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Nordyke and Robertson Honored with Belbas-Larson Awards

VERMILLION, S.D. – Professors Shane Nordyke and Lisa Ann Robertson are the recipients of the 2020 University of South Dakota Belbas-Larson Awards for Excellence in Teaching. They will be recognized at the USD commencement ceremony, and they will each receive $5,000, a commemorative medal and a framed certificate.

Candidates for the awards are nominated by students and colleagues and selected by a faculty committee based on a variety of metrics such as demanding rigorous standards of performance, inspiring students to greater achievement and ensuring course content represents the highest standards in the field.

Shane Nordyke, Ph.D., honored in the tenured category, is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts & Sciences, the director of the Government Research Bureau and the Allene R. Chiesman Distinguished Professor of Democracy.

Shane Nordyke headshot

Nordyke received her Ph.D. in Public Policy from Indiana University in 2008. Her research includes pedagogical research on the best practices for teaching research methods and applied research in the areas of public and highway safety. She serves as the co-editor of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning section of the Journal for Political Science Education and is currently finishing her book, "Planning and Evaluation for Public Safety Leaders: A Toolkit," with Routledge press. Her teaching primarily focuses on public policy and research methods, including Information Literacy, Introduction to Public Policy, Environmental Law and Policy, and National Security Policy.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen for this award,” said Nordyke. “Teaching and mentoring students are the most important part of my job. I would not be where I am today without having had great teachers along the way, and I hope that I am able to pay that help forward to my own students. I am also really proud to work at institution that values teaching as much as I do.”

Lisa Ann Robertson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of English in the College of Arts & Sciences and was honored in the tenure-track category.

Robertson earned her M.A. at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, in 2006 and her Ph.D. at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2013. She teaches a wide range of historical British literature classes, ranging from eighteenth-century to Romantic to Victorian fiction and nonfiction texts. Her research centers on representations of minds and bodies in writing by Romantic-era poets, scientists and philosophers, particularly as it relates to aesthetics and ethics.

Lisa Ann Robertson portrait

She has taught graduate seminars on this topic as well as on gothic fiction, the sensation novel and literature by black transatlantic writers. Robertson incorporates extracurricular elements into her classroom, such as screening films at the local movie theatre in her Film and Literature class or having students present at IdeaFest, USD’s annual student conference. Currently, she is writing a monograph entitled “Embodied Organicism: Cognition, Aesthetics, and Ethics in British Romantic Literature and Science.”

“To have a student take the time to nominate me was an honor in and of itself, but to have my teaching recognized by a committee of my peers and to receive this award when we have so many dedicated and talented professors at USD is an incredible distinction,” said Robertson. “I’m grateful to my students, who respond with enthusiasm, creativity and courage when I ask them to read long novels, make films or present their work in public. They make teaching as fun and rewarding for me as I strive to make their education for them.”


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


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 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News