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University of Central Missouri
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Warrensburg, MO 64093
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Ryan Honored

Ryan Honored With Byler Faculty Award

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG - 04/10/2007 - Months after receiving a prestigious national award from a graduate student group, Joseph J. Ryan has earned the top recognition given to UCM faculty members - the 2007 Byler Distinguished Faculty Award.

Award Recognizes Professional Excellence

Ryan Honored

Joseph J. Ryan, right, received the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award from UCM President Aaron Podolefsky during an April 26 reception in the UCM Art Center Gallery.

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.

"It is an incredible honor to be nominated by my colleagues and students for this prestigious award," Ryan said. "I appreciate their efforts and support."

Recipient of Raymond D. Fowler Award

Ryan's accomplishment follows his recognition in the summer of 2006 as recipient of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students' Raymond D. Fowler Award for his contributions to students' professional development. One of his former UCM students who nominated him for that honor also contributed her support for his Byler nomination. Heather A. Tree, a fourth-year doctoral student at the University of Kansas, describes him as a professor with a great passion for helping students in their quest to be better.

"I have yet to come across a professor that matches his excitement for his students and his commitment to their successes. He was able to take this mediocre student and help her excel past her wildest dreams," Tree said in a letter to the nomination committee, adding that he collaborated with her on numerous research works.

Student Achievement Important

Nurturing student growth is something Ryan enjoys most about being a part of UCM. As he put it, "I treasure the opportunity to work with so many wonderful students. It brings me great satisfaction when my students achieve professional recognition and success."

Recognized by Peers, Published Author

Ryan is the only board certified clinical neuropsychologist in the Greater Kansas City-Warrensburg area. He became chair of the Department of Psychology in August 1999. With 30 years of top tier research activities under his belt, he is a prolific scholar, ranking in the top 2 percent nationally in terms of published works by psychologists. More than 220 of his scholarly works have appeared in 64 different professional publications, and he has served on five journal editorial boards.

Nominations Recount Professional Successes

In nominating Ryan, UCM Professors of Psychology Bob Ahlering and David Kreiner pointed out that he is "revered by his students and respected at the national and international level." His collaborative work with scholars from the People's Republic of China, for example, produced eight publications, including one in the Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology. He has also collaborated on research with co-authors from England, Australia, Canada, and the United States, and has been invited to be the keynote speaker for the Australian Psychological Society, College of Clinical Neuropsychologists' conference in September 2007.

Professional Accomplishments at UCM

Since joining the university, Ryan has provided support for the establishment of the Department of Psychology's Neurocognition, Behavioral Medicine, Experimental, and Virtual Reality research laboratories. He was responsible for the establishment of the J.M. Sattler Endowment, a fund created to provide awards for student research, and devised a system to involve teams of undergraduate students in research projects. Additionally, he has been a strong advocate for changes in his department's curriculum that promote research, and in 2006 he and psychology faculty hosted the 26th Annual Great Plains Students' Psychology Convention to promote student research at UCM.

Team Effort Pays Off

So how does Ryan's manage to find a good balance between juggling his day-to-day responsibilities as department chair with teaching, mentoring students and research? His formula is simple: "By mixing a little ambition with persistence and determination. It also helps to be working with great colleagues and a supportive administration."