"I am incredibly proud of our three Faculty Excellence Award recipients, who exemplify the highest standards and dedication in research, teaching and service," said Amy Schweinle, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education. "They set a remarkable standard. Their unwavering commitment to our students and contributions to our school, community and profession inspire us all and highlight the exceptional talent within the School of Education."

Learn more about the award recipients.

Gabrielle Strouse, Ph.D., associate professor in the Division of Counseling & Psychology in Education, received the Faculty Excellence Award in Research. The research award recognizes faculty who maintain high ratings in annual research evaluations and produce nationally or internationally peer-reviewed publications. Recipients also further the university's research mission, secure funding and share their research through presentations at major conferences, while demonstrating integrity and openness in their work.

Strouse is an active member of the Science of Learning Research Group and the Center for Brain and Behavior Research. Her research focuses on young children’s learning from media, exploring how they learn from books, videos and apps, and how they transfer information to new contexts. She also studies how children interact in digital contexts, such as how they connect with family members via video chat. Strouse holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in psychology from Vanderbilt University and a B.A. in psychology from Northwestern University.

Jing Williams, Ph.D., associate professor of social studies education, received the Faculty Excellence Award in Teaching. The teaching award recognizes faculty who receive high ratings in teaching evaluations, demonstrate innovation in their teaching methods and actively engage with students both in and out of the classroom. Recipients also contribute to the professional development of their colleagues and support the mission of their department and university.

Williams served as president of the International Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies from 2018-2020. Williams' teaching focuses on social studies methods, and she serves as a mentor to education students pursuing undergraduate research. Williams holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Ohio University and an M.A. in English language and literature, translation, from Tianjin Normal University.

Kari A. Oyen, Ph.D ’16, Ed.S. ’08, LP, NCSP, program director and associate professor of school psychology, received the Faculty Excellence Award in Service. The service award recognizes faculty who achieve high ratings in annual service evaluations and take on impactful roles in departmental, university, community and professional service activities. Recipients effectively engage in activities that extend beyond the university, support events at various levels, and lead student organizations and activities outside the classroom.

Oyen has a passion for addressing the critical shortage of school psychologists in South Dakota. She is the principal investigator of the $3 million Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant to address the need for school mental health providers in the state. Additionally, she directs the South Dakota School Crisis Prevention and Response efforts supported by the South Dakota Department of Behavioral Health. Through this work, she has collaborated with key investors to provide hundreds of educators training in school crisis prevention and response and given hundreds of hours of professional development training across the state. Oyen earned her Ph.D. and Ed.S. in school psychology from USD and her B.A. in psychology from Augustana University.

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