WSU Names 2018 Brady Presidential Distinguished Professors

OGDEN, Utah – Three Weber State University professors, acclaimed for contributions to their disciplines of geography, economics and communication, have been named Weber State University’s 2018 Presidential Distinguished Professors.

Dan Bedford, geography professor and director of the Honors Program; Therese Grijalva, economics professor; and Sheree Josephson, chair of the Department of Communication, will be recognized officially during commencement April 27.

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

A generous gift from Rodney and Carolyn “Mitzi” Brady made funding for the recognition possible. The late Rodney Brady served as WSU president from 1978-85.

Dan Bedford

Dan Bedford knows how to tackle a difficult subject. An expert in climate change education, the geography professor blends teaching, research and service to the benefit of his on-campus and off-campus communities.

A co-author of the book “Climate Change: Examining the Facts,” Bedford has applied his expertise to general education coursework at Weber State. He also participated in a collaborative Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that hosted 23,000 students from 165 countries. In collaboration with the Sustainability Practices and Research Center, he organized a 2017 workshop on teaching climate science for more than 30 teachers.

Bedford has invited WSU geography students to participate in field work and research experiences, which has led many students to present at conferences. Trips with his students have included opportunities like the 2018 American Association of Geographers meeting. For his efforts in involving students in research opportunities, Bedford has received the Office of Undergraduate Research Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor Award for the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences.

Bedford has been a part of the WSU community since 2002. He is the director of the Honors Program and has taught nine courses, both lower- and upper-division. Among them is an interdisciplinary course on the Great Salt Lake. In the last five years, he has published three peer-reviewed articles, a book chapter and a textbook, given 10 conference presentations, and been awarded an iUtah grant. As part of that grant, he led a National Science Foundation-funded effort focused on a sustainable water future for the state.

Bedford is a two-time winner of the WSU Sustainability Scholarship Award and is a College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Endowed Professor. He was also a 2008 Honors Eccles Fellow and a 2009 Honors Nye Cortez Professor of the Year. He shared the 2015 Faculty Sustainability Traditional Research Award with three colleagues and won the 2016 Faculty Sustainability Non-Traditional Research Award. The peer-reviewed journal Eos: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, awarded him with the 2017 Editor’s Citation for Excellence in Refereeing. In addition, he was a finalist for the Crystal Crest Master Teacher Award twice.          

Therese Grijalva

As an accomplished scholar, Therese Grijalva has made it a point to play an active role in the scholarly development of Weber State students.

Grijalva, a professor of economics, led the development of the first formal undergraduate research methods course in WSU’s Department of Economics. Since then, more than 300 students have participated in high-impact research projects through that course. She has personally mentored more than 70 undergraduate research projects, and some have presented nationally and internationally.

In addition to pursuing research, several of her students have pursued academic careers of their own. One of them, Brandon Koford, is chair of WSU’s Department of Economics.

Grijalva’s research record has set the example for her students. She has published 23 peer-reviewed journal articles, and her work has been cited more than 900 times. She has written four book chapters and presented at more than 30 conferences and universities. Along with colleagues from other institutions, she conducted a comprehensive analysis for the Governor’s Office regarding the benefits and costs of state and federal public lands in Utah. She also conducted economic studies for Cache County on waste-management and recycling programs.

In 2016, Grijalva was appointed coordinator for a then-new scholarship offered out of the Office of Undergraduate research. The four-year research scholarship makes discovery and research a central part of a student’s college education. She has served on various committees including the university’s Research, Scholarship and Professional Growth Committee, Undergraduate Research Committee and the National Council on Undergraduate Research. She also worked with students and faculty from engineering, education and performing arts on a multidisciplinary service project to construct a full-scale percussion playground for the Melba S. Lehner Children’s School at WSU.  Grijalva, who loves how trails connect communities, serves as a trustee on Weber Pathways. As an advocate for social justice, she also serves on the Aquinas Institute’s Board of Trustees.

 Grijalva was a recipient of a John S. Hinckley Fellow award and — as a member of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research Committee — the Exemplary Collaboration Award, in 2013. WSU’s Goddard School of Business & Economics has recognized her as a Willard Eccles Fellow since 2006.  

Sheree Josephson

As a communication scholar who studies how viewers see and process information, Sheree Josephson has been keeping an eye on what people keep their eyes on.  Josephson — a 25-year member of Weber State University’s faculty — has been a pioneer in applying eye-tracking research to visual communication. She first studied the use of color in newspapers for her dissertation project, and her research has since branched out into studying diverse areas such as television news design, webpage layout, typography, augmented reality, and cross-racial eyewitness identification.

A teacher at heart, Josephson has often looked for opportunities to engage students in her research. She has taught 23 different courses at WSU, including Honors and Master of Professional Communication classes.

Josephson has served as chair of WSU’s Department of Communication since 2012 and will begin her third term in that role in fall semester of 2018. She oversees 22 full-time faculty members. Prior to her current position, she served as the founding director of the university’s Master of Professional Communication program, and she contributed to the development of curriculum, entrance requirements, and project and thesis standards for that program.  She also served as founding advisor for WSU’s student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the university’s chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the national honor society for communication students. She was the faculty advisor for The Signpost, WSU’s student newspaper, for six years. Her students won the national SPJ award for college journalism three of those years.

She recently signed a book contract with Routledge Publishing to edit the second edition of “Handbook of Visual Communication: Theory, Methods, and Media.” Over her career, she has published a book titled “Visualizing the Web: Evaluating Online Design from a Visual Communication Perspective,” and more than 20 scholarly pieces, including book chapters and journal articles. According to Google Scholar, her work has been cited in almost 500 published scholarly articles.

The Honors Department recognized Dr. Josephson as a Ralph Nye Professor. She has received the George and Beth Lowe Teaching Award for her innovative approach to education. She has been a three-time finalist for the Crystal Crest Master Teacher Award.

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Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.

Contact:

Allison Barlow Hess, public relations director
801-626-7948 • ahess@weber.edu

Author:

Shane Farver, chief of staff
801-626-6001 • shanefarver@weber.edu