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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
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Johnson, Sundberg Named Byler Recipients

Johnson, Sundberg Named Byler Recipients

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG - 4/11/2006 - The top award for University of Central Missouri faculty members this year honors two educators in the university's College of Arts and Sciences.

Award Reception Planned for April 20

Recipients of the 2006 Byler Distinguished Faculty Award are Yvonne Johnson, Ph.D., coordinator of women’s studies and professor of history, and Sue Sundberg, Ph.D., professor of mathematics. They will be recognized during a reception from 3:30 to 4:40 p.m. Thursday, April 20, in the Art Center Gallery, and honored again during undergraduate commencement exercises 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 6 in the Multipurpose Building.

Alumnus Established Award to Honor Distinguished Faculty

The Byler Distinguished Faculty Award is named for William H. Byler, an inventor, author and teacher who graduated from UCM in 1927 with a major in chemistry and physics. He established an endowment fund to provide annual recognition for distinguished faculty performance, evidenced by teaching, scholarly or creative activity and professional related service.

The Byler Award is not the first honor that Johnson and Sundberg have in common. Both of them are previous recipients of the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. Yvonne Johnson

Dr. Yvonne Johnson

Dr. Yvonne Johnson

After higher education experience in Texas, Johnson joined UCM's Department of History and Anthropology in 1994 as an assistant professor, teaching a number of undergraduate history courses as well as specialty courses such as African American History; Race, Class, and Gender; and The Jazz Age and the Great Depression.

On her way to becoming a full professor, she engaged in numerous scholarly endeavors, including writing a book, "The Voices of African American Women," and contributing research to numerous professional journals. She also garnered a wealth of international experience, which she shared with her students.

Among such opportunities, she participated in summer seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, participated in Drew University's 1996 summer study abroad program in the Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa, taught at the University of Ghana as a Missouri-Ghana Program participant in 1998, and taught at Imperial College through the Missouri-London Program in 2001. She also spent part of 2003 teaching at UCM’s Center for Transatlantic Studies in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

"Yvonne Johnson has made valuable contributions to our academic community, many of them innovative, and all of them carried out with great passion and dedication," Ann Legreid, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography, noted in her nomination letter.

Such passion contributed to Johnson's co-founding of the program in Africana Studies in 2002 and becoming coordinator of Women's Studies in 2004. A new graduate certificate in Women's Studies is now available as the result of her energy and creativity. Johnson has also shown leadership through her participation in the Women’s Consortium, Faculty Senate, and Strategic Planning Resource Council. 

Dr. Sue Sundberg

Dr.Sue Sundberg

Dr. Sue Sundberg

Sundberg's career at UCM began as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science in 1989. Over the years, she has taught at least 13 different courses in the department, and has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in teaching which paid off with her promotion to professor in 2001.

Kathy Desmond, a professor of art who nominated Sundberg, emphasized qualities such as her willingness to lead and her teaching strategies to help students develop critical thinking skills among her many strengths as a faculty member.

"Dr. Sundberg is held with esteem, not only by her departmental colleagues, but but by university and professional colleagues as well. I am impressed, time and time again, not only with Dr. Sundberg's preparedness, focus and energy, but with her work ethic, her exactness, yet flexibility, and her overall professional demeanor," Desmond said.

Sundberg has a strong record of involvement in committee work at all levels. In addition to serving as president of the Faculty Senate for two years, she chaired for three years the Teacher Education Council and the Professional Education Faculty.

Her dedication to education is known statewide, as evidenced by her participation on the Steering Committee for the Missouri Mathematics Leadership Academy the past two years, and her involvement in the Missouri Middle School Math Academy each year since its inception in 2001. She was part of the team writing the statewide mathematics grade level expectations for grades K-12, and later wrote sample items and Missouri Assessment Program test items for middle school.

Closer to home, she annually gets involved in Math Relays, attended by high school students across the state, and has co-directed at least six times the annual Sonia Kovalevsky Day at UCM,  which encourages young women to pursue mathematics careers.

Sundberg's strong record of scholarly activity includes numerous presentations to educators and professional groups, and contributions of articles to publications such as "Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School."