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Five Idaho State University faculty honored as 2020 Master Teachers

March 30, 2020
Tori Parks, Marketing Intern

POCATELLO – Five Idaho State University faculty members have been honored as the 2020 Master Teachers.

The faculty members receiving these awards are Vanessa Ballam, associate professor and head of acting in the College of Arts and Letters Department of Theatre and Dance; Robert Fisher, professor and associate dean of the College of Science and Engineering; Robin Lindbeck, associate professor in the College of Education Department of Organizational Learning and Performance; Victoria Scharp, assistant professor in the College of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences; and Matthew VanWinkle, associate professor of English in the College of Arts and Letters.  

From this group ISU’s 2020 Distinguished Teacher will be chosen. All Master Teachers will be acknowledged in ISU’s 2020 commencement program. ISU Outstanding and Distinguished Service and Researcher awards will also be announced.

Biographies of honorees are listed below.     

Vanessa BallamVanessa Ballam – Ballam, who earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University, is an associate professor and head of acting in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Ballam created and currently oversees the performance curriculum in theatre at ISU, teaches all levels of acting within the department and directs mainstage productions each academic year.

Ballam also works consistently as an actor and director at regional theatres around the country.

Ballam is education director for Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, director of membership for StateraArts, founding director for the Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards, Eastern Respondent Coordinator Region VII – Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.

Robert FisherRobert Fisher – Fisher, who is currently associate dean and a mathematics and statistics professor in the College of Science and Engineering at ISU, earned his doctoral degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1981.

Upon completion of his doctoral degree, Fisher was hired at the University of Oklahoma, where he taught from 1981-1988. For the past 31 years, Fisher has taught at ISU.

Fisher’s research interests include differential geometry, geometric analysis and complex manifolds.

Over his 45-year career, Fisher has taught close to all undergraduate curriculum, as well as portions of graduate curriculum.

Robin LinbeckRobin Lindbeck – Lindbeck is an associate professor in the Department of Organizational Learning and Performance in the College of Education. Prior to coming to ISU, Lindbeck spent more than 20 years in senior human resource development leadership.

It was Lindbeck’s passion for teaching that led her from corporate education to higher education where she could help develop the next generation of trainers.

Since joining ISU in 2012, Lindbeck has taught in a fully online undergraduate and master’s degree program. She uses a variety of innovative teaching practices to create high-impact educational experiences and a sense of community for her online students.

Lindbeck received her doctorate in educational technology from Pepperdine University. She also holds a specialist degree in instructional design from Harvard, a master’s degree in educational technology from Lesley College and an undergraduate degree in education from the University of Wisconsin.

Victoria ScharpVictoria (Tori) Scharp – Scharp, who completed her doctoral degree at the University of Pittsburgh in 2016, is currently an assistant professor in the College of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Scharp is director of the Scharp Language and Brain Lab housed on the Pocatello campus. She is the primary academic faculty support for the implementation of a specialty patient clinic on the Meridian campus, which provides a rich graduate student training experience tailored towards adults living with aphasia.

Scharp’s clinical teaching and research centers on patient outcomes, student training competencies and family caregiver perspectives associated with intensive and modified intensive aphasia rehabilitation programs.

As part of her commitment to ISU’s online student community, Scharp recently completed seven multi-week online courses to earn her Quality Matters Teaching Online Certificate.

Vanwinkle headshotMatthew VanWinkle – A native of Central Virginia, VanWinkle joined the ISU Department of English in 2012 after previous appointments at Boston University and Ohio University.

VanWinkle teaches a range of classes, from introductory composition courses to graduate seminars in his research area: nineteenth century British literature.

In the classroom, VanWinkle strives to remind students of literacies that they already have – self-generated narratives of personal experience, responses to movies and television – and encourages them to extend these ways of thinking to forms of creative expression less familiar to them.




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