Adolph Yonkee

John Cavitt
Lauren Fowler
Ed Walker

Brooke Arkush
Judy Elsley
Yu-Jang Yang

Diane Kawamura
John Mukum Mbaku

Hal Crimmel
Adam T. Johnston
Shane J. Schvaneveldt

Jennifer Turley
Kirk D. Hagen