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Distinguished Full Professors

The Distinguished Full Professor Award recognizes faculty members who have achieved the rank of Professor and who continue to perform in an exemplary manner through service, scholarship, innovation, leadership, and other professorial achievements. It is intended both to recognize those professors whom faculty should emulate and to reward professors who show outstanding leadership at the college. The award was first given in 2011. (See past winners below.)

2015 Distinguished Full Professors

Lisa Cerrato Crystal Clark

Holly Finnegan

Tina Perry

Posing with Dr. Harrison are, clockwise from top left, Professor Lisa Cerrato, Health Information Management Technology; Professor Crystal Clark, English; Professor Tina Perry, Interpreting Education Program; and Professor Holly Finnegan, Developmental Education. 

Professor Lisa Cerrato, Health Information Management Technology

Lisa Cerrato has spent the last 25 years developing and fine-tuning the Health Information Management Technology into a program that specifically meets the needs of the healthcare industry, adding courses and short-term certificates as technology changes, and adapting the coursework from traditional daytime curriculum, to evening classes, and then into an exclusively online offering. 

In order to bring the most up-to-date knowledge to those already in the field, and help them retain their certification, Cerrato has coordinated programs to train hundreds of employees at their workplace, including those at the Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation and at OSU Physicians, Inc. 

She has been at the forefront in developing learning objects—digitized lessons that deliver course content using visuals and audio. As part of the Apple Initiative, she and Professor Jane Roberts are using a $100,000 grant from Cardinal Health to digitize the courses in the Health Information Management Technician certificate.  Additional course content designed for high school students in dual enrollment programs is being developed using Straight A grant funding.

Lisa has a dizzying array of responsibilities as coordinator of the HIM technology, including selection and development of all textbooks, the 2012 semester conversion of all classes, maintenance of student records, hiring of adjunct instructors, faculty observation and evaluation, and coordination of student field experiences.  She also serves on community boards and panels too numerous to mention, including the Ohio Board of Regents TAG panel, and the Franklin University advisory board for Health Information Management.

In the past five years, she has brought in nearly a million dollars in grant money to fund various Health IT initiatives at Columbus State. 
In summary, as one of Lisa’s nominators wrote: “Lisa wears two sets of shoes—one belonging to an educator and the other to an expert in her field. She has given life to the HIMT program since its inception in 1991. Columbus State is fortunate to have such a forward-thinking leader as Lisa Cerrato!”

Professor Crystal Clark, English

Although many past and present Columbus State students recognize Crystal Clark from television commercials and print advertising for the college, her own English students and her colleagues recognize that her passion and commitment to teaching are not just “acting!”

As a current doctoral candidate at the University of Toledo, Clark has put into practice what she has learned through her coursework, and has already distinguished herself by serving as the liaison between Columbus State and the UT Community College Internationalization Consortium, traveling twice to China to launch various articulation agreements with sister institutions there. Clark was also named International Student Faculty Fellow in 2014, where she explored an international enrollment partnership with OSU. 

Crystal has served on numerous committees and task forces, including the Strategic Planning and Master Planning committees, the I Know I Can committee, and the Achieving the Dream Leadership committee, the Promotion & Tenure committee, and many search teams for various departments. She co-chairs the Academic Pathway committee and is on the OAA Academic Council.  Her work on a committee working for Veterans and Military students has led her to teach a special section of Composition I to military students this summer semester.

In short, says one of her nominators, “Students, colleagues and administrators alike find Crystal to be approachable and charismatic, as is evidenced by the numerous individuals and groups who regularly ask for her help and expertise. She is a rare find!” 

Professor Holly Finnegan, Developmental Education

A full professor singe 2007, Holly Finnegan is not known for resting on her laurels!  As one of only two fulltime English faculty in the Developmental Education Department, it fell to Holly to convert four writing classes into a semester format during the Switch to Semesters. She added units to the grammar workbook she had written, and helped to create the new COLS 1100 course for the First-Year Experience program in just a few months. 

As lead faculty member in her department, she interviews adjunct faculty, schedules classes and labs for 35 instructors and acts as a liaison with other departments at the college. Outside of her department, she has been part of a partnership with South-Western City Schools, providing course materials for teachers, and evaluating students’ progress in writing. Her group also developed a symposium for high school English teachers that acquaints them with Columbus State’s expectations. Holly also worked on the Compass Boot Camp program which is now a part of many high school and incoming college freshmen’s schedule to increase scores on their placement tests.

One of Finnegan’s signature projects has been the Promotion & Tenure Handbook and the workshops she conducts for faculty.  After discovering a lack of information on the process during her own application for professor, Holly took it upon herself to outline steps and activities necessary to apply for tenure, and soon became a member of the Promotion & Tenure Committee, in charge of not only the Handbook, but evaluation of portfolios, creation of training materials, and reevaluation of the timeline for applications.

As one of her nominators stated: “The tenure-track faculty in our department unanimously express a collective debt of gratitude to Holly for making our portfolio-building process more clearly defined over the years.  We take great pride in our portfolios, and owe Holly much of the credit!”

Professor Tina Perry, Interpreting Education Program

Tina Perry receives accolades from colleagues and former students alike for her professionalism, organizational skills, and passion for teaching her first language – American Sign Language. Growing up with a deaf parent, Perry has a compassion and cultural understanding of the deaf community that gives her unparalleled expertise in her field. For more than 30 years, Perry has been sharing this cultural competency with her interpreting students at Columbus State, with audiences at events where she interprets, and with many community organizations and outside groups of students who attend her lectures.

Last year, Perry collaborated with a nursing class on Medical Terminology, helping teach the nursing students to communicate with the deaf, and her interpreting students to learn medical terminology for interpreting. Each year she teaches veterinary students at The Ohio State University how to work with deaf clientele, hire interpreters, and provide veterinary services to a population who communicate differently. To keep current in her field, Tina serves as an interpreter for a video relay agency, which also hires graduates of the Columbus State program and offers practicum experience to interpreting students. Tina constantly seeks opportunities for her students to experience real-world practice, and worked with Human Resources to allow interpreting students to assist with meetings and events, such as First Wednesday and the Martin Luther King Day Celebration.

As one of her nominators put it: “Tina has worked diligently with the deaf community for many years. Her heart and soul are in this project and it shows!”

+2014 Distinguished Full Professor

 Jon LundquistDavid Busch, Distinguished Full Professor

Jon Lundquist (left) and David Busch (right) were named Distinguished Full Professors for their years of innovative and inspiring service.  

David R. Busch, Professor of Construction Management

Whether its building a spinning game show wheel for the Ohio State Fair, working on Habitat for Humanity, building Christmas toys for the needy, or literally putting his students in the dog house, David Busch doesn’t rest on his laurels as a long-time full professor at Columbus State.  Busch, who teaches in Construction Management and coordinates the program’s Advisory Board meetings, has served on his division’s Promotion, Tenure and Review committee for three years, and also serves on the Automotive Technology review committee as an outside faculty member.
To promote the Construction program at last year’s Ohio State Fair, David and his colleagues constructed a giant Wheel of Fortune with fun facts and questions about construction sciences.  Fairgoers could take their turn spinning the wheel, answering the questions and winning prizes that promoted Columbus State.  David also volunteers his time with Habitat for Humanity, and handcrafts hundreds of toys each holiday season for children that might otherwise receive none. His teaching methods are full of creativity, as well as a healthy dose of charity.  Students in his Residential Construction class build dog houses as sturdy as real houses, then donate them to the Delaware County Humane Society.  Students in his Capstone class designed new barracks for the Columbus Police’s Mounted Division.  And David travels around the state documenting and photographing the steel fabrication process, the lumber sawing process, and more—in order to add a little something extra to his classroom presentations.

Jon Lundquist, Professor of Integrated Media and Technology

Fifteen years ago, Jon Lundquist was asked to create two new digital media classes for the new Multimedia Production Technology.  He wasn’t sure that being a college professor was in his future, but since that time, the Interactive Media program has grown to three full majors and more than 600 students enrolled. Jon looks outside the traditional classroom to find opportunities for his students. He has worked with the OSU Student Medical Center to have his students develop interactive medical games that replaced printed brochures. His students have helped more than 50 different non-profit agencies to create websites, videos, logos and more.  Many of those projects lead his students into internships and fulltime jobs, as well as promote the program and the college in the community.  He judges the Columbus International Film and Video Festival each year, and also judged more than 100 applications to the TECH Columbus 1492 project.  He enjoys judging media arts projects for the Business Professional Association at Tolles and Eastland Career Centers. Over the past three years, Jon has served as Lead Faculty Expert in Visual Design and Imaging for the Ohio Board of Regents, conducting research and data gathering to build future initiatives for technical education in Ohio. Jon was also instrumental in creating the Downtown Digital Arts Festival, now in its ninth year.  And finally, Jon has collaborated with the Computer Science Department to integrate programming skills into the Interactive Media curriculum, further improving his students’ prospects in their careers.

+2013 Distinguished Full Professors

Jeff Bates Kelly Hogan

Brenda Johnson

Darell Monor

Stev O'neal


Posing with Dr. Harrison are Jeff Bates,Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Science, Safety and Health; Kelly Hogan, Professor of Developmental Education; Brenda Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Veterinary Technology; Steven O’neal, Professor of Landscape Design and Build; and Darrell Minor, Professor of Mathematics.

Dr. Jeff Bates started the Environmental Science, Safety, and Health Program from scratch and now he advises more than 100 students in this field. It seems like hardly a week goes by where we do not read about a chemical spill, hazardous dumping, or contaminated water. We have Dr. Bates to thank for his role in protecting our environment by educating students, community members, and providing environmental training for various companies.

In addition to his practitioner work, he is also a scholar in his field, making presentations at professional conferences and recently completing his Ph.D. in geology. The Ohio Water Environment Association awarded Dr. Bates the Crystal Crucible Award for his service in organizing and hosting their annual conference for many years.

 He also gives back to the community by giving science presentations at schools, judging and mentoring teams for school competitions such as Future Cities Ohio Regional, training citizens in the FEMA Disaster Preparedness Program, and coordinating stream cleanup events.

Professor Kelly Hogan has been teaching developmental mathematics for almost 20 years. Her in-depth knowledge of the students and their needs, along with her research into new ways of delivering developmental mathematics, has put the College in the forefront of acceleration and success for students placing into pre-college courses.

 Kelly organized and led a team of faculty from both the Developmental Education Department and the Mathematics department in creating a computer-based, modularized, self-paced course that started as a pilot three years ago and is now DEV 1099, a large offering at Columbus State. Additionally, Kelly has strengthened our K-12 connections by offering the course as “College Prep Math,”   which is taken by students at 7 area high schools, reducing the likelihood that these students will need remediation in college.

In addition to this signature achievement, Kelly has been a Lead Instructor in the department, active on many College committees, a volunteer in the community, and is nearing completion of her Ph.D.

Dr. Brenda Johnson has been Coordinator for the Veterinary Technology Program for fifteen years. During this time, she helped develop the first successful evening veterinary program and developed a dual program with OSU.

Dr. Johnson also works at the Whitehall Animal Hospital and she believes this experience helps her to “keep it real” in the classroom.

Dr. Johnson is proud of her involvement in the planning and design of the veterinary technology facility. The American Veterinary Medical Association was so impressed with the facility that they asked her to serve as a mentor.

Not only does she care about animals, she cares about her students. One student wrote that through Dr. Johnson’s encouragement, she decided not to drop out and she went on to graduate.

In his 25 years at Columbus State, Professor Steven O’Neal has built the Landscape Design and Management Program from the ground up. He researched the viability of a program in the late 80s, designed a full curriculum, and worked with the Board of Regents to make it a reality.

Steve is active in the industry, serving on the Ohio Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Professional Landcare Network, known as PLANET. With the fundraising of our strong student organization, the Columbus State Landscape Association, we have sent a team of students to the PLANET National Collegiate Landscape Competition 18 times, where they have placed in the top 10 schools—both two-year and four-year—in 15 of the 18 trips. In March 2004, Columbus State served as host of the Student Career Days, and over the course of four days, more than 1,000 students from 54 colleges competed in 25 landscape events on our campus, at Franklin Park and Conservatory, and at the Convention Center. Steve had worked for more than four years to coordinate that massive event. Today, our Columbus State program is one of only 24 industry-accredited programs out of over 400 in the nation.

 In addition to creating a nationally recognized program, Steve has assisted in the development of “Helping Hands in the Garden,” an organization that assists cancer victims with their gardens while in treatment.

Professor Darrell Minor has served six years as CSEA President. He has also served on the negotiating team for three contracts. Under Darrell’s leadership we have seen the union grow and become less confrontational and more collegial with college administration. We are all very thankful for this.

That is the obvious stuff. However, as the selection committee reviewed Darrell’s documents, we found he had participated in many other activities. He has published three articles in professional journals. One article, The effect of “Right to Work” laws on key standards of living, has been cited in numerous venues, including the senate journal of the State of Michigan.

In the classroom Darrell likes to remain current on technology. In collaboration with another colleague, he piloted a course which used free courseware documents so that students did not have to purchase a book.

See video from the awards ceremony:

jeff b   kelly h  beth j darrell m steve on     

+2012 Distinguished Full Professors

Bob FitrakisTom HabeggerJames Taylor

2012 winners are Robert Fitrakis, Ph.D., J.D., Professor of Social Sciences; posing with Dr. Harrison are Thomas Habegger, Ph.D., Professor of Sport and Exercise Studies; and James Taylor, CEC,Professor of Hospitality Management. Not pictured is Gerald Mueller, Professor of Mathematics.

The Selection Committee felt that Robert Fritakis’ dedication to teaching, his scholarly work, community service, public speaking, activism, love of politics, and boundless energy all combined to merit the Distinguished Full Professor Award.  As a senior faculty member in the Social Sciences Department, Dr. Fitrakis maintains a strong academic and intellectually oriented community, and he serves on many college committees and councils.  In 2004, he earned a J.D. from the Ohio State University College of Law, and while a professor, he has written 11 books, presented 26 conference papers, and won 11 awards for reporting as an investigative journalist, among hundreds of other scholarly activities.  As one supporter wrote: “If you Google Bob Fitrakis, you will find that his work is cited by hundreds of scholars and journalists worldwide!”   Dr. Fitrakis’ extraordinary range of accomplishments and his dedication to the advancement of his students and the well-being of the community make him worthy of this award.

The Distinguished Full Professor Award Committee felt that Dr. Habegger’s attitude and commitment to inclusion in the Sport & Exercise Studies program supported the development, confidence and determination of a multitude of students across age, gender, ethnic background and socio-economic barriers.  He prides himself in being able to support and advocate for his students from their initial enrollment, through the celebration of their induction into the Sport and Exercise Studies Hall of Fame after years of career and personal success.  Dr. Habegger’s commitment to the community is evidenced by his 20-year participation with the Spina Bifida Summer Sports Camp for children. Many of those children have gone on to attend and graduate from Columbus State’s degree program, earn advanced degrees, and even return to the camp as counselors.  Tom Habegger’s unique mentoring style earns the utmost respect from his colleagues, his students, and the host of successful alumni and community members he has helped along the way. 

The Distinguished Full Professor Award Committee felt that James Taylor, Certified Executive Chef, impressed upon us his deep commitment and devotion to his culinary students.  He works tirelessly advising new students and working on his students’ chef apprenticeships. He is very proud of their achievements long after their graduation.  Jim’s commitment to preparing students for culinary team competitions,and college activities such as Taste the Future, In-Service Day, Foundation events and much more—is quite commendable. He is also extremely active in the American Culinary Federation, the ACF Columbus Chapter, in which he has been both President and Chairman of the Board, and the American Academy of Chefs.  

Since becoming a full professor in 1998, Gerald Mueller has devoted himself to curriculum development and governance, at the program level, the college level, and the state level. To ensure student success and attainment, he developed a University Parallel Committee that helped to identify requirements for pre-majors in the Arts and Sciences.  With this work, begun in 1996, through his work with Board of Regents Transfer Assurance Guide panels, the Ohio State Preferred Pathway Program, and the statewide semester conversion effort, Jerry Mueller’s expertise and willingness to serve in the articulation, transfer, and college readiness areas has had an enormous impact on the students of Ohio.

+2011 Distinguished Full Professors

Steve AbbotJackie MillerGreg Goodhart

Posing with Dr. Harrison are Steve Abbott, Emeritus Professor of English; Jackie Miller, Professor of Nursing; and Greg Goodhart, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics.

Nominate a Distinguished Full Professor!

Nominations are now closed. Selection criteria can be found on the DFP Nomination Form

Learn from past DFP winners

View panel discussion with 2011 and 2012 winners