Sioux City, Iowa – Morningside University is pleased to announce that its 2023 Sharon Walker Faculty Excellence Awards were presented to Dr. Stacey Alex, assistant professor of Spanish; Dr. Brandon Boesch, assistant professor of philosophy; and Dr. Ryan Person, director of choral activities and assistant professor of music.

Dr. Chris Spicer, provost and vice president for academic affairs, praises the exceptional faculty at Morningside, acknowledging their role as beacons of guidance and inspiration for students. “Their influence extends beyond the classrooms, shaping not only the educational experience but also the broader campus community. Their expertise, passion, and dedication are the driving forces that empower Morningside students, and the Walker Awards are an opportunity to recognize that work.”

Dr. Stacey Alex began her time at Morningside in 2019. She is a faculty member in the humanities department leading the Spanish program and also serves as the chair of the campus Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee. As a faculty member, Alex regularly integrates experiential learning opportunities into her teaching to allow students to become involved in the community, attend organized cultural events, and take part in service activities. She also regularly makes scholarly contributions to her discipline by conducting research, writing articles, contributing to books, and presenting. In particular, her examination of Latino/a experiences in Siouxland the broader Midwest have helped contribute to a more inclusive understanding of the region. Alex holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Iowa and completed her PhD in Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies at The Ohio State University.

Stacey Alex

Dr. Brandon Boesch joined Morningside in 2018 and has created a learning community in his classroom centered on mutual respect and collaboration that encourages his students to further explore their insights and inquiries. Boesch is also active on numerous campus committees, including serving on a subcommittee for Morningside’s recent decennial visit from the Higher Learning Commission. He is also an active scholar who presents at conferences, actively seeks grants, and whose work can be found in peer-reviewed journals, and he has played a pivotal role in aiding X Path students to help nurture their academic experience while they determine the best path forward for their future. Boesch earned his undergraduate degrees in philosophy, Spanish, and biology with minors in theology and chemistry from Benedictine College and his PhD in philosophy from the University of South Carolina.

Brandon Boesch

Dr. Ryan Person started teaching and directing in the School of Visual and Performing Arts in 2018. He is incredibly well connected and involved with music educators across the country and around the world, regularly involved with camps and clinics and earning invitations to serve as guest conductor for countless performances. Person recently earned the honor of being titled the ‘Outstanding Collegiate Choral Educator of the Year’ by the Iowa Choral Directors Association. Additionally, the Morningside Choir was selected as the winner of the 2023 The American Prize in Choral Performance, College/University Division (smaller college), which is one of the highest honors possible for a university chorus. Person holds a bachelor’s degree from Luther College, a master’s degree from Michigan State University, and a DMA from Texas Tech University.

Ryan Person

The Sharon Walker Faculty Excellence Awards were established by Jim and Sharon Walker ’70 in 2003. Criteria for selection include teaching excellence, effective advising, scholarship, and service to Morningside University. The awards are based upon the accomplishments and activities of a faculty member during the previous academic year using both submitted materials and in-person evaluations conducted by a panel of three outside evaluators. Each winner receives an honorarium and $2,000 to use for faculty development.