Associate professor Megan Oakleaf delivers her address after being honored with the Professor of the Year award at the iSchool's convocation ceremony.

By: Diane Stirling
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A professor of library and information science and a business analyst who also teaches part-time were selected as the School of Information Studies faculty members receiving 2014’s annual faculty recognition awards.

Megan Oakleaf, associate professor and director of instructional design, was chosen as the Jeffrey Katzer Professor of the Year, an award that cites the outstanding teaching of a full-time faculty member.

Shraddha Caplash, an adjunct faculty member who works as a business analyst at POMCO, a health management plan in Syracuse, was named as the outstanding part-time faculty member.

Oakleaf teaches “Reference and Information Literacy Services” and “Planning, Marketing, and Assessing Library Services.”  Before coming to the iSchool, she was the librarian for instruction and undergraduate research at North Carolina State University. She completed her doctorate at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earned a master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, and holds a BA in English and Spanish and a BS in English Education and Spanish Education from Miami University.  Prior to a career in librarianship, she taught language arts and advanced composition in Ohio public schools for grades 8-12. 

As she accepted the award, Oakleaf reflected on her own favorite teachers and urged graduates to emulate the conduct of their own “best teachers” in life. What those teachers had that was so valuable, Oakleaf said, was that “They focused on the goal; they had a plan to get there to achieve the outcome. They had high expectations but they held themselves to those same high expectations. They shared the power. They were fair. They were enthusiastic.  They had energy. They had zest.  They loved what they were doing.  They cultivated a sense of humor and especially about themselves.” In addition, her teachers “listened, and because they listened, they could explain, they could demonstrate and they could change course when the situation called for it. They cared. They focused on other people, not themselves.  And finally, they never let things get too negative,” Oakleaf recounted.

She urged the graduates that, “as you shift from being students to being teachers, too…you would do well to keep those special teachers you've encountered along the way as your touchstones. Do what they do and you'll have a guide at certain times, do what they do and you'll be all right.”

Caplash has been with the School for about a year and a half. She was appointed as a faculty member to teach IST 654, information systems analysis in the information management program. Students cited her for the effort she puts into helping students learn; focusing on problem-solving skills to prepare students for corporate jobs; and her availability and interest in helping students inside and outside of class, at all hours.