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College of Creative Arts awards faculty achievements

The West Virginia University College of Creative Arts has selected its 2022 faculty awards.

Each year, the college awards for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity; Outstanding Teacher; Outstanding Service; and Adjunct Faculty Excellence.

“The recognized achievements are remarkable in that they are timely and represent how the CCA continues to stay at the front edge of artistic institutions,” said Dean Keith Jackson. “Though each awardee is being recognized for fulfilling a specific part of our mission, they all exemplify how the arts are reacting to the needs of modern life. Whether it be giving a voice to the unheard, increasing access during a pandemic, or providing students with knowledge about current needs in the arts sector, reading about these winners and their accomplishments makes you truly realize the reach and power of the arts in society today.”

Michael Sherwin headshot

Michael Sherwin, associate professor and coordinator of photography in the School of Art & Design, received the Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award.

Sherwin’s achievements include the release of “Vanishing Points,” with high-profile publisher Kehrer Verlag. The 172-page book documents Sherwin’s 10-year photographic project to research and document sacred landforms, earthworks, documented archaeological sites and contested battlegrounds throughout the United States.

Sherwin received a Research and Scholarship Advancement Grant through the WVU Office of Sponsored Programs in conjunction with his book’s publication. He had a large solo exhibit at the Charles W. And Norma C. Carroll Gallery at Marshall University from February to March and he participated in “Quiet Landscape,” a juried group exhibit at the PhotoPlace Gallery in Middlebury, Vermont.

Maureen Kaddar working with a student

The College of Creative Arts Outstanding Service Award was given to Maureen Kaddar and Jonas Thomas. 

Kaddar is a teaching assistant professor of dance in the School of Theatre & Dance. Over the last year, she spent time providing service at the national level as well as to each of her students. Kaddar worked with the American College Dance Association to host virtually their annual conference and was a committee member for their Screendance Initiative.

Kaddar served as a subject matter expert to a student in Edgewood High School’s International Baccalaureate Program, in Hartford County, Maryland. She also assisted faculty member Nina Assimakopoulos in her underwater project, “Shapeshifter.”

Perhaps most importantly, Kaddar went the extra mile to take care of the health and well-being of her students during the pandemic by organizing safe social events and bringing them a sense of normalcy. 

Jonas Thoms headshot

Assistant Professor of Horn Jonas Thoms advises WVU’s Horn Club, serves as a member of the School of Music’s Graduate and Scholarship Committees and serves as coordinator of the Brass Area. Thoms is a horn instructor for WVU’s Brass Summer Academy and is a faculty mentor to three faculty members within the School. In the last year, Thomas hosted 14 recruitment visits.

Thoms serves as the treasurer of Dakota Pro Musica, an ad-hoc reviewer for the internationally circulating “Horn Call,” and is the West Virginia Area Representative to the International Horn Scoiety. He was host of the 2021 Northeast Horn Workshop, which was moved to a virtual format due to the pandemic. More than 600 participants from more than 20 countries engaged in the workshop.

The School of Theatre & Dance’sBrianne Taylor headshot Brianne Taylor received the Outstanding Teacher Award.

Throughout the past year, Taylor taught three courses working with graduate and undergraduate students, served on thesis committees, conducted independent studies and served as capstone advisor.

A review of Taylor’s class said, “Professor Taylor consistently goes above and beyond for her students. She not only provides a wonderful classroom environment, but she finds opportunities outside of school, such as conferences. She keeps her finger on the pulse of how the industry is growing and wants to see her students succeed. She is an inspiration through her knowledge, hard work and kind heart.”

Brian Wolfe performing

Lecturer Brian Wolfe in the School of Music received the Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award. On the faculty since 2016, Brian goes beyond the call of duty in his teaching.

Wolfe has created a curriculum that engages an array of students, from those who are learning basic, rudimentary skill on the drum set to those whom are fully invested in the drum set and are dutiful in their approach to learning the instrument.

Wolfe balances the needs of the students and has developed multiple syllabi and expectations that address the students' interests and degree program as well as program expectations. If I have any criticism of Brian's teaching it is that he might be working so hard that I fear he will burn out. He is very detailed in his approach and his students reflect this in their playing and their approach to playing in my ensembles.

Wolfe is extremely popular with students and recruits many students to WVU.