Two UCO Faculty Members Recognized For Creativity and Innovation As 2013 DaVinci Fellows

March 1, 2013

Media Contact:  Courtney Harlin, University Relations Staff Writer, University of Central Oklahoma, 405-974-2121, cbass4@uco.edu

TWO UCO FACULTY MEMBERS RECOGNIZED FOR CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION AS 2013 DAVINCI FELLOWS

The DaVinci Institute of Oklahoma recently recognized University of Central Oklahoma faculty members Sunshine Cowan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Heath Studies, and Catherine Webster, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultural Studies, as 2013 DaVinci Institute Fellows.

The award recognizes higher-education faculty whose creative, innovative accomplishments have made a significant contribution to their academic disciplines. Webster and Cowan are two of the five professionals selected as 2013 fellows.

“Dr. Cowan and Dr. Webster exemplify the highest levels of creativity and innovation at work in every corner of the Central campus,” said UCO President Don Betz.

“We congratulate them on this accomplishment and thank them for the impact they make on students’ lives through transformative educational experiences.”

Cowan leads, challenges, and encourages her students towards intellectual breakthroughs in knowledge and perception while also taking on our state’s complex health issues. 

Recently, her students conducted research and partnered with community organizations to bring education and necessities to residents of The Gateway of Edmond, a mixed-income housing apartment complex that includes many residents who utilize Section 8 housing vouchers.   Cowan’s students are currently working on obtaining a City Link bus stop near this area to provide a means of transportation to Oklahoma City and Edmond, specifically to address the need for regular access to healthy food.

Cowan’s mission to foster her students’ growth in the field also has allowed them to work with the Oklahoma Healthy Equity Campaign, serve dinner at the City Rescue Mission, and assist with a youth sports camp at Gateway, among other activities and events.  Her students have shared that the experiential learning included in Cowan’s courses helped them to overcome fears associated with certain populations and provided them with clear public health strategies to address a variety of social issues.

Webster is deeply committed to interdisciplinary approaches and incorporates visual art, music, and site visits into all her upper-division courses.  

She is also an advocate for international study, having helped to establish exchange programs with several French universities as well as participating in European study tours with colleagues from the departments of mass communications, history, humanities, and fashion marketing.

Webster recently developed a new course called constraints and creativity, which cross-lists with French and creative studies while incorporating contributions from faculty in music, dance, design, and theater. The course challenges students to consider the nature of process and outcomes when creative artists address constraints.

Webster serves as president of the Alliance Française of Oklahoma City, a chapter of the international organization that promotes French language and culture in the community. In 2012 she was awarded the Community Leadership Prize from the Oklahoma Humanities Council for her work with the alliance.

The DaVinci Institute is nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing the arts, sciences, humanities and education in Oklahoma.

For more information about the DaVinci Institute, contact Kyle Dahlem, executive director, at 405-503-3224 or davinci@osrhe.edu or visit www.davinciok.org.

To learn more about Central, visit www.uco.edu.

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Editor's Note #1: Download art for publication with this release at www.uco.edu/photo/CatherineWebster.

Editor's Note #2: Download art for publication with this release at www.uco.edu/photo/CowanSunshine.

Cutline #1: Catherine Webster, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultural Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, has been named a 2013 DaVinci Institute Fellow by the DaVinci Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing the arts, sciences, humanities and education in Oklahoma.

Cutline #2: Sunshine Cowan, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Heath Studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, has been named a 2013 DaVinci Institute Fellow by the DaVinci Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing the arts, sciences, humanities and education in Oklahoma.