School of Education Honors Faculty Awards

photo of SOE winners The 2017 School of Education Excellence Award Winners. Left to right - DeJong, Strouse and Williams.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota School of Education presented its annual Awards of Excellence to three faculty members to recognize their contribution and achievement in the field of education.

David DeJong, Ed.D., an assistant professor of educational administration, earned the award in the excellence in teaching category. This award recognizes faculty members for collegiality in teaching, outstanding instruction, current content, methods that advance the mission of the School of Education and mentoring in and out of the classroom.

DeJong, who advises the superintendent program at USD, uses real-life simulations to challenge students to work through professional situations they may encounter.

“It has been exciting to incorporate innovative educational leadership simulations into my courses,” said DeJong. “My students are immersed in a first-person, multimedia simulation based on an authentic leadership problem of practice.

The School of Education award for research excellence went to Gabrielle Strouse, Ph.D., an assistant professor of counseling and psychology in education, for exemplary performance in creating and disseminating knowledge through research. This award recognizes outstanding performance in all research-related activities that promote and elevate the standing of the Division and School of Education.

Strouse’s research concentration is the media’s influence on young children. This includes exploring ways to make media itself more educational for children.

“I am very thankful to Dean Easton-Brooks, the School of Education, my division and CBBRe for all of the resources they have provided to help me move my research agenda forward,” said Strouse. “I look forward to future research collaborations with faculty and students here at USD.”

Jing Williams, Ph.D., assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, was honored with the service award for high impact service to the School of Education, profession, and community. This award recognizes effort that leaves an impact on the lives of others.

“Service is an integral part of my teaching and research. It helps me find new ideas for teaching and new topics for research. Receiving an award of service was never my goal, but I am honored to be selected as this year’s recipient,” said Williams.


USD's School of Education is transformative in preparing students both inside and outside the classroom. Its research- and practitioner-based programs train future educators, counselors, leaders, fitness and sport-related professionals for successful careers. The school focuses on a comprehensive learning experience, lifelong learning and developing professionals grounded in best practice. The school’s divisions include counseling and psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and kinesiology and sport management.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News