UC MagazineUniversity of CincinnatiUC Magazine

UC Magazine

University of Cincinnati 2015 Faculty Award Winners

Faculty Career Awards

  • Bruce Ault

    Distinguished Professor, Chemistry

    McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Bruce Ault is earning his fifth all-university faculty award in his 39-year career at UC.

Today, Ault, who is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, adds the Faculty Career Award to his previously earned Rieveschl Award for Distinguished Scientific Research (2014), Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service to the University (2006), Distinguished Teaching Professor (2009) and George Barbour Award for Good Faculty-Student Relations (1995).

These previous awards speak of Ault’s high-caliber teaching, service on campus and his national and international standing within the area known as matrix isolation spectroscopy, a field in which he ranks third in the world in the number of publications.

This year’s Faculty Career Award speaks to his longtime dedication to research, service and teaching. Ault has made major contributions to all areas of faculty endeavor throughout his 39-year career and has been involved with the community, hosting events on campus and performing service.

His 230 refereed publications, often highly cited, are found within flagship journals and a global database devoted to matrix isolation spectroscopy.

The research is vital to understanding many natural processes (like those associated with ground-level ozone) as well as directing or controlling reactions in order to improve products (like solar panels).

Because of Ault’s recognized contributions to the field (including identification of elusive elements formed as part of photochemical reactions involving ozone), his work has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for the past 36 years.

Innovative Uses of Technology in Teaching Award   

  • Christine Colella
Associate Professor of Clinical

    College of Nursing

Christine Colella has a talent for engaging students with her innovative use of high-fidelity simulation to train future nurse practitioners. Colella developed an innovative interactive case study (ICS) for distance learning students in a differential diagnosis class. As the course moved to an online platform, Colella wanted to ensure that the distance learning students had experiences as robust as on-site students.

The ICS was designed to engage students and allow them to feel as if the patient was speaking directly to them. The project’s results helped secure a $900,000 Advanced Nursing Education Health Resources and Services Administration grant. Colella and her colleagues are making 15 additional case studies for use in a physician and nurse practitioner education curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary collaboration and role modeling.

A former student has described Colella as “vivacious in her teaching and interactions with students” and motivated by her love of her profession. “Her unique way of presenting complex information in a format that is comprehendible to the untrained nurse practitioner is inspiring and exciting,” the student wrote.

“Dr. Colella is a prime example of an educator who goes above and beyond to enhance the classroom learning experience for her students, and she has managed to transfer that knowledge, enthusiasm and attention to detail into these case studies,” the student noted. Colella is a two-time recipient of the Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching and was inducted into the Academy of Fellows for Teaching and Learning at UC in 2008. 

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award

  • Daniella Fisher
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Chemistry
    UC Blue Ash College

Daniella Fisher is fully committed to helping students learn and spends much of her time and research on finding innovative ways to teach and reach her chemistry students.

Her students and colleagues notice. They comment about how she has the ability to transform a complex, scientific concept into a tangible, hands-on activity that is easy to understand. She uses exercises that incorporate Lego blocks to teach matter classification and equation balancing, and “Jeopardy!”-style review games to promote peer learning and interaction.

Fisher has presented her findings on teaching and learning concepts at numerous regional, national and international conferences, most notably the 2012 and 2014 American Chemical Society’s National Biennial Conference on Chemical Education. 

She serves as the faculty advisor to the UC Blue Ash Student Chemistry Club and regularly takes students to the monthly American Chemical Society meetings. Several students have benefitted from this opportunity, and it inspired them to organize the first UCBA Chemistry Club, with Fisher as the faculty advisor.

Fisher also helps lead community outreach for the Chemistry Department and coordinated a new program that brought 400 third-grade students from local elementary schools to UCBA to visit the chemistry labs, conduct experiments and learn more about what it’s like to attend college.

Cady Short-Thompson, dean of UC Blue Ash, describes Fisher as a “student-centered and scholarly teacher who throws herself into her work in the department, college, university and discipline. She is the very example of outstanding performance.”

Mrs. A.B. "Dolly" Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching

  • Stacie Furst-Holloway
    Associate Professor, Psychology
    McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Stacie Furst-Holloway admits she’s no rock star when it comes to charisma in the classroom, but her strength is in her dedication to her students. “I’m not particularly funny. Other educators may have more charm and entertainment talent, but I know my stuff and my students know I care. I come from a long line of educators, and it’s a privilege to be here shaping students’ lives.”

As director of undergraduate programs in organizational leadership and human resources, she says the qualities that make great leaders are similar to those of great teachers, including holding high expectations for the people they lead and understanding that those you lead have different needs, backgrounds and motivations. “Organizational leadership is one of the most racially and generationally diverse majors on campus. That means we have to make the material relevant to a broad spectrum of students.”

That dedication involves emphasis on experiential learning, whether through service learning, internships or project-based work in the classroom, all hallmarks of the organizational leadership program.

“Dr. Holloway expects a high level of work from her students, but supplies us with the support, tools and knowledge to reach that level of achievement. She goes out of her way to help students,” says one of her students. “She demands the best of them.”

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award

  • Terry Grundy
    Adjunct Associate Professor, Community Planning
    College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning

In nearly three decades of teaching in UC’s School of Planning at the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, Terry Grundy has reached thousands of students with his charismatic style known to “awaken curiosity,” both inside and outside the classroom.

With teaching methods described as a compelling mix of talk show and Socratic dialogue, his courses on politics and intellectual history dive into both the inspiring and ugly realities of politics and the human condition, and he firmly believes that students gain real insights when they draw their own conclusions. As he puts it, “I give them hundreds of opportunities to connect the dots for themselves.”

Grundy is passionate about helping young people better understand where the modern world came from and ultimately becoming thoughtful citizens who join what he calls the “Thinking Class.”

Says a former student: “He loves debate and ideas, and that love is infectious. His classes are places of real debate, strong opinions and civil discourse.”

Grundy served as director of community impact at United Way of Greater Cincinnati for many years. There, he organized broad coalitions and partnerships for community development and managed a multimillion-dollar portfolio of investments in nonprofit organizations involved in community-building activities.

He is founder of The Urbanists, a Cincinnati-based movement that advocates for an asset-based approach to the revitalization of historic American cities. In recognition of that effort, he has been named Resident Urbanist at the Niehoff Urban Studio at the University of Cincinnati.

Faculty Career Awards

  • Awatef Hamed

    Brian Rowe Professor and Director,
 Center for Intelligent Propulsion, Aerospace Engineering

    College of Engineering & Applied Science   

Few women go into aeronautical engineering, but during her more than 40-year commitment to UC, Awatef Hamed has gained international recognition as an outstanding researcher, teacher and chair of the UC Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. Her award-winning research contributions have made major impacts in the area of computational fluid dynamics, gas turbine engines and air-breathing propulsion applicable for civilian and military air transport technology advancement.

Because of her stellar research, she was invited as a keynote speaker at several conferences and universities in Europe, Asia and the United States. She earned the unique honor of being elected a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) in 1991 and a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1987. She has a publication record of over 300 manuscripts, eight book chapters and has mentored numerous students who have gone on to academic and industrial positions.

Hamed has enhanced UC’s student retention in aerospace engineering through her excellence in teaching and creating capstone engine design teams in the aerospace engineering curriculum. These teams have won 10 national AIAA design competitions between 1988 and 2000.

In addition, Hamed continues to be very active in UC’s student recruitment efforts overall and especially in encouraging women to pursue science, technology, engineering and math fields. She was awarded the YWCA Career Woman of Achievement award in 2005, the UC Faculty Recognition Award in 1996, the UC College of Engineering Research Award in 1993 and the Aerospace Educator Leland Atwood Award in 2008-09.

Included in her outstanding service to the university, Hamed was the principal investigator on a $28 million grant through the State of Ohio to recruit five new faculty. This was the largest grant awarded in this program and the largest received by UC.

Faculty Award for Exemplary Contributions in Service

  • Anton Harfmann
    Associate Professor, Architecture
    College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning

Anton Harfmann’s university service, research and teaching can be summed up in a word – energy.

His most notable research and teaching projects, completed with teamwork from colleagues throughout UC, focus on producing sustainable fuels. Whether it’s teaching a 5:30 a.m. environmental literacy class for UC night-shift employees or working late into the night to assemble a university-designed solar house on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., he brings another kind of energy to mind – his own.

Where does all his energy come from? Answers Harfmann: “I never want to look back and say, ‘I wish.’ I very much want to look forward and say, ‘I will.’”

That multi-year, nationally celebrated solar house project, which ultimately involved the efforts of five UC colleges, is the one where Harfmann’s service led to significant advances for the university. For instance, out of the solar house collaboration came the founding of an architectural engineering degree program jointly delivered by the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning and the College of Engineering & Applied Science, as well as the current SmartLight collaboration, an innovation that makes use of sunlight to illuminate interior, windowless spaces.

Harfmann’s intense interest in energy technology is matched by equal interest in teaching technology. In 2008, he organized a major national conference at UC, with support from Apple Computers, focusing on the future of technology and higher education. His service also includes the Faculty Senate IT Committee, the University Academic Technology Planning Committee, the campuswide Blue Ribbon Task Force, the IT@UC Strategic Planning Committee, the steering committee for the new Student Information System effort and many more.

George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Distinguished Scientific Research

  • Shuk-mei Ho 

    Chair, Environmental Health

    College of Medicine   

Shuk-mei Ho is a scientific pioneer whose discoveries have included new ways to combat disease and identifying how the world around us affects our health.

In 2006, research by Ho’s team provided the first evidence that early life exposure to endocrine disruptors, such as bisphenol A (BPA), reprogram specific gene networks to elevate risk of disease later in life. This work led to regulatory policy changes for BPA usage in Europe and certain states in the United States. In the same year, Ho’s team discovered possible new disease biomarkers and therapeutic targets for cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodisorders derived from estrogen receptor ESR2. It is now a fast-moving field in the pharmaceutical industry.

She was also a forerunner in the development of the new field of epigenetic epidemiology, which emerged around 2008. This field uses epigenomic information stored in cells to predict disease susceptibility, drug and toxicant exposure and health outcomes including those related to cancer, asthma, neurobehavioral health and reproduction. Her work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for three decades. In addition to the important work conducted in her lab, she is a teacher and a mentor to junior faculty and students, who see inspiration in her successes as a researcher and educator.

“I strongly believe that Dr. Ho’s research is highly innovative and at the leading edge, showing impactful translational significance in the near- and long-term horizons,” said Linda Birnbaum, director for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, in her nomination letter.  

Faculty Awards for Exemplary Service to the University

  • John McNay Jr.
    Professor, History; Chair, History, Philosophy and Political Science
    UC Blue Ash College

John McNay started his career as a newspaper reporter in Montana before pursuing a master’s and PhD in history. He puts that experience as a journalist to work in the way he gets involved in issues, conducts in-depth research and asks the hard questions.

Since joining the Department of History, Philosophy, and Political Science at UC Blue Ash in 2000, he has been extremely engaged and passionate about issues that impact the college, UC and higher education. He is the winner of the UC Blue Ash College 2014 Outstanding Faculty Service Award, served two terms as a UC faculty senator and was chair of the committees that selected the past two provosts for UC. He has created and led numerous study abroad programs, including the first UC-sponsored trip to South Africa, where he taught a course on the Anglo-Boer War.

In addition to all of his service, McNay continues to be a leader in his field and is an outstanding educator who is always finding new ways to bring history alive and make it compelling for his students. He has earned multiple grants for research and published three books and numerous articles, covering topics that include American foreign policy, collective bargaining and Ohio politics. He is also a sought-after expert on the history of organized labor in the United States.

Distinguished Teaching Professor Award

  • C. David Minda        

    Professor, Mathematical Sciences

    McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

David Minda, the University of Cincinnati’s Charles Phelps Taft Professor, has earned the admiration of students by conveying the beauty of mathematics.

After joining UC as an assistant professor in 1971, he has repeatedly shown excellence in teaching teachers and in helping redesign courses that pose excessive difficulty to students.

Minda’s main interests lie in geometrical function theory. “I find this area appealing because it involves the interplay of complex analysis, geometry and topology,” he says. Minda has authored over 100 publications on topics that include new research in analytic functions and conformal mapping. “I have found that being an active researcher has played an important role in my teaching at all levels,” he says.
A recipient of the Mrs. A.B. “Dolly” Cohen Award for Teaching Excellence in 2001, Minda is known throughout campus as a professor who engages students with complicated subject material by creating an enthusiastic dialogue. The caring attitude Minda invests has resulted in countless students and educators who leave the classroom with a better understanding of geometry, calculus and other areas of math.

Many of the nominations submitted mention Minda’s ability to understand the needs of students and to teach problems from multiple perspectives. “It is because of Dr. Minda’s gifts of receptiveness, time, patience and wisdom that I hope to one day follow in his footsteps as an outstanding educator and be the inspiration for some unknown future student,” wrote Marcos Lopez, now a graduate assistant at UC in mathematics.

Minda, who has been committed to teaching for over four decades, was integral in establishing the Master of Arts for Teachers of Mathematics at UC, a program that emphasizes mathematical content for licensed teachers of secondary mathematics. Minda also has been pivotal in updating the mathematics curriculum at UC to adapt to changing methods in instructing.

Mrs. A.B. "Dolly" Cohen Awards for Excellence in Teaching

  • Laura Nabors      

    Associate Professor, School of Human Services
    College of Education, Criminal Justice & Human Services

Laura Nabors has dedicated her career to improving children’s services and the acceptance of children with special needs through her many contributions in the multidisciplinary fields of counseling, health education, psychology and substance abuse counseling. In her courses, she tackles various health-related issues and frames them using current and relevant research, policy and health education practice.

Nabors is a conscientious educator who cares deeply about the success and growth of her students. Her commitment to student development and teaching is evidenced by her receipt of awards for her teaching and mentorship. Nabors’ enthusiasm and commitment to her students is contagious, and her passion inspires students and faculty members alike to design research projects that challenge their perspectives and skills.

Continually adding value to her students’ education, Nabors assists students with their own, independent projects and encourages them to learn by experience and “doing” to improve their clinical and research skills. She fosters these activities and has been instrumental in creating new opportunities for student learning, undergraduate research and community engagement. She has involved students with the Ronald McDonald House to illustrate the importance of medical play to kids with illnesses or conditions. She has also developed an obesity prevention program involving healthy eating and exercising for various Cincinnati-area schools.

Nabors currently serves as a co-chair of the undergraduate research committee in the School of Human Services and is a member of the planning committee for Faculty Senate. She underscores her gratitude for the high caliber of support her CECH mentors, Keith King, Janet Graden and Regina Sapona, have given her.

George Barbour Award for Good Faculty-Student Relations

  • Nancy Rogers

    Professor-Educator, Psychology

    McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

In nearly a decade as a UC professor, Nancy Rogers has found many ways to help students in the classroom. But she's learned that oftentimes it's the things she does outside of class that have the greatest effect.

"My job doesn't end in the classroom," Rogers says. "There are a lot of things you can do for students that aren’t necessarily a formal part of your job. That’s the fun part."

Rogers is known for bringing innovative ideas to her traditional responsibilities as professor-educator and graduate director of the master’s in human resources program in the Department of Psychology. She has been prolific in creating teaching assistantships – she has worked with as many as 15 undergraduate TAs in one term. She's designed research opportunities for students that have led to national conference presentations. She even developed and led a new study-abroad course in Guatemala called "Leadership Latte" for the Organizational Leadership Program. 
Such above-and-beyond dedication to her students has brought Rogers recognition as this year's winner of the George Barbour Award for Good Faculty-Student Relations. Patrick Beaugrand, her former student and a 2014 UC graduate, wrote this in his recommendation of Rogers for the award: "Everyone has a person in their life that is unforgettable and positively influential, and that person for me is Dr. Rogers."

Words like that make it easy to see why Rogers says students are the best part of her job. "I don’t think receiving this award is because I’m great, it’s because my students are."

Established Entrepreneurial Achievement Award

  • Vesselin Shanov

    Professor, Biomedical, Chemical and Environmental Engineering    

    College of Engineering & Applied Science

  • Mark Schulz

    Professor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering
College of Engineering & Applied Science

Richard Feynman, often referred to as the father of nanotechnology, summed up the field of nanotechnology in one question (from his lecture titled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”): “Why cannot we write the entire 24 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin?” He was referring to the manipulation of matter on atomic and molecular scales. From this concept, the field was born.

Today, nanotechnology researchers work with materials, devices and other structures with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers (one billionth of a meter or one hundred thousandth of the width of a human hair).

UC faculty members Vesselin Shanov and Mark Schulz are trailblazing and road-mapping nanotechnology innovation. In 2007, they demonstrated the ability to manufacture the longest carbon nanotubes ever-recorded (22 millimeters tall) using their novel chemical vapor deposition technology. This accomplishment attracted interest from the scientific and defense community, ultimately leading to their founding the UC spinoff company, General Nano. Shanov and Schulz started the company in 2009 with Joe Sprengard.

Based in Norwood, the firm specializes in developing different forms of carbon nanotube (CNT) materials for various applications. Their customers include the Department of Defense, NASA and numerous aerospace and defense original equipment manufacturers and prime contractors. Shanov and Schulz continue to be the impetus behind General Nano’s success as they improve CNT materials for use in a wide range of applications from wearable electronics to classified defense weapon systems.

Emerging Entrepreneurial Achievement Award

  • Sang Young Son
    Associate Professor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering       

    College of Engineering & Applied Science

Sang Young Son, PhD, associate professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), is helping to shed light on the amount and types of environmental toxins we are exposed to in urban settings.

To better understand the role of air particles in allergies and their other potentially harmful effects, Son developed a small, portable sensor device that can be worn on clothing that will measure air particles as small as four nanometers on a real-time basis, even while sustaining high levels of vibration. Four nanometers is approximately 1/20,000ths of the width of a human hair.

Son’s device, called a personal ultrafine particle (PUFP) counter, uses GPS to record location and time data. The utility of this device was demonstrated when children wore the PFUP counter for an allergy research study. The study measured high level exposures to ultrafine particles like diesel fuel when riding school buses and playing outdoors near interstate highways with high truck traffic. This portable counter device has sustainability and accuracy that can be used to measure personal UFP exposure without expensive support and surpasses the detection capacity of any particle counter currently available.

Son’s PUFP also has possible uses in commercial markets such as public health organizations, semiconductor industries, government agencies, first responders and firemen, who have been shown to have high cancer and cardiac events rates.

In 2010, he founded a company Enmont, LLC (www.enmont.org) to market and sell the PUFP (C100). Son obtained a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the sensor’s initial research and development.

Distinguished Research Professor

  • Peter Stambrook
Professor, Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology
College of Medicine   

Peter Stambrook believes that if at first you don’t succeed, then celebrate — because you might be on the path to an exciting discovery.

“You design experiments to test hypotheses,” he says, “and the results might initially prove disappointing because the data don’t fit the hypotheses. But very often, those are the most exciting data and can lead you in new directions and help you break new ground.”

Well into his fourth decade at UC, Stambrook has made a career out of disdaining conventional wisdom as he seeks insights into the mysteries of cancer. He became interested in DNA replication and cell cycle regulation as a graduate student and was the first to show that, in a vertebrate organism, the temporal sequence with which DNA duplicates itself can change during embryogenesis.

That finding “changed the thinking in the field,” according to College of Medicine colleague Evangelia Kranias, who notes that Stambrook’s work “places him at the forefront of investigators interested in understanding genomic instability, particularly as it relates to cancer.”

His subsequent work at UC, Kranias says, “opened an entire field that is now being populated by numerous investigators.” Stambrook’s current research focuses on a critical signaling pathway that responds to DNA damage. He also has begun collaboration with the UC Brain Tumor Center to develop novel cancer gene therapy approaches. He is a 2011 recipient of the George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Distinguished Scientific Research.

George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Creative and/or Scholarly Works

  • Nicasio Urbina
Professor, Romance Languages and Literatures

    McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

Nicasio Urbina has written and/or edited 18 books, 89 articles of literary criticism, nine encyclopedia articles, 31 book reviews, 52 pieces of creative writing in magazines and journals and 70 newspaper articles.

His body of work covering contemporary Spanish American literature could fill quite a few shelves in the biblioteca (library), and his achievements are more impressive considering he completed most of them while serving as department head and graduate director.

Urbina is a renowned specialist in genre theory, semiotics and narratology. He is considered “the leading authority in Central American culture” by professor Mario Valdés, a top Latin American scholar. Urbina’s writing includes both creative and scholarly publications, and he has been invited to read his texts 67 times in different venues. His voice has been recorded by the Library of Congress and the Organization of American States.

Urbina has served as Nicaragua’s ambassador to the United Nations in 1997 and 1998, and remains that country’s permanent alternate representative. His diplomatic service and cultural expertise make him a sought-after expert on Latin American issues.

“To put it briefly, professor Urbina is an extremely productive member of our faculty,” said Carlos Gutiérrez, professor and head of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. “His scholarly publications and creative writing make him one of the most internationally recognized scholars in our institution.”


- Posted April 15, 2015