Topics: Administrative, Awards, College of Communication Information and Media, College of Sciences and Humanities, College of Applied Sciences and Technology, Miller College of Business, College of Fine Arts

August 15, 2014

Ten newly named distinguished professors at Ball State University have, during their collective careers covering disciplines within the arts, sciences, math and industry, amassed nearly $3.4 million in grants and awards, authored 44 books in addition to countless papers and articles, and have been recognized nationally and internationally for their exemplary scholarship and service.

“We as a university community are fortunate to have this group of men and women within our ranks,” said Provost Terry King. “The stunning breadth of their achievements, coupled with the obvious passion each brings to his or her own area of expertise, provide outstanding examples for our students and really to all of us on campus. I extend my most sincere congratulations, and appreciation, to each.”

This group joins some two dozen scholars and educators who have been named Ball State distinguished professors. The honorees are: 

  • Vanessa Ament-Gjenvick – Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball endowed chair of telecommunications. Ament-Gjenvick has nearly 150 television and film credits as a Foley (sound) artist on such projects as her Oscar-nominated work on the films “Die Hard,” “Platoon” and “Beauty and the Beast.” 
  • James Connolly – George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of history. Over his more than 20-year-career, Connolly has earned nearly $1.5 million in awards, grants and fellowships, including as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at Free University in Berlin in 2013.
  • W. Holmes Finch – George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of educational psychology. Finch has written three books and more than 100 articles, and currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Experimental Education and Journal of Educational Measurement. 
  • Wes Gehring – George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of telecommunications. Gehring’s 33 books, plus dozens of articles and other works on comedy in films, has for more than three decades been cited by industry leaders, including the Journal of Popular Film & Television, as expansive, illuminating research. 
  • Michael Hicks – George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of economics. The retired Army officer has authored three books, and his economic impact research has been featured in some 750 media outlets across the globe, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and C-SPAN. 
  • Matthew Marvel – George A. Ball distinguished professor of entrepreneurship. In addition to his award-winning work in education, Marvel brings years of professional business experience to the classroom, counting two Fortune 100 companies among his former clients.
  • Patricia Nelson – George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of art. Nelson’s artwork has been exhibited in more than 200 juried and invitational exhibitions. She serves on the board of the International Enamelist Society and is a past board member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.
  • Beth Turcotte – George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of theatre. Turcotte was the faculty mentor for the immersive learning project that adapted Cathy Day’s novel “The Circus in Winter” into a musical that will play at Goodspeed Musicals, where “Annie” got its start. Her work has been recognized by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and she’s earned nearly $1 million in grants to promote arts education and research. 
  • Thomas Weidner – George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of athletic training. Weidner’s work on upper respiratory illness and exercise stands as the only research of its kind. He has been named a National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) Sayers ‘Bud’ Miller Distinguished Educator, received the NATA Medal for Distinguished Athletic Training and was an Athletic Training Research and Education Society Training Researcher and Educator of the Year.
  • Wayne Zage – George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of computer science. Zage is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Alexander Schwarzkopf Prize for Technological Innovation and an Indiana Mira Award for his contribution to education technology. Additionally, he is the director of the Security and Software Engineering Research Center, an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.

The professorships were announced Friday at Ball State’s Fall University Convocation.