Hanasono wins Blinn, undergraduate advising awards

Dr. Lisa Hanasono, an assistant professor of communication, possesses an exceptional ability to inspire students to go beyond the usual and achieve more than they had imagined possible. Highly student-centered in both her advising and her teaching, she is equally committed to preparing the next generation of effective advisers and teachers.

Her work with students has earned her enthusiastic endorsements from current and former students and colleagues plus two awards this year: The Elliott K. Blinn Award for Faculty/Undergraduate Student Basic Research/Creative Work and the President’s Award for Academic Advising of Undergraduate Students by Faculty and Staff.

The Blinn award is given in memory of Dr. Elliott Blinn, a professor of chemistry who devoted his career to sharing with his undergraduate students the excitement of the process of discovery by directly involving them in innovative, basic research.

Hanasono received the $2,500 award, which included $1,250 transferred to a department account for the continued collaborative research activities with BGSU undergraduate students, as well as a $1,250 cash prize.

The president’s undergraduate advising award recognizes individuals and units in the BGSU learning community that contribute to undergraduate students’ educational development through effective academic advising. It includes $1,000 transferred to a departmental account to continue advising activities, and a $1,000 cash award to the recipient. Hanasono said she would like to use the advising funding to expand the Student Ambassador Program to increase recruitment and retention, and to add a post-graduation employment preparation component.

In recommending Hanasono for the Blinn award, Dr. Laura Stafford, director of the School of Media and Communication, wrote: “Dr. Hanasono is highly committed to conducting innovative research with undergraduate students. From leading undergraduate research teams and advising independent studies to helping students secure grants for their projects and coauthoring journal articles and conference papers, Dr. Hanasono has a strong record of scholarly collaborations with undergraduates.”

Some highlights of her work with undergraduate researchers include:

  • She regularly leads an undergraduate research team; most of these students are interested in going to graduate school after they earn their undergraduate degrees from BGSU. They learn valuable skills such as collecting, cleaning, coding, and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data. Undergraduate students are also given the opportunity to coauthor research studies.
  • Recognizing the importance of research ethics, Hanasono has ensured that 126 BGSU undergraduate students enrolled in her sections of the Communication Research Methods course earned their Human Subjects Review Board (HSRB) certificates.
  • She has trained over 125 BGSU undergraduates about survey research and data sampling techniques. During the spring semesters of 2014 and 2015, she and her undergraduate students collected over 600 paper surveys for an HSRB-approved, community-based research project on diversity and inclusion. Subsequently, she helped her students work in small writing teams to produce research reports about their original data.
  • Last April, Hanasono trained over 60 BGSU undergraduates how to conduct in-depth research interviews for an HSRB-approved project on discrimination and coping. After completing the training program, her students conducted field interviews.

In addition, many of Hanasono's research team members and students have successfully graduated from BGSU and pursued their advanced degrees at prestigious graduate programs across the nation, such as Purdue University, Illinois State University, and New Mexico University.

Several of her students have received funding to support their projects from the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (CURS). The CURS grants have allowed her students to present research at national and regional conferences, such as the National Communication Association's conference in Washington, D.C. She also mentored students to present their research at the recent CURS-sponsored Undergraduate Symposium on Diversity.

Recently, Hanasono published a book chapter with her first Honors student advisee. Most recently, she completed a research project titled "Communicating Change: Testing a Dual-Process Theory to Explain Social Media Activism and Civic Engagement." “Not only did this project stem from collaborations with over 50 undergraduate students, it promises to lead to new manuscripts, conference presentations, journal articles, and research projects with BGSU students in the years to come,” Stafford said.

Hanasono’s colleague Dr. Alberto Gonzalez noted that in addition to significantly retooling the required Communication Theory class and creating renewed enthusiasm about the discipline, Hanasono also carefully prepares her graduate students to teach the class in upcoming semesters and to take a sensitive, holistic approach to undergraduate teaching that boosts retention.

As an adviser, “Lisa is calm, supportive and authoritative,” Gonzalez wrote. “She gives advice that is accurate, caring and developmental. Lisa empowers students to be their own best adviser. I am in awe of her energy, patience and good cheer as she works with students to meet their opportunities and challenges.”

Said communication major Jeff Heidelberg, “Dr. Hanasono is willing to give her students a plan as an undergraduate as well as keep our personal and professional goals in mind.” She also breaks the formal barrier between advisee and advisor by being transparent in her advising, he said.

He and other student nominators noted that she provided and alerted them to opportunities in and out of the classroom to perfect their skills and help them move closer to their goal.

Molly Horst, a 2015 graduate in communication, wrote that Hanasono was by far the best educator she has had in her educational career, calling her “kind, energetic, charismatic and — most importantly — so brilliant.”

“As an adviser, Dr. Hanasono made me feel significant and helped me fuel my passion for higher education. I am now an admissions counselor at High Point University and planning on continuing my education with a  master’s in counseling. Dr. Hanasono taught me how to truly care about each student I come in contact with, and bring passion and excitement into each interaction.”