Four faculty members receive teaching awards

By The Mercury

Four Kansas State University faculty members are being recognized with the Commerce Bank Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award for making a difference in the classroom.

The 2014 award recipients are Todd Easton, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering; Dann Fisher, professor of accounting; David Richter-O’Connell, assistant professor of interior architecture & product design; and Donald Saucier, associate professor of psychological sciences.

Sponsored by the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Commerce Bancshares Foundation and coordinated through the Kansas State University Foundation, the awards include a $2,500 honorarium.

“Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation partnered with K-State nearly two decades ago to support undergraduate teaching excellence,” said Tom Giller, community bank president of Commerce Bank, Manhattan. “We are pleased to continue the tradition with the university to honor these four exceptional educators for their dedication to teaching.”

University President Kirk Schulz said that supporting excellent faculty will help the university achieve its goals for the future.

“It is a pleasure to recognize these extraordinary educators for their dedication to K-State students, which would not be possible without support from Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation,” Schulz said. “The support we receive from community is an invaluable asset to K-State’s goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025.”

EASTON has taught 16 courses ranging from Introduction to Industrial Engineering and Operations Research I to Advanced Engineering Economy and Nonlinear Programming. His honors and awards include seven industrial and manufacturing systems engineering department Outstanding Teaching of the Year awards, the 2008-2009 James L. Hollis Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the 2008-2009 Clair A. Mauch Steel Ring Adviser of the Year honor. He is the faculty adviser for Alpha Pi Mu honor society and editor for Open Journal of Modeling and Simulation published by Scientific Research. His research is in discrete optimization with an emphasis in integer programming and graph theory. Easton received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Brigham Young University, a master’s degree in operations research from Stanford University and a doctorate in industrial and systems engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Fisher teaches courses centered on taxation. His research interests include ethics in the accounting profession and accounting education. He has co-edited two books on business ethics, and published many refereed journal articles and given presentations about business ethics and accounting education. Fisher also serves as a reviewer on several journals. Among his teaching awards are two Ralph Reitz Awards for Outstanding Contributions in Teaching and three Baird, Kurtz and Dobson Teaching Awards. Fisher earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Accountancy degrees from Kansas State University and a doctorate from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He is a certified public accountant.


RICHTER-O’Connell teaches lectures and studios in industrial/product design. His research interest is exploring the history of designed objects and spaces, and mapping constancies and changes that can inform product design of the near and distant future. In 25 years as a professional industrial designer, Richter-O’Connell has designed and developed plumbing products, cabinetry, furniture, toys, games, juvenile products and stringed instruments. He has 22 U.S. design and utility patents and related international filings. He received a Bachelor of Science in industrial design from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Saucier is the director of undergraduate studies, chair of the Undergraduate Program Committee, and co-director for the teaching apprenticeship program in the psychological sciences department. He has taught a broad range of classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels, from large sections of general psychology to small classes in advanced psychological research methods. He has been a part of the K-State First program since 2010 through teaching, research and assessment efforts. Saucier has received the Putting Students First Award for Outstanding Service to Students, the University Distinguished Faculty Award for Mentoring of Undergraduate Students in Research, the William L. Stamey Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In each of his classes he employs a simple and straightforward teaching philosophy founded on psychological theories of intrinsic motivation and optimal experience. Saucier believes that students are autonomous, can make decisions, accept responsibility and contribute to their education. Saucier earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and classical civilization from Colby College, and a master’s degree and doctoral degree in experimental social psychology from the University of Vermont.

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