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Megan Sanctuary

Excellence in Online Teaching

Megan Sanctuary


Lauren Williamson

Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring

Lauren Williamson

Richard Durtsche

Excellence in Outreach

Dick Durtsche


Erin Strome

Inclusive Excellence Leadership

Erin Strome


Erin Strome
Dick Durtsche

Faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences earned widespread recognition at the 2022 All-University Faculty and Staff Awards. All aspects of faculty excellence were recognized including teaching, research and service. The honorees were:

MEGAN SANCTUARY: Excellence in Online of Technology-Enhanced Teaching

Dr. Sanctuary is a leader in online instruction, overseeing multiple courses on Nutrition in both a traditional 15-week format and an accelerated 7-week format.

"Dr. Sanctuary is a devoted educator who works constantly to provide meaningful and engaging experiences for her students as well as focusing on her continued development as an educator.  In addition, she seeks to help colleagues with their online courses from conceptualization to sharing tips and tricks," said Department Chair Dr. Erin Strome.

The nomination was enthusiastically seconded by Dr. Sanctuary's teaching assistant Julia Bottoms. "Dr. Sanctuary is the best online teacher that I have met. I have had the blessing to see how intentional she is in everything she does behind the scenes for her students. She makes sure to lead with compassion and brings lasting impact on all her students and mentees. She goes above and beyond of what is expected of her to challenge the status quo and help each student as personally as possible for matters within the course and outside of the course."

LAUREN WILLIAMSON: Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring

"Lauren has full embraced the culture of undergraduate research in our college and has created a vibrant research program," said Department Chair Dr. Erin Strome. "But I am most proud of her commitment to the success of all students regardless of the skill set they initially bring to her group."

Her undergraduate mentees clearly appreciate her even more than her colleagues do. "“I think she is a fabulous mentor. She is candid, supportive, patient, caring, and a great role model. She doesn’t hide the fact that life can be messy or that research doesn’t always go your way. I cannot say enough how much I appreciate her and her willingness to help others. She has a passion to teach and share her love of the brain with others that makes working with her so fun," said Olivia DeMoisey, one of dozens of students Dr. Williamson has mentored.

The future is even brighter as Dr. Williamson just received a prestigious NIH grant to expand her work to understand how maternal and early life infections can affect the developing brain.

RICHARD DURTSCHE: Excellence in Outreach and Engagement

Dr. Durtsche was honored for his long-standing work engaging the community in appreciating the natural world, but especially for his leadership in establishing the NKU Research and Education Field Station (REFS).

"Dr. Durtsche has feverishly and passionately built REFS into a community treasure, not only for NKU but for the region," said Environmental Science Program Director Kristy Hopfensperger. "To create a field station that highlights interdisciplinary collaboration is superb for our students and award-deserving on its own; however, creating a university space that embraces community members within their own neighborhood is outstanding."

"Dick has done an amazing job at promoting and getting the local community around REFS engaged in projects like the “Bridge Through Nature” boardwalk construction on the trail in the St. Anne Wetlands," added Dr. Josh Cooper, a colleague in the department. "Dick also organizes happenings like the Take your Child Outside events have benefited both NKU students in connecting with their community and providing out-in-nature opportunities for the citizens of Campbell County. "

ERIN STROME: Inclusive Excellence Leadership

"As Chair of Biological Sciences, Erin has led our department to deeply consider and implement ways we can improve our efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion," said Dr. Lindsey Walters. "For example, she has integrated DEI professional development into our annual performance reviews. She has also been a tireless advocate for evidence-based teaching techniques fthat benefit underrepresented groups. Erin's efforts have directly contributed to making DEI a part of the department culture."

"Erin has also made it a goal in our department to support and recruit students from diverse backgrounds, establishing specific scholarships for Biology majors involved in DEI initiatives.  She is steadfast in reminding our department to consider how different decisions we make might affect diverse students," said Dr. Emily Shifley.

Assistant Professor Dr. Lauren Williamson added that "It was clear to me from the first day that Erin strives unceasingly toward equity and inclusion in all areas of her professional life, and clear to me, of her personal life as well. She wants to give as many people as possible the chance to be and do their best."