2015 Award Recipients

Celebrating Excellence in the Human Sciences

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Patricia Kain
Oklahoma State University
Regent’s Service Professor
& Dean Emerita

College of Human Sciences

The BoHS Lifetime Achievement Award honors a nationally recognized leader in the Human Sciences who has a significant history of promoting and advancing the Human Sciences in higher education. BoHS is honored to award Dr. Patricia Kain Knaub, Regent’s Service Professor & Dean Emeritus in the College of Human Sciences at Oklahoma State University, with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to her role as Dean, Dr. Knaub served on the Board on Human Sciences for many years, chairing it in 1998-1999 and as President of the National Council on Family Relations 1992-1993. Dr. Knaub’s nominator Dr. Stephan Wilson, Dean of the College of Human Sciences at Oklahoma State University, eloquently stated, “Dr. Knaub’s work has touched the lives of many people today and will far into the future: like ripples in water, she has vast influence”.

After receiving an undergraduate degree in Home Economics from the University of Nebraska, Dr. Knaub took her first job as a high school home economics teacher. Though she never believed she was destined to be a small- town teacher, this is where she found that she loved to teach. She also discovered developing unique and imaginative approaches to curriculum delivery was a calling that would remain with her throughout her professional career. She developed a career long dedication to applying transformational leadership principles in her roles as a professor, mentor, administrator, and, in organizational leadership. The summer of 1963, Dr. Knaub was accepted into a graduate program in child development/family science and educational psychology at the University of Nebraska. Her first courses focused on the developmental stages and challenges of school age children and family dynamics. The Feminine Mystique, a book also published in 1963, became one of the catalysts for the women’s movement. Reading it in the fall of that year opened Dr. Knaub’s eyes and changed her life. As Dr. Knaub’s graduate coursework progressed, she focused on the factors involved in gender role development and the resultant implications for individuals, families, and education. Because she had these additional years of academic exposure at a time of great social change, she believes she approached her adult life much differently than her peer group. A controversial family form referred to as “dual career,” emerged in the late 1960s which was of interest to Dr. Knaub personally as well as academically. Dr. Knaub’s first research projects, beginning with her master’s thesis, focused on the effects of a dual career lifestyle on adolescent girls’ career aspirations. Dr. Knaub began teaching family science courses while she was a graduate student and continued for the next two years as she gradually progressed through her doctoral studies. In the spring of 1971, Dr. Knaub received an unexpected invitation to join the faculty of an experimental living/learning unit, “Centennial College.” The two years spent as a Centennial faculty member shaped the rest of Dr. Knaub’s career. Inspiring her for the remainder of her career to seek out experiences that involved interdisciplinary, holistic growth opportunities for herself and others. Throughout the elongated years of her doctoral program, Dr. Knaub was active in organizations (national, collegiate, and community) that championed women’s issues. She also was a founding faculty member for the women’s studies program at the University of Nebraska. She developed and taught a sociology course, “Women in Contemporary Society,” which became a popular multisection course soon requiring a second faculty member. With her doctorate completed in 1975 at age 35, Dr. Knaub had found her calling. She was anxious to teach, to establish a research program, and, ultimately she wanted to move into administration. She joined the faculty in the Department of Human Development & Family at the University of Nebraska as an Assistant Professor. About midway through her doctoral program, Dr. Knaub was selected to attend the “Leadership Identification Program” offered by the Association of Administrators (Association of Public and Land Grant Universities). An outcome of the program was that each participant developed a personal plan to reach their administrative goal. This process guided Dr. Knaub’s direction. After serving as a professor for fourteen years, a short term as an interim department chair and, three years as an associate dean, Dr. Knaub was named dean of the College of Human Sciences at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Knaub believed passionately in the potential of human sciences colleges and the programs contained within them. She looked forward to the opportunity to strengthen and prove their worth to the institution where they were located as well as to the national academic community. Her goal was to use the lessons she had learned to form the initiatives she would undertake as dean. Dr. Knaub believed that when one moves into an administrative role such as dean, one has come to a fork in the road and from that time forward the primary focus is on creating an environment in which others can be successful. She has also long accepted that organizations, like people, have a life cycle. In organizations it is about a ten year sequence. Organizations function best with a continuous renewal cycle as a planning priority. A change in leadership of an organization, such as dean, provides an opportunity for renewal. Dr. Knaub successfully used this model throughout her years in leadership roles.

Both from her own experience and observing the experience of others, the transition from graduate student to faculty member is not easy. For most, it is a steep learning curve made harder if there is little guidance through the process. Therefore, Dr. Knaub was inspired to initiate a faculty development program, Faculty Scholars. Each faculty member was released twenty-five percent of their time for participation. Led by college administrators and enriched by visiting experts, meeting together two hours weekly over the academic year provided an opportunity to bond with other new faculty. This proved to be a clear positive outcome. Grantsmanship became a signature part of the program culminating with a group visit to Washington, D.C. The faculty scholar program, now in its twenty-first year, has evolved over time but has retained much of the original elements. It played an important role in attracting and retaining faculty and, a critical role in increasing extramural support for scholarship in all its forms. In our attempt to invest more broadly in the next generation of scholars, we developed a graduate seminar required of all students across college departments, which would address the transition and preparation for the envisioned career. Beginning with a book club, in which each student read the same book over the summer then came together during the fall in small discussion groups, upper division mentors worked all semester with new students. Topics covered in the seminar deal with many of the issues prevalent among freshman from study skills to dealing with homesickness. Through the help of alumnae and friends who shared enthusiasm for the college and its programs, an Associates group was formed. The executive committee, each with a history of giving, actively participated in planning activities and provided valuable guidance on a host of topics. The group played an integral role in any of the successes accomplished during Dr. Knaub’s years as dean. The substantial increase in private funding enhanced the overall academic experience through an increased number of scholarships, professorships, research funds and improved facilities. Dr. Knaub learned that working with alumni and friends of the college was one of the most enjoyable aspects of her years as dean. After eighteen years, Dr. Knaub judged the college to be in a very good place, and she was ready to move into another chapter of her life.

As she was winding down her tenure as dean, she and the OSU Foundation CEO began discussing the potential of developing a women’s philanthropy program. Dr. Knaub agreed to serve as a consultant for the next two and one-half years. The program that emerged was Women for Oklahoma State University (WOSU), a diverse group of women, both alumnae and friends, who shared a passion for inspiring leadership and giving through their support of OSU. Women for OSU exceeded expectations as fundraising excelled and the group’s signature event, the annual symposium, drew sell-out crowds and successful regional events were added. Dr. Knaub officially retired in 2010. When Dr. Knaub was thinking about retirement, she concluded that a soft landing would be better than a hard one. The two enjoyable years with the Foundation provided a comfortable soft landing while at the same time contributing something positive and Dr. Knaub hopes enduring to the university.

Outstanding Engagement

Dr. Stephen Ball 
University of Missouri 
State Specialist and
Associate Professor

Nutrition and Exercise
Physiology, College of
Human Environmental

The BoHS Outstanding Engagement Award recognizes an individual “campus based” or “state level faculty member” for exceptional creativity and scholarship in the development, application, and evaluation of outreach, extension, and public service programs. BoHS is proud to announce that Dr. Stephen Ball, State Specialist and Associate Professor in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology for the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Missouri, is the 2015 Outstanding Engagement Award recipient. Dr. Ball is the “complete package”. Rarely do we see an Extension professional who combines his external engagement practices with such outstanding classroom instruction. University students along with citizens in every corner of the state of Missouri, have benefited from Dr. Ball’s expertise in the most critical areas of human exercise physiology and nutrition.

In his role as Nutritional Science Extension Unit Leader in NEP, Dr. Ball carries the classroom, literally, into the community. He trains teachers and others in our public schools how to increase the physical activity levels of their students; he teaches Missourians to become more physically fit through the Stay Strong and Advanced Stay Strong programs. He developed and he delivers exercise and fitness information to Missourians through his exercise video series. And in accomplishing these extramural teaching activities, he involves his undergraduate on-campus student in such service learning projects as the Walking School Bus; Camp Food and Fitness; and Jump into Action.

Dr. Ball’s MyActivity Pyramid for kids had been publicized nationally in major newspaper outlets, and adopted by schools and health agencies in 46 states. This highly successful project has been expanded to include an adult version. He has produced and distributed an outstanding video series on Fitness and Wellness. This series has garnered regional and national attention, as well. Other extension and outreach programs that he developed and effectively implemented include the Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program for older adults, the Jump into Action, Smart Moves, and Active and Healthy School programs for grade school children. Under Ball’s leadership, MU Extension has trained over 150 leaders and has reached over 4000 participants in the Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program. Collectively, the programs under Dr. Ball’s leadership are vital in today’s world that is beset by rampant obesity, poor nutritional habits in populations both young and old, and sedentary life styles that contribute to negative health outcomes.

In regards to his classroom instruction, Dr. Ball handles one of the largest courses in the college, and one that has grown exponentially in popularity over the years under his direction. It is because of this course, and the stellar teaching evaluations Dr. Ball receives, that explains so much of the fact that the Nutrition and Fitness major has been the fastest growing major in the college of Human Environmental Sciences over the past few years. In 2012 Dr. Ball was awarded the William T. Kemper Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching.

In addition to his outstanding on-campus and off-campus teaching portfolio, Dr. Ball is a prolific researcher. He has developed a focused research program in the area of methodological issues in body composition measurement.

Dean Emeritus of the University of Missouri and Dr. Ball’s nominator, sums it up well, “Dr. Ball has brought recognition and prestige to the University of Missouri and MU Extension in ways and to a degree that few others have. We simply couldn’t not ASK for more from one professional on our Extension and departmental faculty.”

Undergraduate Research Mentor

Dr. Brenda Smith
​Oklahoma State University
John and Sue Taylor

Nutritional Sciences,
College of Human Sciences

The Board on Human Sciences Undergraduate Research Mentor Award recognizes a faculty member in the Human Sciences for exceptional performance as a research mentor for undergraduate students. BoHS is proud to announce that Dr. Brenda Smith, John and Sue Taylor Professor in Nutritional Sciences in the College of Human Sciences at Oklahoma State University, is the 2015 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award recipient. Dr. Smith is a very caring individual and her open door policy, constant encouragement, consistency, and generous time devoted to the training of undergraduate students make her an outstanding teacher and mentor. She has a sincere and genuine interest in the professional development of people trained under her leadership, including undergraduate students.

Approximately two years ago, Dr. Smith decided to embark on a new endeavor with undergraduate research. She designated funds from the endowed professorship that she holds to bring a cohort of undergraduates into her laboratory at one time. The students were trained in the basics of laboratory techniques by graduate students and reported on their progress in weekly laboratory meeting. As each student demonstrated that they were at a stage where they could work more independently, Dr. Smith mentored them in the development of their own research project. Over the next 1½ years these students began presenting their work at various local and state venues. The students’ stories of how their research experience has enhanced their appreciation for a topic covered in class and seeing how this experience has impacted their ability to critically approach and solve problems has been very rewarding.

Dr. Smith has an impressive list of undergraduate researchers, including Niblack Scholars, Wentz and Freshman Research Scholars, OK-LSAMP Scholars who worked under her guidance. Additionally, she also collaborates with other faculty in mentoring undergraduate students by being a member of their research committee. Dr. Smith trains her undergraduate students to think critically and to become capable of developing different approaches to solve nutrition problems. Because of her reputation, undergraduate students seek her out to be their mentor in order to gain research experience in her laboratory.

Dr. Smith wants her students to work hard to understand and to apply what they have learned in classroom to the research setting and vice versa. In addition to emphasizing the importance of hard work, she communicates to her students the importance of personal and professional integrity, and striving for excellence. She patiently teaches undergraduates the concepts and techniques needed to succeed in research. Dr. Smith would tell you that everyone wins when mentoring undergraduate researchers. The undergraduate gains research experience and at the same time it enhances her graduate students’ training experience and infuses a refreshing curiosity and excitement for science into the laboratory setting. Dr. Edralin Lucas, professor at Oklahoma State University, states, “Dr. Smith’s efforts will be measurable for years to come in the success of her students and the passion for discovery and research that she has instilled in them.”

Featured Project & Initiative

The Data Literacy Institute – a partnership between APLU and the Association for Institutional Research with funding from Ascendium – brings together cross-departmental teams from 11 Powered by Publics institutions from Cluster 14 to engage in training that enhance their use of data to improve equitable student outcomes. In May 2022, Powered by Publics held […]

Featured Project & Initiative

Powered by Publics is convening nearly 125 change-ready institutions within 16 “transformation clusters” focused on solving different pieces of the student success puzzle. Participating institutions are working collaboratively to increase college access, eliminate the achievement gap, and award hundreds of thousands more degrees by 2025.