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2013 Cutler Awards honor distinguished faculty members at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Three members of the University of South Dakota faculty have been honored as 2013 recipients of the Richard and Sharon Cutler Faculty Awards in Liberal Arts. Jason Berger, Ph.D., of the Department of English, Ranjit Koodali, Ph.D., of the Department of Chemistry, and Doug Peterson, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychology, will be honored at the 126th Spring Commencement and receive a $4,000 cash prize payable through the University of South Dakota Foundation. The Cutler Awards are presented annually by the College of Arts & Sciences to faculty who advance liberal arts education through teaching and research over a three-year span.

Berger, the recipient in the Humanities Division of the College of Arts and Sciences, is an assistant professor with the USD Department of English. He joined the Department of English in 2009 and has authored the book, “Antebellum at Sea: Maritime Fantasies in Nineteenth-Century America,” published in 2012 by the University of Minnesota Press. Additionally, Berger has had several articles published and was honored in March with the 2013 Doyle Humanities Teaching Award for his outstanding classroom instruction and mentoring, including working closely with students on almost 30 theses and dissertations. Berger received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut, a M.A. in English from the University of Vermont and his B.S. in history and English from Central Connecticut State University. Download a photo of Berger .

Koodali, associate professor of chemistry, received the award for the Mathematics/Natural Sciences Division. He is a member of the South Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and he serves as the graduate program director for the Department of Chemistry. His research efforts have been supported by The National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and South Dakota Board of Regents (SD-BOR). He was a recipient of the Research Excellence Award under the Early/Mid-Career Category in 2010. A member of several university committees, including University Research Council, University Scholarship Committee and the University Strategic Planning Committee, Koodali teaches physical chemistry and chemistry literature as part of his curriculum. He will serve as the program chair of the Energy and Fuel Division of ACS for the year 2014. Koodali received his Ph.D. and M.S. from the Indian Institute of Technology; and a B.S. in chemistry from Loyola College. Download a photograph of Koodali .

Peterson, associate professor of psychology, was recognized in the Social Sciences Division for his exemplary psychology teaching, embracing innovative and new teaching approaches to build student engagement; and for his diverse research interests in human-computer interaction, consumer psychology and organizational culture among college populations. Peterson, a member of the psychology faculty since 1998, was a 2002 recipient of the Belbas-Larson Award for Teaching Excellence at USD. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in experimental psychology from Kansas State University and his B.S. in psychology from USD. Download a photo of Peterson .

The Cutler Awards were endowed in 2003 by Richard and Sharon Cutler of Sioux Falls, S.D. to recognize distinguished faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences. A former member of the board of directors of Senior Companions of Sioux Falls, Sharon Cutler has been active in Sioux Falls community organizations. Richard Cutler earned a B.A. in history and a J.D. at USD, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by USD in 1997. He has been chair of USD Foundation, co-chair of Campaign South Dakota, and chair of the board of trustees of the National Music Museum. He is an attorney with Cutler & Donahoe, LLP, in Sioux Falls.


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 202 undergraduate and 78 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News