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College of Health and Human Sciences names winners of 2021 Awards for Excellence

August 25, 2021

Dean Lynda Ransdell of NIU’s College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) announced the winners of the 2021 Awards for Excellence in teaching, diversity and service during the all-college meeting held Aug. 16 in Wirtz Hall auditorium.

Sherrill Morris, Jane Rose Njue, and Cristan Sabio were each recognized for their significant contributions and named as this year’s recipients.

“Every year, the committee is impressed with the nominations for the Dean’s Awards for Excellence,” said associate dean, Beverly Henry. “We are glad to recognize the special ways that leadership in service, teaching, and diversity are demonstrated by Dr. Njue, Dr. Sabio and Dr. Morris. We appreciate their contributions to our students and our community.”

Dean Ransdell shared the sentiment.

“One of the things I love doing the most as dean is recognizing excellence and sharing it with the entire college and university community,” Ransdell said. “CHHS is blessed with a very talented and student-oriented faculty, and this has become crystal clear after reading the biographies of these three honorees.”


Sherrill Morris

Sherrill Morris
The Award for Promoting Academic Equity/Diversity honors faculty, staff, and/or students who work collaboratively to develop strategies that eliminate learning barriers and create a culture of civility. The award recognizes creative and varied approaches to teaching and assessment to achieve equity in learning outcomes, and recognizes an individual who exemplifies the college’s strategic goal of achieving academic equity.

The 2021 Award for Promoting Academic Equity/Diversity is Sherrill Morris, chair, School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders. Morris has been instrumental in promoting diversity in day-to-day activities. Whether extracurricular programs, curricular design or faculty development, she leads by example with a goal of creating lasting change.

Cristan Sabio

Cristan Sabio

The Lankford Award for Excellence in Teaching is given each year to a full-time, tenured or tenure-tracked faculty member within the College of Health and Human Sciences who have an excellent overall teaching effectiveness score. It is named for James Lankford, former dean of the college, who initiated the award.

The 2021 winner of the Lankford Award is Cristan Sabio, assistant professor, School of Nursing.
Sabio was described as an outstanding professor who “brings extraordinary energy and enthusiasm to the classroom.” He is known for his lively and experiential-based teaching which translates to student success.

Jane Rose Njue

Jane Rose Njue

The Fisher Award for Excellence in Service is given each year to a regular full-time, tenured or tenure-tracked faculty member or regular full-time supportive professional staff member. The service may involve on-campus activities but also must include off-campus professional activities at the state, national or international level that contribute to the stature and growth of the profession.

Cletus Fisher, former chair of the Department of Communicative Disorders, funded the award.

The 2021 winner of the Fisher Award is Jane Rose Njue, associate professor and facilitator of Family Social Services, School of Family and Consumer Sciences. Njue was honored for her work with international student families and local families who are in distress due to domestic violence and for being a strong advocate for others.