College of Arts and Sciences Recognizes Faculty and Staff

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
June 12, 2018

Our annual All College Day Awards recognize faculty and staff achievements in the College of Arts and Sciences. Faculty and staff are encouraged to submit nominations for seven awards selected by a committee of past awardees and confirmed by the Dean. Dean David V. Powers selects the recipients of the annual Dean’s Award.

Dean Powers presented this year’s awards at the All College Day celebration on June 8.

Roxanne Hornbeck, MFA ‘11

Outstanding Academic Advising

Roxy Hornbeck, MFARoxy Hornbeck helps students discover their identity, passions, and interests and then helps them create an academic path that accommodates each of these aspects. In an advising appointment, she does not simply ask students what classes they want to take next quarter; she encourages them to ask, “Why?” She encourages students to explore questions of self-identity by asking them to craft their personal mission statement.

Her students write, “She came into my life in my junior year at Seattle U and gave me all the tools I needed to figure out what I really needed to get out of my education. I know that I would not be where I am today without the guidance she gave me, and continues to give me even after graduation.”

 “Last year I came to her with concerns I was having in my internship. She found time to talk with me soon after I emailed her about an incident that had occurred. She advised me on how to thoughtfully process the situation and navigate my way through the internship. It meant a lot at that time to be heard, and meant even more to have to be offered support so that I could succeed.”

Her colleagues say that since Arts Leadership became an official undergraduate major, she has been on the frontlines of shaping the program and interacting with each student pursuing the degree. Ms. Hornbeck, who has taught at the undergraduate and graduate level at SU since 2015, assumes a new tenure-track faculty position in the coming year.

Hannah Tracy, PhD

Outstanding Contract Faculty Award

Dr. Hannah Tracy has displayed intellectual depth, ongoing innovation, and commitment to students. She has created multiple challenging courses for the Core, infusing her expertise in rhetoric and the complex interrelationship between science and literature. She skillfully integrates her knowledge of teaching writing in both her Academic Writing Seminars and her literature courses. Grounded in theory, her courses give students opportunities to apply their knowledge in well-scaffolded writing assignments. She has also modeled deep reflective practice and commitment to social justice, playing a leading role in her department and in the Core in how she has revised her courses to teach about race, power, and privilege and to work for inclusivity. She restructured one of her courses to have a thematic focus on imperialism, the slave trade, and post colonialism, and added similar inquiries to her other courses, challenging students to engage with provocative and thereby deeply important learning.

One of the distinctions of her candidacy for this award is her role on the Faculty and Staff Senate. She is a steady voice on behalf of non-tenure track faculty, advocating for their interests and providing a vital link between contract faculty and college governance. In the past year, she did outstanding work on space issues in the college, presenting a clear argument for non-tenure track colleagues and their students and tying space issues to key university priorities, like retention of students.

Her outstanding mentorship of student writing has shown in her students’ presentation of their research projects at SUURA and in the publication of her students’ research writing for two successive years in the Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal.

She regards her service to SU and her teaching as mutually supportive. For the university, she has designed and directed living-learning communities. For her excellent work with Housing and Residence Life, with Academic Affairs, and with students, she won the Faculty Director Award for 2014. For the College, she has previously served as co-chair of the Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Committee and on the Conduct Review Board.

Onur Bakiner, PhD

Outstanding Scholarship Award

Onur Bakiner, PhDDr. Onur Bakiner, a prolific scholar, received nominations from faculty representing eight different departments and programs in the College. His work has received international recognition for its impact and quality through awards and invitations to speak at professional venues.

His steady research commitment has resulted in five peer-reviewed publications, seven book chapters, two book reviews, and a major book produced over the past five years. The diversity of the journals and volumes in which these articles appear speak to the way in which his work reaches a broad scholarly audience, including the fields of political science, transitional justice, human rights, judicial politics, Middle Eastern politics, Latin American politics, and civil war and conflict resolution studies.

His 2016 book, Truth Commissions: Memory, Power, and Legitimacy (University of Pennsylvania Press), has received scholarly acclaim. Favorably reviewed in seven scholarly outlets, the book received the prestigious Best Book Award of the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association in 2017. One reviewer says about his book, “Through a detailed study of dozens of truth commissions around the world, Onur Bakiner carefully considers not only the pragmatic aspects of truth commissions, but also their ethical and normative impact on societies coming to terms with legacies of mass violence.”

In fall 2015, he co-founded the “Rights and Justice Writing Group” in the College of Arts and Sciences. The interdisciplinary group has gathered scholars from History, International Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology and Religious Studies whose work addresses questions related to the University’s Mission, especially questions of social justice.

Amelia Seraphia Derr, MSW, PhD

Outstanding Service Award

Dr. Amelia Seraphia Derr performs community engaged service activities that reflect her commitment to building and nurturing authentic community partnerships, bringing her skills and resources to meet the needs of our broader community, especially those of immigrants and refugees in our city. She received a Center for Community Engagement Faculty Fellowship for her service work with a local nonprofit, the Center for Ethical Leadership, where she developed a program evaluation for their Peacemaking and Healing Initiative work with immigrants. In addition, she has co-facilitated the Center for Community Engagement’s Justice Fellows Seminar for the past two years. In 2017-2018, she worked with her colleagues in the Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work Department to co-organize a series of Social Justice “Teach-Ins," which educate the SU community about a variety of issues impacting marginalized populations in the SU and Seattle communities.

Since 2013, she has partnered with the City of Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to develop and deliver community-based programs serving immigrant and refugee families in Seattle, hailing from Vietnam, Cambodia, Mexico, Honduras, Eretria, Ethiopia, & Somalia with youth ages 10 to 14.

She and the other organizers focus on “know your rights” and helping Seattle immigrants and refugees understand how to navigate these complex systems. The current political context makes this work even more important.

Molly Clark Hillard, PhD

Outstanding Teaching Award

Dr. Molly Clark Hillard has created new courses, including Core courses, new requirements for the major in which she teaches, and electives that have elicited great student interest. In her classes, she employs a variety of teaching methods—lecture, collaborative learning, use of visual materials, group and all-class discussion—inviting and requiring students to participate in what she calls “collective knowledge making.”

Her students say, “I appreciate the class for its complexity and challenge”; “Discussions were brilliant, well run, and very educational”; and, simply, “Amazing class.”

She is not only a superb teacher in her specialty of nineteenth-century literature; in editing/publishing as Faculty Editor and SUURA coordinator, she is also now the lead in creating a venue for advanced learning for our whole university. Her colleagues believe that this year she is especially deserving of this Award for both her work on SUURJ (the Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal) and for taking on the coordination and encouragement of undergraduate research at SUURA. Last year, she became the journal’s first Faculty Editor; in its second year, the journal continues to be a resounding success. She has also collaborated with the Learning Commons in Lemieux Library to create an undergraduate research prize.

Students speak of what they learned from working with this professor on the journal: they say they have become much better writers, they learned how to edit and behave professionally, and they learned how to consult with different stakeholders and how to negotiate differences of opinion as well as different arguments.

Kayla Huddleston, MSW

Outstanding Administrative Staff

Kayla Huddleston embodies the SU values of Care, Diversity, Justice, and Academic Excellence. She is so dedicated to prospective students, she is often seen walking them through the neighborhood on a spontaneous tour, hearing their life stories and giving them words of encouragement, helping them navigate the bureaucratic hurdles of the application process, and, once in the program, cheering them on to do their best.

She is dedicated to all students, but particularly to students who face disproportionate barriers to academic success. She single-handedly ensures that prospective students can easily access information and materials they need to apply, manages the application process for all applicants to the program and takes care that once students start the program they have what they need to be successful. She is the co-founder of the Black Women’s Social, the first SU campus group to bring together Black women faculty, staff, and students. She has been a huge part of the success of a new and fast-growing program in the College.


Sonora Jha, PhD

Collegiality Award

Sonora Jha, PhDDr. Sonora Jha has shown herself to be a compassionate and caring leader. Colleagues describe her as “a guide, an advocate, and someone who regularly makes the room stop and reflect when she speaks up.” She leads her department in thinking about how to make the curriculum have a greater focus on global issues and routinely pushes colleagues to do better by our students in a way that lifts us everyone up. She takes an active role in mentoring women and new faculty, making the time to support them and ensure their professional growth. Colleagues outside her department say she is engaging and interested in our shared work. At meetings, she is aware of loud and quiet voices and encourages us to take ourselves less seriously. With students, she is an exceptional advocate and mentor. At the College level, we are indebted to her timely work with the Leadership Committee on Intersectionality and Justice and as Associate Dean for Academic Community. This vital work is at the heart of ensuring the health and happiness of our college community. She has stepped into a role that is fundamentally about collegiality and excelled.


The Space Committee

Dean’s Award

Dean Powers set the tone for this year’s Dean’s Award with this introduction:

"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before."

He recognized the members of the Space Committee for taking on a new project with a very short time frame, the opportunity to integrate College of Art and Sciences into office space that became available due to other moves in the University. Not unlike a game of three-dimensional chess, the committee was able to map out an extraordinarily complex series of office moves that will help faculty and staff best serve students.

Headshots of the members of the 2018 Space Committee

Space Committee members:

  • Mark Cohan, PhD
  • Kimberly Gawlik, JD
  • Ki Gottberg, MFA
  • Laura Hauck-Vixie, MEd
  • Henry Kamerling, PhD
  • Kevin Krycka, PsyD
  • Heath Spencer, PhD

Thank you to this year’s A&S Awards Selection Committee for their hard work and deliberations selecting from such an outstanding pool of nominations: Sarah Curtis-Tilton; Angelique Davis, JD; Kate Elias, PhD; Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs, PhD; Em Olsen and Kate Reynolds.

Headshots of the members of the 2018 All College Day Awards Committee