Alley, Fosterwelsh named 2024 Gussler Fellows | ACTC

Alley, Fosterwelsh named 2024 Gussler Fellows

Published on May 7, 2024

Ashland Community and Technical College professors Alan Alley and Wendy Fosterwelsh were named 2024 Gussler Fellows during last week’s commencement ceremony.

Alan Alley, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at ACTC, received the Gussler Family Endowed Chair in Science and Mathematics award. Fosterwelsh, ACTC Art Professor, received the Gussler Family Endowed Chair in Humanities Award. 

In 2007, Dr. C. Gordon Gussler and his wife, Dixie Gussler, established the Gussler Fellow Award. As a distinguished alumnus of Ashland Community College, Dr. Gussler wanted to reward and encourage outstanding math and science faculty who foster in their students a desire to learn and reach their maximum potential. 

In 2019, the fellowship was expanded to include an award for an outstanding humanities faculty member.

Alley, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, will begin his 19th year at ACTC this upcoming August. After being named Valedictorian in 1987 at Valley High School in Lucasville, Ohio, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Shawnee State University in 1991. For four years, he worked at a steel mill in New Boston, Ohio until he returned to school to earn his Doctorate of Chiropractic (Cum Laude) in 1998 from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. He was in private practice for 13 years while also teaching college courses, leading him to ACTC. 

“I am humbled and honored to receive the award because I do not discuss it with my students, so I know some are nominating me, which means something in light of the fact that I do not attempt to solicit these nominations,” Alley shared. “Another aspect is that Dr. and Mrs. Gussler, who I got to meet several years ago, had the humility and love to provide such a gracious gift to honor and support faculty that inspire students to succeed. Most of us teach because we want to serve others and are not always compensated at levels of other professional positions. Dr. and Mrs. Gussler have truly given a gift that changes lives! I thank them once again for their great charity and humility.”

“I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my awesome God for his continued favor in my life and the support and inspiration of my wonderful wife, Amy, and my sons, Jared and Jacob, all of whom are educators as well,” Alley continued. “I love what I do and I am thankful and humbled once again that God has blessed me and shown me favor.” He concluded. 

Fosterwelsh, Professor of Art, is going on 18 years here at ACTC. With a BFA in Painting and Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, an Art Education degree and an MFA from Georgia Southern University, and a Master’s in Higher Education from the University of Kentucky, she has continued to make a difference in the lives of students throughout her 18 years.

“Receiving the Gussler Award is humbling and exciting at the same time, something I don’t take lightly,” Fosterwelsh shared. “I work hard to create a classroom environment that is inclusive, challenging, and fun. And it means a lot to me to be appreciate for that work with an honor like this.”

“I am so grateful to the committee that had to make such a big decision because I know I work with some great people,” Fosterwelsh continued. “I am also grateful to work in a place that values creativity and student success. Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Brand have always supported and encouraged my ideas; I am again grateful.”

Fosterwelsh shared that her job is a source of immense joy for her. She takes pride in being able to share her passion and in her students success. She works hard to create a classroom where students feel safe and are free to be creative. 

“I am most grateful to my students who work so hard to meet challenges, understand concepts, use their creative powers, and keep growing,” She noted. “If I could sum up what this means to me in one word, I would say ‘grateful.’”

Recipients are nominated by students, fellow faculty or college staff for empowering and motivating students to succeed beyond their experiences.