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WVU faculty honored with 2024 teaching and service awards

Teaching and Service award Recipients
Pictured left to right: Brian Luskey, Zona Hutson and Julia Fraustino

Faculty members Brian Luskey, Zona Hutson and Julia Fraustino are being recognized for their exceptional teaching and service to the University, students and community.

Brian Luskey is the recipient of the Caperton Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Writing, which recognizes a tenured faculty member for excellence in the teaching of writing. Established in 2007, the award was made possible by the generosity of former West Virginia Governor and College Board President Gaston Caperton. Caperton’s intent was to “increase awareness of the need for improved writing skills,” identifying writing as a critical issue necessary to maintaining America’s competitive edge in the global market. 

Luskey is a professor of history in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Department of History. He is recognized for embedding writing and revision at the center of all his courses, regardless of the level or type of course. Under Luskey’s supervision, undergraduate students read primary sources from the past and secondary sources written by historians. They are asked to interpret evidence, develop critical understandings, craft arguments, debate meaning, and tell compelling stories about the past in both independent and collaborative activities. Luskey uses his own original, innovative “history labs” and scaffolded writing assignments to bring history alive in his courses, rather than having students memorize a predetermined set of facts. Through this approach, students are engaged in writing and learning history while simultaneously honing essential critical thinking skills. 

Graduate students in Luskey’s reading seminars are asked to identify the historical and historiographical significance of an unstudied text or material object and to write a primary source essay. This challenging contextualization exercise asks the students to reconcile the history they “know” with what they learn about the obscure text or material object. Master’s and doctoral students leave his courses with confidence and appreciation for writing, ready to teach and contribute to scholarly conversations. 

As the recipient of the 2024 Caperton Award, he will receive $5,000 in professional development from the Caperton Fund. 

In addition to teaching awards, the Office of the Provost also recognizes service during the spring awards season.

Zona Hutson is the recipient of the Ethel and Gerry Heebink Award for Distinguished State Service, which recognizes a faculty or staff member who has provided distinguished service to West Virginia over a period of time. It was established by David Heebink in 1982 in memory of his parents, Ethel and Gerry Heebink, two former University employees. 

Hutson is honored as the recipient of the 2024 Heebink Award for extended service, which is awarded annually. She is an associate professor in Extension and the 4-H Youth Development Extension agent in Doddridge County. Hutson is recognized for her long-term work assessing the needs of the community and then successfully developing, securing funding for and delivering programs to address those needs. Especially noteworthy is her recent high-impact work with the Next Gen Personal Finance Program that focuses on financial literacy, the Healthy Grandfamilies program that provides information and resources to grandparents raising grandchildren, and as a state coordinator for the West Virginia 4-H Shooting Sports. 

She is also recognized for her 25-year commitment to ensuring the availability of reading and nutrition programs for low-income families during the summer months. As is clear in the letters of support from her local collaborators, she is a great representative of WVU and well appreciated within the community.

As the 2024 Heebink extended service award recipient, Hutson will receive a $3,000 professional development honorarium. 

In addition to these awards focused specifically on teaching and service, WVU also recognizes faculty who excel across all three areas of teaching, service and research. 

Julia Fraustino has been named the 2024 recipient of the James and Karen Caveney Alumni Association Faculty Excellence Award which annually honors faculty members who are highly productive in their research, exceptional in their teaching and instruction innovation, and outstanding in their commitment to the people of West Virginia. Dr. James Caveney and his wife, Karen, established the award in 2014. They, along with their three children and immediate family, hold 19 degrees from WVU. 

Fraustino is an assistant professor in the Reed College of Media and founding director of the Public Interest Communication Research Laboratory in the Media Innovation Center. She is honored for her leadership as a risk and crisis communication scientist and a public interest communication scholar-educator. She has led or contributed to more than $8 million in external research funding and served as principal investigator for more than $2.7 million of that total. Fraustino has also published and presented more than 75 research findings in journal articles, conferences and other professional gatherings; earned top research paper awards at several top academic conferences; and contributed to translational science efforts in public health and security. 

Specifically, Fraustino led an interdisciplinary team to create the first COVID-19 Vaccination Due Date Calculator for the state of West Virginia, which was used more than one million times in the first year (2022-23) and which the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used as a template for the nation. 

Moreover, she proposed, helped develop curricula for and graduated students in the nation’s first on-campus graduate degree area of emphasis in Advocacy and Public Interest Communication. Fraustino also participated in or led curriculum and program innovation in several collaborative efforts, including a National Science Foundation-funded interdisciplinary course experience addressing problems in public interest technology, grant-funded multi-course offerings covering infectious disease prevention in the Mountain State, and grant-funded branding efforts to help West Virginia communities and businesses tell their unique stories. 

Her outstanding service-learning and community-engaged teaching efforts in support of student success and the University’s land-grant mission have promoted West Virginia tourism and economic development, created fundraising and promotions to uplift West Virginians, increased the state’s security and sustainability, and enhanced West Virginia’s public health. 

As the 2023-2024 Caveney award recipient, Fraustino will receive a $6,000 professional development honorarium. 

“Each year, I continue to be impressed by the recipients of our University’s highest awards in teaching, research and service,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed. “These faculty members are impressive not only for their expertise, but also for their dedication to our students and community. Each award recipient is a true role model for their colleagues and students alike.”

Award recipients will be recognized during a faculty and staff awards reception at Blaney House in April.

Read more about these and other awards on the WVU Faculty website.