Our Faculty: Yang Sun
In his seven years at Sacramento State, the business professor has been revered by his students, who routinely praise him as one of their best professors, even though his classes are tough. That helps explain why he has received an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Faculty Senate.
Sun's scholastic specialty is industrial engineering and operations research, but his pedagogic passion is providing his students with sufficient organizational skills to help them maximize their potential. "I try to ensure that students of differing ability levels are able to succeed," he says.
The computer science professor's dedication and attention to detail earn him superior reviews from students. He also keeps his courses topical by conferring with industry and puts a premium on real-world preparation. "Our program is practically oriented," he says. "And our students get the best of both worlds." He also stands out for securing several impressive grants for the University.
Brown surprised and delighted most of his audience at a faculty awards ceremony when he donned a funny red hat to make a point about being an Outstanding Teaching Award recipient. The government professor's message was that teaching is a kind of performance in which students are the center of the show, and he used the hat as a sign of humility. He pulled off the semi-whimsical ploy by explaining that the art of effective teaching sometimes requires a theatrical approach. His glowing student evaluations suggest it's working.Read More
The education professor's passion for helping her students succeed flows from an intensely personal experience: She's the youngest of 11 children and the sole member of her family to have received a college degree. Students appreciate her exacting methods, which she practices out of a strong desire that they be prepared to teach. "Engagement is the key," she says.Read More
Nursing Professor Katherine Kelly's student evaluations are spectacular. Adulatory adjectives like "fantastic," "great," "insightful," "passionate" and "helpful" are routinely sprinkled through the comments. One student wanted to nominate her for teacher of the year. Indeed, the Faculty Senate presented her with a 2014 Outstanding Teaching Award. Spend a few minutes in Kelly's energetic presence, and you quickly understand why her students adore her.Read More
An infectious enthusiasm helps explain why this education professor has received an Outstanding Teaching Award. Motivating honors students is just one of Lilly's many teaching missions. He believes passionate teachers can make a profound difference in students' lives and preaches that educational philosophy with almost evangelical fervor.Read More
Professor Marcy Merrill is a dynamic ambassador for Sacramento State's Teacher Education Program. In addition to a full course load, she travels the region to help improve the quality of instruction in public schools. Merrill's commitment has earned her an Outstanding University Service Award. Her academic specialty is graduate courses in literacy for adults and K-12 students. But she is very involved with training new teachers.Read More
Melinda Wilson Ramey
Since joining the faculty of the Department of Theatre and Dance in 2005, Wilson Ramey has compiled an impressive list of directorial successes. High atop that list is the presentation in 2011 of The Wiz, William F. Brown's Tony Award-winning, rock-and-soul version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Perhaps of greater significance, however, is the way the Theatre and Dance Department chair uses the stage to bring attention to social and cultural circumstances that both strengthen and strain individuals and communities.Read More
The music professor's mastery of the flute began at age 12, and she has been perfecting her craft ever since. "I knew that I wanted to be a professional musician and practiced constantly," she says. So driven was young Laurel to succeed that she used to practice at 4 a.m. in her basement, which prompted her sleep-deprived father to hide the flute. Zucker's impressive body of work, which includes more than 50 CD releases, reflects the drive and determination of this graduate of the Julliard School.Read More