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The Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching is the highest honor USD bestows upon its educators.

The annual award recognizes one tenured and one tenure-track faculty member at the spring commencement with a $5,000 tribute.

The Belbas-Larson Awards were established by a 1956 graduate of USD, Dean Belbas of Edina, Minnesota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a former vice president of General Mills and former chairman of the board of the USD Foundation, and his close friends, Harold W. and Kathryn Larson of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Award Criteria (in rank order):

  1. Demands rigor and high standards of performance for her/himself and for students
  2. Inspires students to greater achievement
  3. Ensures course content represents the highest standards in the field
  4. Maintains involvement with students outside the classroom
  5. Receives highly positive evaluations by current or former students
  6. Shows evidence of continuing professional development, and
  7. Demonstrates improved teaching technique. 

2021 Winners

  • Dr. Angela Helmer, honored in the tenure category, is a Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics in the College of Arts & Sciences.  Helmer received her Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California Los Angeles in 2010, her M.A. in Archaeology from the University of California Los Angeles in 2002, and her B.A. in Archaeology and Classical Studies from Occidental College in 1999.  Her teaching and research interests include advanced Spanish language classes, Spanish linguistics, Spanish phonetics, civilization, culture, literature of the Americas, Spanish for business and the medical field, Latin American film, co-existence of Latin and Spanish in colonial Peru, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, and phonetics.  
  • Dr. Julia Hellwege, honored in the non-tenured category, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts & Sciences.  Hellwege received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of New Mexico in 2016, her M.A. in Political Science from the University of New Mexico in 2011, and her B.A. in Political Science from Colorado Mesa University (formerly Mesa State College) in 2009.  Her teaching and research interests include Congress, identity politics and representation, women and politics, campaigns and democracy, institutional behavior, legislative politics, gender politics, race/ethnicity and politics, Latino politics, Political Science pedagogy, and mixed methods research.        

Award Winners

Year Tenure Non-Tenured
 2020 Shane Nordyke
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Political Science
Lisa Ann Robertson
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of English
 2019 Christopher Meyer
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Art
Prentiss Clark
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of English
 2018 Chaya Gordon-Bland
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Theatre
Paul Lombardi
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
2017 Jason Porter
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Accounting and Finance 
David Lane
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology
2016 Cassandra McKeown
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Political Science/Criminal Justice
Kathryn Birkeland
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Economics and Decision Sciences
2015
Tracelyn Gesteland
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Sarah Sik
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Art
2014
Jacob Kerby
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Biology
David Holdhusen
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
2013 Angeline Lavin
Beacom School of Business
Dept. of Finance
Thomas Horton
School of Law
2012 Cliff Summers
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Biology
David Hulac
School of Education
Div. of Counseling & Psychology in Education
2011 Joseph Vitt
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Chemistry
Michael Allgrunn
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Economics, Decision Sciences & Statistics
2010 De Vee Dykstra
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Marketing, Management & Business Law
Candace Walton
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Contemporary Media & Journalism
2009 Thomas Davies
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Accounting
David Carr
Beacom School of Business
Div. of Economics
2008 Chris Hutton
School of Law
Amy Schweinle
School of Education
Div. of Counseling & Psychology in Education
2007 Michael Roche
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Political Science
David Moskowitz
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
2006 Christina Keller
College of Arts & Sciences
Gregory Huckabee
School of Business
Dept. of Marketing
2005 Susan Gray
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Elizabeth Smith
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Political Science
2004 John M. Banasiak
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Terry A. Robertson
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Communication Studies
2003 Judith Sebesta
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of History
Harry Freeman
School of Education
Div. of Counseling & Psychology in Education
2002 Charles Thatcher
School of Law
Douglas A. Peterson
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Psychology
2001 Steven J. Bucklin
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of History
Norma C. Wilson
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of English
2000 Angeline Lavin
School of Business
Div. of Economics
Barbara Yutrzenka
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Psychology
1999 Paul Cherry
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Laura Horton
School of Education
Alcohol & Drug Abuse Studies
1998 Frank Pommersheim
School of Law
Susan Swan
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Speech Communication
1997 Lana Danielson
School of Education
Div. of Curriculum and Instruction
Jack Sumner
School of Education
Div. of Educational Administration
1996 Bruce May
School of Business
Div. of Business Law
Robert Wood
School of Education
Div. of Curriculum and Instruction
1995 David H. Moen
School of Business
Div. of Economics, Decision Sciences & MIS
Cliff Summers
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Biology
1994 Frank J. Aiello
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Music
Linda A. Good
School of Education
Div. of Curriculum and Instruction
1993 Thomas A. Holme
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Chemistry
Andrew Karantinos
College of Arts & Sciences
Dept. of Mathematical Sciences
1992 Dennis A. Johnson
School of Business
Div. of Economics, Decision Sciences & MIS
Timothy Case
College of Fine Arts
Dept. of Theatre
1991 Diane B. Hoadley
School of Business
Div. of Accounting & Business Law
Linda J. Reetz
School of Education
Div. of Curriculum & Instruction