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Five Idaho State University faculty honored as 2016 Outstanding Master Teachers

April 1, 2016

POCATELLO – Five Idaho State University faculty members have been chosen to receive 2016 Outstanding Master Teacher awards.

They will be honored at a reception held at Juniper Hills Country Club April 6 at 6 p.m. and one of the recipients will be selected for the ISU Distinguished Teacher Award.

The five faculty members receiving these awards areas followed: Gene Scalarone, professor of biological sciences; Erin B. Rasmussen, professor of psychology; Christopher Loether, professor of anthropology and program director of American-Indian anthropology studies; David Kleist, chair, professor and director of assessment for accreditation, counseling and Kasiska School of Health Professions; and Michele Brumley, associate professor of psychology.

Gene Scalarone portrait.

Gene Scalarone is a professor of microbiology and immunology in the Department of Biological Sciences. He has taught Idaho State University since 1980, where he has taught three microbiology courses and independent problems every semester for many years. He completed his Ph.D. degree in immunology from University of California- Berkeley in 1970 and spent 10 additional years there as a research microbiologist. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Pittsburgh State University and a Master of Science degree in microbiology from the University of Oklahoma. Scalarone has taught undergraduate, graduate and professional students in research settings, supervised both M.S. and Ph.D. students in their graduate studies. 

For more than 50 years, Scalarone has researched the development of immunodiagnostic methods for systemic fungal diseases. His research activities have carried over to the classroom where students are able to learn about cutting-edge research, how this applies to the material that is presented in class and exciting students about microbiology in the process.
Scalarone’s objective in the classroom is to create an atmosphere that is demanding, non-intimidating, congenial, fair and to present material in an enthusiastic, informative and professional manner to provide students with a positive learning experience. 

Erin Rasmussen portrait.

Erin B. Rasmussen is a professor in the Department of Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Auburn University, and began her academic career as an assistant professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. She joined the faculty at ISU in 2004.

Rasmussen’s research is in the area of behavioral economics and obesity. She has two laboratories—rat and human— in which she trains graduate and undergraduate students in scientific methods related to these areas. Her students examine cross-species mechanisms that are involved in how aspects of food availability impact the reinforcing efficacy of food and what relevant neurotransmitter systems are involved. She views mentoring students as one of the most important and rewarding aspects of her career.

Rasmussen teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in learning and behavior (online and in-seat), psychopharmacology, food and behavior and senior seminar (a research writing class). She has supervised five doctoral dissertations and five master’s theses, and has co-authored 17 scientific, peer-reviewed publications with her students.

In addition, Rasmussen has prepared 11 undergraduate students for admission into graduate programs in experimental psychology and biology and a number of these students are now scientists and professors at other institutions. Last year she received the Outstanding Mentor award from her flagship professional organization, the Association for Behavior Analysis International.


Christopher Loether portrait.

Christopher Loether has been teaching at ISU since 1989. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree, Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. from UCLA, all in the field of anthropology. Although he had been a teaching assistant and research assistant at UCLA, his first teaching job was at ISU. He was previously nominated as a Master Teacher in 1995 and in 1996.

Loether has taught 25 different classes since coming to ISU, as diverse as phonetics, Biblical Hebrew, Shoshoni folklore and ancient Rome. Loether's classes, however, are mostly in the fields of linguistics and anthropology. He co-authored the textbook currently being used in the Shoshoni language classes here at ISU, after developing a writing system for the previously unwritten language in conjunction with enrolled tribal member and anthropology instructor Drusilla Gould. Loether is the co-director of the linguistics minor, the director of the American Indian Studies minor and also has been serving as assistant chairman of the Department of Anthropology for the last four years. Loether is also a member of the graduate faculty.


David Kliest portrait

David Kleist is a full professor and chair of the Department of Counseling. He has been teaching at ISU since 1995 after arriving from Southern Illinois University where he received his Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision.

Kleist was hired by the Department of Counseling to develop the marriage, couple and family counseling major. He developed curriculum for all the specialty classes and over the years has taught each one, ranging from couple and family counseling theory, to parent education, family assessment and couple and family practicum.

Kleist has additionally taught a variety of counseling core classes, and clinical practicum experiences with students across student affairs, school counseling, clinical mental health; and marriage, couple and family counseling specialties.

At present, in addition to chair duties, he teaches doctoral students in the Ph.D. program in counselor education and supervision, having responsibility for the instructional theories course and a two-course qualitative research philosophy and methods sequence. Kleist was honored as a Master Teacher once before, in 2000.


Michele Brumley portrait.

Michele Brumley is an associate professor and the acting chair of Department of Psychology. She joined ISU in 2007 after earning her doctorate in psychology from the University of Iowa, and completing postdoctoral research at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Brumley teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including teaching Introduction to General Psychology, behavioral neuroscience courses, courses in the history of psychology and Special Problems in Psychology. She aims to provide students with the support they need to learn new material and new ways of thinking, but also that requires them to be engaged in the learning process.

Brumley also trains and supervises graduate and undergraduate students, including Career Path Interns and INBRE research fellows, in her Developmental Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory, giving them valuable hands-on research experience. Brumley is an editorial board member for the journal, “Developmental Psychobiology,” former faculty advisor for the local chapter of Psi Chi (the international honor society in psychology), the social and behavioral sciences representative for ISU on the General Education Disciplinary Group for the Idaho State Board of Education and was selected as an ISU Master Teacher in 2010.




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