Faculty members from each college were recognized during UCF’s annual Founders’ Day ceremony Wednesday.
University of Excellence In Undergraduate Teaching: Alla Kourova, College of Arts and Humanities. Kourova is an assistant professor of the Russian/TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) programs. She has a Ph.D. from Moscow State University in teaching English as a foreign language and cross-cultural studies as well as a master’s degree in speech therapy and teaching foreign languages. She joined UCF in 2007 as a visiting instructor and was promoted in 2011 to an assistant professor. Kourova is credited with reviving the Russian language program at UCF by not only rewriting the syllabi for beginning and intermediate courses, but developing a study-abroad program in Russia and launching several projects to show students the connection between the Russian language and culture. Among the projects launched is the popular Russian tea hours every other week. Students and guests taste a variety of teas and experience the significant role tea plays in Russian tradition. Kourova also organizes a monthly Russian culture night. Aside from her contributions to making the Russian language courses strong academically and culturally sound, she also actively uses her language skills by translating for the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense in the area of International Security Policy-Eurasia.
Winners from each college were: Daniel S. Murphree, Edward Dandrow and Leandra Preston-Sidler from the College of Arts and Humanities; Pamela Roush and Ray Sturm from the College of Business Administration; Jeffrey C. Biddle and William B. Russell from the College of Education and Human Performance; Amir H. Behzadan and Mark Calabrese from the College of Engineering and Computer Science; Claire Connolly Knox from the College of Health and Public Affairs; William T. Self from the College of Medicine (Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences); Jonathan Decker from the College of Nursing; Premila Whitney from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management; and Lindsay Neuberger, Jennifer A. Sandoval, Walter Sotero-Esteva, Thomas Dolan and Drew Noble Lanier from the College of Sciences.
University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching: Enrique Ortiz, an associate professor of mathematics in the College of Education and Human Performance. He has conducted a variety of research using games and manipulatives to enhance the effectiveness of teaching mathematics. Results from his studies have improved graduate students’ learning. Ortiz also has motivated his students to get involved in professional activities. He is chair of the master’s thesis committees among others. Ortiz uses technology regularly for presentations and has taught his students to use it effectively. He has been at UCF for 25 years and has earned a variety of awards and recognition for his teaching during that time. He has written numerous articles and books about how to effectively teach mathematics and has also written bilingual children’s books including “Ten Elephants and a Spider’s Web.”
Winners from each college were: Scott Warfield from the College of Arts and Humanities; Melissa Frye from the College of Business Administration; Dingbao Wang from the College of Engineering and Computer Science; Shawn A. Lawrence from the College of Health and Public Affairs; Norma E. Conner from the College of Nursing; Pieter G. Kik, from the College of Optics and Photonics; and John J. Schultz from the College of Sciences.
University Award for Excellence in Research: Demetrios Christodoulides, a Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor at the College of Optics and Photonics. He is a world-renowned expert in nonlinear optics. His research group was the first to discover that a light beam in free space can be made to travel along a curved path, which led to a new class of light beams, known as “Airy” beams. The discovery started a new area of research and his paper reporting this finding is in the top 10 most-cited articles in the prestigious Optics Letters journal. In addition, his pioneering studies of the movement of light through lattices and networks has gained him recognition as the “father” of discrete optics.
Winners from each college were: Mark L. Kamrath from the College of Arts and Humanities; Maureen Ambrose from the College of Business Administration; Debbie L. Hahs-Vaughn from the College of Education and Human Performance; Charles Hughes from the College of Engineering and Computer Science; Christopher V. Hawkins from the College of Health and Public Affairs; Khaldoon Nusair from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management; Ken Teter from the College of Medicine (Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences); Anne E. Norris from the College of Nursing; Deborah Beidel from the College of Sciences; and Jayan Thomas from the NanoScience Technology Center.
University Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Faculty Academic Advising: Cynthia K.Walters, College of Education and Human Performance, and Pedro Patino, College of Sciences.
Walters is an instructor of elementary education assigned to UCF’s Western Region (Leesburg and South Lake regional campuses). She is also an academic advisor. The Western Region serves a predominantly nontraditional student population, which juggles work and family around academics. Walters understands this juggle and offers advising before and after classes, on and off campus, and often will talk to students late at night on the telephone or at breakfast at a campus café – all in an effort to be accessible to students.
Patino is the associate chair of the chemistry department and is also the primary advisor for all of the 320 chemistry majors at UCF. He teaches and helps his students, but he also makes time to advise any other student who seeks counsel on chemistry matters. He helps students stay on track to earn a bachelor’s degree, and also is responsible for handling any questions in the department regarding grading grievances, academic dishonesty, student-faculty conflicts and student probation. Patino also coordinates the submissions of the Undergraduate Research Report and prepares, coordinates, proctors and evaluates the exit exam required of all graduating chemistry majors.
University Awards for Excellence in Professional Service: Martha Marinara and Jeffery Kaplan.
Marinara is the director of the Office of Information Fluency. She joined UCF in 1998 and since then has been participating in a variety of ways to enhance the environment at the university. Aside from the fluency program she provides extensive service to her discipline, to GEP programs and to the College of Arts and Humanities’ Texts and Technology doctoral program. She also has served in a variety of ways on university-wide committees. She also served on the Faculty Senate and chaired the committee on LGBT Faculty Professional Concerns. She has also served on doctoral dissertation committees and doctoral exam committees and M.A. thesis committees.
Kaplan is a professor in the College of Education and Human Performance. He joined UCF in 1989 as a visiting faculty member. He advises students and participates on curriculum committees. While teaching at the Daytona Beach campus he also served as chair of the Daytona Beach Faculty Council and also on several search committees. Since then he has served his college in a variety of roles, from working on curriculum revision, handling chair duties, preparing faculty reviews and serving on university-wide committees. Kaplan now also serves as a program coordinator for Secondary English Language Arts Education and he is the chapter counselor for the Kappa Delta Pi honor organization, Omicron Lambda.
University Award for Excellence in Librarianship: Hal Mendelsohn, main campus library. Mendelsohn has been with the university library system since 2001 working in a variety of areas from UCF’s Libraries Campus Connection Program to helping with faculty research projects. He constantly looks for ways to improve the library experience integrating technology, enhancing orientation programs and looking at how the role of librarians is changing. He also works tirelessly to improve the profession. His participation with the Southeastern Library Association has been so outstanding that in 2013 the association created a special award for him called “The Hal Mendelsohn Award.”
University Award for Excellence in Professional Academic Advising: Rebecca Morales, College of Sciences.
Recognition of Service to the University, 45 Years of Service: Roseann White from the College of Health and Public Affairs; and Christian Clausen, Frank Kujawa and James Brophy-Ellison from the College of Sciences.
Recognition of Service to the University, 30 Years of Service: Michael Moshell from the College of Arts and Humanities; Stephen Goodman from the College of Business Administration; Karri Williams from the College of Education and Human Performance; Ali Orooji, Parveen Wahid from the College of Engineering and Computer Science; Wendell Lawther from the College of Health and Public Affairs; Arlen Chase, Diane Chase, Ram Mohapatra, Gary Richardson, Kuppalapalle Vajravelu from the College of Sciences; James Cummings from the Division of Research and Commercialization.
Recognition of Service to the University, 20 years of Service: Amy Barnickel, Jocelyn Bartkevicius, Rosalind J. Beiler, Marie Leticee, Jeffrey M. Moore and Joanne Stephenson from the College of Arts and Humanities; Stephen F. Borde, James Gilkeson and Ronald E. Michaels from the College of Business Administration; Fidelia Nnadi and Michael David Proctor from the College of Engineering and Computer Science; Ana M. Leon, Karol Lucken, Jack Ryalls, Joseph B. Sanborn and Martine Vanryckeghem from the College of Health and Public Affairs; Diane Jacobs from the College of Medicine; Boris Zeldovich from the College of Optics and Photonics; Kerstin Hamann, Mustapha Mouloua, Elizabeth Mustaine from the College of Sciences; Joel Hartman, Selma K. Jaskowski and Meredith Semones from the Division of Information Technologies and Resources; Maribeth Ehasz from the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services.