Two professors — communication studies department chair Bernard Duffy and biomedical and general engineering department chair Lanny Griffin — were awarded with the Distinguished Scholarship Award in mid-April.
The awards were given based on nominations the Academic Senate Distinguished Faculty Award Committee received from students, faculty and alumni.
“They’re looking for professors that exemplify the teacher scholar model,” Office of the Provost executive administrative assistant Delores Lencioni said. “So actively participating in research, getting students involved in research and bringing the research into classrooms.”
Both professors will receive a prize of $1,250 for earning the award, which was established in 2003.
“The idea is that they would use (the money) to assist them in some way with furthering their research,” Lencioni said.
The ‘outstanding teacher’
Duffy was recognized for the research and multiple books he has co-authored and co-written about historical orators such as General Douglas MacArthur and Ronald Reagan.
He said he likes research, but prefers teaching.
“I see myself as a teacher first,” Duffy said. “My heart is first and foremost with teaching.”
Duffy, who also received the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher Award in 2001 and Cal Poly’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003, said he was “delighted, honored and humbled” to receive the Distinguished Scholarship Award.
Duffy, who was department chair of the communication studies department for three years in the late ’80s and early ’90s and was recently re-appointed to the position, has been a professor for the past 25 years in the department.
He said much of his inspiration for his research comes from topics he covers in his lectures.
“It’s very interconnected,” he said. “Not everything, but a lot of what I publish I talk about in class. One actively stimulates the other.”
He has co-edited and co-authored multiple books on orators, including one he recently co-edited, “The Will of a People: Great Orations of African Americans.”
Duffy co-wrote the introduction to the book, and the American Library Association listed the book as one of the Most Significant University Press Books for Undergraduates in 2011-12.
The biomedical researcher
Griffin, who has taught at Cal Poly since 1997, said he was “very honored” to receive the award and credited his students with making it possible.
Griffin received the scholarship award for his research in bone mechanics and for work “immediately improving the quality of life for those in acute need of medical help.”
Griffin, who helped establish the biomedical and general engineering department after he arrived at Cal Poly, said he integrates some of his research into test or homework problems in the classes he teaches.
“I probably like to do research more than I do like to teach,” he said. “But I like being involved with students, it makes my day worth coming in for. The university is about students, and it would be very difficult for me to have a job where I wasn’t able to have involvement with students.”
Electrical engineering senior Jason Schray said Griffin is funny and engaging as a professor.
“He’s super interested in the material that he’s going over,” Schray said. “He’s able to project that interest onto his students.”
Schray said he wasn’t interested in biomedical engineering before enrolling in Introduction to Biomedical Engineering (BMED 212) with Griffin this quarter.
“After taking a class with him, I not only have more respect for (biomedical engineering), but I think it’s pretty cool and I kind of wish I was one myself,” Schray said.