Faculty Awards

Graduate School of Education Awards
for Outstanding Achievements

The purpose of the Graduate School of Education Awards for Outstanding Achievement is to honor outstanding achievements by Graduate School of Education faculty. Outstanding achievements in this context are those that clearly go beyond regular expectations of responsibilities as established through employment contracts, faculty policies or other formal mechanisms. They include achievements that are the result of extraordinary effort or creativity, those that are outstanding with regard to their expected outcomes, or those that contribute to the standing of the Graduate School of Education within and outside the university


2018 Award Recipients:



Professor Trudy Tuttle Arriaga was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award in Service. Professor Arriaga has demonstrated her leadership and service to the Department of Educational Leadership master’s program, the Graduate School of Education, the Cal Lutheran community, and professional partnerships both locally and nationally.

Professor Arriaga works to establish and maintain ongoing partnerships with K-12 schools in our community. As a former superintendent and sought after speaker and author in cultural proficiency, Professor Arriaga continues to be recognized for her efforts.

Professor Arriaga served as the first female superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District for 14 years. Her journey toward the role of superintendent included bilingual paraeducator, teacher, assistant principal, principal, and director. She published her first Corwin book with her esteemed colleague, Dr. Randy Lindsey.

In April of 2015, the Board of Trustees honored her leadership by naming the VUSD District Office the Trudy Tuttle Arriaga Education Service Center. She retired in June of 2015 and is a full-time Distinguished Educator in Residence in the Graduate School of Education at Cal Lutheran University.

Professor Arriaga has focused her life work on the fundamental belief that the educational system has tremendous capability and responsibility to open doors for all students. Her leadership has focused on core values that ensure equity, access, and opportunity for every child and their family.


Professor Melissa Spence was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award in Scholarship. For someone in their second year of being a faculty member, she has proven worthy of this recognition.

As an emerging scholar, Professor Spence has consistently worked to be an excellent collaborator by engaging in research that makes a tremendous difference in the lives of students, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her work has been significant in advancing the conversation on the specific needs of students with ASD in K-12 educational institutions.

Professor Spence and a collaborator had their peer-reviewed journal article, Integrating Social and Emotional Learning Instruction into Core Academic Instruction for Students with ASD published in the DADD Online Journal. Additionally, Mel and her colleagues have presented four presentations on their research at three different conferences this academic year, including the Council for Exceptional Children (SEC) convention, the CEC Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD) Conference on Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, and Developmental Disabilities, and Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALICON).

Most significantly, Professor Spence was awarded a $736,802 grant from the Department of Education and the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program for a program she created called PAGES: Project for Advancement of Gifted and Exceptional Students. As the principal investigator, she will be working over the next five years to help twice-exceptional students engage in a college-going culture.

In addition, Professor Spence is a gifted instructor who uses her expertise as a scholar and researcher in her classroom. Students have talked about how much they have learned from her and appreciate her humor and insights on the research process.


Professor Nancy Myers was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education award in Teaching. Students from the various teaching programs have consistently praised her in all course evaluations.

Professor Myers teaches EDTP521 and EDSP521 courses - Literacy and Language Development in Diverse Classrooms. She has taught in both face-to-face and hybrid course delivery models, integrating ADEPT training into these courses.  The ADEPT assessment system for English Learners is an extra and unique learning opportunity, above and beyond what is required by CCTC, to assess and plan instruction for English Learners.

Teaching in clear support of the Graduate School of Education’s mission and STRIVE statement – Professor Myers represents the GSOE at partner schools exceptionally well, receiving praise and accolades from principals, cooperating teachers and field supervisors alike.  She is considered an outstanding model and mentor to all in the broader educational community and embodies the STRIVE statement with her positive outlook, responsiveness to students, and respect for all learners. In addition, her connections with all students on a personal level are extraordinary. They usually turn to her first when difficulties arise in coursework or fieldwork because they know she truly cares about their well-being.

Professor Myers collaborates with other leaders of the California Reading and Literacy Project (CRLP) throughout the state of California with her annual attendance at the Directors’ meetings, integrating the knowledge gained from these collaborations into her coursework. She has developed a broad network of professionals throughout the literacy community in the U.S., bringing them to Cal Lutheran, and collaborating with them for the singular goal - that children learn to read!

Under her CRLP leadership, program participants, who are teachers in our community, develop an Action Research project, collect and analyze data throughout the school year, and present their findings at poster presentations over the summer.  Professor Myers is actively involved with mentoring the teacher researchers throughout their projects.  The outcomes solve problems and improve practices in local schools.



2017 Award Recipients



ProfessorMaureen Reilly Lorimer was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award in Service.

More about this recipient

Lorimer has demonstrated her leadership and service to the Department of Teaching and Learning, the Graduate School of Education, the Cal Lutheran community, and the profession in many ways. 

Lorimer has championed the need for professional development of educators around arts-based learning pedagogies and approaches through her work on the Arts and Learning Symposium.  The work on this annual event has been significant in terms of time and commitment, but has been deeply rewarding for over 200 participants.  Lorimer continues the work for this symposium event, collaborating with the Center for Autism and Communication to focus on supporting students on the autism spectrum through the arts.  This work is incredibly important to the profession, particularly in the sociopolitical environments of schools reducing arts-based instruction funding and resources. 

Lorimer was awarded the 2017 Arts Stars Award for Arts Educator by the Ventura county Arts Council (VCAC). This award is provided to persons or organizations that have made outstanding contributions and whose accomplishments have significantly benefited the arts community. In particular, the arts educator is the individual, organization, or school that has best demonstrated leadership in bringing arts education into the classroom.

Within the Graduate School of Education, Lorimer has taken on the role of directing the Master’s research courses shared between the Department of Teaching and Learning as well as the Department of Counselor Education.  She has devoted to making improvements to our research course sequence through a curriculum review, updating information for adjunct instructors, negotiating student needs and instructor issues, and responding to the multitude of questions that arise from faculty Lorimer’s expertise and experience is a valuable asset, she navigates challenges and puts our students at the focus of results.

Lorimer acts as the chair of the Faculty Affairs and Development Committee. In this she leads the faculty addressing their needs for development.  This faculty-elected role attempts to provide structure and address deficiencies in systems and processes of FADC. Lorimer’s contributions include revisions to the Hewlett Grant process and new initiatives to promote faculty achievements.  Her contributions have been meaningful and significant for our community on-campus and off. 



Professor Ty Wesley was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award in Scholarship

More about this recipient

Having just finished her second year at Cal Lutheran, Ty has been working diligently to engage in research and scholarship that aligns with her research agenda. 

Wesley had a solo-authored book chapter published, entitled Differentiation Challenges in Inner City School, in the book, Handbook of Research on Classroom Diversity and Inclusive Education Practice.  This important chapter forwards the concept of how students in urban schools create “victim blaming” stereotypes of historically underrepresented students being at-risk without considering the systemic impacts contributing to these challenges.  Wesley’s work in this chapter addresses an important critical perspective of education that often goes unchallenged. 

Wesley also submitted her first application for a $2.2 million grant to fund Project BELLA: Bilingual Education, Literacy, Language Acquisition.  Project BELLA will provide professional development to pre-service teachers to gain skills in bilingual education and prepare teacher candidates to serve English learners in dual language classrooms.  This grant provides funding to substantially fill a major gap in the Graduate School of Education’s development of our pre-service teachers: that of preparing bilingual educators in our local community classrooms.  Engaging in the grant-writing process – even for small grants – can be extremely challenging.  Wesley worked tirelessly with campus colleagues and district colleagues at Oxnard and Oxnard Union to get all of the necessary details completed by the grant deadline.  Regardless of whether the application is approved and funded, Wesley has demonstrated a great sense of leadership in stepping up and addressing a direct need for our Department of Teaching and Learning students in the Graduate School of Education. 

Wesley continues to work on other active research projects.  Along with some colleagues she will be submitting a manuscript for a peer-reviewed journal on the cultural proficiency of teacher candidates at a small, regional university located in the Midwest.  Additionally, she received approval from the IRB on campus to begin a replication study of the previously mentioned study in the Midwest with our Teaching and Learning students.  The work around cultural proficiency is important because it addresses both an individual and systemic impact that is often under addressed in educational research.  Her work is important at continuing to move the needle of the importance of inclusion and equity within education. 



Professor Dan Tillapaugh was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Teaching.

More about this recipient

Tillapaugh is a stellar instructor as reported by his students and colleagues who have observed him. His students constantly sing his praises. He develops trusting and caring relationships while also challenging them to think in critical ways.

Tillapaugh was recognized with three awards and honors at the 2017 annual American College Personnel Association-College Student Educators International (ACPA) conference. Dr. Tillapaugh was the recipient of the organizations’ Annuit Coeptis – Emerging Professional Award. In addition, He received recognition from the Coalition on Men and Masculinities - Harry Canon Outstanding Professional Award and the Association-Wide Coalition Advocate Award, recognizing his support and advocacy of the identity-based entity groups within ACPA’s organizational structure.

Tillapaugh constantly experiments with new instructional activities and ways to engage students. This summer, for example, he invited established researchers in his field to discuss and video tape their experiences using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods. Tillapaugh shared these dynamic videos with his students online to illustrate examples of different research designs and to deepen the knowledge of his students. In addition, Tillapaugh has initiated and forged collaborative relationships with local community colleges. He has set up class site visits to community colleges for the Masters students to interact with community college leaders.



2016 Award Recipients



Professor Edlyn Pena was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Service.

More about this recipient

Professor Peña’s service and scholarly contributions to the field of autism and the communities impacted by autism and other disabilities has been outstanding. She has been recognized both regionally and nationally for her services in this area. In 2014, she received the El Concilio Latino Leader Award, and in 2016, she received the Award of Congressional Recognition. Her national recognition was solidified by the invitation to serve on the National Interagency Autism Committee.

Peña is an avid advocate for educational equity for all students and works tirelessly to support parents and the broader community about both the challenges and potential of this growing population of students. Her willingness to publically share her journey of parenting a gifted, nonverbal son has touched the lives of and given hope to many families. Regionally, she has been a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Autism Task Force, and is currently a volunteer and previous board member of the Ventura County Autism Society. This past year, she spearheaded the development and implementation of a large-scale conference on autism at Cal Lutheran. The response was overwhelming; such was the need and interest in this historic conference. Peña’s service over the past several years culminated in the development and approval that she and Professor Beth Brennan received to create a university-wide Autism and Communication Center (ACC) that will be of great service to Cal Lutheran and the community. This center will provide multiple opportunities for community outreach, educational partnerships, faculty/staff training and collaborative faculty research.




Professor Dan Tillapaugh was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Scholarship.

More about this recipient

Professor Tillapaugh has a sustained passion for research and has made multiple scholarly contributions in his first year at Cal Lutheran. His scholarship has been recognized nationally in the field of Student Affairs/Higher Education. This past academic year, he was named the ACPA (American College Personnel Association), Student Educators International Emerging Scholar of the Year, and has received three research grants totaling $9,400 from ACPA and NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education for his cutting-edge research on men who have experienced sexual violence on college campuses. He has a clearly articulated research agenda, which he has sustained over the past several years and has the potential to continue on this successful path in the future.

Tillipaugh has collaborated with researcher colleagues from their institutions, and has begun to mentor counselor education candidates interested in research. He has also mentored Graduate School of Education faculty colleagues on ways to move forward with their publication goals.

Tillapugh’s research is innovative, not just for the topics he examines, but for the methodologies he employs, such as his use of photo elicitation methodology. His research, with its social justice orientation, is well-aligned with the vision and mission of the university and the conceptual framework (STRIVE) of the Graduate School of Education. His research on intersectionality in higher education, college men and masculinities, LGBT issues in higher education, and college student leadership development, will inform higher education practice as well as the College Student Personnel curriculum.



Professor Gail Uellendahl was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Teaching.

More about  this recipient

Professor Uellendahl has served California Lutheran University as professor and chair for over two decades in the Department of Counselor Education. In 2013 she received the President's Award for Teaching Excellence, the highest university honor bestowed upon faculty in teaching. 

Throughout her career, Uellendahl has been a caring, rigorous, and  knowledgeable faculty member. Her interpersonal strengths guide her approach to teaching, consistently going the extra mile for students. While at Cal Lutheran, she has taught, mentored and advised hundreds of students to be successful in her classroom or masters degree program. Uellendahl is trustworthy and patient, inspiring students to believe in themselves as P-20 counselors. Uellendahl is an exemplary role model for her students and colleagues.

Because Uellendahl has made such an impression upon our Graduate School of Education population, evidenced by her longstanding and impressive teaching evaluations, one student comments: 


In addition to her extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of counseling, Professor Uellendahl exhibits a tangible enthusiasm for student success. She is deeply committed to the personal and professional development of her students, with an innate ability to meet us where we are in our own journey. Her warm and welcoming demeanor is infectious, offering a sfe-space for growth and learning. Professor Uellendahl challenges and encourages her students to continually improve our counseling abilities providng mentorship and guidance along the way.



2015 Award Recipients



Professor Heidi Coronado-Olsen was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Service.

More about this recipient

Professor Coronado’s services first started when she saw a practical need throughout her years as a student and a professional working with under-served students to allow students to dialogue about their potential to develop resiliency. Heidi has since worked in the community on what she terms Resiliency Circles.

The Resiliency Circle framework was developed and fine-tuned in Coronado’s dissertation work with Latina/o and indigenous first generation high school and college students. The framework counters a deficit model, and instead uses circles to create safe spaces for students to explore their resiliency and cultural wealth. Through the framework (which utilizes indigenous epistemology and mindfulness as its basis), students are able to engage in dialogues and become aware of historical /generational trauma, challenges and also their strengths, gifts and cultural wealth. Throughout this process they find empowerment in themselves and each other, creating individual and community healing.

Coronado has facilitated various Resiliency Circles with students at Pasadena City College, Cal Poly Pomona, as well as with a number of high school students in L.A. She has facilitated the Resiliency Circle with graduate students in the counseling program at Cal Lutheran and has also worked with Cal Lutheran’s Upward Bound

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Professor Diane Rodriguez-Kiino was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Scholarship.

More about this recipient

Professor Rodriguez-Kiino has a clearly outlined, active scholarship agenda that includes presentations at professional conferences, articles in peer-reviewed publications, and contributions of book chapters. Since arriving at Cal Lutheran, Rodriguez-Kiino has presented papers at peer-reviewed, professional conferences. Additionally, she has published peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters over the course of her career. Rodriguez-Kiino has also served as the senior researcher for several grants.

Rodriguez-Kiino’s work appears in top-tiered conferences/publications, are well-linked to the mission of Cal Lutheran and the Graduate School of Education, has involved other Gradudate School of Education colleagues, uses innovative research objectives/methodologies (her work on Critical Feminist Practices), and represents research that provides service to underrepresented populations.

Rodriguez-Kiino served as a Fulbright scholar in Japan in 2015-16, where she studied of the lived experiences of 16 women in Japanese higher education who hope to enter Japan’s economic sector upon graduation. Rodriguez-Kiino used a feminist case study methodological framework in her analysis.

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Professor Michael McCambridge was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Teaching.

More about this recipient

Professor McCambridge is a model instructor who exhibits all of the characteristics we expect of an outstanding professor in the Graduate School of Education. Students describe him as passionate, challenging, and engaging, and many point to him as someone who has influenced their own decision to become a teacher. They have also stated that he has changed their lives. McCambridge’s impact as a teacher has been recognized by both students and colleagues. He has been elected as “Professor of the Year” and received “The President’s Award for Teaching Excellence,” being one of only two Graduate School of Education faculty to have received the latter.

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2014 Award Recipients


Professor Nancy Myers was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Service.


Professor Edlyn Pena was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Scholarship.


Professor Maura Martindale was the recipient of the Graduate School of Education Award for Teaching.

Additional Award Recipients

Leadership Award

Outstanding Advisor Award and Outstanding Faculty Support Award.

2016 Outstanding Advisor Award - Jennifer Twyford

20176- Outstanding Faculty Support Award - Hala King

2017 - Outstanding Advisor Award - Professor Michael McCambridge

2018 - Outstanding Faculty Support Award - Michael Brint

2018 - Outstanding Advisor Award - Jennifer Twyford

President's Award for Teaching Excellence

The President's Award for Teaching Excellence Committee considers and exemplary set of nominees representing California Lutheran University's faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education , the Graduate School of Psychology, the School of Management, and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. After seeking input from colleagues, chiars nd deans, examinging three years of teaching evaluations, and careful deliveration by all members of the committee, a candidate is chosen and recommended to the president for final approval.

2013 - Professor Gail Uellendahl

2008 - Professor Michael McCambridge

2002 - Professor Beverly Bryde