Posted April 30, 2009
Three Idaho State University faculty members will be honored as ISU’s 2008-2009 Distinguished Faculty during Commencement ceremonies May 9. They are James Aho, professor of sociology, Distinguished Teacher; Russell Wahl, professor and director of the philosophy program, Distinguished Researcher; and Cynthia D. Hill, interim director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and economics professor, Distinguished Public Service Award.
ISU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Gary A. Olson said, “Drs. Aho, Wahl and Hill exemplify the dedication, commitment and accomplishment that all faculty aspire to achieve in the areas of teaching, research and service. These distinguished individuals were competitively selected by a committee of peers and bring great honor to our University.”
Aho, professor of sociology, has been teaching at Idaho State since ISU since 1970 and has been a professor since 1982. His primarily teaching areas hve been religion, violence, social phenomenology and the body. He is the author of seven books and co-author of one more. His other writings include book chapters, refereed articles, encyclopedia articles, book reviews and a research monograph.
He was recognized as the ISU Distinguished Researcher in 1993 and as a Master Teacher in 2006. He teaches a broad range of classes at all levels. Comments on his teaching abilities by recent students include “This was one of my all-time favorite courses during my college career”; “Lectures were so engaging and interesting I hated to miss class”; and “My whole outlook on life has changed because of this class.” Aho earned his doctorate at Washington State University.
Wahl earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Indiana University in 1982. He joined the ISU faculty in 1985, and has spent five summers as a professor at Harvard University. He was an Outstanding Researcher in 1994. He also was awarded for Outstanding Public Service in 1997. His research has focused on two periods in the history of philosophy: the Early Modern Period (17th century) and the analytic philosophy of the early 20th century. His work focuses on the philosophers Descartes, Russell, and Wittgenstein and has been published in several high level publications; for instance he has papers in the British Journal of the History of Philosophy, the Philosophical Quarterly, and the Journal of the History of Philosophy, journals with acceptance rates of 5 percent or lower.
He was commissioned to write a piece on the “Port Royal Logic” for the Handbook of the History of Logic, an international collaborative venture at the highest level. A reviewer stated “Wahl could hardly have been asked to write this contribution to it if he had not [been] recognized as one of the chief experts on the topic.” Wahl has been invited to present at prestigious conferences. He has accomplished this work and gained a reputation as an esteemed scholar while teaching a full load of coursework and providing valuable service to ISU and his colleagues.
Hill, professor of economics and interim director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, has a doctoral degree from Washington State University. Her extensive public service benefits the community, Idaho State University and its students. She has been involved with the Gateway Habitat for Humanity since 2004 and currently serves as the president of its Board of Directors. Volunteering for Gateway, she has led fund drives, written grants, organized events and engaged in a wide assortment of activities to provide affordable housing in the Pocatello community.
She was co-chair of the Pocatello First United Methodist Church/Tender Loving Care capital campaign, which raised more than $157,000. Her many ISU activities include advising Mortar Board, directing the University Honors Program and coordinating the “Reading Is Leading” book drive and reading campaign for disadvantaged youth. She helped create the peer-reviewed economics journal Perspectives on Economic Education Research.