logo
UNIVERSITY RELATIONS

2011 University Faculty Awards

Wichita State faculty members were honored during the 2011 Faculty Awards. Mildred Edwards with the Kansas Board of Regents will give remarks and assist with presenting the awards. The honorees chosen were recognized for setting the gold standard for teaching, research and creative activities at WSU.

2011 Honorees

Academy for Effective Teaching Jen-Chi Cheng
Community Research Deborah Ballard-Reisch
Excellence in Creative Activity Lynne Davis
Excellence in Research William Miles
Young Faculty Scholar Kirk Ring
Leadership in the Advancement of Teaching Brien Bolin
Excellence in Teaching Kelly Anderson
Frank Rokosz

Excellence in Teaching

The University of Wichita Board of Regents, now known as the WSU Board of Trustees, established a corpus of $50,000 in 1964 to provide grants to recognize superior teaching. The recipient is awarded $2,000.

Kelly AndersonKelly Anderson, assistant professor, dental hygiene, College of Health Professions

Kelly Anderson received the Bachelor of Dental Hygiene degree in 1983 and the Master of Health Science in 1994, both from Wichita State University. She has nearly two decades of experience as a practicing dental hygienist.

When Kelly Anderson received her Master of Health Science degree, a teaching career wasn’t on her radar.

But as she continued her career as a practicing dental hygienist she realized she had the opportunity to be a role model to her children and others, and to contribute to her profession in a different way.

“I wanted to be able to show my kids that I was maximizing my education, after earning a master’s degree,” Anderson said. “If you quit learning, life becomes stagnant. I know personally that doors open when you continue learning.”

As a faculty member, she’s become a champion for her students, encouraging them to do the best that they can without lowering her expectations of them in her classes; created an interdisciplinary effort to better prepare students for situations that often aren’t addressed in textbooks; and developed an online degree completion course to help hygienists with associate’s degrees earn the bachelor’s degree that WSU started offering in 2009.

“She’s implemented a variety of teaching methods into her classes that include service learning at volunteer events and developing a class code of ethics for patient treatment,” said dental hygiene department chair Denise Maseman. She also helps prepare students for clinical boards and licensure.

“My main goal is for my students to learn beyond their potential,” Anderson said. “I believe most students will rise to the challenge when quality work is demanded of them and if they are given guidance to develop the skills necessary to make that possible.” She has a particular affinity for helping students who seem to show a lack of confidence in their ability to learn, by providing them with inspiration and instilling in them a sense of responsibility to do the best that they can.

“The greatest reward for me is to see students leave Wichita State feeling like competent individuals who have acquired something they only could have through this educational experience,” she said.

Anderson gets involved in the education of every graduating dental hygiene student. Since 2001, she has overseen the scheduling of students in their senior clinical rotations. Students spend two full days a week providing care to patients from the WSU and local communities. She tracks the progress of 36 clinical students each semester and handles any student issues that may arise during the rotations.

Through the Concepts II class, which focuses on special needs patients and how to care for them, Anderson prepares her students “for everything that can happen in a dental chair.” She recently worked with WSU’s communication sciences and disorders department to develop dental treatment plans for autistic children. Students observed CSD faculty and staff work with autistic children, to better understand the condition. Eventually, some students were able to do dental assessments on the children.

“There's nothing in dental textbooks about dealing with autistic kids in the dental chair,” Anderson said.

She’d like to explore more such interdisciplinary projects to give WSU dental hygiene students a diverse, well-rounded education.

Anderson also is a dental hygiene clinical examiner for Central Regional Dental Testing.


Frank RokoszFrank Rokosz, associate professor, human performance studies, College of Education

Frank Rokosz received the Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Penn State University in 1969 and the Master of Arts degree in physical education from the University of Maryland in 1971. After spending two years as the assistant director of intramural sports at Penn State, Rokosz came to WSU in 1973 as instructor of physical education and director of intramural-recreational sports. In 1982 he became a full-time teaching faculty member.

When Frank Rokosz first came to Wichita State in 1973, he interacted with students but in a much different way than he does now.

Back then, his primary job was to run WSU’s intramural sports program from an office in Henrion Gym. Now he teaches an overload of credit hours, teaching courses required for all exercise science, athletic training and physical education undergraduate students. The classes are in anatomy, first aid and CPR, and first aid for the professional rescuer. Based in a Heskett Center office, he also supervises exercise science internships and teaches a graduate-level course on designing sports tournaments.

While March Madness often gives people an opportunity to see how a tournament can be run on a large scale, thousands of tournaments happen all around the country in various sports played by athletes of all ages. It takes skill, coordination and lots of practice for administrators off the court to run such a sporting event. Rokosz has literally written the book – actually he's written five – on how to run sports tournaments. Through his publications, he's earned a national reputation as an expert on the subject and is credited with the invention of a triple-elimination tournament, among others.

Rokosz consistently teaches more than 15 credit hours a semester, while supervising more than 40 internship students. In one recent year, he supervised more than 85 practicum and internship students in both exercise science and sport administration, said Michael Rogers, professor and chair of the human performance studies department.

Students have high praise for Rokosz, and he consistently gets excellent ratings on his teaching evaluations, noted Rogers and Sharon Iorio, College of Education dean. Comments such as “very knowledgeable and organized,” “made the class interesting,” “great about working with students” are common. “Frank rules,” wrote one student in all caps followed by an exclamation mark. One of Rokosz’s favorite student comments – because he felt it was a spot-on assessment of himself – is: “He was very clear and simple with his classes. Very to the point. Everything was black and white. Very honest, no bull.”

Rokosz speculates that one of the reasons he does well with students is because he thinks young. “I'm in a 64-year-old’s body but my brain thinks like a 20-year-old. That’s why I relate well to the students. I even have them call me Frank,” he said, during an interview in a Heskett Center student lounge teeming with students. He preferred that location to a faculty office.

Another reason may be that his subject matter is concrete and direct, just as he is, he said. First aid requires certain steps, while anatomy is a definitive subject matter, he noted.

In addition to teaching and supervising students, Rokosz also coordinates the department's popular physical education activity program, hiring all the instructors and supervising them. When he took over that program, he started hiring expert instructors, such as a golf pro to teach golf, he said, to enhance the quality of the classes.


Community Research Award

The Community Research Award recognizes a faculty member who has established an exemplary and demonstrable record of scholarship extended to external constituents resulting in significant outcome for individuals, organizations, or community in problem solving or development. Full-time faculty who have served at WSU for at least three years are eligible. The recipient is awarded $2,500.

Deborah Ballard-ReischDeborah Ballard-Reisch, professor and Kansas Health Foundation Distinguished Chair in Strategic Communications, Elliott School of Communication, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Deborah Ballard-Reisch earned the Bachelor of Arts in interpersonal and public communication from Bowling Green State University in 1979, a Master of Arts in organizational communication and development from The Ohio State University in 1980, and her doctorate in interpersonal and public communication from Bowling Green in 1983. She was on the faculty of St. Olaf College in Minnesota from 1983-85, and the University of Nevada, Reno from 1985 until joining the Elliott School in 2007.

For Deborah Ballard-Reisch, health involves everything from interpersonal relationships to community development.

“I view health broadly. For me, health encompasses quality in all aspects of our lives. To be healthy, we need strong relationships, solid infrastructures in our communities, the rule of law in our justice system,” said Ballard-Reisch. Her recent research supports this expanded view. She’s worked with a Kansas nonprofit promoting education to alleviate hunger, with an interdisciplinary team of WSU professors and community experts to create a falls-prevention toolkit for rural Kansans, and studied community perceptions of three Kansas counties’ wind energy decisions.

“Her research is premised around the idea that successful behavior change, health promotion and communication initiatives that impact communities must be grounded in and … ‘owned’ by communities if they are to be sustainable,” noted Susan Schultz Huxman, Elliott School director.

Rick McNary, founder and CEO of Numana, calls Ballard-Reisch “a significant contributor in the development of Numana, providing leadership, inspiration, education and articulation.”
Numana impacts the world poverty and hunger cycles through crisis food relief and long-term programs to feed children in schools.

“If families have trouble feeding their children and you feed them in schools, they are more likely to get the education they need to break the poverty cycle,” Ballard-Reisch said.

Following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Ballard-Reisch worked with Elliott School students, high school students, and groups throughout WSU and the community to coordinate a community-wide food packaging event where more than 3,000 volunteers packaged over 641,000 meals for Haiti.

Recently, Ballard-Reisch has worked with experts in other fields, students and community leaders to create a holistic approach to community issues.

“She is brilliant in engaging community members in dialogue,” said Rich Hanley, director of Harvey County's Department of Aging. The department helped coordinate focus groups of older adults, community volunteers and health-care providers to assess a falls-prevention toolkit compiled by WSU researchers in pharmacology, nursing, physical activity, gerontology and other areas. The resulting 57-page downloadable toolkit contains tips, tools and self-assessments older adults can use to reduce their falls risks. Ballard-Reisch’s team conducted focus groups and interviews to ground this project.

Ballard-Reisch involves students and WSU classes in her community-based projects. This “has taught future researchers the need for community-based participatory research and community collaboration,” according to a nomination letter written by 10 of her students.

Her qualitative research methodology class has been studying the responses of community members in Butler, Kiowa and Wabaunsee counties to proposed wind energy projects. Specifically, students have studied public documents, policy decisions and community perceptions. This project also involved WSU faculty from sociology and engineering.

Shortly, Ballard-Reisch will go to Haiti to help Numana expand its reach and distribute meals to orphanages. She's spearheading an effort to hold the Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit at WSU. And she’s heading to Kazakhstan to assist U.S. and Kazakh collaborators in advancing the public relations discipline in that country.


Leadership in the Advancement in Teaching Award

Wichita State University's Board of Trustees established the Leadership in the Advancement of Teaching Award in 1982 to recognize exemplary effort and leadership in improvement and learning at WSU. The recipient is awarded $1,000.

Brien BolinBrien Bolin, associate professor, School of Social Work, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Brien Bolin received the Bachelor of Science in psychology and sociology in 1985, the Master of Science in sociology in 1988 and a doctorate in sociology in 1994, all from Oklahoma State University. In 1998, he earned the Master of Social Work degree from Walla Walla College in Washington while being a full-time faculty member there. He joined the WSU faculty in 1999.

For Brien Bolin, the end of spring semesters means a flurry of activities involving students graduating from WSU's social work programs and those being admitted to the Master of Social Work program.

A week after he had judged oral presentations of students in social sciences and humanities programs in the Undergraduate Research and Creativity Activity Forum, Bolin was preparing for an upcoming MSW program orientation for 80 students chosen from about 130 applicants. Neat piles of student manuals, campus maps and badges sat on his Lindquist Hall office floor, waiting to be distributed to the new students.

He directs parts of the integrative projects required of the 70-plus graduating MSW students each year and coordinates the department’s daylong spring colloquium during which the students present their projects. The showcase of student achievement attracts even practicing professionals.

“This event has become the largest forum for presentation of research on social work practice in the area,” said Linnea GlenMaye, School of Social Work director.

Bolin's journey into social work took an interesting path. In 1995, after working for a year as a crisis intervention worker, he joined the faculty of the School of Social Work and Sociology at Walla Walla College. His department chair suggested he earn the MSW degree in order to teach social work classes within the school. He’s been immersed in social work education ever since.

Since 2003, Bolin has served as coordinator of either WSU's undergraduate or graduate program, except for a one-year term as interim director of the university’s Center for Teaching and Research Excellence. As the MSW coordinator since 2007, Bolin oversaw the recent 18-month-long curriculum review and restructuring, as the school prepares for an upcoming accreditation reaffirmation.

GlenMaye credits Bolin with taking the lead in designing the MSW research sequence and the capstone integrative project. He also created the school's first Web page and contributes to workshops, such as the school’s annual POWER conference for social workers and health-care professionals, and trainings of practicum field instructors.

GlenMaye noted that Bolin's “availability for student advising and consultation is especially notable given our student numbers, as we have approximately 150 graduate students on a continuing basis.” Bolin also mentors social work faculty and has put together informal teaching skills sessions to help junior faculty develop courses and deal with classroom and student issues.

In recent years, he has published articles and given juried presentations related to developing social work education programs. Book chapters that he has co-authored on graduate social work education have helped define and describe not only WSU's MSW curriculum and program development but those at other schools across the country, according to GlenMaye.

Bolin also is active in providing service to the university. Since 2007, he has been Fairmount College's social sciences representative to Faculty Senate. Since last year he has been a member of the college's tenure and promotion committee. He has a lengthy list of past committee memberships, as well.


Academy for Effective Teaching Award

Established in 1996, these awards are given by WSU's Academy for Effective Teaching, a group of outstanding emeriti faculty nominated for membership by current faculty and staff at WSU. Recipients of the AET Teaching Award are chosen through a multi-stage process. After collecting nominations from current upper-division and graduate students, the 10-person AET Steering Committee creates a short list of excellent teachers, each of whom is invited to submit a teaching portfolio. On the basis of the portfolios, the AET Steering Committee recommends winners to the Provost, who makes the final award. Awardees who are full-time faculty receive a $2,000 addition to their base salary beginning the following academic year; adjunct awardees receive a one-time $2,000 award. 

Jen-Chi ChengJen-Chi Cheng, associate professor and chair, Department of Economics, W. Frank Barton School of Business

Jen-Chi Cheng earned the Bachelor of Arts in finance and taxation from National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1978, the Master of Arts in economics from National Taiwan University in Taipei in 1982, and a doctorate in economics from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., in 1989. Cheng joined the economics faculty at WSU in 1989 and became the department's chair in 1996. He received the 2008 WSU Excellence in Teaching Award.

When Andrea Amaro was recently promoted to a manager position at Spirit Aerosystems, she penned a thank-you note to Jen-Chi Cheng.

“The education, advice and assistance you provided me along the way has been very helpful to attaining this goal,” she wrote in her note. It had been five years since Amaro sat in his classroom.

Cheng has many more letters of thanks and progress from former students – students who've gone on to work at Westar, Koch Industries, attend law or graduate school at places such as the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, or take positions internationally in Germany and China.

When former Barton Scholar Tim Wilson, who works in Shanghai for a prestigious Chinese investment group, came back to Kansas for a recent visit, he planned to take in one of Cheng's lectures. “They are inspiring, to say the least,” said Wilson.

Longtime colleagues Martin Perline and Philip Hersch use words such as “extraordinary empathy,” “beloved” and “great rapport” to describe Cheng's relationship with his students. When Hersch recently asked a student why he was interested in pursuing a master’s in economics, the student responded: “My principles of economics instructor got me interested in economics, but Dr. Cheng gave me my passion.”

While Cheng's own passion and enthusiasm are notable, it’s the extra things he does to encourage learning that also impress his colleagues and students – from starting a peer tutoring program to holding exam review sessions and teaching classes as unpaid overload responsibilities to ensure that graduate students can complete their degrees.

In 2006, Cheng heard that students had difficulty in Economics 201, 202 and 231 – required classes for all Barton School students – and it was affecting their preparation for upper-division courses.

“I thought instead of complaining, we need to find a way to help the students,” Cheng said, about starting the peer tutoring program. He hired qualified undergraduate and graduate students who now provide about 40 hours of tutoring to approximately 150 students each semester.

The program’s popularity demonstrates that “students are willing to learn,” Cheng said. His open-door policy and willingness to help students often result in “a parade of students,” according to Perline. “As long as you work with students, they progress,” Cheng said.

Before exams, he offers three review sessions at Rhatigan Student Center and Panera Bakery. The more relaxed settings provide a more conducive learning environment, students say.

While his instructional footprints are expansive – including mentoring junior faculty – he also extends his enthusiasm for learning to the broader community. In recent years, he has twice helped coordinate community events featuring native Taiwanese dancers.

“I really enjoy those cultural exchanges and learning about other cultures,” he said about taking on the extensive responsibilities for the events.

He also volunteers for United Way and Big Brother Big Sister, further demonstrating his compassion for others, and has served as a faculty adviser to a number of Asian student groups.


Excellence in Creative Activity Award

The Excellence in Creative Activity Award, established in 1999, is given to a faculty member who has established an exemplary record of creative activity that has brought recognition to the University. Creative activity can include work in musical compositions, visual arts, choreography, writing, and performance. Full-time faculty who have been at WSU for three years are eligible. The recipient is awarded $2,500.  

Lynne DavisLynne Davis, associate professor and Ann and Dennis Ross Endowed Faculty of Distinction in Organ, School of Music, College of Fine Arts

Lynne Davis earned the Bachelor of Music in organ performance, with honors, from the University of Michigan in 1971. She furthered her organ studies in France with Marie-Claire Alain, Maurice and Marie-Madeleine Duruflé, Jean Langlais at the Schola Cantorum, and Edouard Souberbielle. She joined the WSU faculty in 2006, after holding organ professorships at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in Clamart (1988-2001) and the National Regional Conservatory of Music and Dance in Caen (1997-2006), both in France.

For the past 25 years, WSU has been home to a musical gem – the first Marcussen organ built in North America by a longtime Danish family business. For the past five years, Lynne Davis has brought a special brilliance to the instrument. She’s found new ways to showcase the 4,600-pipe organ and bring attention to the quality of students who study here, while fostering her own creativity.

A desire to put her talents to more use is why Davis moved back to the United States after spending 35 years in France.

“We just hit it off. I was what they needed, and WSU was what I needed,” she said of taking the WSU position.

In 1971, the Michigan native had sailed to France to study with premier organist Marie-Claire Alain. During the next 35 years, she won first prize in the St. Albans international organ competition in England, established a successful career as a recitalist and teacher, and became a world authority in all French organ repertoire. She and her late husband, Pierre Firmin-Didot, initiated a 1992 exhibition, “Les Orgues de Paris.” Firmin-Didot had founded the prestigious international organ competition, “Grand Prix de Chartres.” Davis still serves on the competition’s board and artistic committee, and has arranged for former winners to perform at WSU.

“What Lynne brings to our School of Music, to the artistic fabric at WSU and the Wichita community, and to the United States is staggering,” said former School of Music director John Paul Johnson. “She has developed one of the most creative concert series on campus, Wednesdays in Wiedemann. She brings outstanding artists to our campus for recitals and master classes.”

Davis has enlivened the well-established Rie Bloomfield Organ Series with video screen projections, providing close-ups of the organist at the keyboard during performances, and artist interviews that she conducts onstage following intermission. Audience members can discuss the performance during receptions following recitals.

She's had a “wonderful experience” creating the free Wednesdays in Wiedemann series, she said, which includes commentary on pieces performed during the eight annual concerts. She often provides organ performances to individuals or groups. In fall 2010, she recorded a CD on the Marcussen organ, with proceeds from the sales going toward organ scholarships.

“Her passion for playing the great Marcussen is so evident in all her performances and she has passed on that enthusiasm to so many people in the community, “said Frances Shelly, professor of flute. Davis also continues a rigorous recital schedule in the U.S. and abroad.

Two of her students were accepted to the prestigious Yale Organ Week, run by a former Chartres winner, and one won the National Young Organists Quimby competition for the American Guild of Organists, Wichita chapter.

“Everything is designed to bring an awareness to the public and to potential and actual students of what jewels we have right here,” Davis said. “Coaching WSU students and area organists, creating a welcoming climate around this instrument, informing youngsters, as well as seasoned concert-goers – all this is of primary importance in what I do.”


Excellence in Research Award

The Excellence in Research Award, established in 1997, recognizes a faculty member who has established an exemplary record of research that has advanced the University's research mission. Full-time faculty who have been at WSU for three years are eligible. The recipient is awarded $2,500.  

William MilesWilliam Miles, associate professor, economics, W. Frank Barton School of Business

William Miles earned the Bachelor of Science in business economics, magna cum laude, from Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., in 1993 and a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999. He joined the economics faculty in 1999. He won the Barton School's Researcher/Writer of the Year Award in 2007.

In the economics discipline, landing a job at Wichita State is considered a good thing. For William Miles, it’s turned out to be great in many ways.

“When I was going on the job market, WSU was considered a desirable place because it is supportive of research, there’s a low cost of living and it’s a good place to raise a family,” said Miles, who married and became a father after moving to Wichita.

His research productivity since earning his doctorate has been called “astounding” by Werner Baer, Miles’ dissertation adviser. Since joining the WSU faculty in 1999, Miles has worked on three dozen refereed publications and other invited works. Most of his articles have been published in prestigious specialized publications, Baer noted.

“These articles have made significant contributions in various fields: the study of inflation, monetary policy, exchange rate analysis, issues surrounding housing investments, etc.,” said Baer, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Miles usually picks topics which are relevant to current policy problems, applying sophisticated analytical and econometric techniques.”

While his primary research fields are global economics and macroeconomics – which focus on issues such as national income and employment, financial economics and growth – Miles has given his research career more breadth by forming alliances with other proficient Barton School researchers.

For example, he joined forces with Stanley Longhofer, Stephen L. Clark Chair of Real Estate and Center for Real Estate director, to do research related to the housing market, which resulted in op-ed commentaries in The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, along with journal articles and conference presentations.

He’s working on three papers with WSU economist and statistician Chu-Ping Vijverberg, including one on how converting to the euro has worsened the economic situation of smaller countries such as Portugal, Spain, Greece and Ireland who took on more debt after adopting the currency.

He has written several articles showing that, contrary to previous research, fixed exchange rates have little effect on inflation in developing countries. This is important, because many developing countries are contemplating fixing their exchange rate by adopting other currencies, such as the dollar in Latin America. If the hoped-for drop in inflation doesn’t materialize, these countries could become vulnerable to economic crises.

Not only does he crank out his own research at a rate of about three or more articles a year, Miles also supervises that of at least three to four master’s students each year, who must complete research projects for master’s in economics degrees.

He also is able to bring his research findings into the classroom, where he receives outstanding teaching evaluations every year, according to department chair Jen-Chi Cheng. This past year, Miles joined the faculty of the Barton School's Executive MBA program, teaching a macroeconomics class, which had been requested by the students.


Young Faculty Scholar Award

 Wichita State University's Board of Trustees established the Young Faculty Scholar Award in 1988 to recognize faculty members who are between their third and eighth year of service and have records of excellence in teaching performance and substantial achievement in research and/or creative activity. The recipient receives a $2,000 award.  

Kirk RingKirk Ring, assistant professor, management, W. Frank Barton School of Business

Kirk Ring earned the Bachelor of Science in management in 2000 and the Master of Business Administration in 2002, both from the University of Southern Mississippi. He earned a doctorate of philosophy in business strategy with an emphasis in family business and entrepreneurship in 2009 from Mississippi State University. He joined the WSU business faculty in 2008.

For Kirk Ring, teaching at a university in a community and state that have incubated a lot of family-owned businesses, both urban and rural, helps feed his research and teaching interest in family businesses and entrepreneurship.

The topic is a popular, yet difficult, area for business researchers. Part of the difficulty is that most of these businesses are privately held, meaning access to information is limited and not readily available in the public domain. With more than 60 percent of all U.S. businesses being family-owned, researchers want to know about the various dynamics that help or hinder a family business.

Ring’s success at having entrepreneurial research published in an elite journal so early in his career has impressed his colleagues. His article, “Business Networks and Economic Development in Rural Communities in the US,” was recently published in Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, one of two premier journals specializing in entrepreneurship research.

“This is a notable achievement at any point in one’s career,” said Stephen Farmer, the W. Frank Barton Distinguished Chair in Business. He noted that the journal’s acceptance rate is low, but its impact on academic discourse is high. “Many academics complete their careers never having hit this mark.”

Farmer noted that the article’s topic is both timely and needed. It sets out ideas on how to build social capital (the connections between and within one’s social networks) in rural communities and to leverage it to enhance innovation and new venture creations.

Farmer said Ring’s strong sense of determination is the key to his early and growing success. This past year alone he’s had five papers published or accepted for publication, including a second one in Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice.

On the first day of his first undergraduate management class at the University of Southern Mississippi, Ring quizzed the professor on how he could eventually do what he did – teach and do research. The professor obliged the enthusiastic student and told him to ask lots of questions in classes and get experience in the business world. So Ring developed a time line for his career, asking every business professor he had after that about being effective in the classroom, doing research and being a good colleague. He got experience working for Cintas Corp., a nationwide company providing various services to businesses, and a gaming company that operates 15 casinos nationwide.

He recently replaced the note reading “Publish or Perish” that hung on his desk credenza to one bearing an Aristotle quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Ring’s inquisitive nature continues to serve him in the classroom as a teacher. He’ll quiz students about their work history – noting that several have come from the quintessential Kansas family business, the family farm – to find out more about various businesses. One student in the Barton School capstone class he teaches is the human resources director of a third-generation masonry company, for example.

<<< Return to top of page